Discover emerging creative talents who are active in the fields of design, architecture and digital culture, supported by Creative Industries Fund NL. The Talent Platform is showcasing what artistic and professional growth entails and serves as a fount of information for other creatives and for commissioners.

GRANT PROGRAMME FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT

Talent development is one of Creative Industries Fund NL's spearheads. The Fund awards 12-month grants to up-and-coming creative talents every year, providing the opportunity to enrich artistic and professional aspects of their practice to optimum effect. Participants must have graduated within the last four years and must be active in one of the diverse disciplines of the creative industries, from fashion design to graphic design, from architecture to digital culture. The Fund's online Talent Platform portrays all the individual practices of designers who have received a grant since 2013.

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TALENT PLATFORM

Discover emerging creative talents who are active in the fields of design, architecture and digital culture, supported by Creative Industries Fund NL. The Talent Platform is showcasing what artistic and professional growth entails and serves as a fount of information for other creatives and for commissioners.

GRANT PROGRAMME FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT

Talent development is one of Creative Industries Fund NL's spearheads. The Fund awards 12-month grants to up-and-coming creative talents every year, providing the opportunity to enrich artistic and professional aspects of their practice to optimum effect. Participants must have graduated within the last four years and must be active in one of the diverse disciplines of the creative industries, from fashion design to graphic design, from architecture to digital culture. The Fund's online Talent Platform portrays all the individual practices of designers who have received a grant since 2013.

2019

Twenty-five minute-long film portraits introduce you in a personal and intimate way to the talented designers, makers, artists and architects who received a year-long stipendum over 2019/2020. The concept and production are the work of Studio Moniker. The film portraits are part of a programme in the MU artspace during Dutch Design Week 2019.

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2018

Twenty-four minute-long film portraits introduce you in a personal and intimate way to the talented designers, makers, artists and architects who received a year-long stipend over 2017/2018. The concept and production are the work of Studio Moniker. The film portraits are part of an installation in the Veem Building during Dutch Design Week 2018.

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TALENT PLATFORM 2018
TALENT PLATFORM 2018
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ESSAY: DIAMOND INVESTMENT & THE NEW OIL

by Rosa te Velde
Around 1960, Dutch television broadcast its first talent show, a concept imported from America. ‘Nieuwe Oogst’ (New Harvest) was initially made in the summer months on a small budget. It turned out that talent shows were a cheap way of making entertaining television: participants seized the opportunity to become famous by showcasing their tricks, jokes, creating entertainment and spectacle — in return for coffee and travelling expenses.1

Talent shows have been around since time immemorial, but the concept of talent development — the notion of the importance of financial support and investment to talent — is relatively new. Since the rise of the information society and knowledge economy in the 1970s, the notion of ‘lifelong learning’ has become ever more important. Knowledge has become an asset. Refresher courses, skill development and flexibility are no longer optional, and passion is essential. You are now responsible for your own happiness and success. You are expected to ‘own’ your personal growth process. In 1998, McKinsey & Company published ‘The War for Talent’. This study explored the importance of high performers for companies, and how to recruit, develop and motivate talented people and retain them as employees. In the past few decades, talent management has become an important element in companies’ efforts to maximise their competitiveness, nurture new leaders or bring about personal growth. Sometimes, talent management is aimed at the company as a whole, but it is more likely to focus on young, high-potential employees who either are already delivering good performances or have shown themselves to be promising.2

It was social geographer Richard Florida who made the connection between talent and creativity, in his book ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’ (2002). In this book, he drew the — irreversible — link between economic growth, urban development and creativity. A hint of eccentricity, a bohemian lifestyle and a degree of coolness are the determining factors for ‘creativity’ that provide space for value creation. His theory led to a surge in innovation platforms, sizzling creative knowledge regions and lively creative hubs and breeding grounds. The talent discourse became inextricably linked with the creative industry. The Global Creativity Index, for instance, set up by Florida (in which the Netherlands was ranked 10th in 2015), is based on the three ‘Ts’ of technology, talent and tolerance. The talent phenomenon really took off in the world of tech start-ups, with innovation managers fighting for the most talented individuals in Silicon Valley. ‘Talent is the new oil’.

The idea that talent can grow and develop under the right conditions is diametrically opposed to the older, romantic concept of a God-given, mysterious ‘genius’. The modern view sees talent as not innate (at least, not entirely so), which is why giving talent money and space to develop makes sense. Like the Growing Diamond (groeibriljant), the Dutch diamond purchase scheme in which diamonds can become ‘ever more valuable’.

What is the history of cultural policy and talent development in the Netherlands? Whereas before the Second World War the state had left culture to the private sector, after the war it pursued an active ‘policy of creating incentives and setting conditions’.3 The state kept to the principles of Thorbecke and did not judge the art itself.4 But literary historian Bram Ieven argues that a change took place in the 1970s. It was felt art needed to become more democratic, and to achieve that it needed to tie in more with the market: “[…] from a social interpretation of art (art as participation), to a market-driven interpretation of the social task of art (art as creative entrepreneurship).”5 The Visual Artists’ (Financial Assistance) Scheme (BKR) and later the Artists’ Work and Income Act (WWIK) gave artists and designers long-term financial support if they did not have enough money, provided they had a certificate from a recognised academy or could prove they had a professional practice.6

It was Ronald Plasterk’s policy document on culture, ‘The Art of Life’ (2007), that first stressed the importance of investing in talent, as so much talent was left ‘unexploited’.7 Plasterk called in particular for more opportunities to be given to ‘outstanding highly talented creatives’, mainly so that the Netherlands could remain an international player. Since then, ‘talent development’ has become a fixture in cultural policy. Halbe Zijlstra also acknowledged the importance of talent in ‘More than Quality’ (2012), but he gave a different reason: ‘As in science, it is important in culture to create space for new ideas and innovation that are not being produced by the market because the activities in question are not directly profitable.’8 This enabled the support for talent to be easily justified from Zijlstra’s notoriously utilitarian perspective with its focus on returns, even after the economic crisis. Jet Bussemaker also retained the emphasis on talent development, and talent is set to remain on the agenda in the years ahead.9

The Creative Industries Fund NL first gave grants to a group of talented creatives in 2013. As in the Mondrian Fund’s talent development programme, the policy plan for 2013–2016 opted for a single, joint selection round each year. While the emphasis was on individual projects, it was noted that a joint assessment would be more objective and professional and that this would facilitate the accompanying publicity.10

Who is considered a possible talented creative? To be eligible for a grant, you have to satisfy a number of specific requirements: you have to be registered with the Chamber of Commerce, have completed a design degree less than four years ago and be able to write a good application that persuades the nine committee members from the sector that you have talent. Based on the application, they decide how much potential, or promise, they see in your development, taking into account the timing of the grant for your career. While there are many nuances in the application process, these factors make sure the concept of ‘talent’ is clearly defined.

If you get through the tough selection process — on average ten to fifteen per cent of the applications result in a grant — you enjoy the huge luxury of being able to determine your own agenda for an entire year, of being able to act instead of react. It seems as if you have been given a safe haven, a short break from your precarious livelihood. But can it actually end up reinforcing the system of insecurity? What should be a time for seizing opportunities may also lead to self-exploitation, stress and paralysis. In practice, the creative process is very haphazard. Will the talented creatives be able to live up to their promise?

One of them went on a trip to China, another was able to do a residency in Austria, while yet another gave up their part-time job. Many have carried out research in a variety of forms, from field studies and experiments with materials to writing essays. Some built prototypes or were finally able to buy Ernst Haeckel’s ‘Kunstformen der Natur’. Others organised meetings, factory visits, encounters, interviews and even a ball.

Is there a common denominator among the talented creatives who were selected? As in previous years, this year the group was selected specifically to ensure balance and diversity — encompassing a sound artist, a filmmaker, a design thinker, a researcher, a cartographer, a storyteller, a former architect and a gender activist-cum-fashion designer. Given the diversity of such a group, a joint presentation may feel forced. But presenting them to the outside world as a group enhances the visibility of these talented people, and this is important, because how else can the investment be vindicated?

These are the questions that the Creative Industries Fund NL has been debating ever since the first cohort: how to present this group without the presentation turning into a vulgar, unsubtle spectacle or propagating a romantic notion of talent, and at the same time, how to show the outside world what is being done with public money. And what would benefit the talented individuals themselves? In the past few years, various approaches have been tested as ways of reflecting on the previous year, from various curated exhibitions with publications and presentations to podcasts, texts, websites, workshops and debates.

The Creative Industries Fund NL operates as a buffer between neoliberal policy and the reality of creativity. The fund provides a haven for not-yet-knowing, exploration, making, experimentation and failure, without setting too many requirements. It is a balancing exercise: how do you tone down the harsh language of policy and keep at bay those who focus only on returns on investment, while still measuring and showing the need for this funding, and thereby safeguarding it?

Following input from the talented creatives themselves, a different approach has been chosen this year: there will be no exhibition. Most do not see the Dutch Design Week as the right place for them; only one or two are interested in presenting a ‘finished’ design or project at all, and they do not necessarily wish to do so during the Dutch Design Week. What is more, many of the talented individuals have used the grant for research and creating opportunities. Therefore, instead of a joint exhibition, the decision has been made to organise a gathering and to publish profile texts and video portraits on ‘Platform Talent’, an online database. This will put less emphasis on the work of the previous year and more on the visibility of the maker and the process they are going through, marking a shift away from concrete or applied results and towards their personal working methods. Will this form of publicity satisfy the general public’s appetite and curiosity and will it meet politicians’ desire for results? Has it perhaps become more important to announce that there is talent and not what that talent is? Or is this a way of avoiding quantification and relieving the pressure?

Perhaps what unites the talented creatives most is the fact that, although they have been recognised as ‘high performers’, they are all still searching for sustainable ways of working creatively within a precarious, competitive ecosystem that is all about seizing opportunities, remaining optimistic and being permanently available. So far, there is little room for failure or vulnerability, or to discuss the capriciousness of the creative process. The quest for talent is still a show, a hunt, a competition or battle.

1 https://anderetijden.nl/aflevering/171/Talentenjacht
2 Elizabeth G. Chambers et al. ‘The War for Talent’ in: The McKinsey Quarterly 3, 1998 pp. 44–57. This study was published in book form in 2001.
3 Roel Pots, ‘De tijdloze Thorbecke: over niet-oordelen en voorwaarden scheppen in het Nederlandse cultuurbeleid’ in: Boekmancahier 13:50, 2001, pp. 462-473, p. 466.
4 Thorbecke was a mid-nineteenth-century Dutch statesman.
5 Bram Ieven, ‘Destructive Construction: Democratization as a
Vanishing Mediator in Current Dutch Art Policy’ in: Kunstlicht, 2016 37:1, p. 11.
6 The Visual Artists’ (Financial Assistance) Scheme was in force from 1956 to 1986 and the Artists’ Work and Income Act from 2005 to 2012.
7 Ronald Plasterk, ‘Hoofdlijnen Cultuurbeleid Kunst van Leven’, 2007, p. 5. The Dutch politician Ronald Plasterk was Minister of Education, Culture and Science from 2007 to 2010.
8 Halbe Zijlstra, ‘Meer dan Kwaliteit: Een Nieuwe visie op cultuurbeleid’, 2012, p. 9. The Dutch politician Halbe Zijlstra was State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science from 2010 to 2012.
9 Jet Bussemaker is a Dutch politician who was Minister of Education, Culture and Science from 2012 to 2017.
10 Creative Industries Fund NL, policy plan for 2013/2016.

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2017

The fourth edition of In No Particular Order during the Dutch Design Week 2017 presented a collective statement about the pluriformity of contemporary design practice. Nine installations addressed the themes of Position, Inspiration, Working Environment, Representation, Money, Happiness, Language, Discourse and Market. The presentation in the Van Abbe Museum was curated by Jules van den Langenberg, who was himself a participant in the Programme for Talent Development in 2017.

2016

In the third edition of In No Particular Order in 2016, curator Agata Jaworska offered insight into what it means to run a design practice. How do designers create the circumstances in which they work? What can we learn from their methodologies and routines? The designers reflected on these questions in audio recordings and with sketches. Together they give a personal impression of the development of their artistic practices.

In No Particular Order 2016

2015

The second edition of the In No Particular Order presentation was staged in the Veem Building during Dutch Design Week 2015. Curator Agata Jaworska focused on the processes, points of departure and visions behind the materialization of work, using a database of images from the personal archives of the designers. What is it that drives the modern-day designer? What are their sources of inspiration, motivations and ambitions?

In No Particular Order 2015

2014

What makes someone a talent? How is talent shaped? These were the pivotal questions for the first In No Particular Order exhibition in the Schellens Factory during Dutch Design Week 2014. Besides presenting the work of individual talents, curator Agata Jaworska revealed trends and shared similarities as well.

In No Particular Order 2014

 Gabriel Fontana

Gabriel Fontana

Designer and researcher Gabriel Fontana obtained his master's degree in Social Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2018. In his design practice, he investigates how our bodies express, internalize and reproduce social norms. Fontana additionally proposes ways of unlearning this through interventions in the public space and activities in the fields of sport and education. His development plan focuses on two projects, with which he wants to lay a strong foundation in kinaesthetic learning and to specialize in the field of queer pedagogy. With the project 'Voice and (Hear)Archies', he is developing a series of new sport games in which voices, sounds and new ways of listening are used to bring about a change in the way power is exercised during sports. The project 'Safe(r) Landscapes' consists of a 'queering manual', a publication in which he proposes measures that schools can take to create a more inclusive environment. Fontana wants to broaden his view of the work field by working together with various professionals, including a gender geographer, secondary-school teacher and graphic designer. He also plans to give workshops at schools and institutions in the Netherlands and France. His work will be presented at Onomatopee in Eindhoven and at the international design biennale in Saint-Éttienne, among others.
Andrius Arutiunian

Andrius Arutiunian

Andrius Arutiunian completed his master's degree in Composition at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague in 2016. In his practice, sound and hybrid forms of media play a central role. In recent years, he has focused on specific themes such as migration and new technologies, including the use of artificial intelligence. In the coming year, he wants to investigate how displacement and dissenting opinions have an impact on communities and how they materialize through noise in the post-digital era. He intends to develop a research method based on the concept of 'Gharib', which means 'strange' or 'mysterious' in Arabic, Persian and Armenian. The plan is divided into three phases: 1. Researching and collecting sonic artefacts related to the concept of 'Gharib', and a residency at Korzo in The Hague, where he will create an audiovisual performance. 2. Expanding his network through mentoring and listening sessions with established artists working on the same themes. 3. Developing a digital video and audiovisual installation for a solo exhibition at RIB in Rotterdam.
Asefeh Tayebani

Asefeh Tayebani

Asefeh Tayebani obtained her bachelor's degree in Product Design from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2018. In her practice, she deals with subjects that are full of misconceptions and stigmas. In the coming year, Tayebani will focus on two projects. The first is the continuation of the project 'But you don't look autistic', a research project with which she collects and presents information about autism in women and non-binary people, with the aim of starting a dialogue about the subject. For this purpose, the applicant is developing an online platform, together with graphic designer Fallon Does. The second project is a material research into the concept of 'wounds', under the name 'Leaving Traces'. She also wants to learn different techniques to restore and repair materials such as textiles and metal. Ultimately, she wants to present the material research by means of an exhibition and a publication. Mediamatic is being considered as the location for the launch of the online platform.
Audrey Large

Audrey Large

Designer Audrey Large graduated in 2019 from the master's programme in Social Design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. Her practice is at the intersection between new technology as an autonomous (design) method and (product) design as a form of creative expression. She is interested in the associations between the two domains and their implications for today's society. Questioning materials requires redefinition of the tools with which they are formed. This also raises questions about the status of the designer and their role in navigating through 2D images, 3D files, moving images and objects, according to Large.
In the coming year, Large wants to further deepen her reflections on the status of 'the image-as-object' and consolidate her professional design practice by strengthening her cultural entrepreneurship. The first half of her development year is dedicated to a solo show with her 'MetaObjects' at Nilufar Gallery in Italy. With the visual material she produces during the creation of the MetaObjects, she wants to develop a fictional narrative around the objects after the show, and take the next step in the translation of material into different formats, ranging from still to moving images and everything in between. She is going to experiment with CGI manipulation and various digital production techniques. During her development year, Large is collaborating with various parties and receiving advice from designer and software developer Femke Snelting, among others.
Bodil Ouedraogo

Bodil Ouedraogo

Bodil Ouedraogo graduated from the fashion department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2019. Her practice consists of designing wearable clothing as well as producing installations and videos, with a focus on expressing her own bicultural identity. Her development plan focuses on the development of two new 'chapters' that together as presentations tell a story about radiating pride through the phenomenon of 'dressing up'. The first project is a performative show about the traditional 'grand boubou', a three-piece suit worn in West Africa. Ouedraogo wants to project video material onto the large amount of fabric in this garment. To do this, she will collaborate with dancer and choreographer Christiaan Yav and director Florian Johan. The second project concerns an investigation into the expression of pride through wealth in the West African art of 'dressing up'. To carry out this research, Ouedraogo will travel to Mali and Nigeria and collaborate with JeanPaul Paula and Stephan Tayo. Through photography and print, Ouedraogo establishes a link between the expression of wealth in jewellery and accessories, in the fashions of West Africa and Western Europe. Possible locations for the presentations of both projects include Amsterdam Fashion Week and Foam.
Cleo Tsw

Cleo Tsw

Graphic designer Cleo Tsw graduated from the bachelor's program Graphic Design at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. During her graduation she set up the research and publishing imprint 'Off Course', which investigates language and visual literacy from a decolonial perspective. Next year, Tsw will focus on developing and producing the first online and printed edition of Off Course and strengthening its educational practice. Produced in both physical and digital domains, this edition contains a series of articles that distinguish themselves through their visual form—such as through typographic essays, visual essays, comics, lexicons and poetic prose. Tsw intends to collaborate widely in the content, production, and distribution of this publication.
Don Kwaning

Don Kwaning

Don Kwaning completed the bachelor's programme Man and Well-Being at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2018. In his practice, he is involved in both artistic and industrial material development as well as the design of end products. In his graduation project 'Medulla', he developed circular materials from the soft rush (Juncus effusus), a common weed in the Netherlands. In the coming year, he will continue this project and he wants to develop further into a craftsman in materials development. He will investigate which soft rush materials are most suitable for further development for the commercial market, whether the plant can be grown as a wet crop, to combat subsidence, and whether the materials made from these plants can provide a revenue model for farmers. He is being helped in this by the Green Chemistry Campus. In addition, he will start two new projects in which, based on his artistic interests, he will carry out material experiments with flexible aluminium and compromised wood. For this purpose, he will collaborate and receive advice from basket weaver Esmé Hofman, product designer Bertjan Pot, and various 3D designers. By making his material experiments more personal, Kwaning aims to strengthen his identity as a designer and better position his practice within the design sector. The results of his projects will be presented at the Milan Design Week and the Dutch Design Week.
Fana Richters

Fana Richters

Fashion designer and interdisciplinary artist Fana Richters was selected during the Scout Night Amsterdam. In the coming year, she wants to further develop her artistic, technical and presentation skills. She is doing this by means of the project 'The Walking Exhibition', in which she builds a bridge between the artistic world and the fashion industry. Surrounded by experts and advisers in various fields, including fashion and textiles, she will develop a series of suits. A central role is played by her own photography handwriting, which is characterized by collage techniques. The suit is being made under the supervision of Marlon Lima, who will oversee the embroidery process and can advise on various possibilities. In addition, Richters is calling on the expertise of Geobella Fini, who will help to develop digital sketches and conceptual fashion. According to Richters, sustainability is an indispensable element and she certainly wants to demonstrate this in the design by using the natural plant hemp, among other things. The final product will be presented during a fashion show where Richters aims to become acquainted with a commercial manner of presentation.
Frances Rompas

