I’ve learned a new term today. Indeed, it’s quite a facy one that will help me smarten up my rusty English.
Check this out: Rapid Response Collecting.
Sorry, but … Rapid what? Well, apparently, the folks at Britain’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A, »The world’s greatest museum of art and design«) are trying their hands at a new concept.
Okay, so what is Rapid Response Collecting about?
From what I can tell so far, Rapid Response Collecting centers on the idea that museums aren’t exclusively for old stuff. What follows is that curators select objects that are representative of what’s happening right now.
In the V&A’s own words:
Rapid Response Collecting is a new strand to the V&A’s collecting activity. […] The display, which will constantly change, shows how design reflects and defines how we live together today. Ranging from Christian Louboutin shoes in five shades of »nude«; a cuddly toy wolf used as an object of political dissent; to the world’s first 3D-printed gun, each new acquisition raises a different question about globalisation, popular culture, political and social change, demographics, technology, regulation or the law.
Curators of other museums are watching this idea closely, according to the New York Times:
Sebastian Chan, the director of digital and emerging media at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in New York, called rapid-response collecting »a bold move« that »opens up a new way for the museum to engage the public in the social and political context of the designed products and services in the world around them.« He added that when the Cooper Hewitt reopens in December after a renovation, it will have space for »our own rapid-response initiatives and we will be watching the V&A’s work closely.«
The Rapid Response show opened only recently and being stuck in Hamburg with a day job and recovering from a summer flu, I haven’t had a chance to make plans for a trip to London yet. However, some of the displays must be quite intriguing. I love how they staged the aforementioned »nude« shoes.
Yeah … but what if Rapid Response Collecting turns out to be a bad idea?