Eindhoven – Geo-Design Alibaba: From Here to Your Home is an investigative exhibition that considers the e-commerce giant’s social, economic and geopolitical impact on design.
In reality, Alibaba is much more than a retail platform. Its vast network incorporates social platforms, a Cloud service, an innovation centre, education system, and – as the world’s largest e-commerce system – its extensive logistic network links cities and ports across the world.
At Dutch Design Week 2018, nine multidisciplinary Design Academy Eindhoven graduates, in collaboration with Van Abbemuseum, addressed Alibaba’s global influence through a series of exploratory installations. As e-commerce is still not widely accepted in Uganda, E-Hustling East Africa Online by Leif Czakai and Timm Donke questioned whether online vending can become an alternative business platform for the country’s street vendors, with the potential to grow them into local online businesses by implementing the Chinese e-commerce model.
Elsewhere, Irene Stracuzzi's four-metre, custom-printed inflatable globe visualised Alibaba’s online data and global infrastructure. Stracuzzi gathered data from the AliResearch institute established by Alibaba in 2007, alongside geographical information relating to its production, logistics network, e-commerce sales and Cloud infrastructure to encapsulate the entire Alibaba eco-system.
For more from Dutch Design Week 2018, look out for our forthcoming review of the future-facing themes emerging from the show.