Frances Rompas

Filmmaker and biologist Frances Rompas was selected during the Scout Night in Utrecht. In her practice, she focuses on telling fictional, satirical and autobiographical stories in the form of immersive film and video installations. According to Rompas, transgenerationally conferred expectations and ideas about the country of origin are mainly based on emotions and memories. The image of the fatherland, or as Rompas prefers to put it, the motherland, can be romanticized as a result. With an interactive video installation, Rompas takes the viewer into a personal process in which she investigates what ethnicity means and how it can be deconstructed. In the coming year, she will experiment with miniatures, décor, shot design and object theatre. Part of the installation is an image that Rompas wants to create concerning a traditional ritual and costume. For this purpose, the filmmaker will seek a collaboration with costume designer Floor Nagler. By following different writing courses, Rompas wants to learn scriptwriting and methods for placing biographical material in a socio-political context. The presentation options are still open and depend on Rompas's research into spatial installations in relation to the public. To get a better grip on this aspect, Rompas is going to follow a course at the Instituto Europeo di Design.
Fransje Gimbrere

Fransje Gimbrere

Designer and art director Fransje Gimbrere obtained her bachelor's degree in Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017. In her practice, she tries to create amazement and stimulate the senses by manipulating material. In the coming year, she wants to highlight the importance of sensory design and show how you can respond to this as a designer. In her development plan, she pays attention to both broadening her knowledge and skills as well as deepening the design methodology and improving the positioning of her practice. She describes three phases for this purpose: 1. Theoretical research, where she examines scientific studies and visions concerning the relationship between design, the human psyche and emotion. 2. Experimental material research to find out what stimulates and invites touch. 3. The translation to possible applications and implementations. She is seeking help from marketing professionals and experts in making a book. The results will be presented in the form of a tactile manifesto and an exhibition.
Funs Janssen

Funs Janssen

Funs Janssen obtained his bachelor's degree in Design from the Willem de Kooning Academy in 2017. In his practice, he combines being an illustrator with the craftsmanship of stained glass. As an image-maker, he is concerned with metropolitanism and youth culture. In the coming year, he wants to research the history of visual culture, constantly questioning his position as maker and looking critically at contemporary visual culture. By means of a multidisciplinary research project in both theoretical and technical areas, he will search for an answer to the question: 'How can I apply the cinematographic aspect of my work more through the medium of stained glass in order to create iconic images?' He is following various workshops in the print techniques riso and screen-printing and the craft of stained glass. He is also bringing in the expertise of The Black Archives and sociologist Teana Boston-Mammah. Ultimately, he wants to develop a number of spatial works that contain a cinematographic aesthetic and invite dialogue. These works will be presented at galleries and art institutions.
ILLM

ILLM

Calligrapher Qasim Arif was selected during the Scout Night Rotterdam. In the last 10 years, Arif has mastered the craft of Arabic calligraphy. His visual style is strongly influenced by elements from Hip hop and Pop culture. Central to the work are various aspects of identity with, in particular, his background as a 'third-culture kid'. During the development year, Arif wants to discover new ways of designing through 3D. He argues that a large part of Islamic art only relates to the two-dimensional surface, because the sculpting of living beings is exclusively the domain of a god. Within these frameworks, Arif wants to push the boundaries and convert Arabic calligraphy into 3D sculptures. One of the ways he does this is based on the Nike Air Max 1. According to Arif, the cult shoe is not only a symbol of social status, but it also represents the dreams, wishes and memories of children with a migrant background. For his professional and artistic development, Arif is participating in a number of courses, including 3D modelling, 3D printing and 'Sculpturing, Moulding, Casting & Finishing'. The founder of the 3D printer, Cyrus Sasan Seyedi, is guiding Arif in 3D printing techniques and monitoring the quality of the print. In addition, the applicant will approach artist Joseph Klibansky for advice on the production of sculptures, but also on marketing through social media. Finally, Arif is applying for a traineeship with El Seed, a French-Tunisian calligrapher. The results of the project will be presented both online and offline.
Inez Naomi

Inez Naomi

Stylist and fashion designer Inez Naomi was selected during the Scout Night Rotterdam. The coming year revolves around building up her fashion label 'Versatile Forever', in which she upcycles vintage clothing to create new, high-quality and trendy items. The guiding principles of the label are sustainability, accessibility and wearability. To obtain clothing, Naomi will collaborate with various Dutch organizations that collect used clothing. She also wants to buy in 'dead stock' from fashion companies. The first collection was inspired by team sports. She uses the metaphor of the 'benchwarmer': players who always sit on the bench or are chosen last, whom she wants to present as 'winners'. She will put together a team with representatives of under-represented groups and incorporate their stories into the collection. For the development and production of the collection, she will initially collaborate with De Wasserij. She then wants to investigate whether she can scale up to a European production partner. Together with a PR agent, for example Eva Peters PR or Feel Agency, Naomi will develop a strategy for the visibility and public reach of her label. Besides the label, Naomi also focuses on styling and art direction. Under her own name 'Inez Naomi', she collaborates with various artists to design photo shoots and video clips. She wants to provide access to the creative process behind this through weekly vlogs.
Irakli Sabekia

Irakli Sabekia

Designer Irakli Sabekia graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven in Man and Leisure. In his multidisciplinary practice, he combines data, light, sound, (archive) images and technology in immersive installations, to question existing structures. In the coming year, Sabekia wants to deepen his design methodology and strengthen his network outside the cultural world. He will develop new techniques in the area of projection and experimental storytelling, collaborate with social organizations (NGOs) in the field of human rights and ecology, and develop an online platform that provides access to his research. Central to this is his graduation work 'Voicing Borders', in which he gives a voice to the inhabitants of the Russian-occupied territories of Georgia. In the next phase of this project, Sabekia will carry out field research in Georgia together with documentary photographer Tako Robakidze. The results will be shown in an interactive documentary installation in the DocLab at IDFA this autumn. In addition, he plans to present his work at IMPAKT, MU and TAC. With the presentations, he aims to arouse the interest of organizations such as Amnesty International Nederland or Terre des Hommes, in order to establish a collaboration with them, for instance in the form of a residency. Lastly, Sabekia is strengthening his cultural entrepreneurship by being coached in business and strategy.
Jean-François Gauthier

Jean-François Gauthier

Jean-François Gauthier graduated from the Academy of Architecture in 2019 with a master's degree in Landscape Architecture. In his practice, he focuses on the development of new urban typologies in which trees play a central role. According to Gauthier, a radical change is needed within current urban design, so that inhabitants have more access to nature in their daily lives. Using various mixed-media techniques, Gauthier aims to create speculative landscape designs that visualize what a forest can look like in the public domain. The possibilities for an alternative form of urban design, in which the value of the forest is central, is made accessible in an atlas. The atlas will provide an artistic answer to what the forest of the future will look like. Gauthier is seeking help from experts such as Marco Roos, Cecil Konijnendijk and Marjolijn Boterenbrood. They will guide Gauthier in finding the right tree species, in the social aspects and in the artistic process within the research. Results from the research will be tested and presented at various locations, including in the city of The Hague and at Terra Nostra.
JeanPaul Paula

JeanPaul Paula

Interdisciplinary image-maker JeanPaul Paula was selected during the Scout Night Amsterdam. He focuses on creating safe places and moments of exchange. In his practice, his personal experiences as a 'non-conforming black queer man' and his fight against racism, sexism and (gender) stereotyping play a central role. During the development year, Paula will investigate why LGBT+ people born in Caribbean (immigrant) families more often experience rejection, mental and physical violence. By entering into a dialogue with his own family and its history, and placing this in the context of issues of bicultural identity, migration, everyday racism, cultural pride, Christianity and Caribbean ideals about masculinity, he wants to analyze how immigrant families balance between two cultures. Which parts of your cultural heritage do you hold on to? How do you deal with assimilation in a cultural context that makes you feel like an outsider? The research will be given form in a documentary film that will be shown in, among other places, the Melkweg in Amsterdam. In the context of the film, Paula will also enter into discussions with young black LGBT+ people.
Johanna Seelemann

Johanna Seelemann

Designer Johanna Seelemann obtained her master's degree in Contextual Design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. She is interested in the following question: 'How can we design for a world that is in danger?' Her development plan focuses on two projects in which the concept of 'resilience' is central. The first project, 'Perpetual Change', deals with localization and is a conceptual continued development of the earlier work 'Terra Incognita'. In 'Perpetual Change,' Seeleman asks questions such as: 'What does it mean to design in a resilient way at a local level?' and 'What can we achieve by producing at home, and is this realistic?' The research is given form in a series of household objects, in which the concept of 'resilience' is questioned at various levels, including through the material and the production technique. In the second project, 'Desarster', the designer focuses on the contribution that design can make to resilience during a crisis. Desarster consists of an online platform on which Seelemann archives research and information at the intersection of disaster and risk management and design. For this, she is collaborating with researcher Uta Reichardt, an Icelandic expert in disaster risk management. The approach is to create an interaction between design and risk management, where both disciplines are treated equally. In addition to the development of an archive, Reichardt and Seelemann will develop a series of workshops for, among others, art academies and a publication.
Josse Pyl

Josse Pyl

Designer and artist Josse Pyl obtained his master's degree at the Typography Workshop of ArtEZ. After using visual language as working material for making spatial installations in recent years, in the coming year he will focus on publishing and distributing language research by means of printed and digital media. By making a book, film and website, Pyl will question the boundary between reality, knowledge and perception. For this purpose, he is setting up a theoretical and philosophical investigation into historical systems developed to organize the world. Parallel to this, Pyl is questioning in his artistic process how the world can be read by rewriting it. He is doing this by making a printed publication in which he investigates how the book functions as a space of knowledge and thoughts, how these take on an abstract form and are subsequently passed on to the reader's mind. In addition, Pyl plans to translate this research into a series of animated films. In this way, he will investigate how cinematographic structures of moving image and sound can form a new step within his work. Ultimately, he will bring everything together on a website that functions as an online archive and distribution channel for the research.
Khalid Amakran

Khalid Amakran

Photographer Khalid Amakran was selected at the Scout Nights Rotterdam. Amakran is self-taught. Thanks to his drive and ambition, Amakran has been able to develop from a hobbyist to a portrait photographer with a sustainable company. In the coming year, he wants to create more space for research and reflection. Together with concept developer Anne Bloemendaal, Amakran will develop a strategy that strengthens his professional and creative development. He is doing this on the basis of project 3ish, a project that provides insight into identity formation in the context of second and third-generation Moroccan-Dutch young people. Loyalty issues, code-switching, institutional racism, jihadism and the politicization of mainly Moroccan-Dutch men make individual choices difficult and emotionally charged. As a result of community thinking, this target group has the idea that choices influence a whole group, leading to a struggle concerning who they want and need to be. The project will be given form in a video and a book. In addition, Amakran is going to strengthen his technical skills in the areas of film, research and signature. Amakran is seeking content-related guidance from photographers and image editors including Ari Versluis, Mounir Raji and Nicole Robbers.
Lesia Topolnyk

Lesia Topolnyk

Architect Lesia Topolnyk graduated in 2018 with a master's degree in Architecture from the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. Her view of architecture was shaped by her childhood in Ukraine, which has been in an unstable political situation since the collapse of the Soviet Republic. With this background, and an eye for specific geographical and socio-political contexts, Topolnyk develops large-scale spatial interventions that are reminiscent of landscapes due to their size and layered quality. During the development year, she will be investigating the functioning of democracy in relation to architecture. For this purpose, she will analyze and compare a number of international institutions, including the International Criminal Court in The Hague, NATO in Brussels, the UN headquarters in New York and the Kremlin. She will examine not only the building in which the institution is housed, but also the urban, legal, democratic and institutional structures that underlie it. The findings should lead to a number of speculative scenarios and tools that make the democratic process more effective and inclusive. In this process, Topolnyk is seeking advice within and outside the architectural field, from parties such as artist Jonas Staal, government architect Floris van Alkemade, designer and director Nelly Ben Hayoun and filmmaker and architect Liam Young.
Louis Braddock Clarke

Louis Braddock Clarke

Louis Braddock Clarke completed his bachelor's degree in Graphic Design at the Royal Academy of Art in 2019. He is interested in the debate about entering a new geological era, the Anthropocene. As part of this, Braddock Clarke is diving into research into the human and non-human position in climate change. In the coming year, he wants to develop his own set of instruments, which he can use to make geological information visible. His development plan is divided into two phases: The first phase concerns the development of a research instrument and method, by means of material testing and interviews and collaborations with scientists, philosophers and specialists in geophysics and biology. In the second phase, he will focus on recording the research, undertake an expedition and make a film. To develop his instruments and present his research, he is involving several partners and coaches, including Lucas van der Velden, director of Sonic Acts, curator Margarita Osipian and various participants at Spatial Media Laboratories. At the end of his development year, Braddock Clarke will present the results of his research and his film at an event.
Luuc Sonke

Luuc Sonke

Architect Luuc Sonke obtained his master's degree at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. His work concentrates on spatial issues brought about by the uncertain and unstable existence within contemporary society. Within this area, he focuses in particular on the ambiguous and changing relationships between public and private, work and leisure. This coming year, Sonke wants to research sociologist Zygmunt Bauman's concept of 'Liquid Life'. He will search for a new spatial language that fits in with modern 'liquid' life and is open to a diversity of voices, backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles. He will do this at different levels of scale, ranging from furniture to interior to urban environment. During his research, Sonke is being advised by various experts and professionals from the field of architecture, including designer Jurgen Bey, architect Erik Rietveld, developer Edwin Oostmeijer, artist Andrea Zittel and illustrator Jan Rothuizen. The results, consisting of objects, spatial models and furniture will be shown in a presentation at NEVERNEVERLAND.
Marlou Breuls

Marlou Breuls

Fashion designer Marlou Breuls obtained her bachelor's degree in Fashion Design from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI). She positions herself as a multidisciplinary designer, aiming to approach the function of fashion from other angles, including theatre, sculpture and unconventional materials, such as resin and epoxy. In this way, she hopes to contribute to the redefinition of the traditional fashion system. In the coming year, Breuls will focus on further developing and challenging her design methodology by experimenting with body casts and investigating how she can manipulate them into new (fashion) objects. To do this, she will take part in two workshops in New York: one in contemporary ceramics and one in body casting. If this is not possible because of the COVID-19 measures, she has alternatives for these courses and guidance in the Netherlands and the UK. She also wants to deepen her artistic practice further under the guidance of artist David Altmejd. Finally, she is working with Branko Popovic to strengthen the public accessibility of her practice and will develop the identity of her studio further with Eric Ellenbaas Creative Agency (EEA).
Mirjam Debets

Mirjam Debets

Mirjam Debets completed her bachelor's degree in Animation at the HKU in 2017 and has worked since then as an animation director, illustrator and VJ. In the coming year, Debets will expand her work to other media and conduct research into presentation forms and their effect on the public. She wants to develop animation applications in which interaction with the audience and the physical experience of the presentation are central. Under the name 'Zenit', she plans to tell an alternative creation story, which shows in a playful way how all life is connected. The project will be presented in the form of a short music video, installation, VJ set and website. Debets wants to be able to realize these forms independently, from concept through to presentation. She is also collaborating with various professionals from other disciplines, including music artists and installation designers. In this way, the animator aims not only to develop artistically and conceptually, but also to build up a larger network of artists and event programmers.
Moriz Oberberger

Moriz Oberberger

Moriz Oberberger obtained his master's degree in Typography from the ArtEZ School of the Arts in 2019. In his interdisciplinary practice, he focuses on creating visual stories by drawing, illustrating and animating for both online and offline media. In the coming year, Oberberger wants to investigate how he can employ a more spontaneous method of working and, as a result, achieve alternative systems of thinking. He is starting one larger project and several smaller collaborations, with which he aims to further develop his methodology and strategy. The project is 'Time Out' (working title): a drawing process he wants to employ to create a stream of uncontrolled, meditative and spontaneously generated graphic designs. In addition, he plans to give a series of workshops, do a residency and develop an independent platform for publishing magazines and experimental storytelling, among other things. For this project, he is working together with mathematician and writer Ana Lucía Vargas Sandoval and he is involving writer, poet and artist Maria Barnas as mentor. The results will be presented in a publication and an exhibition.
Philipp Kolmann

Philipp Kolmann

Philipp Kolmann graduated from the bachelor's programme Food Non Food at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. In his practice, creating a more sustainable future perspective for the food system plays a central role. In the coming year, Kolmann will focus on developing a plant-based cheese and designing a culture around it, with the aim of interweaving this plant product more into our food culture. According to the designer, most vegan cheeses lack the rich history that European dairy cheeses have. For that reason, he will conduct research into the origins of industrialization in dairy farming, in collaboration with researchers from the agriculture department at Wageningen University & Research. With a research trip to Japan, Kolmann wants to investigate what is needed for fermentation on a large scale. With the help of a research and communication agency in Tokyo, Kolmann can come in contact with various local experts from specialized scientific institutes. In addition, Kolmann has a selection of experts in mind who fit in with the plant-based cheese research, including Thomas Vailly, Marco Cagnoni, Age Opdam & Genneper Hoeve and Arne Hendriks. Kolmann finds it important that the young generation also has access to this knowledge and hopes to create more awareness by developing an educational programme. The results of the project will be presented in a speculative installation during Dutch Design Week and Slow Food events.
Renee Mes

Renee Mes

Multidisciplinary designer Renee Mes combines her knowledge and experience from the film world with educational methods she developed during the Man and Leisure bachelor's programme at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Her ambition is to break the stereotyping of the queer community and to improve the visibility and social acceptance of this group. During the development year, she will research, together with Queer Trans People of Colour (QTPOC) and people with a bicultural background, how they can shape their own story. In addition, Mes is focusing on the phenomenon of 'chosen families' and choosing different media and forms of expression that come together as a collage on an online platform. The plan is divided into four phases: the first phase starts with in-depth study of the literature on the lives of the above-mentioned groups and interviewing queer individuals. In the second phase, Mes, together with five different 'chosen families', reflects on their identity and the stories are converted into visual elements to create a film set. The third phase focuses on capturing the stories in image and sound and results in filmed portraits (tableaux vivants), audio recordings, photography and 3D scanned objects. In the fourth and final phase, the stories will be presented on an online platform and during an exhibition. During the development process, Mes will be guided by various professionals, including Rosemarie Bulkema, professor of Art, Culture and Diversity at Utrecht University, and the Staat Amsterdam art-direction team.
Seok-hyeon Yoon

Seok-hyeon Yoon

Seok-hyeon Yoon graduated in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Design from the Design Academy in Eindhoven. Yoon has a fascination for ceramics, and pottery in particular. According to Yoon, earth is the starting point from which everything originated and the most natural product you can work with. Unfortunately, ceramic objects often end up in landfill because they are not easy to recycle due to the glaze used. In the coming year, Yoon will focus on researching ceramics and glazing techniques, in order to achieve alternative (glazing) methods that are actually circular. During the process, Yoon will speak with various professionals within the fields of ceramics, to strengthen his knowledge and discover new possibilities. Examples of experts are ceramist Marlies Crooijmans (EKWC), designer Daria Biryukova and glaze specialist Pierluigi Pompei (EKWC). In addition, Yoon will attend courses at CREA and Kleispot, among others, for the development of various colouring techniques in glazes. The findings made by Yoon during the project will be shared with audiences from the creative and related industries. Possible presentation places are MOAM, Yksi Expo + Dutch Design Week 2021 and Material District Rotterdam.
Sherida Kuffour

