Platform Design and Research Blog

Repetition in Postmodernism

The British philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) said: while repetition changes nothing in the original object, it does change the viewer’s understanding.

Based on this idea, Nirith Nelson wrote a very interesting article titled “Exercises in Geometrical Thought”

In her article, referring to the exhibition “new olds” at the Holon Design Museum curated by Volker Albus, she examines different historical processes of development in history. She recognizes two types of processes: one pendular and the other unidirectional, and proposes a new state which is in between them.

“In the development of economic or governing systems or fashions, we sense pendulum swings between poles: centralization and decentralization, democracy and totalitarianism, a focus on individuality vs. collectives in social life and even mini-skirts following maxi and vice versa. In other fields, such as technology, science or information we observe what appears to be unidirectional movement forward.”

She explains how human nature displays a dual tendency: on the one hand, uncompromising pursuit of the new and the cutting edge, and on the other nostalgic yearnings and the urge to return to origins. ”In the modern era, art and design movements characteristically presented resolute negations to the truths just formulated by the movements preceding them”.

In contrast, she explains that in our time, the attitude is one of connection to and dialogue with the past. “Since in postmodernism every artist chooses the specific place and past trend he or she wishes to relate to, the resulting map of design and artistic productions is highly dispersed. The development of the internet amplified this process through the equalizing availability of information to all.”

Nirith Nelson points that the return to the past is never to the point of origin and develops the idea that this question might not be only because of the similarity to the physical object, but because the phenomena are never copied as there were.

We can see in REFOUND different objects taking visual elements from the past, but the dialogue they want to arouse or the way we perceive them is completely different. The participating designers all have their own ways of questioning the use of their materials, reinterpreting their assembly and giving them a new definition.

Plastic Chair In Wood, Martin Baas. Reference from Nirith’s article.

REFOUND exhibition, Refurbished stools, a&ré studio.


REFOUND exhibition, Porcelain Memory, Mokkatanten

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6 Responses to Repetition in Postmodernism

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