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Casting Journeys

24–30 Jul 2022
Metal: A geography of malleability
Johanna Seelemann (DE, IS)

Where do metals come from? Are they the result of a bombardment of meteorites, added to our planet by lucky coincidence? How did the journeys of metals as traded goods change over time? And as we are facing a planetary exhaustion of resources, how will we source, displace, and use metals in the future?

The landscapes surrounding the Design Campus Dresden, specifically the Ore Mountains south-west of it, bear many treasures. Besides its 12th century silver rush, they have  extracted of iron ore, copper, tin, and more from the region.  The pioneering work of Gregorius Agricola, a first systemic treatise on mining and metallurgy from 1556, also finds its origins here. However, today, all of Europe has lost its larger share in the global mining output.

Considering its context, the workshop will engage with design as a tool to de-construct and re-construct raw materials. Visiting a blacksmith’s workshop, we will make iron, from raw bog iron, and engage with different methods of sourcing and treating metal. The participants will be encouraged to explore the SKD collections, while developing concepts and prototypes towards a collective presentation. As any metal is never an isolated story, we will literally mine for their origin and pathways, to draw links across time, location, and scale.

It is preferable for participants to have:

    • Curiosity and a critical attitude
    • Basic understanding of design processes
    • Comfortable working both theoretically and hands-on
    • Basic understanding of software like Adobe InDesign, Illustrator or Rhino
    • Able to speak English fluently

Those who should attend include:

    • Young professionals with an interest in environmental phenomena and material contexts
    • Those seeking to experience research through design
    • Current design/art students interested in design research methods
    • Current design/art students interested in pursuing a master degree

Johanna Seelemann (DE, IS)

Johanna Seelemann is a German designer whose practice explores mundane objects and materials of our everyday surroundings and learns more about their origins. The emerging designer has delved deep into everything from cars and aluminium cans to bananas. Her investigations morph into designs developed using the tools of substitution, adaptation, and resiliency. As she explores nuanced topics, her results are always formulated as optimistic suggestions and proposals that help us imagine alternative future scenarios.

Seelemann’s works have been exhibited at various museums such as the Victoria & Albert Museum London, Vandalorum Sweden, Design Museum Helsinki, Villa Noailles Hyères, MAKK Cologne, among others.

Seelemann developed her fascination during the Contextual Design masters program at the Design Academy in Eindhoven (2019) as well as the bachelor course in Product Design at the Iceland Academy of the Arts in Reykjavík (2016). She has previously assisted Studio Formafantasma in their Ore Streams’ and Cambio’ projects.


Johanna Seelemann (DE, IS)