Sherida Kuffour

Sherida Kuffour graduated in 2018 from the Sandberg Institute's master's programme 'Design, Think Tank for Visual Strategies'. Kuffour's design practice is active at the intersection of literature, memories, media and the power structures of design. In the coming year, Kuffour will investigate the vulnerability of memories through fiction and paratext. The types of questions Kuffour will ask herself are: What happens to memories once they become public? How does a paratext such as paywalls, reading times and hashtags influence accessibility, where traditional forms of publication, in particular, focus on a white literary culture? Kuffour is investigating from two positions: the designer and the writer. Kuffour argues that the two positions promote different interests, from which the research questions arise. By following a writing course and engaging in conversation with various writers and theorists, Kuffour aims to further explore the intersection of literature and media. People Kuffour would like to talk to are Michael Tedja, Yra van Dijk and Teju Cole. The interviews will be documented and the results of the research compiled into a series of reports. Kuffour aims to present these reports in a book and an online archive, accompanied by public lectures. Sherida Kuffour
Sophia Bulgakova

Sophia Bulgakova

Sophia Bulgakova graduated from the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in ArtScience. In Bulgakova's practice, experiences, inner processes and imaginary phenomena play an important role. She uses colour theory, sensory input and hardships, psychological behaviour, elements of playfulness and scenography. Together, these elements form the basis for immersive installations that stimulate the senses. In the coming year, Bulgakova wants to make more multifaceted and multidisciplinary work concerning pagan rituals that originated from early Christian and Western European traditions. The research will be used to reflect on the context of Bulgakova's practice. In addition to approaching various professionals and experts in the field, Bulgakova is collaborating with the artists' platform Instrument Inventors Initiative (iii). Furthermore, Bulgakova will participate in a residency at the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. She plans to present the results of the new work at the Locating ArtScience exhibition in Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kiev.
Stefano Murgia

Stefano Murgia

Sound artist Stefano Murgia graduated from the ArtScience bachelor's programme at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague. In recent years, he has focused on 'sonic architecture' and 'acoustic ecology', a study of the relationship of sound between organisms and their environment. During his development year, Murgia plans to use sound sculptures to tackle the nuisance of wind in urban canyons, i.e. locations where extreme winds are created by tall buildings. Under the title 'Alternating Winds', he will investigate, together with the Crossing Parallels platform and scientists from the departments of aerodynamics and architecture at Delft University of Technology, whether the flowing movement of wind can be converted into the vibratory movement of sound and what the possible consequences of this are. Do wind and sound lose their power and is a third form of energy created? The research should result in a number of singing sculptures that tackle wind nuisance by absorbing air currents, repelling them or changing their direction. To strengthen his metalworking skills, Murgia would like to do a summer residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, a development site specializing in metal and ceramics. The project concludes with a sound conference, exhibition and performative lecture.
Sydney Rahimtoola

Sydney Rahimtoola

Sydney Rahimtoola gained a bachelor's degree in Photography from the Royal Academy of Art in 2018. As a photographer, filmmaker, cultural programmer and performer, Rahimtoola aims to increase the visibility and accessibility of stories of black and brown communities. From her own experience with a burnout, she wants to use her artistic practice and methodology to involve these communities in mental health, radical self-care and psychedelic healing. In the coming year, she will set up three multidisciplinary projects for this purpose: 1. A podcast, in which she brings together her research and inspiration. 2. A visual album dedicated to the mental disorder of her uncle Saqib, and the racial traumas he has suffered. 3. A presentation at Today's Art, where, among other things, the visual album will be launched as an immersive scenographic film screening. In addition, Rahimtoola plans to follow several workshops and visit the psychedelic-trance scene in India and the psychedelic community in California. To professionalize her practice, Rahimtoola wishes to focus on a more theatrical approach and collaborate with, among others, a cinematographer and music producer.
Thom Bindels

Thom Bindels

Thom Bindels graduated in 2017 from the Man and Leisure department of the Design Academy Eindhoven. As a researcher, he is fascinated by the role of human labour in the landscape. In the coming year, this will be expressed in the project 'Een nieuwe maakbaarheid' (A new manipulability), in which he researches the natural landscape and the solutions that its ecological principles and processes offer to relevant problems of our time, such as air pollution, drought and the decline in the bee population. By means of natural interventions in the landscape and a videographic narrative, Bindels wants to invite people to be part of the landscape in a new way. The interventions in the landscape must become an interruption of the monoculture and restore a sense of connection and responsibility to humans in their environment. For this project, he will be collaborating with various landscape organizations, scientists and farmers. He will also be asking researcher and artist Arne Hendriks for advice. He wants to make the results of the research accessible to the general public by means of a film and installations along footpaths that run through the surveyed landscapes.
Vera van de Seyp

Vera van de Seyp

Designer Vera van de Seyp obtained her bachelor's degree in Graphic Design from the KABK and her master's degree in Media Technology from Leiden University. Her hybrid practice spans the world of digital technology and creative coding on the one hand, and graphic design and applied arts on the other. The central focus is the effect that technology has on humans and their environment and the dilemmas arising from this. In the coming year, Van de Seyp will focus on the question: 'How can the curation process become more accessible in generative design?'. To answer this question, she will perform a number of experiments as case studies, develop new digital tools and develop an online repository. This repository will not only include tools developed by Van de Seyp, but also by other generative designers, such as Rifke Sadleir (UK) and Laurel Schwultst (USA). In the selection, the designer takes into account equal representation of different genders and backgrounds. Part of the repository is an overview of links to existing platforms that focus on a single programming language such as OpenRNDR, ml4a and P5.js. In this way, Van de Seyp aims to create a freely accessible central point where most of the knowledge on this subject is gathered, making it easier for people starting on this material to develop further.
Wesley Mapes

Wesley Mapes

Wesley Mapes graduated in 2019 from the Sandberg Institute's master's programme Radical Cut Up. In his practice, he investigates the relationship between art and design. The basis of his work is the theme of black identities and the history of black communities worldwide. In the development year, he plans to carry out more academic research and materials research and to create a stronger narrative for his work. Under the title 'The Marsupial Jackson Boom Boom Room', he is developing an afrofuturistic, speculative space with a music installation that is location-specific. Wesley Mapes finds inspiration for this space in the work of Donald Judd and The Ummah Chroma. He seeks guidance from Jennifer Tosch from the Black Heritage Tours and Ceasar McDowell from MIT, among others. In addition, Mapes plans to participate in the Black Europe Summer School in Amsterdam, teach at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and visit the Afro-Antillean Museum in Panama. For the presentation of his work, Dutch Design Week is a possibility.
Alvin Arthur
Alvin Arthur

Alvin Arthur

Momentum. Something designer, performer and educator Alvin Arthur is sensitive to. If the timing does not feel right, then he will not take it any further. This year it was a challenge to find a balance between what was possible and what was not, in order to remain both productive and healthy. The intended collaborations with other professionals did not go ahead for various reasons. However, it seemed like the time was right for his education project 'Body.coding'; programming with the body.

Body.coding is one example of Arthurs movement and body-based approach, also known as kinesthetics. His goal is to ensure that children from a young age realize that many things they see in their everyday life are digitally programmed; from the production of a chair, the construction of a building to even the development of a city. And that all of this is carried out by adults, who usually sit silently behind a desk, however there are alternatives.

For his children's education program, Arthur has developed a choreographic language; drawings in basic geometric forms and colors that show children how they need to move in order to depict a symbol. This, eventually, will allow them to program an entire sentence. Group dynamics are incredibly important. Those who quickly catch on are usually those who are able to explain this new language to their peers in a way that they understand. There is also room for imagination; what is the meaning of the choreography they have made together?

With help from the school network of the Eindhoven presentation platform MU, Arthur has hosted a number of workshops for various age groups in order to test and further develop his methods. In the new school year these methodologies will become widely available, allowing schools to work with this program.

Bringing movement into the classroom is vital to Arthur. 'The minute we sit a child down in a chair a great deal is lost. It's convenient for us, but it has long-term effects.' Arthur is convinced that children are not given enough skills to meet the challenges of the world. 'I think that many of the struggles we face as a society, globally stem from the fact that we do not know enough about ourselves, as we are not able to fully experience our bodies. This is the reason why I do this, so that we can learn more about ourselves by learning more about our bodies.'

Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Anna Fink
Anna Fink

Anna Fink

Austrian landscape architect Anna Fink investigates life patterns in specific landscapes and how they continually interact. She wants to unravel and strengthen this relationship, which she calls 'topographic life'. Fink does this by giving new meaning to the everyday location-bound customs and cultural actions with which we form the landscape.

Her new venture 'The taskscape of the forest' follows on from her graduation project 'Landscape as house'. It takes us to Austria where, together with her family she owns part of a forest. Through active fieldwork, she examines the personal actions and activities essential for shaping the landscape and preserving the vitality of a place. How do we shape such a plot? What informs the choice of maintenance, planting or harvesting trees or letting the forest take its course? Fink asks herself these questions, just as forest rangers or other owners of forestland. 'My goal is not to judge. I want to ask questions, overturn assumptions, to initiate dialogue regarding the different ways of interacting with the environment, how one defines nature, and what it means to live in a landscape. This is different from walking or cycling through the landscape because then you only consume. You limit the meaning of nature to something distant; to a concept.'

Given her need to research and develop a method, the past year seemed like the perfect time to set up her interdisciplinary design and research studio. It is aptly named Atelier Fischbach, after the place where Fink grew up. She also initiated a summer school in Austria. For the workshop 'Inhabiting wilderness' she works with Dutch designers and local craftsmen. In a riverbed, they build 'topographic furniture': subtle and transient interventions in the landscape that temporarily shape or mark their presence. The oven builder does not make an iconic wood-burning oven like everyone in the region, rather an outdoor furnace that disappears at high water. The loam builder's stamp-loam floor dissolves into nothing after a few rain showers. 'The physical work and our constant presence at the river create a connection with the place. There is room for dialogue from a shared experience called “embodied knowledge”.' Fink documents her research through photography, a film and a series of small books.


Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Arvand Pourabbasi
Arvand Pourabbasi

Arvand Pourabbasi

Arvand Pourabbasi graduated in Interior Architecture from the KABK. Over the past year, he has been studying the concepts of 'comfort' and 'exhaustion'. He believes being productive has a romanticized image that ignores fatigue, procrastination and anxiety. Rather than leisure time being a moment for rest and comfort, it falls within a capitalist logic. According to Pourabbasi, it is a time to recharge before quickly returning to work and maintaining a given level of productivity. He also analyses the meaning of work. Burn-out isn't so much caused by physically demanding labor; it is an exhausting effect of sedentary work on office employees' bodies. Within these contexts, 'home' is where exhaustion and comfort are intertwined.

Pourabbasi runs his studio, appropriately named WORKNOT! with Golnar Abbasi. They shed light on the extreme conditions that shape our society. WORKNOT! curated the collective project 'Fictioning Comfort' out of the need to explore the concept of comfort in a way that transcends artificial or artificial capitalist ideas. Socio-political artists showed their work in relation to different customs and approaches concerning 'comfort'. This ranged from installations, performances and historical research to science fiction, image production and performative objects. 'The meanings derived from the concepts are very diverse. They are about the exhaustion of the body, the land and politics. Such a project helps me to apply new layers to my work.'

To delve deeper into the subject, Pourabbasi spoke with various professionals during the development process, including physiotherapists, psychologists and designers, especially Bik van der Pol who helped him to curate the show and formulate the complex concept of comfort and exhaustion. Discussions with design studio Refunc, who specialize in 'Garbage Architecture', helped Pourabbasi to develop a carpet for use in presentations and discussions concerning his areas of interest. Pourabbasi considers carpets to be the most basic product that signifies both comfort and homeliness as well as a sprawling landscape.

He will collate the outcomes of his research into a publication. 'Drawing conclusions or giving unambiguous answers is not my goal. I am not a problem solver. I want to put the pieces together, and in this case, a publication is the vehicle. It will be an important document for raising awareness and envisioning a different future.'

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Chiara Dorbolò
Chiara Dorbolò

Chiara Dorbolò

Although she is trained as an architect, building as much as possible is definitely not what she strives for. Chiara Dorbolò's focus is on the question of what it means to be a contemporary architect. Traditionally, a building constructed based upon your design is perceived by many as the most rewarding part of the job. A significant measure of success is the number of buildings that have been constructed under your design guidance. However, for the younger generation this is different according to Dorbolò: 'Many architects in my peer group are working at the edge of the discipline and are engaged in the ethical responsibility that this profession carries. They do not want to commit to a profit driven system where there is little or no space for other motives and values.'

Dorbolò works at the cutting edge of spatial design and social science, something that she became interested in during her graduation project at the Academie van Bouwkunst in Amsterdam. Here she carried out research into the role of borders in migration patterns centered around the Italian island of Lampedusa, one of the most important arrival points for migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Africa to Europe. 'I became aware of the extent of the social issue and realized that it wasn't a matter of simply designing a solution to a problem. Since then I have become much more involved with research and I started to write more and more about architecture and urbanization, including pieces for Failed Architecture and Topomagazine.com. I also started teaching architectural theory at the Rietveld Academy.'

This year Dorbolò has developed her expertise in storytelling and creative writing through workshops, coaching and professional work. She focused on assembling a publication containing a collection of stories paired up with follies – architectural structures without a specific function. Additionally, over the course of the past year she has published numerous articles and essays and collaborated on various projects exploring the intricate relationship between storytelling and architecture. The fact that she does not reject the designing of new buildings is demonstrated by the successful participation in a design contest for a large housing complex in Milan together with a group of other architects. Dorbolò contributed to the preliminary research, the concept and the storytelling in the proposal that won first place. 'Stories on Earth' is another project where she is exploring the possibilities of combining creative writing and design. Together with Failed Architecture she mediated a collaboration between professional designers and writers. This project will be presented in 2021 at the Biennale of Venice.
Cream on Chrome
Cream on Chrome

Cream on Chrome

Having graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2018, Martina Huynh and Jonas Althaus went on to form Cream on Chrome, a partnership which carries out research into the social impact of technological developments. Their interactive installations, presentations, videos and digital tools primarily pose questions such as: what is a meaningful relationship between humans and technology? What are the consequences of our dependency on devices? And who is actually responsible for the problems associated with technological progress?

One project that specifically addresses the latter question is 'Proxies on Trial'. 'Complex global issues like climate change or the current pandemic can get stuck in abstract discussions,' Huynh says. In order to make the conversation more concrete and give us a sense of control, the duo decided to press charges against everyday objects. Three different lawsuits take place in a 'whodunnit' video: a sneaker is arrested and prosecuted for global warming, an alarm clock is accused of causing traffic jams, and a face mask is on trial for not showing up in time to prevent infections. The fictional debate between prosecutors and defendants raises questions about mutual blame and the search for scapegoats. The decision to accuse objects (instead of people) is meant to prevent the jury from being biased.

Huynh and Althaus enjoy exploring the origins of established systems, consulting different philosophies, from Bruno Latour and Ubuntu to the ancient Greeks. With their Lab of Divergent Technologies, they turn the relationship between humans and technology inside out. Assuming that everything designed is a reflection of the creator and their zeitgeist, Cream on Chrome presents alternatives based on other philosophies and beliefs.

For example, they take a closer look at common, well-established concepts – like the clock. Our entire society is organized around the idea of linear, measurable time; a notion that was simply agreed upon. On one hand it's very efficient, but at the same time, it limits our freedom. What if we decided to use intuitive time instead? 'Today's technical applications often make users feel powerless. We like to create different designs that require more personal responsibility,' says Althaus. 'With our installations, we want to inspire the audience to rediscover their own role.'

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Gilles de Brock
Gilles de Brock

Gilles de Brock

With the help of YouTube, Gilles de Brock taught himself how to make hand-tufted carpets with wild, colorful patterns. Encouraged by his success he thought that something similar might work with ceramic tiles. Although printed tiles already exist, the specific glazing properties he had in mind disappeared during the manufacturing process. So, what did graphic designer, art director and creative coder Gilles de Brock do? He built his own ABCNC (AirBrush Computer Numerical Control) machine, explaining: 'Whatever I didn't know, I learned from YouTube videos.' Once everything was working, De Brock spent a few days at the EKWC (European Ceramic Work Centre) working with Koen Tasselaar and Jaap Giesen on the composition and behavior of the glazes. 'I eventually realized that I should rely on experts for the craftsmanship, and do the rest myself online.'

De Brock can now print tiles exactly as he intended but, this didn't happen without a fight. It took two years to get the machine to produce shiny glazed tiles, instead of pieces of junk. The tiles are fascinating because of the alienating effect they have on viewers. At first, they appear to be handmade, but upon closer inspection they are far too perfectly formed for that to be possible. There's something slightly psychedelic about the distinct aesthetic of the pixelated patterns and colors with a glaze that resembles car paint. The initial results were displayed at the Unfair art fair in Amsterdam, where they hung like colorful collages on the wall, contained within the borders of a frame. It was nice that he sold some artwork, but De Brock definitely doesn't see himself as an artist: 'I'm more of an entrepreneurial applied designer who sees the potential in collaborating with architects and interior designers. I envision a bar in a café or hotel lobby, or furniture and metro stations covered with my tiles.' In Jaap Giesen, he has found a partner who can help him market his new products commercially.

Because of the coronavirus, other exhibitions have been postponed, including one at the Fisk Gallery in Portland (US). The results of his research however have led to a publication with Corners, one of the leading graphic design and risograph printing studios in South Korea, which will also distribute it throughout Asia. Additionally, there will certainly be an exhibition in Seoul in the near future.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Giorgio Toppin
Giorgio Toppin

Giorgio Toppin

The art academies where Giorgio Toppin studied did not fully appreciate that his concepts were linked to his cultural background; there was no scope for non-Western approaches and ways of thinking. He was subsequently motivated to make his work public and move beyond academic contexts. In 2007, together with his sister Onitcha, Toppin established the fashion label XHOSA, a moniker similar to his middle name. He wants to offer a more varied and broader choice to young men who want something more in their wardrobe than shirts and jeans. He is proud that he is both from Amsterdam, born in 'little Suriname' (Amsterdam Zuidoost), and a black man with a Surinamese background. 'I mix the two worlds into new narratives. I translate them into collections that blend into the contemporary western context. Fashion that I and my clientele find cool to wear.'

His interest in the Surinamese diaspora and the culture of his homeland led the designer to return to Suriname last year for the first time since he was a baby. Toppin recorded everything and made a documentary to contextualize his research into Surinamese costumes, craftsmanship and techniques. He interviewed artisans about their profession and its development. 'They all gave the same answer: the value of preserving traditional crafts is important and evolves with societal changes. I showed them other possibilities. They were amazed that I translated their fabrics and patterns into a clothing collection.'

He applied indigenous knotting techniques with tassels to a sweater and a hand-embroidered traditional print from the Saramacca district to a winter coat. The creole 'kotomisi', which is extremely difficult to put on, is given a new and easy to wear silhouette. 'In Suriname, the women go to cultural parties in full regalia. Their outfits are passed on from generation to generation. However, this tradition does not apply to men. They rarely get further than a T-shirt and pants. That's a pity.' Therefore, his new collection ensures that men and women, here and in Suriname, have a greater variety of clothing that also adds something new to the street scene. The Covid-19 outbreak meant he could not present his collection during New York Fashion Week, but a launch closer to home is imminent. He also plans to organize viewings for shop buyers.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Jing He
Jing He

Jing He

It should have been a year filled with travel and executing several concrete, ambitious plans. Instead, for Jing He, it has become a period of sitting still and reflecting on her own practice: 'This year I had the opportunity to discover how I can use myself.'

