“afraid suddenly / that this was all / there was to it.” (Ted Hughes)
If you had been able to take a souvenir from the lockdown – what would it look like? The designers Anna Zimmermann and Nadja Zerunian asked themselves exactly this question after the lockdown in spring 2020 and jointly designed an edition of ten SOUVENIRS OF LONELINESS. In the exhibition at VIENNA DESIGN WEEK 2020, the presentation of these objects, some of which were filigree and all of which were handmade to the highest quality, was very carefully orchestrated. For example, one felt physically different upon entering the room – the spongy foam floor covering made everything suddenly soft, almost as if one was in a dreamlike treasure chamber. The objects were conceived to function as memories, as recollections of a time of isolation, of distance, and of loneliness, that should generate a new sense of awareness of how one deals with oneself and with others. The two designers translated such feelings into, for example, a key ring with the normally intangible form of the interior of a clenched fist. Alongside this was a modular system that recalled a display case and consisted of isolating everyday vices such as cigarettes, cocktail sticks, or sweets. A cylindrical “hipflask” that was designed to hang around the neck and camouflaged as a piece of jewelry provided a wearable memory of those rare occasions upon which one could leave the house. The souvenirs remain as memories of feelings that are quickly forgotten, as soon as one believes that one has got over them.
The VR experience “Losing Sense of Space” by Nadja Zerunian and Anna Zimmermann enabled festival visitors to enter the exhibition via either VR glasses or a browser that was displayed in a spherical, milkily bright dream world. The hub formed part of their analog installation SOUVENIRS OF LONELINESS – COLLABORATION IN ISOLATION