W.hen people flock to the parks and bathing beaches again, they leave behind a lot of rubbish. But at least the carelessly left plastic dishes should soon be over: From July 3rd, many single-use plastic products will be banned in the European Union.
Does that mean that what many have been using on a daily basis will soon be a thing of the past? Yes, at least hopes the design professor Peter Eckart from the Offenbach University of Design. Together with the designer Kai Linke, he has collected one and a half thousand pieces of disposable cutlery, spoons, forks, knives and chopsticks. They can currently be seen in the exhibition “Spoon Archeology” as a German contribution to the London Design Biennale. Eckart calls the arrangement an “archeology of the now”. “It is the expression of a society in which we have now arrived. Although it is actually clear to everyone that it cannot go on like this. “
Questioning European food culture
The cutlery is in 40 insect boxes that match thematically, in terms of color or material. “I wanted to create a distance from things so that they could be seen more as artifacts than as tools. It’s an attempt to pretend it existed 100 years ago – but it’s still the reality. “
In addition to the objects, the “Spoon Complexity Map” is a central component of the exhibition. It shows how design relates to utility. The focus is on the spoon as the original tool. “Hundreds of years ago, travelers had spoons with them,” says Eckart. He sees today’s disposable cutlery as a logistical product. “The thin cutlery is practical and optimized in such a way that it is easy to stack and transport.” Thus, the collection is “an example of a great technical solution”.
Eckart has been collecting for 16 years
Etchings and films are also on display. You question the European food culture. “50 percent of the world population eats with their hands,” says Eckart. This has not only financial, but also cultural reasons and leads to a different pleasure experience. The documentary “Banana Leaf” by the two American industrial designers Ray and Charles Eames from 1972 explores how the people of the different boxes in India eat. “The interesting thing is that the poorest eat only on a banana leaf. The higher the caste, the more cutlery and crockery are added. But the highest caste, which is only concerned with the spiritual existence, eats from the banana leaf again without tools. “