According to the press release for this show, 90 percent of the world's population, or 5.8 billion people, have no access (or sparse access) to products and services we take for granted. And while internet service and hearing-aid batteries are among the luxuries included in this list, the lack of life staples such as clean water, prosthetic legs, and containers to preserve crops are probably the most harrowing need. Though supply and monetary problems persist around the world, there are individuals, organizations, and companies using innovative ideas to aid in upping the quality of life in poor and struggling regions of the world. "Design for the Other 90%," hosted in the Sculpture Garden this summer, will showcase some of these products. As people might anticipate, many ideas revolve around water, including a filtration system that can be worn as a necklace for on-the-go consumption, and wheels that can be filled with water and easily transported from village to village. Other products strive to bring easy access to technology and information, including a web-enabled $100 laptop to be used by children in the classroom and at home (some of the price is kept down by eschewing software like Microsoft Windows and Word in favor of free software, including Linux), and a solar-powered microfilm projector and library. Products on display here will certainly make you reconsider the meaning of necessity.
May 24-Sept. 7, 2008