"The human becomes human in seeing itself in the things it makes, or seeing its possibility in those things. So the human doesn't simply invent tools. Tools invent the human. More precisely, tool and human produce each other.”
From Are We Human, by Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley
Our vision for Why We Make put the people of east London at the heart of a new type of gallery – one created through meaningful dialogue with the makers, tools and processes behind the V&A's objects. We see these galleries as breaking down traditional thresholds of display culture, immersing visitors in spaces for wonder and delight, and inviting new audiences to take up the challenges facing our world.
The Why We Make galleries will foster new and evolving forms of engagement with the V&A's collections. Drawing on the clear ambitions laid out in the curatorial brief, we conceive of the objects as artefacts in their own right as well as springboards for further creative action. The objects are therefore central to our own creative process and we developed an approach which places them in clear dialogue with visitors.
We aimed to minimise the number of showcases within the gallery – not only for cost reasons but also so that as many objects can be placed on open display as possible. Certain key objects will be suspended at high levels to draw visitors across the gallery space, and where open display is prohibited by conservation requirements, we looked to create tactile simulacra which enable visitor interaction and will assist with accessibility.This strategy will be complemented with a rigorous and technically-focussed approach to the showcases, which will ensure that all objects are conserved and protected while on display, at the same time as being mounted, lit and presented in ways that remove unnecessary barriers between visitors and objects.