Formafantasma: Cambio

Serpentine Sackler Gallery

4 Mar 2020 to 17 May 2020

Formafantasma:
Cambio

This exhibition is closed to the public until further notice regarding COVID-19

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This exhibition is closed to the public until further notice in line with advice from Public Health England, however you can experience much of it online via the Bloomberg Connects app.

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Formafantasma are an Italian design duo based in Amsterdam. Their work looks at design's ecological and political responsibilities, while probing the global industries that consume natural resources.

With: Marco Carrer, University of Padua, Padua; Emanuele Coccia, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris; Vanessa Richardson, Environmental Investigative Agency, London; Gaia Amazonas, Bogotá; Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam; Magnifica Comunita di Fiemme, Cavalese; Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Leiden; Philipp Pattberg, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London; Royal Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren; Thünen Institute, Hamburg; Sissel Tolaas, Smell Researcher and Artist; Victoria And Albert Museum, London

Formafantasma (Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin) are designers who dissect the ecological and political responsibilities of their discipline. Their holistic approach reaches back into the history of a particular material used by humans, out towards the patterns of supply chains that have developed to support and expand its use, and forward to the future of that material’s survival in relation to human consumption.

Cambio, from the medieval Latin cambium, ‘change, exchange’, is an ongoing investigation conducted by Formafantasma into the governance of the timber industry. The evolution of this form of commerce over time, and its tentacular expansion across the globe, has made it difficult to regulate. It grew out of the bioprospecting that took place throughout colonial territories during the nineteenth century, becoming one of the largest industries in the world both in terms of the revenue it generates and the impact it has on the planet’s biosphere.

The earliest objects in the exhibition are samples of rare hardwoods first exhibited in the Great Exhibition of 1851, a few hundred metres from this building, which represent trees logged to the point of extinction. The newest are the exhibition display furniture and seating designed by Formafantasma, all of which were made from a single tree blown over in a storm in northern Italy in 2018. Contained in every piece of wood is an archive of climatic change and the movement of natural materials around the world.

Cambio also references the cambial layer, a membrane that runs around the trunk of trees, producing wood on the inside, a record of the tree’s past, and bark on the outside, enabling it to keep growing. Like the rings of a tree, the central spaces of the exhibition present data and research in the form of interviews, reference materials and two films made by Formafantasma in response to their research, while the perimeter spaces offer a series of case studies that provide insight into the way wood is sourced and used. Each of these investigations represents a collaboration with experts from the fields of science, conservation, engineering, policymaking and philosophy. Together, they move from a microscopic analysis of wood and its ability to store carbon dioxide, to a metaphysical understanding of trees as living organisms.

This multidisciplinary exhibition highlights the crucial role that design can play in our environment, and its responsibility to look beyond the edges of its borders. The future of design can and must attempt to translate emerging environmental awareness into a renewed understanding of the philosophy and politics of trees that will encourage informed, collaborative responses.

Exhibition curated by:

Rebecca Lewin, Curator, Exhibitions and Design

Natalia Grabowska, Assistant Curator

Special thanks to:

Atticus Stovall, Johanna Agerman Ross, Joost Grootens, Galleria Giustini Stagetti, Roma, Alice Rawsthorn, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Giacomo Moor Leonardo Scalet, K48 Production - Leone Balduzzi and Barbara Guieu, Nele Schmitz, Pieter Baas, Gerald Koch, Paola Antonelli, Libby Sellers, Nick Humphrey, Tamar Shafrir, Michela Pellizzari, Fabio Ognibeni and Ciresa, Marina Otero, Anastasia Kubrak

Formafantasma team:

Riccardo Badano, Simón Ballen Botero, Gregorio Gonella, Jeroen Van De Gruiter, Johanna Seelemann, Peter Sorg

Photography permitted, share your photos:

@SerpentineUK, #Formafantasma

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Italian Cultural Institute, SW1X 8NX.

Serpentine x RCA: Formafantasma in conversation with Rebecca Lewin

5 Mar 2020 - 7:00 PM

On the occasion of Cambio, their major new exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, Formafantasma will be in conversation with curator Rebecca Lewin to discuss the research and development of the project, as well as the designers’ practice. Presented in collaboration with Inside/Out lecture series, Royal College of Art, with the support of the Italian Cultural Institute – London.

 

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In Conversation: Formafantasma x DEZEEN

Friday, 6th March 2020
Formafantasma: Cambio

Formafantasma: Cambio

Formafantasma, Cambio (Installation view, Serpentine Galleries, 4 March – 17 May 2020) Photo credit: George Darrell
Formafantasma: Cambio

Formafantasma: Cambio

Formafantasma, Cambio (Installation view, Serpentine Galleries, 4 March – 17 May 2020) Photo credit: George Darrell
Formafantasma: Cambio

Formafantasma: Cambio

Formafantasma, Cambio (Installation view, Serpentine Galleries, 4 March – 17 May 2020) Photo credit: George Darrell
Cambio

Cambio

Formafantasma, Cambio (Installation view, Serpentine Galleries, 4 March – 17 May 2020) Photo credit: George Darrell
7_ Formafantasma

7_ Formafantasma

Formafantasma, Cambio – Serpentine Galleries, 2019. Val di Fiemme, Italy 2019. Photo Credit: C41 Productions
11_ Formafantasma,

11_ Formafantasma,

Formafantasma, Cambio – Serpentine Galleries, 2019. Thuenen Institute (Centre of Competence). Hamburg, Germany, 2019. Photo Credit: Johanna Seelemann

Formafantasma, Charcoal 2

Formafantasma, Charcoal, 2012. Image (C) Formafantasma 2019, courtesy of Formafantasma. Photo: Luisa Zanzini

Formanfantasma

Formanfantasma

Microscopic views of Cyanobacteria. Image (C) Formafantasma 2019, courtesy of Formafantasma
15_ Formafantasma

15_ Formafantasma

Formafantasma, Cambio – Serpentine Galleries, 2019. Thuenen Institute (Centre of Competence). Hamburg, Germany, 2019. Photo Credit: Johanna Seelemann

Formafantasma, Charcoal 1

Formafantasma, Charcoal, 2012. Image (C) Formafantasma 2019, courtesy of Formafantasma. Photo: Luisa Zanzini

13_ Formafantasma

13_ Formafantasma

13_ Formafantasma, Cambio – Serpentine Galleries, 2019. Tropenbos Colombia (Museo de la Madera). Bogota, Colombia. 2019. Photo Credit: Simon Ballen