The inspiration for her project plan 'Elysium' was the transformation of her Chinese hometown. 'I can't really prove that I grew up in that city,' she says. 'I don't have any evidence, because all the buildings from my childhood have disappeared.' They have been replaced by modern office buildings and shopping centers. And to give the city some extra appeal, it recently added a life-sized copy of Paris's iconic Arc de Triomphe. It's not an exact imitation, but an adapted design which includes office space and an art gallery.

The idea was to visit this Arc and two other Chinese replicas, as well as a number of other places in China where you could see the imitation and reinterpretation of European cultural history. The practice of copying and identifying formations as social phenomena are often central to He's work. She intended to conclude her research trip with a visit to Paris, 'the original', which would offer inspiration for a series of objects. However, the arrival of the coronavirus, starting in China, threw a spanner in the works. Her trip was cancelled.

Suddenly, there was time to think about an issue that He kept circling back to: how can you translate your research into a social phenomenon into a design, an object, something tangible? How can you make it visual? 'Sometimes an idea is just an idea, but making is a whole different path,' says He. Thanks to advice from former teachers at the Design Academy and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, she has explored new ways of creating and forming routines. For example, it led her to create objects out of fresh fruit, which quickly decompose. Another discovery was drawing: not purposefully sketching, but drawing as a means to freely generate new ideas: 'That gave me courage, because it made me realize that I don't have to know the outcome in advance.'

Through her drawing and online research, she gained new ideas and insights which have yet to be visualized and materialized. He still wants to continue with her original plans as soon as possible.

Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Juliette Lizotte
Juliette Lizotte

Juliette Lizotte

'My fascination with the subversive figure of the witch began at a young age,' says Juliette Lizotte, also known as jujulove, 'but over the years it faded into the background.' In recent years however, her interest returned and has become the subject of her research. Primarily interested in the relationship between witches and nature, Lizotte makes a connection to ecofeminism. This social and political movement stretches back to the seventies and assumes a correlation between the oppression of women and the decline of the environment. 'As a subject the witch is the perfect vehicle for current events. Her evil image is undeserved. The witch is due a modern interpretation; she is actually an autonomous person, a disruptive, revolutionary character who consciously takes her responsibilities towards the flora and fauna around her'.

French by birth and educated at the Sandberg institute, Lizotte wants to revitalize the climate change discussion with her video work and LARP games, a wake-up call to make people reconsider their harmful habits when it comes to the environment. She aims to create accessible work that also draws interest from outside of the world of art. 'I focus my energies on a younger audience. Youth in particular should feel challenged by the climate crisis. However, the subject is sadly quite often viewed as boring and evokes feelings of guilt. Besides, many other social-political questions seem more urgent.'

Last year Lizotte has followed dance-, performance- and writing courses. She collaborated with dancers and theatre makers and with a fashion designer co-created costumes from recycled plastic for the dancers in her videos. She also delved into the possibilities of LARP-gaming and received advice on optimizing her work presentation. It all served a purpose; to give her research more depth and shape and to create a parallel world to inspire others. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus the presentation of her work had to be delayed. 'Video shoots could not go ahead and have been postponed. But we picked ourselves up; last week we managed to get together for the first time to film, which was pretty exciting.' Lizotte documents her research both online and in a publication.
Kasia Nowak
Kasia Nowak

Kasia Nowak

The relationship between art and the environment has fascinated Kasia Nowak since she was young. Her graduation project 'Art in Context', which won the 2016 Archiprix, investigated the optimal spatial conditions for art and how they are experienced. The project she has researched over the past year continues this concept, however she has shifted the focus from 'an urban location' to 'a specific location', namely the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. As the curator of her own narrative, she formulates a new and different museum typology: a positive and critical take on exhibiting.

The choice of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen is specific. Since the museum is undergoing a renovation, Nowak sees this as a unique opportunity. She also thinks Adrianus van der Steur's ideas are aligned with her own. 'His designs for the original building took specific artworks into account. For example, he wanted to avoid shadows in the corners of the rooms. Such considerations should happen more often.' She delves further into the architectural context of artworks, focusing on aspects often neglected or even ignored in museums: 'Placing a work of art in the wrong context creates an incomplete experience.' She has found numerous examples where placement, natural light, artificial light, or dark spaces can affect how a work is displayed and interpreted. She spoke to historians and read biographies and interviews with artists, from which it became clear that many artists explicitly state how their work should be displayed. Nowak also investigated where certain artworks have been, whether they were specifically made for a location, and whether they were integrated into the architecture.

The results of her research 'Art in the City' will probably be displayed in the Depot of the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. For the time being, she is making scale models of objects and experimenting with alternative materials, transparency, shapes and colors. 'It is a privilege to be the curator of your own exhibition that deals with how you can present differently.'

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Kuang-Yi Ku
Kuang-Yi Ku

Kuang-Yi Ku

For his 'Tiger Penis Project' Kuang-Yi Ku won the Gijs Bakker Award from the Design Academy in Eindhoven two years ago. The project presents a sustainable alternative to the use of protected species in Chinese medicine and is more relevant than ever. As the consumption of wild animals in China may have been responsible for a pandemic, the search for an alternative has become even more urgent. 'I have been trying to think of a way to produce artificial bats and pangolins,' says Ku, 'to enable us to preserve traditions and at the same time prevent disaster.'

Meanwhile, temporarily from Taipei, Ku is working on three projects for which he has applied to the Creative Industries Fund NL. As a social designer and bio-artist with a background in dentistry, he designs controversial scenarios for the human body. These are based around health, sexuality and our interaction with other species on the planet. Ku searches for methodologies connecting design and medical science. To keep the context contemporary, he also adds a dose of sociology and politics.

Quite often these scenarios portray an oppressive future which explores the lines of what we perceive to be acceptable. An example of this is the project 'Delayed Youth' which outlines a dystopian scenario where the conservative party of Taipei has removed all sexual education from school textbooks. In that case, why not develop an injection that removes one's sex drive and halts the onset of puberty until a person is legally allowed to have sex – at the age of eighteen? A video shows how uniform the world would look if, up until their eighteenth birthday, people are virtually indistinguishable from each other, including trouser skirts for the gender-neutral youth. The second project explores the ethical aspects of modern-day reproductive technologies. 'Grandma Mom' introduces the idea of surrogacy in elderly women for their own daughters, which allows the daughters to continue with their careers.

The third project on which Ku is working is also based around the concept of sexuality and reproduction. Together with an animal ecology researcher from the VU in Amsterdam, Ku compares an androgynous snail with other hermaphrodites; what is normal for a snail, is abnormal for humans. 'Perverted Norm, Normal Pervert' takes a biological view on discrimination of sexual minorities.

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Lieselot Elzinga
Lieselot Elzinga

Lieselot Elzinga

Feminine and tough, with a rough edge. That's how Lieselot Elzinga describes her eponymous fashion label, Elzinga, which she founded together with Miro Hämäläinen after graduating from the Rietveld Academy in 2018. Their love of the stage is evident in their designs. Hämäläinen attended art academy and theatre school, and Elzinga has been a singer and bass player in various bands since she was twelve. 'You have to be able to make an entrance and perform immediately. Our clothing is extravagant but not too much, just enough to make you feel good on stage.' The brand celebrates fashion and music, with simple, precise shapes and heaps of color. The designs evoke the fifties, sixties, Teddy Girls, Pop Art and rock 'n' roll, but anno 2020. And it's very popular too. Elzinga's graduation collection was spotted by Parrot fashion agency, who immediately signed the pair up and introduced them to London's MatchesFashion.

That's when it all started. They had to translate a graduation collection that didn't focus on wearability into a sustainable collection for the commercial market. 'I incorporated PVC in my graduation pieces. At the art academy, however, I never considered the applicability of what I made. This suddenly became important.' The task didn't daunt the duo, and they got off to a flying start. 'Of course, we made many mistakes, but ultimately you learn the most by just doing.' And they did a lot in their first year: the launch of four collections, a presentation at London Fashion Week and the opening of Amsterdam Fashion Week – appropriately at the Maloe Melo blues café.

In between, they carried out research into fabrics at a Spanish weaving mill and worked on their professional business operations. 'Suddenly it's no longer a hobby but an enterprise', says Elzinga, 'We had to consider finances and business management – pretty awful stuff. What's nice is, it's getting faster and faster. The first collection took eight months, the second four and the last only two.' Meanwhile, a fifth collection is in the works, this time no longer exclusively for MatchesFashion. The style has become more subdued. 'Fashion is bound to human behavior. We make a lot of party clothes, but these days there aren't that many parties. That's why the new collection is a bit quieter.'

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Marco Federico Cagnoni
Marco Federico Cagnoni

Marco Federico Cagnoni

'Super happy and super tired.' That's how designer Marco Federico Cagnoni feels after a year of researching latex-producing edible plants in collaboration with Utrecht University. He is now one step closer to his goal: a fully biodegradable bioplastic that has all the advantages and properties of synthetic plastic. The twelve months of the Talent Development program are only the start of the material's development. Cagnoni estimates it will take several more years to get 'from the seed to the material.'

Utrecht University allows him to use a greenhouse in their botanical gardens to grow a small selection of plants with potentially high latex yields, such as salsify – the 'forgotten vegetable'. Unlike more well-known bioplastics made from algae or mushrooms, latex (the basis of, among other things, rubber) does not contain cellulose. According to Cagnoni, cellulose-based material does not make a high-performance bioplastic. He was already studying this matter for his graduation from the Design Academy Eindhoven and the development year has allowed him to further research his ideas and hypotheses into practice.

Monitoring the cycle of a plant takes a lot of time; nature cannot be rushed. The corona measures meant he was temporarily unable to take care of the plants, and the harvest failed. Fortunately, he was able to make a chemical analysis from an earlier sample. 'The bottom line is that we discovered a new material that has incredible characteristics and is 70% similar to polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) rubber.' Now they have discovered the 'fingerprint' of the material and know precisely how it is constructed. But there is still a long way to go: 'We have probably found the key; now we must find the lock.'

The next step is testing the material under different conditions. For the project to succeed, a huge increase in scale is needed: ample growing space and larger machines to extract the latex from the roots or an industrial partner who will commit to the research. Each step is demanding but developing this into a mass-produced material is essential to Cagnoni. As a social designer, his aim is to translate science into design. And not only for the '1%', but also for the benefit of the entire earth and its inhabitants.

Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Mark Henning
Mark Henning

Mark Henning

These are interesting times for Mark Henning. His graduation project 'Normaal' at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017 marked the start of a period of research on how people perceive normal and the rigidity of our normality. In response to Mark Rutte's remark that 'the norm here is that we shake hands', he designed 'the perfect handshake'. He measured everything down to the millimeter and outlined instructions for a training table to be used when integrating newcomers to Dutch culture – to the point of absurdity. Since then, he has continued to create playful interventions that deal with interpersonal space and the related gestures. In March, his work was displayed at the Philadelphia Museum in the US, as part of the 'Designs for Different Futures' exhibition.

And then the pandemic arrived. Now all of us are talking about 'the new normal'. The world has been turned upside down, which can be a gift to a designer who was already questioning what is normal. Henning is currently rethinking his work. The practice mirror and carefully drawn lines on his training table have made way for something else. While Henning's lines were meant to bring people closer together, public spaces are now covered in lines that show people how to keep their distance. Shaking hands is now out of the question: 'A gesture that is meant to show trust has now become a risk.'

Henning thinks it's surreal. Of course, he's already been observing and playing around with the complexities of social distancing. He's working on an adapted installation for Designs for Different Futures, which will soon move to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The question now is how closeness and intimacy will change. He is especially interested to see what will happen as we re-emerge from lockdown, asking: 'How will we deal with interpersonal space? Will we ever feel safe shaking hands again? What will social interaction look like in six months?' Henning is working on a dramatized documentary that highlights different traditions. 'We don't know how long this process will take, but what if we have to learn it all over again?' If that occurs, Mark Henning's tools will offer us one solution. And then we can all reintegrate, with a knowing wink to what we once considered normal.

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Marwan Magroun
Marwan Magroun

Marwan Magroun

'You would make a very good father… just like your mother.' On a Tunisian beach, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Marwan Magroun's mother explains what it was like raising three children by herself in Rotterdam. Magroun's father wasn't around – something that seems to confirm the stigma surrounding fathers from a migrant background. But in his current circle of friends, the photographer and videographer has had a very different experience. He sees divorced fathers with Cape Verdean, Antillean and Surinamese roots fighting for their children, consciously focused on how to provide for them, and grappling with the question of whether they are doing it right or not. So, to counter the negative image of bi-cultural fathers, he decided to make a photo-series and a film. He explains: 'Since 9/11, there's been something projected on us. I'm looking for ways to combat that. Instead of a prejudiced image of the group as a whole, I want to provide a more personal, nuanced view.'

In his half-hour documentary, 'The Life of Fathers', he follows three single fathers. While he interviews his friends and photographs them at close range, his search for nuance is filmed under the direction of Rien Bexkens. 'We all think in stereotypes,' says Magroun, 'until you get to know the people as individuals. The fathers I spoke to want to see their children, be involved and raise them to be good people.' The film was screened at the IFFR in January and is currently in the running for a variety of international festivals. Magroun's goal is to make more of these kinds of independent productions – he calls them 'meaningful stories'.

His passion for photography began completely by chance in 2012, when he got an old SLR camera from 1967, found among some rubbish on the street. He bought a roll of film at the HEMA (a famous Dutch department store) and started taking pictures of the city where he was born and raised. Four years later, he bought a new camera and quit his job as an organizational expert; in 2017 he won the Kracht van Rotterdam photography prize. He's now scaling up his business: 'I've now reached the level where I can just do what I think is cool. There are still plenty of stories waiting to be told.'

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Maxime Benvenuto
Maxime Benvenuto

Maxime Benvenuto

Design research. Much has been written and said about it, but what is it really? Or rather, what does it mean? Last year, when Maxime Benvenuto visited the graduation show at the Design Academy Eindhoven, where he also graduated with honors in 2016, he noticed that most of the exhibitors relied on design research. 'But,' he wonders, 'can you really call it that if you've simply read a book as a way to justify prroduction?'. Benvenuto views it more as a discipline that collects intangible knowledge and information, without immediately resulting in a product. Research is never finished, there is no end result, there is only an intermediate state. Therefore, what he is presenting at Dutch Design Week is just a snapshot.

Benvenuto started his own design research – on the practice of design research. He is now conducting in-depth interviews with 17 researchers from the Netherlands, Italy, France, the UK and Japan. They describe the discrepancy between education and practice. For example, a French design researcher at a bio nanotechnology lab had to learn everything from scratch when she started working after finishing her degree. During an interview with a French designer, Benvenuto struggled with the translation of an expression: is it 'la recherche au travers du design' or 'le design au travers de la recherche'? So, is it design for or by research? It turned out that a lot has already been written on the subject – he is currently in the middle of reading discourses by researchers like Pierre-Damien Huyghe, Alain Findelli and Christopher Frayling. 'In practice, it really does matter which preposition you use,' Benvenuto says. Another recurring theme is the subjectivity involved. While most scientists frantically try to remain objective, design research allows for subjective findings. 'That's quite typical', he says. Just like creating interventions to see how people react; design researchers take a much different approach than anthropologists, who want to observe without intervening.

His research on 'the cosmology of design research' is still in progress. It requires depth, which according to Benvenuto, is something that is often missing in design journalism: 'Design has become a fast-moving consumer product, that you should be able to describe in 100 words with a few striking images. But it takes more than that to convey the nuance.'

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Millonaliu
Millonaliu

Millonaliu

Spatial designers Klodiana Millona and Yuan Chun Liu work together as millonaliu. They share a deep interest in alternative ways of living and cohabitation. They are also critical of architecture as a discipline. They consider it to be political, too dominant, canonical and too focused on redundant paradigms that do not meet current requirements for housing construction.

In their development year, they wanted to study two informal housing structures in the capitals of their native countries Taiwan and Albania. In Taipei, residents often add an extra floor to the existing roof. In a city with sky-high rents, these rooftop extensions are usually rented at relatively low prices, thus meeting a need which the government neglects. In Tirana, a completely different phenomenon occurs; here houses are often not finished but are in a constant state of renovation and expansion. This is partly due to regulations: unfinished houses are subject to tax exemption. It is also due to financing: families abroad will often pay for building work, sending money intermittently.

Due to the corona crisis, the research could not take place in Albania. However, millonaliu were able to carry out field research in Taiwan and conducted further research online during the lockdown. While researching its land ownership formation in time and the forces behind it they focused on a genetically modified rice crop that had to be grown for the Japanese market during its colonial domination of Taiwan, with far-reaching consequences. 'You see how just one type of crop can affect the country, the land, the culture, the industry and even the rituals. We looked at how this crop, and therefore agriculture, has had a strong effect on the environment, both physically and socially.'

The designers are currently organizing the information they have collected for an online publication that they will supplement with comparable examples of alternative forms of cohabitation. Beyond the outcomes of their projects, this development year allowed millonaliu to investigate how to make a living from their work and experiment with types of participatory research. 'How do you collect information that does not come from the people who control the information? What does it mean to research a site both with and within a community? What are our own values, and in this field what do we really want to address?'

Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Milou Voorwinden
Milou Voorwinden

Milou Voorwinden

During her final year studying product design at ArtEZ, Milou Voorwinden participated in an exchange program with the textile lab at Falmouth University. 'That's when I fell in love with weaving,' she says. After graduating, she continued with her own hand loom and began to specialize in textile design – not only the design but also the manufacturing process itself. She is now a jacquard weaver at EE Exclusives, where she has access to industrial machines with 76 warp threads per centimeter – extremely suitable for 3D weaving. Over the past year, she has taken a deep dive into the technology. 'Normally, fabric is made on a loom, then the pieces of the pattern are cut out and finally, everything is put together. When you weave in three dimensions, it's finished as soon as it comes out of the machine. 'Using this approach, you can make and design textiles locally with a single process,' she says. 3D weaving therefore offers major sustainability advantages: it cuts down on waste, production time and shipping.

Voorwinden joined forces with a designer from New Zealand who is currently working on a PhD focused on sustainable pattern making. Together, they have made a pair of trousers, which have already been woven several times in an attempt to figure out the best results. For example, 'how thick should the thread be and how much tension should the machine put on the thread?' It is not really about the resulting design, but more about the manufacturing process and possible applications. She has also experimented with spacers that could replace the less sustainable foam found in cushions; it is a kind of woven TPU framework that provides a springy, lightweight interior.

In addition to researching high-tech machines in Heeze, Brabant, Voorwinden went looking for the opposite extreme – she went to Japan to rediscover traditional looms. In the silk-making province of Kyoto, she programmed old machines that didn't use a rapier, but instead relied on a shuttle and continuous thread. 'They are often punch-card machines connected to a box that controls everything with a floppy disk,' Voorwinden explains. She found a way to make tradition and innovation work together, by making an old machine work with new software. 'I'd love to go back some time and study it more,' she concludes.

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Minji Choi
Minji Choi

Minji Choi

'In Asia, including my homeland of South Korea, people have respect for every living being' says Minji Choi from her studio in Eindhoven. And that's what her 'The Dignity of Plants' project addresses. She investigates the cultural symbolism of plants in relation to the urban landscape by shifting the perspective to the plant rather than the human. Choi uses the 'dignity of the plant' or the 'rights of the plant' to begin redefining our attitude towards other living things. This attitude is often based on false sentiments and moral judgments about what is good and bad or natural and artificial. How we see nature is how we see the world. By putting yourself in the position of a plant, you can look at nature differently.

