California: Designing Freedom at the Design Museum

California: Designing Freedom

Having just visited California: Designing Freedom, the latest exhibition at the new Design Museum, I must admit I was somehow oblivious of the strong influence the American West Coast countercultures of the 60’s have had on contemporary culture, because it’s now all become such second-nature. Laptops, microchips, smartphones, GPS devices and online search engines are some of the many tools developed in California and on display at the exhibition. All originating in hippy communes or the military forces, yet widely available to billions of people today, the exhibition documents California’s efforts to foster the development of devices for human escapism and self-sufficiency based on beliefs of freedom and rebellion. The objects on display at the Design Museum have become a global phenomenon that have helped to empower people and enable them to express their individuality, by helping them communicate and make things. Less tech focused but nonetheless rebellious objects such as skateboards, surfboards, LSD blotters, early issues of Wired magazine, and Gay Pride flags are also on display, celebrating this West Coast’s exhibition of democracy, individuality and personal liberation, from the counterculture to Silicon Valley’s tech culture. Well worth a visit.

California: Designing Freedom. Until 15 October 2017