Spoon Archeology

'Spoon Archaeology' is designed as a study, presenting historical references from a museum collection next to contemporary cutlery designs. The installation presents the material and immaterial cultural heritage of the past and present, and invites the audience to resonate sustainable solutions for the future.

Starting January 2021, plastic cutlery — a seemingly worthless object with an anonymous design, yet holder of complex information about its users — will be banned in the European Union. In the past, these everyday tools gradually adapted to the development of human life and have been important actors in our table and eating cultures.

In multimedia installation 'Spoon Archaeology,' designers Peter Eckart and Kai Linke will display a collection of disposable cutlery, staged as archaeological artefacts, design curiosities, and anthropological witnesses of an era that is about to end.

The installation presents the material and immaterial cultural heritage of the past and present and invites guests to resonate sustainable solutions for the future by questioning traditional design culture. The individual showcases will be bundled together in meandering displays and can be arranged flexibly in the room.

Additionally, 'Spoon Archaeology' will show videos in a loop (e.g. a film with hands as eating tools in different cultures), a double-sided poster and a website that introduce further information on the wide-ranging topics of disposable cutlery and its social and ecological complexity. Ultimately, the displayed objects represent centuries of cultural heritage as well as today’s throwaway society. These artefacts raise critical issues concerning the cultural history of civilisation, sustainability, climate consciousness, the functionality of design, and today’s fundamental problem with disposables.

The installation further showcases methods for the critical examination of traditional design approaches, and broadens the view to other cultures. Linke and Eckart do not intend to solely create substitute products, they rather remind the viewer to learn from this collection, take responsibility and develop perspectives for alternative futures.

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Photography: Ed Reeve

Photography: Ed Reeve



Peter Eckart, Kai Linke


Thomas A. Geisler


Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Kunstgewerbemuseum, German Embassy London, Auswärtiges Amt der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Foreign Office)


Auswärtiges Amt, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach, Rat für Formgebung Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst, Freunde der hfg foundation, WMF Deutschland

2021 Exhibitors