Ramia Mazé (2005) 'What is the Use?', in Stella d'Ailly, Lisa Olausson and Maja Sten (eds and curators) Extra Ordinary. Kulturhuset: Stockholm, 31-40

"Recent acceleration of interest in design ideas and objects in art venues prompts reflection on the question ‘What is the ‘use’ of design in museums and galleries?’. ... Considered together with the Extra Ordinary exhibition at the Stockholm Kulturhuset documented in this book, these seem to point toward a growing discourse in art and culture arenas about design.

... Reflecting on basic notions of ‘What is...’ in such venues opens up a new space for proposing ‘This could be...’. These exhibitions feature not (or not only) familiar mass-produced design objects, but often those produced as ‘one-offs’ or in limited editions, perhaps with the specific intention to be exhibited. Many of the objects have thus been crafted to make explicit certain unique or speculative ideas, often with the intention of reflecting or countering mainstream or traditional design practice. Collected and carefully related to one another in an exhibition, the objects may suggest new or aggregate possibilities – in Extra Ordinary, for instance, the exhibition is carefully curated to suggest a different sort of everyday living environment. Thus, ‘What is...’ may be posed as a dialog between emerging and established practices, the object and the collection, the contributors to the exhibition and its audience. ...

... Design – in art – and in relation to the challenges to notions of ‘form’ and ‘function’ posed by technology requires a certain amount of risk, speculation, self-reflection and critique to evolve. In relation to traditions of critique in art and an established and emerging foundations in design practice, contemporary design provides a platform for imagining and trying out possible visions of the future everyday. If we acknowledge a use of design in art venues to be a means for opening up basic notions of design to a discourse of reflection and critique, perhaps we may recognize the role of designers to enable society to debate and dream about the future." (excerpts)