Cleaning Up After Gropius 2015

An Installation of Ethnographic Art at the ‘Haushaltsmesse 2015’ Design Exhibition



On Friday 12 June 2015, we launched a UCL installation on the Anthropology of Cleaning, as a part of the ‘Haushaltsmesse 2015: Zur Kunst des Haushaltens im 21 Jahrhundert’ – ‘the art of the Household in the 21st Century’.

This art exhibition, drawing on international artists and academic collaborations, runs until August inside the Bauhaus Mesiterhauser, the UNESCO World Heritage houses which launched the 1920s vision of a modern lifestyle, and shaped how we live today.

The installation is too large to consider all of its elements in detail. It comprises several elements:

  • two rooms of sound installations of ethnographic sounds of cleaning and interviews with cleaners; evoking our internal bodily senses of rhythm and skill in cleaning work, as well as the cultural contrasts of cleaning in different environments and contexts.
  • a video installation thinking about cleaning as a productive (not destructive) activity, and its role in creating a sense of heritage and of temporality.
  • an installation of ‘Genuine Bauhaus dirt for sale’, considering the value of the products of cleaning, and how dirt from Bauhaus sites may add or decrease value.
  • a self-published accompanying book, discussing the relation of cultures of cleaning to design futures.

It is planned to publish some of the thinking behind the exhibition, both in Bauhaus publications and an edited design anthropology volume.










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Posted by:  Adam Drazin, Autumn 2015



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