Last year, Choi elaborated on this fact with a case study of invasive plants, notably the Black Cherry. Known for its vitality, strength and beauty, the Netherlands began importing these trees from America in 1740. Initially, the Black Cherry was used to stimulate the establishment of production forests consisting of pines. The tree however hindered the growth of the pine trees and began to dominate the forest. The initially admired Black Cherry started to be viewed negatively. Since invasive plants supply seeds to birds and provide shelter for insects and other animals, ecologists are now developing ways to take advantage of them in nature. 'Instead of removing invasive trees, we should protect the ecosystem and boost biodiversity, creating a healthier forest with better soil quality and more balance.'

With the exclusion of invasive plant species, Choi sees parallels with the exclusion of people and the way we treat migrants, refugees or obese people. 'As a designer, I want to share stories with a wider audience and help change our thinking.' Choi has done this through a series of publications, a video documentary, an animated film and interviews with ecologists. She also wants to realize her own 'Garden of Eden' and become proficient in garden design. 'In doing so, I am challenging myself to create my ideal garden, and it only makes my case study stronger.'

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Mirte van Laarhoven
Mirte van Laarhoven

Mirte van Laarhoven

Having taken to landscape architecture like a fish to water, Mirte van Laarhoven does not develop conventional parks or squares. She works on large-scale visions regarding climate adaptation and the restoration of biodiversity. By creating small interventions, she contributes to a healthy landscape.

Van Laarhoven graduated from the Academy of Architecture in 2017. As a landscape architect, her starting point is not controlling or conquering nature, but moving with nature. She gives water the space to flow more freely and investigates better uses of natural processes.

But how do you create artistic landscape architecture that contributes to the existing landscape? One example is her 'Underwater Forest' of deadwood that attracts all kinds of creatures, influences the current, and is a gauge of ecology. She also makes land-art interventions, such as playground equipment or sculpture gardens, which are attractive for flora and fauna but also humans. 'The idea behind it is that you get to know nature through play, by learning to look deeper and interact with everything that lives.'

She made significant steps last year and established her own studio: Living Landscapes. She continues to develop her practice and expand her portfolio. The new set of instruments she is developing requires new knowledge and skills. She works with ecologists, artisans and architects to achieve her ambition to realize projects in public waterways. It is not something she accomplishes as a matter of course. 'Government and nature organizations are enthusiastic, but the culture of consultation and the safety aspects make processes slow and policy-oriented. I hope to find a way to realize pilots faster and to test my ambitions step by step amidst the forces of nature.'

Fortunately, her in-laws recently bought a plot of land in Klarenbeek. It is currently dead forest, but the goal is to breathe new life into this former spruce forest, which died due to drought. 'A forester would probably flatten it and replant it in one go, I however am reevaluating the current situation. Revitalizing a forest by myself is not what you would call landscape architecture, but it suits my way of working. I develop a clear vision, followed by an organic translation into practice. This allows me to determine what is needed on-site and deliver something tailor-made. My ideal is a working process that flows like water.'

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Nadine Botha
Nadine Botha

Nadine Botha

Research designer and journalist Nadine Botha has always been aware of the role of stories within culture, and not just any stories, but stigmatizing stories based on fear and propaganda. As a conversation starter, Botha uses 'innocent' topics as tools to retrieve and nuance the stories never told about repression, justice and colonialism. She reveals them through archival research, interviews and partnerships with scientists, by displaying the socio-political and cultural value behind the subjects via installations at exhibitions, through digital media, in performances, publications and workshops.

With her ongoing research project 'Sugar: A Cosmology of Whiteness', Botha brings, on numerous levels, sugar into the spotlight – using this sweet topic to highlight the darker side of transatlantic slave trade and the contemporary food industrial complex. Currently, for 'Projecting Other-wise', she is working with epidemiologist Henry de Vries. This project, which is about public health, stigma and viruses through zombies was rewarded with the Bio Art & Design Award (BAD). 'Zombie apocalypse films bring the modern-day myths of society regarding sickness and the dreaded other together,' says Botha. The zombie story originates from Haitian folklore, where it was used to herald the resistance of slaves, and ultimately the Haitian Revolution that led to the abolishment of slavery. Later, in Hollywood films, the folklore was appropriated to signify white people's fear of black people as disease carriers – a preconception that stemmed from how epidemiology was used during the colonial times to justify segregation and genocide. 'Over the years, the films have evolved to show the zombie outbreak being spread by a virus and the fear-inducing zombie horde itself representing the political other of contemporary news narratives, such as terrorism, refugees, the HIV/Aids epidemic and now the coronavirus.'

How the fear of others is by design something that Botha wants to bring into the conversation, partly due to her upbringing in south Africa and master studies at the Design Academy Eindhoven. 'Racism and colonialism were never a part of any design discussion whatsoever.' This is why she seeks interaction with the audience, to facilitate conversations over subjects rarely discussed. With her work, Botha attempts to make a contribution by sharing alternative, nuanced stories that question the existing narrative and, with it, in time, our understanding of what we take for granted in the world.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Nastia Cistakova
Nastia Cistakova

Nastia Cistakova

'Bittere Ernst' ('Dead Earnest'): the working title of the game in which Nastia Cistakova gently ridicules the 'quarter-life crisis'. 'Too many choices for young people, obviously a very real problem'; Cistakova has the audacity to make fun of the search for meaning – in both text and images. Her graduation project at the HKU was rewarded with the Blink Youngblood Award, for the sublimely uncomfortable feelings that it brought to the surface. The main character in the game she had already created: a pink potato. 'A meaningless shape, representing this whole generation of seekers and their
spiritual chaos.'

Over the course of the last year, Cistakova dug deeper into the identity of her wandering potato. Using the internet as her oracle, roaming forums, Googling questions such as; 'How to spice up your life?'. 'Then you get those fantastically dull answers like; keep a dream diary, learn to meet new people, step out of your comfort zone.' Cistakova joyously and freely associated; creating storyboards where she allowed her potato to go bungee jumping, struggle with new encounters or run away from a set of rampaging false teeth. The absurd was exalted into art. In the artist's own words: without any deeper message. 'The idea is more like; how can I make life even weirder than I thought it was? Allow little dramas to go even further off the rails? Now that makes me happy.'

The game is not yet finished, since the creative process is also a search for new techniques and methodologies. By now she has improved her drawing skills, taken an interest in animation, video, interactive design and 3D objects. 'Actually, I always used to draw by hand so that I could fix any mistakes in Photoshop later. I have now bought an iPad to learn how to draw digitally, so that I can be finished in one go.'
In addition to commissioned work for, amongst others, De Volkskrant, De Correspondent and Het Parool, where it's mainly about what others experience, Cistakova's own projects are much more focused on sharing her personal story. Keep your eyes open in the coming months for the release of Bittere Ernst, for a surprising look into Cistakova's chaotic soul.

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Nikola Knezevic
Nikola Knezevic

Nikola Knezevic

'Bittere Ernst' ('Dead Earnest'): the working title of the game in which Nastia Cistakova gently ridicules the 'quarter-life crisis'. 'Too many choices for young people, obviously a very real problem'; Cistakova has the audacity to make fun of the search for meaning – in both text and images. Her graduation project at the HKU was rewarded with the Blink Youngblood Award, for the sublimely uncomfortable feelings that it brought to the surface. The main character in the game she had already created: a pink potato. 'A meaningless shape, representing this whole generation of seekers and their spiritual chaos.'

Over the course of the last year, Cistakova dug deeper into the identity of her wandering potato. Using the internet as her oracle, roaming forums, Googling questions such as; 'How to spice up your life?'. 'Then you get those fantastically dull answers like; keep a dream diary, learn to meet new people, step out of your comfort zone.' Cistakova joyously and freely associated; creating storyboards where she allowed her potato to go bungee jumping, struggle with new encounters or run away from a set of rampaging false teeth. The absurd was exalted into art. In the artist's own words: without any deeper message. 'The idea is more like; how can I make life even weirder than I thought it was? Allow little dramas to go even further off the rails? Now that makes me happy.'

The game is not yet finished, since the creative process is also a search for new techniques and methodologies. By now she has improved her drawing skills, taken an interest in animation, video, interactive design and 3D objects. 'Actually, I always used to draw by hand so that I could fix any mistakes in Photoshop later. I have now bought an iPad to learn how to draw digitally, so that I can be finished in one go.'

In addition to commissioned work for, amongst others, De Volkskrant, De Correspondent and Het Parool, where it's mainly about what others experience, Cistakova's own projects are much more focused on sharing her personal story. Keep your eyes open in the coming months for the release of Bittere Ernst, for a surprising look into Cistakova's chaotic soul.

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Ottonie von Roeder
Ottonie von Roeder

Ottonie von Roeder

'Currently I'm in Morocco, where I have just learnt how to weave a carpet.' This is the voice-over of the cleaning lady, who, together with Ottonie von Roeder, built the robot you now see in the video doing her job - all by itself. In Roeders 'Post-Labouratory', the cleaning lady worked on her own replacement, allowing her to take time off to go travelling. As opposed to the suspicion of advancing of technology, Von Roeder created a more optimistic scenario. Following in the footsteps of philosopher Hannah Arendt, she makes a distinction between work and labour, the latter includes the jobs that we would rather not do. If we are able to manufacture a robot specifically for such chores, then one is able to spend the time saved doing something immeasurably more enjoyable.

After graduating from the Design Academy Eindhoven, Von Roeder continued her studies into the transition from labour to work. She noticed that her design peers found her self-made robots an interesting solution for physical professions, but failed to associate the experiment with themselves. 'Designers are convinced, as most people, that their own job could never be automated,'says Von Roeder. 'Computers however, have already become extremely important in our field, nearly everything is created with software programs.' Her design research into the future of creative professions explores the possibilities, but also the sentimental aspects. Von Roeder would like to build a robot that is able to take care of her administration and subsidy applications. Meanwhile, in an effort to blur the lines between inspiring and boring tasks, she is also experimenting with software that is able to design models.

Currently Von Roeder is working on a chatbot for the Dutch Design Week which will question visitors. 'Is creativity a strictly human quality or does a computer also possess this ability? Can we simulate design? If so, will it have the same quality? How will it affect the future of our profession?' Ultimately, Von Roeder aims to trigger and activate the audience. 'Automation is threatening if you look passively at how technology is taking over, but you can also choose to take a more active role. If you are able to master the available technology and redesign it and create something useful, then it becomes positive. I see it as a challenge to turn people from consumers into active participants.'

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Paradyme

Paradyme

Florian Mecklenburg and Karolien Buurman have been repositioning their studio this year; what once began as Goys Birls, has now evolved into Paradyme, Practice for Visual Culture. 'A paradigm is a set of rules that determines how you perceive the world', according to researcher and art director Karolien Buurman. 'We decided to immediately break the rules by spelling the word incorrectly.' The intangible framework of the digital domain keeps the duo occupied. Where the world of images previously was dominated by designers, illustrators and photographers, now anybody who owns a smartphone can be an image maker. Paradyme follows this cultural 180 closely. Their new approach is focused more on design research than on delivering an end product. 'Research and strategy were always a significant part of our design work, but now we appreciate the intrinsic value of the process itself,' says graphic designer Florian Mecklenburg.

Lately, the duo has been dedicating time to search for their place in the world of visual culture and pushing any boundaries that they may encounter. They joined forces with a writer and a thinker for the publication of a series of reports on the influence of visual culture. Not being typographers, they decided to create their own font. 'To not have to strictly follow the rules of typography, feels great,' says Buurman. Their font is called Crop Top and is inspired by the garment which exposes the midriff; an item that down the years has been perceived as a symbol for rebellion against society. They regard it as a character in the broadest sense of the word. The back-story is what piques their interest; 'The crop top reveals social-cultural topics on politics, race, gender and religion.' Extensive research will be followed by a visual publication containing their results.

Another new skill they have learnt is virtual 3D sculpting. The duo has also picked up something tangible and earthy; ceramics – because 'not all solutions are found within the computer.' Currently, they are in the middle of a research project into tactile forms and structures and don't wish to disclose much about the objects that will emerge. In the end that's not what's most important, that's the whole point behind this year's research.

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Post Neon
Post Neon

Post Neon

Vito Boeckx and Jim Brady were roommates for a few years whilst students at the Design Academy Eindhoven. They graduated in 2018 with respective virtual reality projects, which they worked on in their living room. As Post Neon, they have continued to develop increasingly sophisticated virtual 3D content. And now, childhood friend Jeremy Renoult has also joined them. 'What we do is recreate objects or situations from the real world in a digital form that you can modify. The challenge is to blur the lines between reality and virtuality in such a way that you sometimes no longer know what you have seen. That surreal element is what makes it interesting', says Brady.

As well as being surreal, it is convenient having a database full of digital 3D objects that you can manipulate indefinitely and use in the most unusual places for campaigns, communication and art. They applied for a grant at the Creative Industries Fund NL to increase their technical skills for the various forms of content. Reality cannot be captured in one program: simulating a building is very different from simulating a garment. They needed the latter to assemble digital collections for streetwear brands Edwin and Lores. But they also designed an AR installation for Cinekid and MU, where children could modify a Coke bottle or a flower on their iPad. They also immersed themselves in the visual language of sand – which is part of the self-initiated 'passion projects'. Brady: 'We saw a documentary about sand scarcity. Did you know that at least fourteen thousand everyday objects are made with sand? If the scarcity continues, there will be no more beaches in 60 years – something we wanted to address. The visual language of sand grains is fascinating and inspiring. We are now working with Fontys to make the project a VR experience.'

'Without VR, the outcomes are difficult to describe. We are therefore working on a showreel that summarizes in a few minutes the highlights of Post Neon's first year. We hope it will also feature the 3D work for Ronnie Flex's new album, which was an assignment from record label Top Notch. Ronnie has put back the release, so we can't say too much about it just yet. But we were responsible for the creative direction and production of the entire album's virtual content.' Each track will feature work by Post Neon on Spotify Canvas: music to listen to and watch.

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Rosita Kær
Rosita Kær

Rosita Kær

Artist Rosita Kær (28) is working on a series of ongoing projects in collaboration with her grandmother, Karen-Hanne Stærmose Nielsen (87). Her grandmother's textile collection was the starting point of her ongoing research. The collection was sold in 2018, and, as a result, has been disintegrated.

What does it mean when a collector or collection disappears, and what creative possibilities does that offer? This is one of the questions Kær is focusing on. Her grandmother's eclectic collection included everything from Bronze Age textiles to pieces of broken or worn out fabric that others might consider rubbish, however she saw potential in all of them. The fact that her grandmother wanted to get rid of the collection because of her advanced age was at first difficult for Kær, because the pieces had been such a big part of her grandmother's life. They were as precious, intimate and personal as a second skin. But the project is also about letting go, about friendship across generations, between two women – one who is at the beginning of her life, and another who is nearing the end.

As a weaver, Kær's grandmother knows everything about yarn, spinning and all kinds of textile techniques. While Kær says that she isn't that interested in mastering the techniques herself, the grandmother and granddaughter have a lot in common when it comes to how they approach the material. She says: 'We both dive into the different layers, into the details, as if we were archaeologists. We look at how things are made, fall apart, and are repaired. For my grandmother, a weaving flaw in a piece of textile has more value than a flawless piece, because the mistakes give you a glimpse into the thought process of the maker. I also prefer holes and slight imperfections. An archaeologist looks for fragments that, when combined, make a story more complete. But there are always still missing pieces. I'm only interested in partial and slippery conclusions.'

In the past year, she has also had conversations with curators, archivists and artists about how they interpret collections. Eventually, Kær will present her own research in an exhibition in which her interest in textiles, ceramics, spatial design, text, archaeology and museology will come together. In the exhibition and accompanying publication, the recorded conversations she has had with her grandmother over the past four years, will be the thread connecting the objects she will exhibit.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Sae Honda
Sae Honda

Sae Honda

Lush green gardens filled with ferns, Japanese blossom trees and two precisely aligned deer. Ivy, a pot with blooming hortensia's and a fat panda bear. These small artificial landscapes are exhibited at the showroom of the Chinese factory in the Guandong province, where artificial plants are produced. Jewelry designer Sae Honda visited various factories during her research project 'Parallel Botany' to investigate the materials used and their seemingly life-like appearance. Here she studied the manufacturing process of the fake plants and flowers. 'It's crazy, just like a science fiction film.'

Like a somewhat contemporary archaeologist Honda questions our current value systems. In her interdisciplinary practice, which aside from jewelry includes objects, installations and publications, she is less interested in the monetary value but rather focuses on the intrinsic value of an object which is found in the attention it is given and how it is treated, regardless of whether it is fake or real. This also applies to Honda's previous project and publication 'Everybody needs a rock' (2018) as well as the artificial plants. 'I don't wish to promote artificial plants but rather to draw people's awareness to what I call “fake nature”. We place less value on these man-made products, but this new fake nature, carefully reproducing the nerves, shadows or raindrops has a value of its own. This craft of faking is fascinating to see. There are so many industrially produced plants where the human touch is clearly visible.'

Honda also investigated the potential of imitation pearls. For her project 'Faux Pearl' she travelled to her homeland Japan where she visited small factories and workshops in Osaka. These places have small-scale production runs where the fake pearls are made by hand and coated with pearl essence. In collaboration with one of these companies and employing their techniques, Honda was able to experiment with shapes other than the classic round bead.

In order to refine her business, start a jewelry label and find the right sales channels, Honda brought in the expertise of Sarah Mesritz, co-founder of the jewelry platform and magazine Current Obsession. In this way she hopes to find shops for her reproducible collection of custom artificial jewelry, made in Japan and assembled in the Netherlands.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Saïd Kinos
Saïd Kinos

Saïd Kinos

Large, colorful murals and artworks reveal street-art artist Saïd Kinos' background in graphic design. Within his design practice Kinos makes use of collage, paint and assemblage techniques that result in works where the closely placed and overlapping fragmented typographies create the illusion of depth. The way in which people communicate; language, symbols, (social) media and the overload of information are his biggest sources of inspiration.

Kinos makes autonomous works for museums and galleries as well as commission pieces. Last year he created three murals at Art Basel and Art Miami which led to an assignment for a mural at a hotel in Okinawa, Japan. The 'Talentonwikkelingsbeurs' (talent development scholarship) gave him the financial freedom to focus on his work and the headspace to think about how to expand his practices on the international stage and to further develop from a content perspective. 'I would like to transcend the street-art label and present myself more as a contemporary autonomous artist who is able to create work accordingly,' says Kinos from his Rotterdam based studio.

The artist also wants to expand his spectrum. In order to give his work an extra dimension; to bring his paintings to life, Kinos has developed his skills in VR, animation, project mapping (a technique that allows you to project a moving image onto a wall) and AR. 'My approach is no different than that of my two-dimensional work, but with an added technical dimension. I would like to master all these forms of digital media, to allow for better communications between myself and the programmers I prefer to work with.' This involves attending online courses in animation and a work visit to the Argentinian-Spanish street art-artist Felipe Pantone, who also broadened his media horizon.

All this Kinos brings together in a large, spacious installation. Inspired by the 'Infinity Room' by Yayoi Kusama, the artist visualizes large-scale works printed on plexiglass surfaces arranged in a row, whereas the rest of the room has been covered in mirrors, allowing the visitor a walk-through experience. In order to realize this, Kinos is constructing scale models, sketching plans and building prototypes. The artist has already presented an installation at the POWWOW! festival in Japan, however due to the pandemic, Kinos has had to re-think his strategies. The Showbox, a company that displays artworks and installations in empty shop windows in Rotterdam, has asked Kinos to participate; the perfect opportunity for a tryout of his installation.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Seokyung Kim
Seokyung Kim

Seokyung Kim

Seokyung Kim loves illustrations, poems and writing. The project 'Alternative of Alternative Literature' which she has been working on for the past year is inspired by a poem from her diary, something she began writing in when she started her studies at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2014. Her projects focus on the algorithms in human speech, including automated translation services such as Google Translate, Markov chain (a mathematical system that moves step-by-step), voice recognition and automatic correction. 'Alternative or Alternative Literature' is in a way the follow up to her graduation project 'The Trace of Sorrow', a book about sadness, written by an algorithm based on eight hundred poetry collections and novels including works by Tolstoy, Brontë, Joyce and Kafka. Kim shows that even though algorithms have no emotions or brains, through our input they are able to develop an unexpected use of language.

