Production coordinator at the first Istanbul Design Biennal
Imperfection was the theme of the first Istanbul Design Biennial and there is nowhere better to explore it than in Istanbul, a city of infinite layers, charged with the vitality that comes from engaging with rapid urban, social and cultural change. Istanbul as a city, is far from perfect, yet it is one of the most exhilarating and dynamic centres in the world. Its special quality is that it makes so much from the imperfect, the inexact and the provisional.
As a theme Imperfection will both celebrate Istanbul’s distinctive creative qualities, and encapsulate a wider discussion about the nature of design in the contemporary world. It will tell the world something about Istanbul, and offer the world a sharp insight into the nature of contemporary design. Imperfection is a new take on old ideas. It gives the Japanese concept of Wabi, of impermanence, transience and imperfection a new expression.
It is one that motivates an entire generation of young designers. It is to accept that we no longer believe in utopia, but find inspiration in working with the messy reality of everyday life. When the quality of machine production is a given, there is no need to pursue precision and repetition for their own sakes. It becomes possible to introduce the possibility of deviance from a perceived norm into the process. Imperfection is much harder to work with than perfection.
To try to make a perfect object is to know what to aim for, when you design every joint, create every seam, and shape every surface. But to look for the positive qualities in imperfection, you cannot blindly commit to a process or a conceptual framework and expect the outcome you would like simply through the exercise of skill or persistence or consistency. Every decision is a personal choice, not the result of a philosophy.
Ethel Baraona Pohl