he Triennale Design Museum opens at the Salone del Mobile with a new temporary exhibition entitled Cucine & Ultracorpi. This disconcerting display of kitchen appliances is inspired by a science fiction book (The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1995) whose author, Jack Finney, imagined our kitchen appliances coming to life and taking over our homes.
Cucine & Ultracorpi will run fromthe 10th April until the beginning of 2016, as part of the eighth edition of the Design Museum, under the direction of Germano Celant. It is a cross between an art installation and a theatrical performance and takes us into a fantastic and dangerous world invaded by fridges, ovens, kitchen hoods and small cooking utensils. This scenario is worrying to say the least, and it springs upon us as soon we walk over the famous bridge opposite the entrance of the Design Museum.
In fact, we are greeted straight away by an army of menacing Electrolux fridges. This is a futurist display, but it's not really that far removed from modern life: in fact, the kitchen is the room where most domestic accidents happen. And this explains why the exhibition opens with deafening sirens and flashing lights, like those installed on building sites or emergency vehicles. Then as we go through the tunnel to the display area, we hear the ticking sound of timers gone mad, which seem to tell us that our time is up.
Our journey through time starts with the industrial revolution, where we find the Casa Elettrica (literal Italian for “electrified home”) which was shown in 1930 at the fourth Triennale by Gruppo 7, then we move on until we reach the digital revolution designed for Enrestomeda by Zaha Hadid and Pescecappa, the ironical kitchen hood by Gaetano Pesce (2010).
To frame this exhibition there are documentaries, photographs, videos, adverts and even games, to take us through the slow but relentless metamorphosis of cooking utensils: from basic devices into clever machines with a thousand uses which have come to look more and more like real robots. As we make our way through the exhibitions we cannot help wondering: is this just a critique or does it predict a future we cannot avoid? For sure, ever since it was set up in 2007, the Design Museum has never stopped looking for new ways to explain the meaning of “Italian” design. And the underlying narrative, which it shares with this year's Expo, had to evoke food and everything that goes with it, friends or foes included.
When: 10 April 2015 - 21 February 2016
Where: Design Museum of the Triennale di Milano