"objects from SFMOMA's architecture and design collection that question the norms, habits, and conventions of design. The prefix para (whose meanings include "beyond" and "abnormal") has not previously been applied to design, yet marks a central focus of the museum's architecture and design collection."
Source: http://www.sfmoma.org/exhib_events/exhibitions/427 (accessed 29/07/2011)
This prompts two thoughts:
- Do ParaMuseums exist and, if so, how do they differ from "normal" museums?
- Did SFMOMA's exhibition include items of military design? Conventional accounts of design history tend to focus on aesthetically pleasing, domestic objects to the exclusion of items from other spheres - especially military equipment. This point is well made by Kjetil Fallan in his recent book Design History: Understanding Theory and Method (Oxford & New York, Berg, 2010). The image Fallan uses to visualise this missing aspect is a torpedo boat from Norway called, interestingly enough, ‘Nasty’ (see page 9). This absence of the military sphere from design history is an issue that I intend to take up in my chapter "Banal Nordism: Recomposing an old song of peace" due to be published in Performing Nordic Heritage (Peter Aronsson & Lizette Gradén, eds., Ashgate, c.2012).