After Neurath: The Global Polis February 2008

Project Projects designed this exhibition at Stroom Den Haag (The Netherlands). Developed in close collaboration with curator Nader Vossoughian, the exhibition presents the work of Austrian philosopher, sociologist and economist Otto Neurath (1882–1945), with a particular focus on his relationship with architecture, his influence on urban development, and his promotion of participatory forms of democratic exchange.

See also The Global Polis: Interactive Infrastructures

from exhibition handout

The design of this exhibition was conceived expressly as a response to the work and ideas of Otto Neurath. We tried to address his belief that the museum of the future ‘might be copied everywhere without loss of value’—that it could be mass produced for the benefit of society as a whole. Our position is that he was only partly correct.

On the one hand, we agree with Neurath’s emphasis on the power of communication and distribution to engage the public. As such, we have created a series of posters and a handout containing key exhibition texts and images that people can take home with them. Furthermore, the entire contents of the show will be projected nightly onto the gallery’s storefront window in order to make the exhibition accessible to people who work during the day.

On the other hand, we take issue with Neurath’s unqualified confidence in mass media and mass reproduction. In the show, there is an intentional juxtaposition of reproductions and originals. We insist on including original works, as they possess a presence and texture that transcends their pure communicative content.

Finally, this exhibition was conceived as a site-specific work for Stroom Den Haag. This focus on context is an explicit challenge to Neurath’s ideas about about exhibitions; we believe that this tension will help inspire dialogue. We hope you enjoy the exhibition and welcome your comments.

—Nader Vossoughian & Project Projects