For her most recent project Kim worked together with writers and critics and made use of a Markov chain. 'Because the system tried to imitate my style, the end result was randomly translated content, seemingly written by a poet disguised as an algorithmic author.' Out of interest in the ways in which machines both limit our creativity and thought processes, whilst at the same time strengthening our imagination, and how writers and reviewers responded, Kim took part in an online writing workshop. Here she read her Markov chain translated poem, without letting anyone know. Some fellow students didn't like it, whereas as others called it a new style of writing, comparable with conceptual and experimental pieces in ambient music. Kim also asked Korean writer and critic Young June Lee and Dutch writers Lars Meyer and Martin Rombouts for their opinion on the poem. Whilst one was not afraid to experiment with these alternative methods, the other was resoundingly critical.

'I would like to show that a translating machine has more potential than just fulfilling a practical function. A collaboration between “human” writers and machine algorithms opens up possibilities – not just for fun, but it can also become a fresh source of inspiration previously unthought of by writers.' The poetry created by the algorithms and the criticism from the writers and reviewers, will be presented by Kim in a publication. The text takes prominence, but Kim is also experimenting with graphic design. During the process, she often contemplates on 'the relationship between book designer and author'. Additionally, she is learning how to program to broaden her creative practices and be able to create commissioned interactive designs and websites.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Sissel Marie Tonn
Sissel Marie Tonn

Sissel Marie Tonn

Sissel Marie Tonn works on the cutting edge of art and design and conducts artistic research and design studies working with various scientific disciplines. This year she won the Bio Art & Design Award (BAD) with her research into microplastics, 'Becoming a Sentinel Species' in collaboration with microplastics expert Heather Leslie, and immunologist Juan Garcia Vallejo, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Amongst other things she is interested in the complex way in which we relate to ecological disturbances in our environment, from microplastics to earthquakes. After moving to the Netherlands, she became fascinated by earthquakes that were the result of human activity. 'In the case of Groningen and the earthquakes that have occurred there due to the gas extraction, I was fascinated by the detailed stories that people living there told me – some even claimed that they would wake up a few seconds before the earthquake occurred. This made me imagine that they had developed an extreme sensitivity to these vibrations in the ground, the same way a bird would fly low and silently in the calm before a storm, or a dolphin heads to shore before a tsunami.'

In the installation 'The Intimate Earthquake Archive' Tonn's research and the personal stories of the Groningen residents are combined with seismic data. The hard data are literally woven into a soft textile vest, designed with fashion designers Gino Anthonisse and Christa van der Meer. Tonn's partner, sound artist Jonathan Reus translated the data into interactive compositions and sonic vibrations. 'In this way, the audience is able to experience man-made geological changes and gain a better understanding of the phenomenon.' The second continuous project, 'An Education of Attention' ties in with this and is inspired by a stay in Istanbul, a place that in the past was subject to numerous earthquakes due to its fault line position above two tectonic plates. In Istanbul she interviewed residents about their experiences and memories, before, during and in the aftermath of these earthquakes and how they influenced their daily lives in this high-risk area. The data retrieved were woven into a textile topographic map.

In order to forward her practices and professional career, Tonn enlisted the help of two mentors; media artist and creative coach Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a), who specializes in researching how thoughts can influence our body, soul, behavior and consciousness. Her second mentor is design historian and critic Alice Twemlow.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Suk Go
Suk Go
Suk Go

Suk Go

Folklore is not very popular among the younger generation. In times of globalization however, and the accompanying fear of identity loss, folkloric expressions acquire a new value. 'This is how folk music speaks to our roots,' says information designer Suk Go. 'It is often the older generation who try to keep musical traditions alive. However, the strict and old-fashioned way in which they approach this task doesn't always appeal to young people.' Go graduated two years ago from the Design Academy Eindhoven, producing contemporary visualizations of traditional Korean folk music. She chose not to use the standard staves, which very few people can read. Instead, she developed new graphics and installations to make the music more accessible.

After living in the Netherlands for several years, Go decided to study Dutch folk music, which is also disappearing due to its 'dull' image. 'I'm always looking for the spark that can bring something to life', says Go. She found that spark in the dances that accompany traditional Dutch songs. Everyone in the Netherlands can envisage the 'clog dance', but few people know how to do it. To her surprise, there was hardly any information on folk dances in the archives of the Meertens Institute. She scoured the internet, delved into books, talked to music associations, interviewed experts and created an online archive of Dutch folk dance. At moveround.ml you can find detailed information about these dances from the past, from the Afklappertje (Clapper), to the Driekusman, to the Zevensprong (Seven Leaps). The website presents the history of these dances alongside videos and instructions. Go made animations that you can follow without the need for explanatory notes. Its animated graphic icons transcend language, culture and age; you instinctively know when to swing, stamp or clap.

There are many clogs to be found on the website. The costumes, however, turned out to be much more varied. Each region or city has its own caps, scarves, aprons, hats and shirts. 'The cultural variation is greater than I imagined,' says Go. Covid-19 has made it difficult to investigate this variation further. After all, folk dancing is a contact sport. She is now working on an installation that projects her animations onto the floor to be able to follow the instructions step by step – even if you have to keep a little more distance than before.

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Telemagic
Telemagic
Telemagic

Telemagic

Algorithms are the common thread in Telemagic's work. Cyanne van den Houten, Roos Groothuizen and Ymer Kneijnsberg make up this art-meets-technology collective – an open media lab for inventors experimenting with contemporary media and technology. 'We don't look at whether something is good or bad; we look at technology's potential.'

To make the media lab both physically and digitally more accessible, broaden their range and involve other creators, Telemagic are working on tools to share with other artists. One of these is '1 Euro Cinema', a small cinematographic oracle that selects a film for you after you insert one euro. Together with two guest curators, Telemagic filled this 'movie jukebox' with work by more than 40 up-and-coming filmmakers and artists, ranging from short videos to longer documentaries. 'In this way, we offer peers a platform to show their work. It also provides interesting perspectives on how they look at various aspects of today's society.' At the invitation of filmmaker Biyi Zhu, they went to Hong Kong, which resulted in the addition of films and perspectives from outside Europe. China also offers a nice metaphor for the oracle. 'Macau is known as a gambling city; with the 1 Euro Cinema you can bet on a movie.'

Another long-term project is 'Concert in A.I.', which can compose and conduct musical harmonies based on 'AlgoRhytmics', a self-learning music algorithm. In collaboration with Valentin Vogelmann, Mrinalini Luthra and Arran Lyon, they philosophized on how a deep-learning algorithm could theoretically create new musical pieces and genres. They designed a tool that they linguistically trained – after all, music is a language you can parse. 'It's exciting that the algorithm creates patterns, using our tool that stores millions of pieces of data. The results are a new part of the musical spectrum that can endlessly reinvent itself. Usually, we listen to a composer's concert. This is the meta-version of all the music in the world.'

Telemagic's Concert in A.I puts the algorithm center stage. In their magical shows, the designers create varying arrangements where the invisible becomes insightful and tangible. Circles of light and floor projections indicate the notes played and their connection with the instruments. They propose the next step could be an A.I. music label. This autonomous platform would bring together artificial intelligence, musicians and filmmakers.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Tereza Ruller
Tereza Ruller
Tereza Ruller

Tereza Ruller

High in the mountains in the Swiss valley of Engadin, communication designer and performer Tereza Ruller studied, during her design residency, the traditional, colorful, symbolic ornaments, patterns and figures applied by local residents to the facades of their houses using the sgraffito technique. Ruller then translated them into a contemporary digital sgraffito. Over the past year, she has better positioned and professionalized her practice, studio The Rodina. Additionally, as a performative designer, Ruller is exploring topics like body, presence and Non-Western perspectives, a more equitable distribution of resources and labor as well as other ethical issues. She does so by conducting experimental research that combines action, interaction, visual representation and playfulness. Most of her performative designs are visual, but she believes having her own sound is just as important. Accordingly, Ruller collaborated with audio artist BJ Nilsen to create local sounds that accompany her designs.

Together with designer Annelys de Vet, she has also worked on ethical guidelines. These guidelines help Ruller to determine how she is able to work with clients without making ethical concessions. For Vlisco&Co, the Dutch manufacturer of African fabrics, she developed a workshop for young designers from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where many of the Helmond-based company's factories are located. 'The fabric designs are conceived in the Netherlands,' but she wondered, 'If the young Ivorian designers created something themselves, what would that look like?' Within that framework, for her project 'Investigating Underrepresented Perspectives', she wants to consult experts in the field of social design, such as Myra Margolin. The community psychologist specializes in film and video productions that contribute to social change and empowerment in local communities. Ruller says: 'She helped me realize that when it comes to redistributing resources to benefit the people who need it most, even one designer can achieve something on a small scale.'

As part of her work, she provides the audience with tools like stickers, posters that need to be finished, or a carpet that is a playing field, so they can physically intervene and participate in the design process. 'My goal is for people to contribute to, and become part of the story, to feel it and become playful. Allowing the audience to actively participate in my performances enriches the design process. The outcome is surprisingly different every time.'

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Thor ter Kulve
Thor ter Kulve

Thor ter Kulve

Despite the pandemic, London-based product designer Thor ter Kulve has been able to execute many of his intended plans in his development year – although sometimes otherwise than initially planned.

Firstly, there was his proposal to make a rainbow machine: an object that can reproduce this wonderful natural phenomenon. And it worked. A four-meter in diameter circular structure sprays a mist of water towards its center. When sunlight shines through it at the right angle, a round rainbow appears – this is usually only visible from an airplane. The rainbow machine extends Ter Kulve's typically playful functional objects into the realm of wonder and 'how you can show natural processes in the urban, the non-natural, and thus generate a bond between people.'

This project dovetails with his interest in the city. We are making increasing demands on limited public space. But who does public space belong to? And what role can design play in this? Ter Kulve's designs are often responses to archetypes and structures within the public domain. He uses interventions to instill public space with different functions that make people think. An example of this is the lever he made during the lockdown. When placed over the button on a pedestrian crossing, it can be operated with the knee or elbow instead of using your finger. Such a device can encourage discussions about hygiene in public spaces.

His deliberations on these issues led to conceptual designs that he realized in scale models. Ter Kulve also made 'romantic' collages, photo compositions depicting a more balanced life in the city. He intended to study photography and video, but the courses were postponed due to the coronavirus. Instead of just showing a slick photo of an outcome, he is looking for ways to communicate his methodology – the process leading up to a new object – to a broad audience. The scale models and image collections he has been making are a valuable way to document his thought processes. They are forms to share thoughts without having to implement them immediately – quite a step for a maker.

Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Tijs Gilde
Tijs Gilde

Tijs Gilde

Designer Tijs Gilde does not begin with an idea to make a chair, because he believes this limits his mindset. He prefers to experiment and take unusual detours, placing techniques and materials in a new and unfamiliar context. For this design method, Gilde draws inspiration from industrial areas. He likes to work with industrial companies that have no common ground with the design world.

His goal is an interesting, aesthetic and commercial end product. Therefore, he couples his creativity with an economic outlook: 'I work experimentally, but my concept has to provide perspective from the start of the process. Otherwise, I find it too non-committal.' Over the past year, Gilde has continued working on 'Cored', for which he conducted the first experiments during the Envisions exhibition in Milan in 2016. He intended the tests to result in a series of furniture, but now his focus has turned towards lighting. That's how it goes; new ideas and elements keep appearing.

The Talent Development Grant has afforded him the freedom for time-consuming experimentation. For Cored, Gilde researched techniques and materials used in the textile industry, which he combines with other unfamiliar materials. By replacing the core of braided rope – which usually consists of filler material – with another material, he created an aesthetically pleasing lamp that can be hung anywhere. It can also be made in a wide range of colors, patterns and sizes. 'I like mixing up contexts. A rope manufacturer can also make lighting or chairs, which can lend a surprising broadening of a company's market.' This is how Gilde extends his thinking into other unknown worlds.

A well-thought-out presentation strategy is also a vital part of his practice. Unfortunately, a lot has been cancelled. Gilde was unable to show his intended series of Cored furniture at the Salone del Mobile. Because of Covid-19, many industrial companies had to hold back their activities. The money that he would otherwise have spent on showing in Milan however was invested in an internet presentation and a completely renewed website. His astutely posted photos on Instagram during the process were an instant hit. Currently he is working with a major brand to see if Cored can be translated into a range of consumer products.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Tomo Kihara
Tomo Kihara

Tomo Kihara

When a conspiracy theorist tried to convince Tomo Kihara that he was right by using YouTube videos, an idea was born. 'From the moment I saw his home page, it was immediately clear what kind of bubble he was in,' says Kihara, an interaction designer who focuses on the connection between human behavior and technology. He describes how the introduction of artificial intelligence has changed the internet: AI bots predict what you would like to see, and suggest things that match your interests. Other points of view disappear, and the things you were already inclined to believe are confirmed. That doesn't only happen on YouTube – it's also happening on Netflix, Tinder, Amazon and Spotify. On all major platforms, machines use automatically detected personal preferences to determine what kind of information will be presented to you.

Sources of information are always somewhat biased, but if you read The New York Times, you know you're getting something very different than when you watch Fox News. In contrast, recommendation algorithms shape your opinion without any kind of identifiable ideological basis. And in the meantime, they are having a major influence on your worldview. For anyone who is open to a more nuanced view, it's worth taking a look at someone else's home page', says Kihara. As a counterpoint to YouTube, he came up with and developed TheirTube, where you see six different home pages from six different types of people; there is a world of difference. While a 'fruitarian' is seduced by the wonders of a 'hardcore organic life', a 'climate denier' sees proof that global warming is nonsense and a 'conspiracist' is further convinced of his belief in conspiracies.

Kihara is originally from Tokyo and earned a degree in Design for Interaction from TU Delft. After working for some time as a creative technologist at De Waag in Amsterdam, he now works as an independent designer who creates playful interventions that address social-technical issues. The bubbles that we are all part of form the central theme of his work. For Kihara, it's about being open to different ideas from time to time. With this project he accomplished that mission: gaining the 100,000 views he was hoping for within a week of the launch. TheirTube also went viral on Twitter. He quotes the saying 'fish will discover water last' to indicate how difficult it is to be conscious of something when you're right in the middle of it. With this alternative platform, Kihara is challenging those fish to take a more critical look around.

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Ward Goes
Ward Goes
Ward Goes

Ward Goes

Ward Goes lives in Paris, where, alongside his own projects, he works for Dutch clients. This year, for example, he designed his first book: the graduation catalogue for the Design Academy Eindhoven, where he also completed his degree in 2013. Afterwards, he earned a Masters in Cultural Anthropology from Utrecht University. This mix is clearly echoed in his work.

Goes hasn't had time to sit still in the past year. He's been focused on personal development and establishing his practice in a field between visual anthropology, graphic design and journalism. Based on the theme 'objectivity regimes in journalism and public debate', he is examining how he can make a mark on important topics related to the role of media in forming perceptions, balanced reporting, and the changing definition of facts. He explains: 'I'm a news junkie, so I read everything. I integrate that into my work, distorting the relationship between content and imagery. That creates friction. By presenting news in a different context, by expanding and playing with it, I want to inspire debate and encourage people to take a critical look at their sources.'

He mapped out three parallel projects. First, he did fieldwork. His collaboration with furniture designer Arno Hoogland, information designer Irene Stracuzzi and social designer Déborah Janssen challenged him to use different methodologies and processes. Tamar Shafrir served as his advisor, helping him to articulate what he wanted, asking critical questions, and providing literature and theory.

Goes also set an ambitious goal to initiate a monthly conversation with an established designer, typographer, researcher or curator to expand his network and better position his practice. 'By forcing myself to have these conversations, I spoke to artists that I wouldn't normally dare to approach, such as graphic designer Richard Niessen,' he explains. He also had critical discussions with Liza Enebeis from Studio Dumbar and the young French duo from Syndicat about their profession, entrepreneurship and how to make your mark on the public debate.

Finally, to expand his skillset, he learned how to screen print at WOW in Amsterdam. It led to three (political) prints that are part of his final presentation in the form of an installation and a visual essay revealing the outcome of the first two projects.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Yavez Anthonio

Yavez Anthonio

As a Dutch person with Surinamese, Moluccan and Portuguese blood, born and raised in Amsterdam Noord, Yavez Anthonio knows the feeling of not quite fitting in. That is, until he went to Rio de Janeiro for the first-time last year for a video shoot. 'I had a pretty stereotypical idea of Rio: samba, favelas, drugs, and beautiful women on the beach. But what I saw was completely different. The youth culture is very mixed there. There's a lot of classism, yet they mix a lot more. They don't make such a big deal about people who are different. I immediately felt at home,' he says.

Anthonio, who films and photographs in Europe for major brands like Nike, Daily Paper, Adidas and Footlocker, decided to carry out his first independent project in Brazil. With 'Rivers of January' he wants to portray the full spectrum of youth culture. The project title is a literal translation of Rio de Janeiro: 'A river that emerges from a single source high in the mountains, and then twists and turns into strong-willed streams – I thought that was a beautiful image,' he says. The project's starting point was actually New York, where he took Portuguese lessons and a course on documentary photography at the International Center of Photography. 'This project is completely different from the fashion shoots that I'm used to. As a photographer, I have to make myself invisible. It's not about my story, it's about theirs,' he says.

In February he was back in Rio and followed ten young people around with his camera – they ranged from fashion designers to gang leaders. Anthonio is trying to portray them 'as purely as possible', but is still trying to figure out what the end result will be having already interviewed and filmed the participants. The plan is to put on shows in Rio, Amsterdam and New York next summer. He asked the participants about 'normal' things, like their plans for the future, or what they wanted to be when they grew up. 'It's not only about extremes, we're just having normal conversations. And then it seems that we're not so different from each other.'

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Anouk Beckers

Anouk Beckers

For designer Anouk Beckers, 'Dissolving the Ego of Fashion' was primarily a confirmation of her vision. Written by Daniëlle Bruggeman, the book describes the role that fashion plays in the social, ecological and political developments in contemporary society. With her own work, Anouk brings the existing fashion system into question. She started studying psychology, but eventually earned degrees in both TxT (textiles) and fashion from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. She says, 'While I was studying, I already began investigating alternative ways of working, looking for a way I could proudly say that I work in fashion.'

She's currently focused on introducing a model of making clothing that's better suited to her personally. The high point of this approach so far is her project 'JOIN Collective Clothes' (JOIN), where clothing is made collectively. She explains, 'As a designer, I don't want to be an island – I'd much rather involve other professional and non-professional creators in the process of designing and making clothing.' Because of this, she's deliberately seeking a different kind of hierarchy.

Anouk refers to JOIN as a 'manual' – a guidebook for a modular clothing system, which is available online and offline as an open-source system. She says, 'I see this manual as an invitation to everyone to start working on alternatives to “fast fashion”. This methodology challenges professional designers, yet at the same time it's accessible to people who have never been involved in making clothes before.'

JOIN is playful, inclusive and collective. You can think of it as a modern form of quilting, where four different parts of a garment (top / J, sleeve / O, trouser leg / I, skirt / N) are each made by someone else, and then later assembled to create a single piece of clothing. Anouk calls it 'playing with material and form'. Another important point: the material that's used is either donated or 'leftovers', because that part of the process has also been carefully considered.

