Design Superposition Exhibition enquires about design

20 Feb 2022

Zaobao, 22 Feb 2022, Design Superposition设计展 叩问设计
[summarised translation]
‘Design Superposition’ is an exhibition of 10 works by designers and creatives from Singapore and abroad that raise various questions about ‘design’, especially its positioning, function and impact, along with their own attempts to find those answers.

Good design generally emphasises ‘human-centeredness’, but is it considered good design only when it is designed for people? Is an object that is not designed for most people, or not designed for people, worthless?

Can good or bad design be measured or identified by the general observer, or by awards?

Is feng shui ‘superstition’, or is it partly a psychology of spatial design?

The ‘Design Superposition’ exhibition, currently on show at the National Design Centre, is a reflection and introspection on how we know ‘what is design’. Each of the ten works by designers and creatives from Singapore and abroad raise these questions. At the end of the story, the participating designers and creatives, and even the viewers, may not find the answer.

Curator Yeo Ker Siang (33) says he cares more about ‘questions’ than ‘answers’: "I invited 10 designers and creatives and asked them to reflect on themselves: is design useful? Is there only one definition of its usefulness, or is it multiple? Or does it vary from person to person?"

Yeo Ker Siang was awarded a Singapore Design Council scholarship in 2015 to study a Master of Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art in the UK. Upon returning home after two years of study, he now lectures at two universities - Singapore University of Technology and Design, where he teaches design thinking; and Nanyang Technological University, where he teaches experimental interaction, environmental and sustainable design.

As a recipient of a DesignSingapore Council (DSG) Scholarship, he and all of the previous recipients formed the DesignSingapore Associates Network (DAN) to promote design and creative thinking and activities in the local community. This exhibition is organised under DAN and sponsored by DSG.

Everywhere and Nowhere

Yeo Ker Siang explains that the title of the exhibition "Superposition" is derived from the principle of "superposition of states" in quantum physics: "Superposition can refer to all the possible states in a system, we only know its particular state when we observe and measure them."

The general public may be a little confused to hear this. Yeo Ker Siang said the exhibition aims to inspire people to think and make up their own minds. Most exhibitions take a top-down didactic approach, “telling you what to think," he says. However, this exhibition has all kinds of possibilities, and even if someone says this exhibition is a bunch of nonsense, “I'm happy to accept it."