Through May 18, the Western Gallery at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington is hosting a retrospective exhibition of Volume’s work. This show is the latest in the gallery’s ongoing Masters of Design series that has honored other contemporary design luminaries including Michael Vanderbyl and Art Chantry.
Subtitled Our Work Shouldn’t Be Here, the 5000 square foot exhibition not only captures the engaging and experiential essence of our work, but also addresses how to display design that is meant to be touched, read, and used without completely reducing it to a collection of rarified artifacts frozen behind glass.
Displayed on unadorned plywood boxes of varying heights, visitors can pick up and inspect much of the work. Two iMacs sit on one of these boxes feature highlight reels of Volume’s screen-based output. An 8’ wide by 135’ long banner of select projects weaves through the spacious main gallery giving visitors an acutely physical sense of the scope and scale of the our entire design oeuvre.
The exhibition also reveals much about Volume’s philosophy, process and personality. In the main gallery is a “Wailing (Poster) Wall” of inner thoughts, annual milestones, cheeky haikus, and outside comments about our work, both positive and not so positive. In the adjacent auxiliary gallery visitors can contribute to the exhibition directly, first, by filling out any of the three sticker roll prompts and sticking them to a column and, second, creating a custom gallery soundtrack by putting the needle on a personally selected record in the “Volume Lounge.” Finally, there is a projected Skype link with our office where visitors can see the daily goings-on and can even have an impromptu conversation with the people here in the studio.
As the blinking neon sign on the back gallery wall says, our desired response (as with all effective design) is “Huh? Wow!” (Not “Wow! Huh?”)