Mirroring the Ecosystem
What is design in Timișoara? What kind of economy does design produce in Timișoara? Addressing these questions, the Mirroring the Ecosystem exhibition went behind the closed doors of the city’s factories to amass an inventory of its skills, data, places, technologies, and products. From 17 February to 2 April 2023, the findings were presented as a preview of Bright Cityscapes’s ongoing and multifocal research into Timișoara’s economy.
The exhibition space brought together data-driven research, object collections, manufacturing components, resources and photographic documentation. Mundane objects of different function, form and substance, were borrowed from companies at their manufacturing level. Components were extracted from their assembly lines and presented in their temporary state before being hidden inside complex technological objects. Resources and leftover materials were presented in their raw state before their application or transformation phase.
Photographs shared views to inaccessible spaces like factory floors, where workers, machines and various infrastructures are in operation 24/7 behind closed doors. Information graphics contextualised the most relevant assets of the local economy, not only presenting a portrait of the city in relation to its turnover, employees and distribution, but also linking its main companies to the large import-export network that starts, crosses or ends in the metropolitan area of the city.
The entire installation was produced within the local industrial hubs of the city. The exhibition set reconsidered the traditional furniture of factory assembly lines to accommodate the material and visual elements of the research. As a modular system mirroring the repetition and the standardisation of the global manufacturing industry, the overall composition created the ground for reflecting on the contemporary dependency between local and multinational productive forces.
As the concept of mirroring in social science is an unconscious behaviour of imitation from one being to another, the exhibition can be read as a reflection board, an inventory and a tangible interconnection of skills, data, places, technologies, and products. As a whole, the exhibition reflects on the state of design in the city and its role as invisible or visible discipline fundamental for the local economy in connection to global supplies or demands.