Turn Signals — Design is not a Dashboard


Since Romania joined the European Union, its manufacturing sector has experienced substantial growth. Simultaneously, the global manufacturing landscape is undergoing a profound transformation due to rapid digitalisation and the integration of global supply chains, making innovation a paramount necessity for the country. This expertise is evident throughout Timișoara, in its industrial parks, specialised labour market, and technical universities. Interconnected networks of knowledge, resources, and values not only facilitate multinational corporations, city developments, and academic laboratories but also continue to honour the city’s engineering legacy. However, the potential of design often remains untapped and concealed within academic research networks, corporate intellectual property, mechanical components, sophisticated technological objects, and profit-driven logics. 

Turn Signals — Design Is Not A Dashboard is an exhibition that explores how design can act as a conduit for collaborative ventures that go beyond the confines of established manufacturing parameters. Anchored within the contextual framework provided by a commissioned report, ‘Economy in Timișoara: Territorial Distribution of the Economy in the Timișoara Metropolitan Area’, the exhibition invited multidisciplinary practitioners to collaborate with local researchers, interpreting the statistical data through the designed lenses of devices, bodies, agents, media, forces, and networks. These collaborations drew from existing research, leveraged the local engineering network, and engaged with well-established knowledge systems within and beyond Timișoara’s industrial ecosystem. The resulting projects converge at the crossroads of information asymmetries across disciplines, supply chain stages, computational processes, the collective imagination, material cultures, and the expansive manufactured environment. By observing and reinterpreting the navigational pathways of these asymmetries, these projects signal the presence, concealment, and imminent transformation of design within Timișoara.

The exhibition’s title draws inspiration from an indispensable everyday object produced in local and multinational automotive plants in Timișoara — the turn signal indicators on vehicles, used to communicate directional shifts to fellow drivers. These indicators, enmeshed within the intricacies of engineering processes and nestled onto dashboards, exemplify the potential for design to be limited to mechanical refinement and obscured by technological complexities. By exceeding the confines of a mere dashboard, the design practices and discourses in the exhibition have explored the city’s products and resources from local and global perspectives, connecting places, people, and urgencies across different scales. The exhibition serves as a turn signal to Timișoara, inviting a new trajectory for the city’s design, architecture, and digital culture.

Different media, storytelling formats, and design languages are used to explore both the hidden narratives and untapped resources within Timișoara, and how design can intersect with and question topics related to industry more generally. By dislocating the expected media and aesthetics of how the city is represented, the exhibition tells compelling stories that invite different ways of seeing, expanding imaginative possibilities.

Participants: Théophile Blandet, Cinzia Bongino, Cristina Cochior, Jing He, Flora Lechner, Guillemette Legrand, Alina Lupu, Petre Mogoș and Laura Naum / Kajet Journal, Simone C Niquille /technoflesh Studio, Parasite 2.0, Santiago Reyes Villaveces


Thursday 7 September
Exhibition opens at FABER

Friday 8 September
Guided tours

Saturday 9 September
The City, Technology and Design conference

Wednesday 8 November
Finissage with conference

Open Monday - Saturday between 10:00-20:00 from 7 September to 11 November 2023.


Splaiul Peneș Curcanul 4-5,
Timișoara 300124, Romania

Martina Muzi
Exhibition team
Bianca Schick (assistant curator and animated visuals), Federico Santarini (data visualisations), Alex Foradori (animated visuals)
General coordination team
Oana Simionescu (FABER), Loredana Gaiță (UPT)
Graphic Identity and digital platform
Kirsten Spruit
Exhibition production team
Lorena Brează, Sandro Damian, Nicușor Duma, Mihai Moldovan
Exhibition assistents
Diana Caducenco, Karola Kalapati, Cristina Potra Mureșan, Lucian Stroia
Nadine Botha (EN), Cristina Potra Mureșan (RO)
Research team
Norbert Petrovici (coordination), Vlad Alexe (data science)Vlad Bejinariu (history), Ágota Ábrán (organisational ethnography), Andrei Herța (organisational ethnography), Macrina Moldovan (organisational ethnography)
Mediation team
Mihaela Tilincă, Claudia Bucsai
Mediation program graphic design
Flavia Țună
Program team
Cristian Blidariu, Victoria Cociotă, Ema Prisca, Roxana Sîrbu, Florin Unguraș
Participating designers
Théophile Blandet, Cinzia Bongino, Cristina Cochior, Jing He, Flora Lechner, Guillemette Legrand, Alina Lupu, Petre Mogoș and Laura Naum / Kajet Journal, Simone C Niquille /technoflesh, Studio Parasite 2.0, Santiago Reyes Villaveces
UPT researchers
Versavia Ancușa, Ioan Both, Raul Ionel, Cristina-Sorina Stângaciu
Azur, Flex, FOR, Hamilton Central Europe (especially with the support of the Mechanics, Metal Sheet Processing, Laboratory and R&D departments), Inside Manufacture, Institutul Prezentului, Isho, Studio Citadelle