Design Lab #5
Times of Waste – The Leftover

25.01.2020 to 13.03.2020

As part of Design Lab #5, the Kunstgewerbemuseum of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin presents the exhibition Times of Waste – The Leftover, which emerged from a transdisciplinary research project and was realized for the German context in collaboration with Flavia Caviezel and Mirjam Bürgin of the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Basel.

Waste can be a promising resource or an annoying rest, waste is political and social, but above all unavoidable. Waste never disappears completely and always leaves traces. Times of Waste – The Leftover focuses on the life of a smartphone, looking at typical everyday technology of our time that leaves behind many forms of waste, starting with the extraction of the raw materials it contains.

The transformation processes of the smartphone

The exhibition provides an insight into the Times of Waste research project, which explores the transformation processes of the smartphone and its components using artistic-scientific methods: an object biography maps various transport routes and recycling routes. It tells of economic transformations and new relationships, of local and global contexts. Investigation leads the researchers to landfills and shredders, to repair shops, research laboratories, and to various materials and people.

Where do the leftovers go?

The exhibition setting is an assemblage of various (medial) fragments that interact associatively:

  • a video projection with atmospheric landscapes and near-material perspectives,
  • maps providing an overview of global connections,
  • a tonal essay on the object biography of a smartphone,
  • and a model metal relic.

Its inner life archives the geological-material afterlife produced by smartphone disposal. It testifies to the fact that people in search of raw materials not only remove the earth's crust, but also fill it with novel waste materials.

Various texts are grouped around the exhibited waste, maps, images and sounds, which investigate the questions: Where do the leftovers go? And what can be done?

Research Project Times of Waste 

Times of Waste – The Leftover is the result of a research project realized by Flavia Caviezel, Mirjam Bürgin, Anselm Caminada, Adrian Demleitner, Marion Mertens, Yvonne Volkart and Sonia Malpeso, financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and located at the Institute Experimentelle Design- und Medienkulturen/Critical Media Lab of the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst FHNW Basel/Switzerland. The exhibition is based on a version shown at the Museum der Kulturen Basel in 2017 and at the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur in 2018/19.

About the Design Lab series

Since 2019, the exhibition series Design Lab has invited selected design studios, students and activists to present current projects and to enter into a discourse with the collection of Kunstgewerbemuseum – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. The series is curated by Claudia Banz, curator for design at the Kunstgewerbemuseum. It is supported by the Kuratorium Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Board of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation).

10785 Berlin

wheelchair accessible

U-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz
S-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz
Bus: Potsdamer Brücke, Potsdamer Platz Bhf / Voßstraße, Kulturforum, Philharmonie

Sun 11:00 - 18:00
Mon closed
Tue 10:00 - 18:00
Wed 10:00 - 18:00
Thu 10:00 - 18:00
Fri 10:00 - 18:00
Sat 11:00 - 18:00

Opening times on public holidays Opening hours

Museum ticket Kunstgewerbemuseum Kulturforum
8,00 EUR Concessions 4,00
Kunstgewerbemuseum Kulturforum
Buy ticket

Annual membership Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

from just 25,00 EUR

Annual tickets

Tel 030 - 266 42 42 42 (Mon - Fri, 9 am - 4 pm)
Questions | Bookings | Feedback

Related Links

Project Website

Symposium "Times of Waste": 18 and 19 March 2020

Download: Program of the symposium "Times of Waste" (PDF, 130 KB)