The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is hosting a new exhibition featuring a selection of commissioned works by some of Australia’s leading experimental designers along with projects from the NGV Collection.

The exhibition ‘Sampling the Future’, which began on 27 August 2021 at the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square, employs largescale installations, thought-provoking objects, and associated sound and film to explore the role of design in our world and explain how design experimentation can help us imagine (and shape) the future – both near and distant.

“Designers in the twenty-first century are bridging the worlds of design, technology, and science, experimenting with materials and processes to examine how we can make things in new ways or reimagine the value systems, rituals and beliefs that might define tomorrow. At the vanguard of design practice, there are architects and designers who are literally ‘sampling’ this imagined future,” NGV stated.

Exhibiting designers include Alice Springs-based Elliat Rich, Sydney-based duo Kyoko Hashimoto and Guy Keulemans, and Melbourne duo Georgia Nowak and Eugene Perepletchikov, among others.

Unclear Cloud, one of the newly-commissioned works for the exhibition, is a work of speculative architecture by Roland Snooks, associate professor at RMIT University in collaboration with fellow RMIT academic and sound artist Philip Samartzis. Unclear Cloud analyses and reveals the physical impacts of cloud computation. Though we may see the cloud as a virtual concept, its physical implications in terms of environmental impact, high energy requirements and the resulting carbon footprint are troubling: Cloud computing was projected to consume 1,963 billion kWh by 2020, creating CO2 emissions of 1,034 megatonnes.

Elliat Rich’s installation of mirrors accompanied by a sound recording by Bree van Reyk, offers a view into a future world where Western and non-Western knowledge systems converge.

Georgia Nowak and Eugene Perepletchikov present a film-based work titled Aurum 2020 that explores gold as a symbol of power and wealth, relying on historical narratives to reveal its power to transform societies.

Melbourne designer Alex Goad, who is also presenting at the exhibition, is best known for creating MARS (Modular Artificial Reef Structure), a ceramic structure designed to house transplanted corals. Going further, Goad has created a body of work investigating how we can design recuperative structures for temperate marine ecosystems that are in decline.

Representing a convergence of architecture, fashion and textiles, a newly-commissioned 3D knitting installation created by RMIT researchers Dr Leanne Zilka and Dr Jenny Underwood is also part of the exhibition.

The Ian Potter Centre will host ‘Sampling the Future’ until 6 February 2022. Entry is free.

Image: Alex Goad | Living Seawall Project