From Hands to Mind

An exhibition presenting the results of a research project focusing on Portuguese-speaking African countries, exploring processes linked with project culture and local contemporary artisanal objects, departing from the central question: what is design in Africa?

Whilst there is a limited industrial apparatus in these contexts, the public buys products from abroad or cheap Chines commodities, and the professional figure of the designer is often associated with the artist or the artisan. Still, there is an extraordinary Design production, and this paradox is the space we explored. Instead of being a neutral aesthetic practice, design was/is a vehicle of the making of social norms (and unmaking of existing ways of being).

By focusing on four products that embody this specific mindset, the exhibition From Hands to Mind reveals how designers from São Tomé and Príncipe, Angola and Mozambique subvert the usual Design methods by adopting a bottom-up approach based on a handy, physical process of appropriation of given objects: by manipulating, repeating and slight adapting found objects, they question our conceptual approach and enlarge the very domain of what we consider Design.

Year: 2015
Designers: Atelié Rastafá, Inhambane Project, Wilson António
Film: Diego Marcon, Stefano Pansera & Paula Nascimento
Co-curated with Stefano Rabolli Pansera & Aladino Jasse

Commissioned by Experimenta Design for “As Far As The Mind Can see”, Lisbon 2015

Exhibited at XXI Triennale di Milano, 2016