Turn Signals — Design is not a Dashboard
Since Romania joined the European Union, its manufacturing sector has experienced substantial growth. Simultaneously, the global manufacturing landscape is undergoing a profound transformation due to rapid digitalisation and the integration of global supply chains, making innovation a paramount necessity for the country. This expertise is evident throughout Timișoara, in its industrial parks, specialised labour market, and technical universities. Interconnected networks of knowledge, resources, and values not only facilitate multinational corporations, city developments, and academic laboratories but also continue to honour the city’s engineering legacy. However, the potential of design often remains untapped and concealed within academic research networks, corporate intellectual property, mechanical components, sophisticated technological objects, and profit-driven logics.
Turn Signals — Design Is Not A Dashboard is an exhibition that explores how design can act as a conduit for collaborative ventures that go beyond the confines of established manufacturing parameters. Anchored within the contextual framework provided by a commissioned report, ‘Economy in Timișoara: Territorial Distribution of the Economy in the Timișoara Metropolitan Area’, the exhibition invited multidisciplinary practitioners to collaborate with local researchers, interpreting the statistical data through the designed lenses of devices, bodies, agents, media, forces, and networks. These collaborations drew from existing research, leveraged the local engineering network, and engaged with well-established knowledge systems within and beyond Timișoara’s industrial ecosystem. The resulting projects converge at the crossroads of information asymmetries across disciplines, supply chain stages, computational processes, the collective imagination, material cultures, and the expansive manufactured environment. By observing and reinterpreting the navigational pathways of these asymmetries, these projects signal the presence, concealment, and imminent transformation of design within Timișoara.
The exhibition’s title draws inspiration from an indispensable everyday object produced in local and multinational automotive plants in Timișoara — the turn signal indicators on vehicles, used to communicate directional shifts to fellow drivers. These indicators, enmeshed within the intricacies of engineering processes and nestled onto dashboards, exemplify the potential for design to be limited to mechanical refinement and obscured by technological complexities. By exceeding the confines of a mere dashboard, the design practices and discourses in the exhibition have explored the city’s products and resources from local and global perspectives, connecting places, people, and urgencies across different scales. The exhibition serves as a turn signal to Timișoara, inviting a new trajectory for the city’s design, architecture, and digital culture.
Different media, storytelling formats, and design languages are used to explore both the hidden narratives and untapped resources within Timișoara, and how design can intersect with and question topics related to industry more generally. By dislocating the expected media and aesthetics of how the city is represented, the exhibition tells compelling stories that invite different ways of seeing, expanding imaginative possibilities.
Participants: Théophile Blandet, Cinzia Bongino, Cristina Cochior, Jing He, Flora Lechner, Guillemette Legrand, Alina Lupu, Petre Mogoș and Laura Naum / Kajet Journal, Simone C Niquille /technoflesh Studio, Parasite 2.0, Santiago Reyes Villaveces
Thursday 7 September
Exhibition opens at FABER
Friday 8 September
Saturday 9 September
The City, Technology and Design conference
Wednesday 8 November
Finissage with conference
Open Monday - Saturday between 10:00-20:00 from 7 September to 11 November 2023.
Splaiul Peneș Curcanul 4-5,
Timișoara 300124, Romania