So far, she's organized four workshops at a variety of locations throughout the Netherlands at institutions like De Appel in Amsterdam and Museum Arnhem. According to Anouk, 'If you experience for yourself that making a sleeve takes a full day, chances are you'll be more critical when you want to buy something that's mass-produced.' She's also presented JOIN to seven different (fashion) designers and asked them if they could make an article of clothing using the modular system of JOIN Collective Clothes.

With this approach, Anouk Beckers is also bringing her own position as a designer into question, saying: 'I'm making the first move, but the physical process and end result are completely open. My design method playfully responds to fashion as a system by offering a different perspective and starting a conversation.' For example, they're often asked who the makers are behind the clothes, and how the value of our clothes is determined. How do we decide if something is ugly or pretty? Or what is the relationship between the designer, the maker and the garment? The beauty of the collective collection isn't only found in the physical outcome, but also in the process behind it. She says, 'In my eyes, that's exactly what determines the final value of the clothing in my project. Something of value is being created throughout the entire process. Because of that, it's always beautiful; it simply can't be ugly. It's very different from a product from the fast-fashion circuit.'

Text: Jessica Gysel
Arif Kornweitz

Arif Kornweitz

About fifty years ago, in the event of a disaster, humanitarian organisations would provide assistance on location in the form of food supplies and medical care. Today, they also work remotely, using technology like satellite surveillance and biometric databases. The impact of these practices isn't always easy to manage, and the development of ethical standards is falling behind.

Historically, people have always responded to new technologies by posing new ethical questions. It seems like the development of ethical principles is by definition lagging behind the development of technological objects. With his research, Arif Kornweitz investigates where the boundary lies between ethics and technology, and how it's connected to the practice of design. What happens if we view ethics as an interface for using technology?

Arif completed his bachelor's degree in literary theory, conflict studies and communication science, and afterwards, earned his master's degree in conflict resolution and governance and political science at the University of Amsterdam. For his graduate thesis, he conducted research on humanitarian organisations that use surveillance technology and the resulting data as evidence of human rights violations. But after being published, this data is still difficult to verify. In addition, there's the question of the role of technology as an 'objective transmitter'. Evidence often only has meaning once someone constructs a corresponding narrative.

As a teacher at the designLAB department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Arif Kornweitz translated his current research into lessons about objects without clear boundaries, and the fluid notion of objects. In addition, he gave several performance lectures as an expression of his research, for example about the phenomenon of 'function creep', in which data is used for purposes other than what was originally intended, or when the function of a technological object is inadvertently expanded. The methods used by humanitarian organisations and the data they collect are both susceptible to function creep.

Text: Manique Hendricks
Arvid & Marie

Arvid & Marie

Despite the fact that humanity gratefully uses technological developments, at the same time, we're also often critical of them. There's much talk about the struggle between man and machine: consider, for example, our current discussions about artificial intelligence. At their eponymous design studio, Arvid & Marie are focusing on his complex relationship between people and technology, combining technical expertise with critical thinking. Convinced that there will eventually be a highly sophisticated form of artificial intelligence, they're turning their attention to collaboration, rather than speculating about who will dominate.

As human beings, we're used to looking at technological advances from only a human perspective. As a result, nearly everything we design is focused on ourselves. Arvid & Marie want to nuance this unbalanced worldview. With this in mind, they develop artistic and alternative concepts to bring the general public into action and encourage them to think more critically. Research on the relationships between people and technology is central to their approach. In many cases, it leads to tangible objects, such their autonomous soft drink machine, called Symbiotic Autonomous Machine (SAM). Without any human intervention, SAM is capable of managing the production process and determining the price of each drink.

Arvid & Marie are currently based in China, were there's clearly a different view on technology. In general, Asians are much more receptive to technologic developments. In cooperation with a Chinese partner, they're developing a massage chair equipped with artificial intelligence and expressive capabilities, called the 'Full Body Smart Automatic Manipulator'.

Especially if they're developing interactive machines, the power of expression can't be lacking. That's why the use of sound is very important for their projects – it's the means to give shape to the emotional charge of interactivity. The 'voice' of the machine is essential for the ultimate experience! According to the two designers, 'We're working on a wide range of projects, but we often return to sound. The implementation of sound in our technological designs is something that we frequently do for long-term projects. In the shorter term or in the interim, we can present our research in a musical way – kind of like informative concerts. Under the name Omninaut, we're compiling an album based on (video) recordings, together with a diverse group of artists.'

In addition to designing, Arvid & Marie want to make the ongoing debate surrounding artificial intelligence more democratic. At the moment, the development of artificial intelligence is still primarily the domain of larger tech companies. They explain, 'If real artificial intelligence is created, there are so many related ethical concerns that we should be deciding on together, instead of it happening behind closed doors, far away from the general public. Everyone should be able to contribute! On one hand, we're embracing progress, and on the other hand, we're scared that technology will end up controlling us. Why should we assume that? Let's give the machines a chance to “get to know” us, and vice versa. It could allow people and technology to find a way to co-exist, and could provide the basis for a kind of social contract for further developments.'

Arvid & Marie also characterise their work as 'design for non-humans'. Because of their design background, they are used to using tools to design different objects. At design studio Arvid & Marie, they rely on technology as the 'tool' to question, understand and shape the society of tomorrow.

Text: Giovanni Burke
Atelier Tomas Dirrix

Atelier Tomas Dirrix

When comes to contemporary architecture, Tomas Dirrix noticed that very little attention is paid to the experience of the building itself – it's mainly about square meters and profits. With his work, he's investigating ways to change that. He says, 'At first glance, a building is mainly about providing shelter, but it's also an expression of tradition, culture and environment. When you look at today's buildings, you see that the latter values are lacking, because they're constructed in such a generic way. Anyone could live there; I miss the personal aspect!'

Tomas bases his work on contradictions which he uses to develop his design methodology. For example, he juxtaposes outdoor space and indoor space, because in addition to shelter, the function of a building is to mark that transition. But what did that relationship traditionally mean, and what does it mean today? It doesn't always have to be about enhancing the contrast, Tomas explains, but can also be about giving more depth to how we typify the relationship between these two extremes.

'What I design doesn't need to be functional architecture. It's more like an exploration of what architecture could be. The development of this 'new architecture' isn't limited to considering the aforementioned contradictions, but is also driven by the emergence of new kinds of building materials. What does it mean for the shape and possibilities of future buildings?'

Using this approach, Tomas makes a series of models, ranging from a multifunctional wall (with a built-in table) to a gigantic balloon that can stretch across a festival stage. You can see the latter as architecture, as well as an art project. He often alternates between experimental projects and more commercial assignments. Here too, he tries to emphasize the value of the design. His intrinsic motivation lies in the fact that the models or spaces he designs can encourage a wider audience to think about what new forms of architecture might look like.

Because it takes so much expertise to construct a building, for architects, collaboration is inevitable. As soon as you start talking about materials, you need craftspeople, because they have more knowledge about the products and how to use them. But you can also use collaborations like these to make progress at a smaller, more experimental scale, says Tomas. This will allow you to take larger steps forward and challenge each other.

One of the most important drivers for Tomas Dirrix is to make people more aware of the magic! He sums it up by saying, 'We should have a sense of wonder about the world we live in, seeing the ordinary as strange, or the other way around. It would be nice if we could once again appreciate the experience of a building.'

Text: Giovanni Burke
Bastiaan de Nennie
Bastiaan de Nennie

Bastiaan de Nennie

Nowadays, contact takes place mainly via digital means and the boundaries between the digital and the physical seem to be getting increasingly blurred. In addition, we are inundated with information and images, but also with a multitude of products. It is precisely this information that Bastiaan de Nennie works with in his artistic practice. As a child, he learned how to use Photoshop at primary school and this led to a fascination for computers, coding language and printed circuit boards. In 2015, he graduated from the Man and Motion programme at the Design Academy in Eindhoven.

In his work, Bastiaan gives existing products a new function by merging them to create a new object or sculpture. He makes 3D scans of objects or parts of objects, which he then adds to an already extensive digital database. This is the source from which he draws to generate new objects that he breathes life into with a 3D printer. Like a reaction to an action, he puts things in the computer and then extracts new things from it. From physical to digital to physical.

Where most colleagues start with an idea or concept, Bastiaan de Nennie starts with a product that he scrutinizes and translates into an idea. His signature is characterized by bright colours and repetitive forms that recur in different ways, such as the spinning wheel of a mincing machine, or a 3D scan of his own feet. Some shapes are clearly recognisable, while others are completely abstracted in neon colours. Physical objects are always both the starting and the end point. In between, various, often digital, adjustments are made on the basis of personal intuition. Craftsmanship and the use and addition of more traditional materials such as clay also find their way into this process.

As a boundless thinker and passionate designer, De Nennie is immensely interested in applying new technology or techniques within his practice, for which he coined the term 'phygital', a combination of physical and digital. As he puts it himself, he wants to stand with 'one leg in the present' with his 'other leg in the future'. His aims are to professionalize and work on his online presentation, as well as enter into new collaborations. Ultimately, he would also like to recycle his own work, for example by melting old existing sculptures or products to create a new work.


Text: Manique Hendricks
Daria Kiseleva

Daria Kiseleva

Daria Kiseleva loves to run or walk as ways to relax, but is constantly on the look-out for new visions. 'I have a lot of tabs open'. Hailing from St Petersburg with a background in graphic design, she graduated from Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem in 2014, and was a researcher at the Jan Van Eyck Academy in 2015-16. Daria's practice revolves around researching and creating new narratives with found and original material. Her work hovers somewhere between design, art, pop culture and technology. She explores the moving image as a communication tool towards a format for visual culture. She mainly creates digital essays and films, focusing on the evolution of digital image technology and tracing it back to its first applications in early space exploration, scientific experiments and cinema. Her inspiration comes from sci-fi scenarios and observation of how technologies move through different contexts (think for example: from the military to the consumer world). She uses these references in her work, which deals with forecasting and a future – but already happening now – dystopia.

'It has become impossible to understand reality without understanding contemporary technology, especially imaging techniques, as they play a big part in constituting reality itself. For instance, how algorithms are used to forecast who is more likely to become a criminal. Or how can a computer notice the difference between fighting and hugging. Or what is 'normal' and what not. And how these 'facts' are used as a ground to colonize and manipulate.' 'For me it's not about paranoia, but uncovering hidden structures. I see myself as a 'visual anthropologist', Daria explains. An excerpt from Field of Vision, Daria's latest digital essay: 'In contemporary reality of abundance of images and signals that are being constantly generated, the concept of vision and the degree of visibility become ever more relevant. […] I am interested in juxtaposing the two meanings of the word 'vision', as in the 'power of seeing' and the 'power of anticipating what will or may come to be” in relation to computer vision (and other related technologies), through a prism of the everlasting dichotomy of human and machine, natural and artificial.'

Daria Kiseleva mostly works with the mediums of film, critical writing, printed and web publications. 'Even if I'm interested in the various formats of digital culture, I have a real fondness for printed matter.' Together with graphic design duo Mevis & Van Deursen she worked on catalogues, posters and signage for artists and institutions, like Documenta 14 in Kassel and Museum Krefeld. Currently she is a research member at the 'The Shock Forest Group' with Nicolás Jaar, as part of the 2d chapter at Het Hem. 'I believe it is our responsibility, as makers, users and unwillingly unpaid labourers, to study, expose, hack and play with mechanisms of production, representation and consumption to expose their hidden mechanisms.'


Text: Jessica Gysel
Darien Brito

Darien Brito

Darien Brito came to the Netherlands as a classical violin player to study at the Royal Conservatoire in Den Haag, where he received degrees in composition and sonology, a broader approach to artistic sound, with a focus on electronic and digital tools. For him, computers and synthesisers were a source of liberation from the challenges, as a composer, to actually have his pieces performed by musicians in public. Still focusing on composition, his interests shifted to programmable devices, open-ended aesthetics, and structures of sound. He approached electronic music and coding largely as an autodidact, with an eclectic set of references including Bach, late-20th-century spectralism, and today's underground electronic music scene.

Darien first encountered algorithms in his exploration of generative systems for composition, but he did not see them simply as convenient tools for creative output. His desire to understand how they functioned led him from sound to visual graphics, where the patterns created by each algorithm were easier to analyse. Eventually, his parallel experimentation in both media came together in the form of generative audiovisual works, less as finished compositions than as immersive live performances. But it also drew him deeper into the field of coding and computer algorithms. He was increasingly preoccupied with the technology 'behind the scenes', the cultural impact of artificial intelligence, and the questions it raised for contemporary society more broadly.

In that vein, Darien's recent work has investigated machine learning (ML). The topic of ML is viewed today with mixed fascination and fear, as it permeates through our social infrastructure from facial recognition and song recommendations to hiring processes and policing. It also is the basis for fantastic, if unlikely speculations about sentience and creativity in machines. However, there is an enormous vacuum of knowledge about how ML works among the people who are affected by it in innumerable ways every day. Over time, Darien Brito's motivations have become more pedagogical. He does not want to show the end product of a learning process. He wants to show instead how the computer learns.

But to do so, he needed to teach himself how to write an ML algorithm from scratch, and to become familiar with advanced mathematical formulas. He began with a classifier, which determines if an input belongs to a certain class or not, and trained it using a dataset that he also made himself. The outcome is a library of ML algorithms for the software Touch Designer. Darien also shares his hard-earned, applied knowledge through tutorials, with the ultimate goal of empowering digital users to better grasp the technology available to them, and to use their critical and ethical judgment.

Text: Tamar Shafrir
Elvis Wesley

Elvis Wesley

He has a long blond fringe, which falls smoothly over the upper half of his face and under which his nose just peeps out. A broad smile from ear to ear and a pointed chin. His skin, teeth and hair are green, yellow, pink, blue and purple. This fictional character, named Elvis Wesley, is the mysterious alter ego of designer Wesley de Boer. After completing his Art & Design studies at the Graphic Lyceum in Rotterdam in 2016, De Boer went on to study at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, in the Man and Identity programme. During his graduation in 2017, Elvis Wesley took actual shape in 'The Birth of Elvis Wesley', a surrealistic animation film set in another cosmos full of colour and intertwining forms. De Boer made use of VR casting techniques, providing an interesting insight into the endless possibilities of 3D modelling software.

As a child, Wesley de Boer often sat in front of the television for hours on end and preferred to watch cartoons. While he was being sucked into the TV, he fantasized about the possibilities of the endless, colourful worlds in which the cartoons take place, and he built sets with home-made puppets and action figures to mimic these non-existent environments. The born Rotterdammer still finds inspiration for his current practice in cartoon-like figures and environments and the creation of new worlds outside the existing reality. In addition, social media is a source of inspiration for him and he is particularly interested in the online representation and expression of identity.

With Studio Elvis Wesley, De Boer builds a personal and recognizable form language – characterized by bright colours and remarkable, often artificial forms – and at the same time he refers to pop culture and fictional characters and their representation. De Boer sees his work as a cross-pollination of different techniques and disciplines in which Elvis represents the connecting factor. De Boer not only produces a great deal of free work with Studio Elvis Wesley, but also carries out many commissions for various clients, ranging from festivals to museums. These commissions are expressed in various media including animation, sculpture and photo campaigns, but also products such as lamps and wallpaper.

Thanks to the Fund, Wesley de Boer is building the world in which Elvis Wesley operates, project by project. He would very much like to extend the living environment of his alter ego to become an immersive experience where everyone can feel what it's like to be Elvis Wesley for a moment. Between tropical flowers that appear to be made of red, purple, yellow and green tubes of light, brightly coloured monster trucks thunder past cities that are made up of dark cubes with fluorescent patterns and are inhabited by flying drones. In this wonderful place between fantasy and reality, visual art and design merge and boundaries between animation, installation, object and the digital are blurred.


Text: Manique Hendricks
Gino Anthonisse

Gino Anthonisse

The fact that Gino Anthonisse tries – as he himself puts it – 'reasonably consciously not to follow the traditional fashion path' is an understatement. He graduated in 2014 as a fashion designer from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and was immediately asked to become the fourth person to join Das Leben am Haverkamp, the artists' collective based in The Hague consisting of Anouk van Klaveren, Christa van der Meer and Dewi Bekker. They graduated a year earlier.

For Gino, it felt like landing in a warm bath. 'We share the same ideas, and although we operate as a collective, the collective itself does not have a fixed profile and is effectively the sum of our individual practices. The four do share a workspace and also take on larger projects together in order to fulfil their common passion: exploring what fashion can be, more than just designing the wearable garment.

They started out on the traditional path: a first collection, a showroom in Paris twice, and two shows during Amsterdam Fashion Week. But the fashion circuit didn't really appeal so much: 'too many designers, too many collections, too many clothes'. During one of the showrooms, the collective organized a subsequent exhibition and was so satisfied with it that they decided to explore the more autonomous side of fashion in greater depth. For Gino, this meant working in 2D, 'working from collages, uncompromising in form', and then translating it into three dimensions and searching for relevant links between fashion and body.

In 2017, Das Leben am Haverkamp carried out an intervention at the Zeeuws Museum in Middelburg. The reason for this was a makeover of the fashion spaces and the question of how a new generation of visitors to the museum looks at centuries-old objects that they have often never seen before. Das Leben am Haverkamp developed a new series of objects: clothing, but also accessories and utilitarian items. As a starting point, they took 40 objects from the collection that were randomly selected on the basis of a list. Every tenth visitor was given the task of describing the objects, without explicitly mentioning what the objects actually were. The collective then created the 40 pieces, based on these descriptions, without actually having seen the original objects. The result was a large curiosity cabinet consisting of turquoise, red, yellow or pink objects – each designer had their own colour – such as an oversized fisherman's coat, a totem, a mask and a turquoise baby covered in golden balls. It also generated a colourful book with essays, documentation of the show and, in particular, numerous process images.

In his work, Gino Anthonisse is constantly in search of wonder, always from a different angle. At the moment, he is working a great deal with materials that are new to him, such as plaster, foam and ceramics, with the intention of inspiring viewers to come up with new ideas, to raise questions, and just to make the public think at all. In addition, he works one-and-a-half days a week at the art academy in The Hague, where he is an instructor at the textile and fashion workshop. 'I'm not a teacher, I don't assess students but I help them, and that's a good position for me.'

Text: Jessica Gysel
Irene Stracuzzi

Irene Stracuzzi

As a graphic designer Irene Stracuzzi is fascinated by cartography. Her practice looks at the effect of technical, aesthetic, and logistical design choices on larger political, environmental, and social phenomena. She has noted the contradiction between the purportedly objective and detail-oriented process for designing maps and the forcefully political use of maps for single-minded purposes. By materialising collected cartographic data in a representational medium, designers equip powerful or institutional agents with concrete tools to support their rhetorical claims. The designer thus plays an instrumental role in territorial negotiations.

After graduating from the Design Academy Eindhoven's Information Design master's programme, she continued her personal practice along the course established by her thesis project, 'The Legal Status of Ice'. Beginning from the theme of international borders in the Arctic Ocean, her project grew to encompass a range of themes from legal frameworks, data collection, border politics, natural resources, and climate change. Due to the transdisciplinary relevance of her research, she has been invited to take part in a variety of exhibitions, from 'Broken Nature' at the Triennale di Milano to 'GEO–DESIGN: Alibaba' at the Van Abbemuseum.

Irene approaches her interests through a rigorous research process that involves historical, scientific, statistical, and technological investigations and a strong ethics about the responsible use of data sets. In her explorations, she often intersects with researchers who deal with critical information as non-designers. She sees great potential in collaboration with scientists and experts from other fields, especially where their urgent observations go unnoticed because they are poorly visualised or not visualised at all. In particular, she is focused on the climate crisis due to the misinformation and lack of understanding of the general public when confronted with conflicting theories, politicised legislation, isolated data points, and anecdotal experience. 'Our inability to collectively envision climate change as a systematic global phenomenon, rather than a series of isolated local events, may account for our general inaction or denial of our influence on the environment—and design could be a key framework for mobilisation.'

