Pedro Cruz, Assistant Professor in the IDV program, authored together with Marta de Menezes the Portuguese participation in the London Design Biennale. The participation was curated by Manuel Lima. The Biennale, that ran from September 7-27 at Somerset House, has the theme “Utopia By Design”, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the publication of Sir Thomas More’s classic, Utopia (1516).
In UN/BIASED the Portuguese design team merge art, design and science, using bacteria to visualize data streams pertaining to an opaque, yet eroding factor in Portuguese society: sexism. The installation is comprised of four maps that contrast gender gaps in areas such as wages and higher education. Two maps are computer-generated, animated visualisations that extrapolate a dystopian future based on ongoing downward spiral trends. The other two maps use biological elements (plants, viruses, and bacteria) to represent an invigorated utopian nation, characterised by progressive socio-economic indicators. Utopia is conveyed by the equalitarian map landscapes and the use of natural elements as instruments for data visualization. Microorganisms are imagined as agents of change.