A carrier-bag for the whole earth

School of Design lecturer Paul Wilson is holding an exhibition of new works in the Foyer Gallery in Clothworkers Central.

Ursula LeGuin, in her essay 'The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction', argues that the carrier bag is humanity's greatest invention due to its qualities of protection, containment and transport. At our exhibition, we will delve into how carrying items in a bag creates associations between them, forming complex and interconnected stories.

Author Alan Moore believes that all places and things can be thought of as containers of these stories, capable of holding the eternal past, present and future of the universe. However, the carrier bag's mundanity and disposability have led to it becoming emblematic of waste and environmental crises.

Much like the carrier-bag, graphic design works to have a profound impact on our lives beyond its immediate function, and even the most humble or mundane designed thing can carry meaning and stories beyond its utilitarian function.

The exhibition, curated by School of Design lecturer Paul Wilson, presents twenty-six ordinary objects, each a submission or gift, and each with its own set of associations. These objects demonstrate the characteristics of carrying something and of being carried themselves. They each fall under the category of grey graphic design, which encompasses non-commercial items like brochures, reports, and catalogs that don't fit a prescribed model of market-facing publication.

Rather than being uncategorised, these pieces are elusive, uncertain, and interesting because they're uncategorisable. The selection of work in the exhibition is determined by its form (short or limited content, ephemeral or unsophisticated) and the channel of its distribution (often difficult to identify or anonymous).

Each contribution will be accompanied by a 2600-character text that explains and describes the object and opens up a world of ideas, stories, and associations.