January 17 to April 24, 2022 at MAKK Cologne (Germany)
As one of the most recognisable shapes, the circle has had various meanings throughout human history. This shape is fundamentally made up of equidistant points that gravitate around a central radius. Its curved, contouring lines make it unlike any other known form. The circle contains no edges and so, in theory, has no limitations. Used to depict our planet and comprehension of time, this shape also symbolises how we come together as a community to share knowledge and collaborate. The circle is the ultimate emblem of unity, perfection, and limitlessness.
In The Circle exhibition, collective design network and studio Dutch Invertuals has chosen to focus on these associations. Designers from throughout Europe, who have participated in their past thematic exhibitions and educational programmes, were asked to consider what the circle means to them. These 20 talents—trained in both Germany and the Netherlands—were prompted to think outside the box and consider how this shape is informed by the conditions of design, material, production, labour, human psychology, and identity. Many have investigated what the circle signifies when addressing today’s social, cultural, political, and environmental issues. All implemented the tools of speculative thinking to follow various lines of inquiry, contemplating different future scenarios and suggesting alternative solutions. In a time defined by division, disconnection, and isolation, these instigations help the viewer question how we might change our ways. Though rudimentary, the circle has the agency to transform the world.