A Working Model of the World

International touring exhibition | 2017 - 2018
Curators: Holly Williams, Dr Lizzie Muller (UNSWAD)

Model of the Heart, where the angle is adjustable wood, plastic, enamel, metal, 36 x 35 x 15 cm Department of Physiology, The University of Sydney. Photo: Jack Dunbar

Model of the Heart, where the angle is adjustable wood, plastic, enamel, metal, 36 x 35 x 15 cm
Department of Physiology, The University of Sydney. Photo: Jack Dunbar

About the exhibition:

A Working Model of the World explores the practical, philosophical and symbolic work that models do for us and that we do with models. It asks how models abstract, represent and participate in the complexity of the world, and how we use models to contemplate, experiment, invent and teach. From dioramas to dolls houses, atomic models to cloud chambers, mandalas to maquettes – A Working Model of the World gathers together charismatic objects created to help us understand the world around us and imagine new possibilities.

Alongside objects borrowed from university laboratories and collections, the exhibition features artworks that explore the magic, intrigue and myopia of models. Through this eclectic combination of things, the exhibition asks how different disciplines including science, sociology, architecture, design, art and economics, create arenas for manipulating the dynamics of systems (cosmic, domestic, political, molecular, philosophical and psychological).

The exhibition addresses the agency of scale – investigating the way in which models take the enormous and the microscopic and put them at human-scale where they can be practically examined and physically handled. It explores the losses and gains that flow from the way models isolate one part of the infinite complexity of the world so that it can be grasped.