5 PQuestions – Paul Brunner

pBrunner2014We’re interviewing the leaders of the US exhibition team in Prague to see how things have been going for them, and what their highlights have been. They’ve been working so hard on getting the exhibition curated, designed, built, and installed, they have a unique perspective on the PQ that we’ll be sharing while the Quadrennial draws to a close. We’ve asked each member of the team Five questions to get their exclusive thoughts. 

This interview is with Paul Brunner, Technical Director for the US exhibition at the 2015 PQ.

How do you think people have been reacting to the US exhibition?

The reaction has been wonderful.  Attendees interact and explore, and most have been leaving their own little wire sculptures.  At first, people don’t know what to make of the exhibit as a whole, “what is it”?  Then they step up, and step in, and explore.  Schools groups have attended and the children just dive into the exhibit and have a blast.  Their inquisitive nature is what fuels their attraction to our exhibit.

There was a lot of detail work to complete the US exhibition before the opening, are there any special details you would want someone to look for in the Vortex? Why does this/ do these stick out to you?

The central circular stairs have been, I think, a central metaphor since the very beginning.  Those stairs are obscured by the “tangle” of pipe, wire, and tubing, and I think observers don’t always see the core of the exhibit.  

What surprised you about this PQ? About the exhibition(s), general atmosphere, changes from previous, or anything in general?

I was surprised by how the PQ appears to reduce emphasis on design.  The Awards ceremony demonstrated very little emphasis on design.  The jury choose not to extend awards for lighting or costumes.  This was shocking to the entire audience. 

The new locations for PQ were fantastic.  That PQ was spread around different parts of Old Town and required attendees to search out and find the locations was wonderful and well-received.  It’s a reflection of Prague, in that one seeks out things to see, places to eat, and that discoveries await you around every corner. 

What are you taking away from this PQ (thoughts and/or things)?

I think American design is limiting it’s own future.  There is incredible and compelling work to see around the world…work that is strong and innovative, and artistic.  Any young aspiring US designer needs to see the work displayed at PQ not to discover how to better think outside the box, but to realize there is no box.  Forget about it and just design…put your ideas in that model box.  Don’t think about how to build it, how much it will cost, just put those ideas in there.  Anyone who chooses not to engage international designs in some way is doing themselves and their audiences and incredible serviced. 

What other country’s exhibition do you feel shouldn’t be missed?

I liked Mexico, Brazil, China, Taiwan, and Hungary the most.