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Red Never Follows – ‘Breeding Innovation’

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This article was written for the upcoming RED NEVER FOLLOWS exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery London (August 2013) supported by HUGO


As we increasingly find ourselves surrounded by the new vocabulary that tries to define diverse social changes taking place, we stop to wonder what drives innovation in the post-capitalist, now highly connected society. The Internet is making knowledge accessible to all, encouraging collaboration and empowering many to create new tools to both define and reshape their environment. From the brave new worlds, bold urban interventions to electro shocks and the ephemeral, the ideas at RED NEVER FOLLOWS are diverse. If we are in the forefront of the new industrial revolution, what drives innovation and how do we begin to identify the significant from the rest?

The speed of change is increasing and where we once searched for future in sci-fi memorabilia, the gap between the present and the future is decreasing. The picture of ‘future’ is disjunct, once painted by corporations and the movie industry, it is increasingly described by artists interrogating technology. Recent developments using computer vision technology, 3D printing, crowdfunding, hacking and drone technologies are prime examples where individuals create new ways for how these tools, objects and technologies are adapted and what their social and cultural implications may be.

Methodologies for these new interrogations vary from creating alternative scenarios designed to assess implications to tinkering and connecting things not designed to be connected. The future is so close, the path it can take is much more alike recursive algorithm than any sci-fi film we have seen. Nonetheless we find comfort in the utilitarian version of tomorrow where objects we buy and services we subscribe to can somehow enrich our lives. The last 20 years have given us a new social order, driven by the notions of scenius – communal form of the genius – we are in desperate need of cultural antidotes, disruptions that will give shape and meaning to the present. Innovation is no longer an event or an act or something to be pursued. It is also not an adaptation of existing ideas combined with highest quality industrial design, billion dollar investments and off shore tax havens. It is also not a desire nor an aim. Instead, it is disjunct, fragmented, brittle, buggy and near impossible to attribute to a single individual, organization or a company. It happens all the time and at times it does not happen at all. It sits in a much broader, continued, dialogue that has been evolving and gently reshaping the present. It is developing open-source in R+D labs, at conferences, hackathons, online forums, and mailing lists, in bedrooms in the early hours of the morning. At the same time it is no longer a starved pursuit, backed and supported by the same groups and communities with shared visions and transcendent ideas of what the future may be. Then as we decentralize authorship, develop new technologies that support and further fuel these dialogues we begin a new era that is not about products or novelty but a continued desire to interrogate and change the world around us.

Beta governments, peer-to-peer economies, augmented climates and synthetic forests, where algorithms battle our next actions are only some of the possibilities. Is this the future or the present as the digital and physical merge into one and our networked society becomes one living organism? This is not ‘skynet’, rather your newsagent who knows what you buy, how often you buy it and whether you can afford it in the first place

What is the role of art and design in this new society other than to interrogate it? Innovation is the development of new values through solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulate needs in value adding new ways. For this, art and design are the vehicle.

Filip Visnjic (06/2013)

Read also:
Brands as Enablers by Regine Debatty
Overlapping Disciplines by Peter Kirn
Creativity and Lifestyle by Julia Kaganskiy
Global Trends by Verena Dauerer

HUGO was born to be unconventional and innovative – just like the people who choose the brand. For its twentieth anniversary HUGO now celebrates the adventurous and unpredictable path creativity takes. In collaboration with a unique selection of twenty international leading creators and inspiring inventors, HUGO showcases this spirit of not following at the Saatchi Gallery London.


From 31st of July to 1st of September 2013 the RED NEVER FOLLOWS exhibition will open at the Saatchi Gallery London.
10am-6pm, 7 days a week, last entry 5:30pm.

Duke of York’s HQ
King’s Road
London, SW3 4RY

Featuring Artists Include: Steffen Seeger, Mark Jenkins, Takahito Irie, Barrett & Taylor, Bart Hess, Armin Keplinger, Daito Manabe, Jun Fujiwara, Iepe Rubingh, Victor Ash, Elisa Strozyk, Marco Barotti & Plastique Fantastique, Sonice Development, Pussykrew, Güvenc Özel, Urbanscreen, Elektropastete, Jeongmoon Choi, Pierre Debusschere, Felix Bonowski


  • the99

    ca died just a little…