Battle of Things
by Daniel von Bernstorff | Jun 28, 2007

After many years' absence from public life, the "Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge" is for the first time opening its doors as a museum with a permanent collection: on June 28, 2007, at the new venue in Berlin's Kreuzberg district. This re-opening or rather new opening with the show "Battle of Things" comes fully under the sign of the institution's core activity: the Deutscher Werkbund.

In 2007, the League of Art and Industry founded in Munich turns 100. In its role as "critical heir", the "Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge" is taking the occasion of this anniversary to present an opening project that focuses on the agenda of that reform movement as then became visually and intellectually enshrined in 20th-century product and object culture. The Werkbund's objectives are outlined against the backdrop of product culture today and their future viability tested.

As part of the utopian cultural trends at the beginning of the 20th century, the Werkbund pursued a reform of life as a whole. A reformed, modern and objective design for industrially made products, architecture and our living spaces, the Werkbund hoped to counter the onward march of alienation and initiate a new consensus between designers, producers, vendors and consumers on how best to establish ethically informed values such as quality, material appropriateness, honesty, functionality, usefulness and sustainability.

The different Werkbund strategies all focused on forging the image of a culture that created a unity in life. In the final instance, the Werkbund endeavored to ensure the harmony of use value and exchange value in products, above all by means of object's functionality and matter-of-fact nature, both qualities the Werkbund derived from technology. It wanted objects to be silent servants, not seductive, life-dominating and powerful commodity fetishes.

The opening exhibition hinges on a selection of object areas suited to both convey the foundations of the historical work of the Werkbund and against this foil reflect on contemporary product culture.

Werkbundarchiv-Museum der Dinge
10999 Berlin