Kossmanndejong and Morphosis create an immersive art installation around 'Growth, what is that?'

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Kossmanndejong and Morphosis create an immersive art installation around 'Growth, what is that?'
'Walking through this exhibition, it feels like being submerged in an underwater world.'

MALMO.- Growth is something we all strive for. As something beyond questioning. Meanwhile, exponential growth intrinsically connected to our market system is leading to the collapse of vital systems, jeopardizing our very existence. How to get out of this self-induced trap? This exhibition is approached as an immersive art installation, it is designed as an experimental tool to rethink growth by shedding light on different interpretations of growth more beneficial to humanity. In it, abstract notions and concepts are translated into actual physical shapes and forms. Equally abstract, they challenge visitors to relate both mentally and physically to the questions of growth and what it really means to them.

Growth, What is that?

Is what we call growth actually growth? The “market” acts as an authority and point of reference in our lives. It has taken hostage of our common idea of growth. To endure the pain, we collectively embark on a quest of “fixing the problem”, using the same approach that got us into this mess in the first place. We anxiously mend and maintain this idea of growth by adding prefixes: sustainable, equal, social, green, etc. Like a fairy tale no one believes in anymore but still needs to pursue. Complex, deeply intermeshed global issues are eroding our hard-wired societal systems. This calls for another line of reasoning.

Labyrinthine mesh

Growth, what is that? tries to examines growth’s fundamental premise. A series of spatial installations made from rebar form an entangled labyrinthine mesh. Each installation explores a different theme and a question that relates to growth. One, for instance, features a myriad of magnifying glasses, encouraging you to question your perspective. From which angle are you looking at growth? Another installation initially appears to be a giant, beckoning cat but is made up of hundreds of golden beckoning cats. All their little paws move frantically to lure in more fortune. This begs the question: When is it enough? There is a phone number next to each installation. When you call it with your phone, you hear Malmö’s residents reflecting on their perspectives on growth.

Look between the lines

The answers we search for are not to be found in nations, religions or institutions, nor in politics, economics or ecology. Instead, the answers are to be found in the relationships between them. The installations express this rich potential of “in-between” states of relations and connections. Each installation is given its own specific light and sound treatment, but together they form a interrelated and ever-changing composition of form, sound, lights and shadows, all adding to an atmosphere of wonder and imagination.

No ecological footprint

Most of the materials are borrowed from local companies and will be returned after the exhibition is over. For these materials, the exhibition is just one stop in their lifecycle. This approach urged us to work with unusual suspects both in terms of materials and collaborations. For example, we borrowed the rebar from a local construction company. Apart from its use as reinforcement material in the building industry, the rebar symbolises a system based on the linear growth paradigm. This installation can arise anew anywhere with local materials. It shows that we can use what already is, simply by borrowing from existing material flows.

A flexible exhibition concept

For the first time in their 25-years-practice, Kossmanndejong has teamed up with a partner for the role of initiator and producer. Together with Morphosis they have taken things in their own hands to build an exhibition from the very first premature idea to its final realization. This exhibition is not a goal in itself but conceived as a tool to stir up the conversation and make it more prominent. It is a flexible concept that is responsive to the local situation. Built around the stories of local people and made with locally borrowed materials, 'Growth, what is that?' is an exhibition and a network at the same time. As a concept, the exhibition can be recreated elsewhere, with local content and materials, and will therefore never be the same. The format is flexible and can be adapted to any situation and made in collaboration with any person or party who wants to spark the conversation around the topic of growth. Out of this this will evolve a network of people, sharing a critical and broad perspective on growth and the systems it nurtures. Last Friday, the first edition of this network opened at the Malmö Museum in Sweden.

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