Kitchens & Invaders: design and science fiction

Raise your hand if you are passionate about science fiction and design. In Milan, at the Triennale Design Museum, there is an exhibition especially tailored for you: Kitchens & Invaders.

Curated by Germano Celant and developed in cooperation with Triennale director Silvana Annicchiarico, Kitchen & Invaders takes inspiration from the science fiction novel “The Body Snatchers” written by Jack Finney. In the original story the town of Mill Valley is invaded by seeds drifted to Earth from space. Those seeds give life to aliens, perfect copies of humans, that are able to live only five years, turning human victims into dust. If unstopped the invaders quickly turn Earth into a dead planet and move on to the next world.  Similarly to the novel, the exhibition tells a story of an invasion, in this case the one related to kitchen utensils and machines that are constantly replacing human activities in the kitchens since the mid-nineteenth century.

Kitchens & Invaders is divided into 11 sections each of which is dedicated to a different set of household appliances. The visit starts with the visionary satellite kitchen designed by Luigi Colani in 1969, continues with a tunnel fitted of alarms and lights to show the visitors the dangers of the domestic environment finally leading to sections dedicated, among the others, to ice, fire, earth, air and sound.

In the section devoted to sound, people can experience how an ensemble of graters, orange squeezers, immersion blenders, kettles, knife sharpers can be envisaged as a contemporary orchestra. And this orchestra is made by objects that trace the story of the Italian design with objects by Ernesto Rota, Gae Aulenti, Angelo Tracanzan, Luca Meda and Alessandro Mendini. The remaining sections show more “invaders” such as coffee machines of all shapes and sizes and visitors can even walk on a floor made of coffe cups. Walking through all the sections listed above means having a walk into a disturbing yet magical world that is able to show us all how close is the interaction between humans and machines. Despite the exhibition cannot be included among emerging design events, it well worth a visit. You have time until 21st February 2016.

Photo credits: Valeria Crescenzi

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