More delightful than disturbing, this exhibit shows that the ever-more blurry line between design and art can be muddied to the point where the two become indistinguishable. Release 1 is a Canadian-American group that gives designers a forum to explore design without having to worry about market forces like making money.
The results range from merely amusing and giggle-producing all the way through to thought-provoking.
Transeat by Friederike Hamann looks like a recycled old-school skateboard bent into an L-shape with the wheels torn off. It's a portable seat that can be used anywhere, any time by anyone who has the balancing abilities of a ballerina.
Angela Clark shows a rosary with a pregnant woman on the cross and a series of little compartments in the necklace to store one course of birth control pills. My Dope Chair is a standard kitchen chair that's been given the type of after-market treatment usually reserved for low-rider cars in L.A. It's been lowered, and there's a huge sound system installed in the seat.
Unisex Toy is probably the cleanest idea/design/artwork in the group. Ben Durell has extruded some plastic so it resembles a hollow dildo with a base. It's a gender bender -- the phallic external side coloured pink while the vaginal internal side is blue.
For pure effect, take a long look at Kevin Askling's Eye-Q Firearms. The black pistol (a fake) has a biometric eye scanner installed to protect the firearm from misuse. To arm the gun you have to stare down the barrel at the eye scanner and pull the trigger slightly for 8 to 10 minutes. Then you can shoot at whatever it is you've decided to shoot at. Maybe gun guy Charlton Heston could beta test email@example.com
Disturb Delight Design -- Release 1 at the Design Exchange (234 Bay) to July 12. $5, stu/srs $3.50. 416-216-2160. Rating: NNN