Adhocracy: exploring the evolution of manufacturing culture at the Istanbul Design Biennial
As part of the inaugural Istanbul Design Biennial, Domus editor Joseph Grima curated a large, sprawling exhibition entitled ’Adhocracy’. Billed as ’an exhibition about people who make things,’ Adhocracy was also a portal into the ongoing debate about design, ownership, copyright, copying, and the evolution of manufacturing culture.
Located in the former Galata Greek Primary School, a magnificent piece of neo-classical solidity, the exhibition replaces the sound of chattering school children with the whirr and buzz of 3D printing machines, the worker drones of a whole host of projected future micro-economies.
Grima brought together a selection of projects from around the world, focusing on designer-makers who are subverting the traditional structures of industry, taking production out of the factories and back into the workshop, using open source designs and strategies and the fast-evolving technologies of 3D printing and rapid prototyping.
In many respects, this story is an old one, a return to the days before the industrial revolution centralised production, taking control it out of the hands of the workers and setting up a hierarchical society that valued efficiency over skill. It’s also an appropriate subject for Istanbul’s debut Biennial; the city’s millennia-old status as a bridge between east and west also sees how the passage of goods and labour flows around the world.