Es Devlin, London Design Biennale's Artistic Director, has chosen Resonance as the 2021 theme, which up to 50 countries and territories will respond to in their installations and presentations.
Devlin explains, "We live in an age of hyper resonance, the consequences of which are both exhilarating and devastating. Everything we design and everything we produce resonates. Each idea we generate has the power to reach a mass digital audience undreamt of by previous generations, while the lifespans of the physical products we create often endure long beyond our own. Whether in the social media feeds of millions or in the bellies of marine animals, our ideas and our objects stick around.
In our global, digital era, design can instantly permeate borders and bridge cultures. It can positively alter behaviours and transform societies. Attitudes can evolve and lives can be improved when new ideas resonate and are adopted by extended communities.
At the same time, we are living through the ravaging resonance of mineral mining on our climate and data mining on our democracies. Ours is a period of profound social inequality combined with unprecedented algorithmic application of our personal data, often herding us towards digital echo chambers and ever more siloed communities.
Designers across the world have been engaged for decades devising responses to these phenomena: developing renewable energy technologies, electric vehicles, smart products and textiles, intelligent architecture, and potent graphic design and digital messaging, as well as physical and virtual experiences and environments that shift our emotions and alter our points of view.
Designers, thinkers, artists and makers have the power to influence and amaze their audiences into profound shifts of perspective, using the mass networks available to them to resonate ideas and practices to help build a more sustainable future.
However, we also face the intractable dilemma that we often find ourselves using resources to talk about the overconsumption of resources. Let’s face this challenge head on and commit to a sustainable legacy for each new work created for London Design Biennale.
As a community of designers approaching shared global challenges from culturally diverse viewpoints, the collective resonance of our ideas and our actions has the power to be truly transformative."