Wellcome Collection blockbuster dishes dirt on reality of everyday life


London gallery the Wellcome Collection’s new blockbuster exhibition Dirt: the Filthy Reality of Everyday Life, has led to a raft of design briefs being initiated as it prepares for a five-month run and a presence at this summer’s festivals.

The Dirt exhibition, which opens in March and will feature exhibition design by Carmody Groarke, will bring together 200 artifacts from visual art, documentary photography, cultural ephemera, scientific artifacts, film and literature to uncover’a rich history of disgust and delight’ in the subject of dirt, according to the Wellcome Collection.

Carmody Groarke won a four-way pitch in September and is working on the main exhibition design. The exhibition will also feature graphics by A Practice for Everyday Life, which is using a flocking technique to give the appearance of dust and dirt. Exhibition curator Kate Forde says, ’We’re celebrating dirt and didn’t want it to look too clean.’

Lighting design will denote each of six areas in what Forde is calling an ’economical and elegant solution’ communicating ’a sense of place’.

A Dirt season is planned by the Wellcome Trust, which funds the collection, where a ’poo event’ designed for the Eden Project in Cornwall and separate events for summer festivals including Glastonbury and the Secret Garden Party in Cambridgeshire are planned.

Event design consultancy Armstrong and Co is designing the space at Shangri-La in Glastonbury – with Guerilla Science running activities.

Guerilla Science and food design specialist Bompas and Parr have also designed events at Secret Garden Party and further unspecified London events.

An iPad and browser-based game Filth Fair will accompany the exhibition, with design by Toytek based on a specially commissioned Mike Wilks painting. The adventure app will link to objects from the exhibition and explore people’s ’fascination’ with dirt, a Wellcome Collection spokesman says.

Campaign branding (pictured) has been designed by Marianne Dear and Malcolm Chivers and a digital presence for the season is being designed in-house by Amy Olson and Danny Birchall.

Dirty business

  • Dirt: the Filthy Reality of Everyday Life runs from 24 March until 31 August 2011at theWellcome Collection.
  • A series of separate events are proposed for UKsummer festivals by the Wellcome Trust. Dr Amy Sanders, programme manage rof special projects at the Wellcome Trust,says the Glastonbury event will combine set design and interactive installations in the production of a ’decontamination zone’, where visitors will be given the chance to see if they have become ’morally or physically infected ’inalab environment before being cleansed in a white space area.

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