At the same time, Irene is highly conscientious of the designer's role in mediating data in tangible images or objects. Single data points or data sets have little meaning until they are layered with other kinds of data, and the content and aesthetic choices made in generating composite data visualisations have enormous repercussions on the interpretation of the viewer. In fact, her Arctic Ocean research indicates that maps themselves made borders possible. Her practice confronts both highly technical GIS software and subjective image-making, as in the gigantic inflated globe she made for 'GEO—DESIGN', with bright orange oceans and flipped orientation, with the South Pole on top. Irene Stracuzzi reveals the unacknowledged influence of the designer in the world order, as well as the need for a careful and informed approach to data.

Text: Tamar Shafrir
Job van den Berg

Job van den Berg

Job van den Berg has a fascination for industrial manufacturing processes. His passion for this was aroused by a fairly common object: chairs. He is also known in his circle of friends as the 'chairman'. With more than a hundred items, his collection is literally bursting at the seams, forcing him to leave certain items with his friends.

Every day he goes to work in his studio, which is full of cupboards, rough industrial material, glass bastions and of course chairs. Here, Job develops various objects that are located at the interface between industry and art. 'I'm always looking for an industrial find, something that can make a major impact. If I develop a new technique that gives the production of, for example, a piece of furniture more possibilities or more value can be attached to it, then I'm in my element.'

In addition to work that is more focused on art, Job also concentrates on producing for a somewhat larger audience. For example, he designed a wooden cabinet that he had pressed into steel, a fusion of industrial and natural materials. This process increases the decorative value and also the durability. The project, called 'Metal Skin Cabinet', inspired Job to start a new project in which he presses toy cars into an aluminium plate the size of a postcard. Through these and other collaborations with manufacturers, labels and galleries, he wishes to share his work more and more with the wider public in the future.

His projects are interlinked and develop as part of a larger organic and creative process. He does not only want to develop as a creative maker and 'brand'; Job also wants to follow a 10-day 'silent retreat' meditation course to learn how to channel his energy better. 'My own development is central this year, and I am enjoying learning new meditation techniques to achieve the right focus for my projects. But I really don't have to go all the way to the Far East for that', says Job with a grin.

Asked about his ultimate goal as a creative maker, Job van den Berg indicates that this goal will gradually shift, but that he wants to focus on design that inspires and is remembered by people. 'I really do value the appreciation and freedom you enjoy as a well-known designer, but the impact of your work is nonetheless worth more valuable than fame.'


Text: Giovanni Burke
Johanna Ehde

Johanna Ehde

Johanna Ehde might be working in the world of ego-bursting, male dominated, market-driven and self-centred graphic design, at the core of her business, in all senses of the word, lies a deep and inherent love for feminism. Not feminism in the current fashion sense, but as a lived-through, daily practiced and most of all lifelong nurturing support structure.

Johanna graduated in 2016 from the Graphic Design bachelor at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam with 'Lady Taxi', a project about a free of charge cab service for mainly elderly ladies. Inspired by Chantal Akerman's iconic 'Jeanne Dielemans' movie and its portrayal of a woman's limited space in our society, Lady Taxi became the informal starting point of her ongoing project '(Post-) Menopausal Graphic Design Strategies'. This project is dealing with the challenge to gain practical knowledge into how to develop and maintain a life-long graphic design practice while considering the issues of ageism, sexism and women's health. Life-long referring not only to lasting a full working life, but also to healthy, stimulating and safe working conditions. Some titles on the project's website speak for themselves: 'The Woman Destroyed', 'They Will Never Sell Vaginal Dryness', 'All that is left is the killing of time', 'Legacy in Typography'.

As collaboration is a crucial part of a feminist design practice, Johanna also works together with Elisabeth Rafstedt, under the name Rietlanden Women's Office. In this collaboration reading, writing and publishing together is a practice done two days per week. 'We want to work constructively and with lust in our work. Our focus is really on the texts we publish. We try to go deep into a text, read it over and over, and design through that reading'. In relation to their most recent issue of 'MsHeresies', they have been discussing topics such as social media activism, commodified feminism and the importance of looking towards history when questioning hegemonic structures. So far two issues were published, both investigating the topic of work and the possibilities of collaboration from a feminist perspective.

Johanna also has a weak spot for typography and fonts. 'I am trying to have a reckless approach towards type. This in an attempt at trying to redefine the idea of legacy in typography. Legacy referring to both the gendered (extremely male dominated) history and current state of type design, its concepts of divinity and harmony, as well as the physical aspects, which historically would imply hard labour in type foundries (with the likeliness of getting lead poisoning). Today one could consider the very real issue of working, or decaying, in front of a computer screen.'

Underneath of this all lays a manifesto-ish approach towards building a new design ethos. But in a recent interview, Rietlanden Women's Office problematise the easily commodified format of a manifesto: 'A point or statement from a manifesto is perfect for the social media version of activism (…) something we have come to see more and more as a problem. A text written today is old tomorrow—or even in a few seconds—in a busy, scrolling feed. This progress, this speed of things, is connected to consumerism and economic growth, and that goes for texts and images, too! But, in fact, we might even be going backwards—or in circles—as far as feminist 'progress' goes.'

Johanna confesses she's part of this work rat race as well, and is working and stressing too much. It seems symptomatic of this current system. Although she notices some forced progression. Recently she started to take a rest in the middle of the day. She thinks a rest can be very radical.

Text: Jessica Gysel
Jung-Lee Type Foundry

Jung-Lee Type Foundry

Type design is more than a craft, a technology, or a profession for Jungmyung Lee. It is deeply linked to how we express, interpret, and experience emotions. Her typefaces are designed as visual forms with a specific context: for example, fonts related to babies tend to have rounded shapes rather than spiky ones. But Jungmyung looks beyond the visual tropes of pop culture or branding. She perceives a typeface as a fully-fledged personality with a complex narrative, which she often explores through creative fiction. The combination of her deep focus on type design and her multidisciplinary practice, including writing, publishing, performance, and music, reflects her education, which began with industrial design in Seoul, specialised in graphic design at Aalto University in Helsinki, and honed skills and knowledge at Werkplaats Typografie in ArtEZ.

Jungmyung explores the aesthetics of emotion in 'Real-Time Realist', a self-initiated publication co-edited with Charlie Clemoes that draws connections between graphic designers, artists, and writers in relation to a single emotion in each issue. The idea for the publication arose when Jungmyung and Charlie, both artists in residence at WOW Amsterdam, started to discuss the emotional spectrum and the diagrammatical schema of various theorists, such as Robert Plutchik's wheel of eight primary emotions in different intensities and combinations. The first issue explored the branch going from amazement through surprise to distraction, while the next will take on ecstasy, joy, and serenity.

The magazine is a forum for Jungmyung to explore aspects of her design methodology and critical perspective that cannot be channeled into her professional career. In particular, she uses it to contextualise the meaning of her typefaces in noncommercial modes, and to offer others the chance to engage with her designs freely. The mainstream design discourse tends to acknowledge typography only in relation to branding, quoting vague claims about modern values and aesthetics. In contrast, Real-Time Realist fosters slow, contemplative, and dreamlike reflections on the typeface as a narrative voice.

It also allows Jungmyung to experiment with new ways of making, however imprecise or obscure. Eight years ago, she learned type design as a fixed sequence: first painting letters one by one with brushes, then scanning them, vectorising them, and refining the final geometry digitally. This standardised process seemed to subdue emotion, whereas she is drawn instead to design processes that invite emotional investment—like woodcut, a historical technique that associated the emotions of the craftsman with the letterform they were making. But contemporary digital techniques, typefaces, and interfaces have just as much potential for emotions, although the medium, speed, and physical and virtual social formations associated with computer interaction may encourage different emotions. In an era of constant and maximal communication, Jungmyung Lee's work is oriented towards the user's subconscious and emotional experience of the little-noticed medium of type.


Text: Tamar Shafrir
Knetterijs
Knetterijs

Knetterijs

You're stronger together. That's what the nine, now eight, illustrators at Studio Knetterijs thought when they graduated from the Minerva Academy in Groningen in 2016. In order to bridge the well-known black hole after the academy as a group, they immediately started the collective Knetterijs. By now, Douwe Dijkstra, Jaime Jacob, Jan Hamstra, Kalle Wolters, Maarten Huizing, Megan de Vos, Senne Trip and Tjisse Talsma have set a true trend at the academy, where they themselves still regularly return as guest teachers. In fact, artists and designers graduating from Minerva are increasingly joining forces in a collective form.

At Studio Knetterijs, the aesthetics, techniques, personal interests and ambitions of eight different illustrators come together. Within the collective, everyone has their own expertise and function, ranging from analogue printing techniques, such as risoprint and screen printing, to digital illustration techniques and the maintenance of the Studio Knetterijs webshop. Their underlying contrasts are what makes them into a multiform whole.

Thanks to the Fund, Studio Knetterijs has recently been able to work on three collective projects in the form of a 'zine'. The small publications are the result of an investigation into the possibilities and limits of the medium with a high 'do-it-yourself' level and at the same time an attempt to transcend this. By means of traditional techniques and new technological means, Knetterijs elevated the zine to a new kind of genre, inspired by interaction and a certain degree of playfulness.

'The Rottumereye Tragedy' is a mysterious detective story consisting of a rich file folder containing a variety of small books, prints, a leporello and a poster in different styles on different types of paper that together form the hints to solve the murder on the Wadden island of Rottumeroog. The second zine, called 'The Octagon Pentalogy' is a multidimensional experience consisting of five audio tracks about adventure in space. Every audio track, recorded by American voice actors, is different. By combining the different audio tracks with the printed zine, five different narratives are created. All Studio Knetterijs publications are made by hand and are sold in small editions through their own web shop or at trade fairs. For their most recent project and third zine 'Mushrooms & Magic, an interactive odyssey', Knetterijs is currently working with a programmer who converts layered drawings by the illustrators into a digital interactive zine, in which the reader can influence the course of the story by making choices themselves.


Text: Manique Hendricks
Kostas Lambridis

Kostas Lambridis

Most people know Kostas Lambridis from his infamous 'Elemental Cabinet', which he made for his master's degree in Contextual Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017. The cabinet is a reinvention of the famous 'Badminton Cabinet', built in the Florentine period by 30 craftsmen and finished in 1730 after 6 years of labour. Kostas finished his with 2 hands (his own) in 3 months. The cabinet is exemplary for his way of working. 'I don't like to design; I like to take an existing form or find a form I like. I don't want to be a designer-expert. For me it's all about working without fear. Embracing naivety, ignoring the perceived ideas about beauty. It's about being free and staying young in the making'.

Born and raised in Athens, Kostas studied engineering on the Greek island of Syros, at the only design school in Greece. Getting a base in mostly theory, he decided to get a more creative and practical formation by doing an internship at designer Nacho Carbonell in Eindhoven. 'Design in Greece is very different than in the Netherlands'. He liked it so much, that he stayed for over seven years, while taking up his master studies at the Design Academy. During his first semester tutor Maarten Baas give an assignment to design a lamp. 'I asked myself, what is a lamp? A lamp is a light bulb. It's glass and metal from stone. I combined the different materials, to create a lightbulb.'

He cites Robert Rauschenberg as a big inspiration, especially how he approached material from a conceptual point of view; thinking about the artistic humility of material. 'Anything can function as material. Once you embrace this principle, the possibilities are endless.' He implements material on two equally important axes: the primitive and the high-tech. This idea is very present in all his crea-tions, where he combines old and new production techniques; a mixture of valuable and valueless materials such as bronze, ceramics, embroidery but also melted old plastic chairs. 'At the basis of it all lays the idea of a non-hierarchy in material. It all comes from the earth. Gold is more precious than mud, but for the planet it's the same. The concept of value is a human construction.'

At the moment, he's working with the Carpenters Workshop Gallery on a couple of new projects. He already made a daybed ('Her') and a chandelier ('Jupiter') and is currently developing a low table and a bookshelf. 'I started making objects by the end, I'm scaling things down now, arriving to more easy pieces. But process is equally difficult. I'm trying to include more modern periods, and keep the ma-terials in a certain logic'.

He's currently moving back to Athens, to be closer with his family. 'I'm starting the second beginning of my professional life, and hope I can create the same feeling of community that I experienced in Eindhoven.' His cites his father as his biggest inspiration. 'He was a maker; he had a very special way of doing things. It's in my DNA. When you're a good maker, you cook good, you clean good, you put attention to detail, that's crucial to me.'

Asked if he ever takes time off he cites one of his tutors, artist Gijs Assman who said you have to keep living your life while trying to work. So in the weekends he goes sailing, one of the perks of be-ing back in Greece.

Text: Jessica Gysel
Lena Knappers

Lena Knappers

As an urban planner, Lena Knappers is interested in big-city issues that require an integrated approach. That's why migration is at the heart of her research and design project. She says, 'If you look at the way migrants are being housed, you see that there's no urban strategy behind it. The status that migrants enter our country with – such as asylum-seeker, economic migrant or international student – largely determines what their spatial living conditions are like.' In addition to Dutch policy on migration, Lena is also focused on the policy at a European level. The reason behind this was a stay in Istanbul at a time when many Syrian migrants were entering Turkey. In the same year, the Netherlands apparently only admitted sixty migrants.

'Rethinking the Absorption Capacity of Urban Space', her final project for her master's in Urbanism at TU Delft, contains advanced strategies for sustainably integrating migrants into the host country's society. 'Migration is often perceived as a temporary phenomenon. It's handled with short-term container housing, located outside the city centre. There's a lack of policy regarding sustainable accommodation. But mixing these vulnerable groups with the existing population is of huge importance', Lena explains. For her thesis, she investigated alternative, more inclusive forms of housing, which focused on the use of public space. The Overamstel prison complex, known colloquially as the ''Bijlmerbajes', is a good example of this, and was a suitable location for implementing the spatial interventions that Lena had developed. From August 2016 to February 2018, the former prison served as a reception centre for thousands of asylum seekers. Next to the Bijlmerbajes, there was a shipping container village for international students. They shared the same living space, yet the two groups lived completely separately from each other.

The strategies and spatial interventions she has developed could also be rolled out in other locations in Europe, such as Athens. Lena has visited the Greek city, which is also dealing with migration issues, several times. She wants to bring these problems to the surface through in-depth interviews with a variety of migrants and Greeks. Using the information gathered during this process, she will then focus on suitable design solutions. Once her ongoing research in Athens is finished, she plans to collect her findings in a book.

The ideal inclusive city is something that Lena Knappers will continue to sink her teeth into for the time being. She's not only interested in the topic of migration, but also the use of public space and the persistent inequality that seems to go along with it. Because she also works part time, and collaborates with municipalities, housing associations and organisations like the COA (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers) as part of her job, there are plenty of shared interests and opportunities to continue her research. She says, 'In The Hague, I'm working on large, complex projects with many different stakeholders and interests. These projects require time and coordination, but at the same time, they teach you to look at things from different perspectives. When I'm working on my own research and design project, I have complete freedom and can use my imagination to reveal creative alternatives.'

Text: Giovanni Burke
Manetta Berends

Manetta Berends

Manetta Berends believes that craftsmanship and ethics are essential to design, and no less for digital design and online communities than for more traditional physical media. After studying graphic design at ArtEZ and media design at Piet Zwart Institute, she joined a larger group of individuals to set up 'varia', a Rotterdam-based space exploring new methods of collectivity with a focus on technology.

For Berends, varia has offered a testing ground to implement her design philosophy, which involves using only free, libre and open source software (FLOSS) and independent digital infrastructures that do not profit from their users, collect their data, enforce protective copyright, or make their code inaccessible. Over time, varia has evolved to host its own server and communication and organisation system, including chat program and communal calendar. On their website, they offer their free software, store project documents for collaborators as well as outside viewers, and write posts sharing the technical and conceptual knowledge they have acquired in the process. They also publish their notes from live workshops, meetings, or conferences using etherpad, a real-time collaborative editor.

One of varia's five members with managerial responsibilities, Manetta develops her ideas about what a graphic design practice and collaborative working practice could be today. As in the craft guilds of centuries past, the outcome of the design process is just one element of a larger culture, which also encompasses tool-making, social inclusivity, acquiring knowledge hands-on, and sharing knowledge with peers. This broad approach is fostered at varia through open events like 'Relearn', a collective learning experiment and summer school where teachers and students come together as equals. In this way, Manetta believes that professional practice can sustain the curiosity, energy, and enjoyment experienced in design education.

These qualities resonate throughout her personal work as well. Her cyber/technofeminist cross-reader, part of the 2019 exhibition Computer Grrrls at la Gaîté Lyrique in Paris and MU in Eindhoven, is a collection of manifestos in which technology and feminism are intertwined, spanning from 1912 to the present. At the same time, it is also a tool that identifies the linguistic connections between the manifestos, using the TF-IDF (Term Frequency Inverse Document Frequency) algorithm, and allows users to read across multiple manifestos at once by extracting quotes featuring the same word. The cross-reader also includes a detailed explanation of how the algorithm works, using terminology that non-coders can understand. Finally, it explores the language of manifestos, revealing the importance of communication in movements for societal change. Manetta Berends models a design practice in which critical thinking, activism, and social accountability underscore every facet from aesthetic choices to pragmatic obligations.
Mirte van Duppen

Mirte van Duppen

In her practice, Mirte van Duppen models a new understanding of the role a graphic designer can perform in today's society. During her studies in graphic design at ArtEZ and Sandberg's Design department, she cultivated an interest in collective environments. How do individuals perceive and behave within them? What does freedom mean in public squares in the Netherlands? What is the meaning of transparency in modern buildings?

Mirte is particularly preoccupied with the Dutch landscape, at various scales, and the ways in which it has been shaped by politicians, industrialists, and architects, as well as eccentric individuals with a captivating vision. Her film 'The Dutch Mountain', for instance, departs from Dutch cyclist Thijs Zonneveld's dream to build a 2,000-metre-high mountain in the Netherlands, and imagines it in concrete detail through seamlessly edited footage from different locations in the Dutch landscape. A voiceover describes the mountain as a 'fait accompli', quoting expert scientists that she consulted about the environmental implications of the project. Through split screen composition, she confronts idealistic visions with banal necessities, like bike lanes or pedestrian paths, and overt artifice, like zoos or amusement parks.

In her research, Mirte contemplates the tension between humanity's power to sculpt the terrain to its will, on one hand, and its affinity for romantic or technoutopian concepts of nature, on the other. 'Territory of the Beings', a recent commission from KAAN Architecten, could be described as a nature documentary about the modern office worker in their open-plan habitat. Her film analyses the strategies (both surreal and cynical) used in contemporary architecture to foster impressions of freedom, wellbeing, and personal space in their human occupants. At the same time, it borrows the aesthetics of architectural photography to emphasise the challenge of adjusting to the airbrushed, optimised utopia of the modern workplace.

Her latest project, meanwhile, takes on the working landscape of industrial agriculture in the Netherlands. Interviewing farmers, she is rethinking the iconography of futurism in light of the anecdotes she has collected, including machine hacking, flower high-rises, artificial lighting, and robot gardeners and asparagus growers. While she embraces fiction and poetic license as creative tools, Mirte van Duppen is still conscious of her rhetorical influence as a designer and editor. She seeks out the individuals with direct knowledge about urgent topics and gives space to their perspectives, which often have little resemblance to the grotesque fantasies popularised in the mainstream media. She is equally critical towards humanity's hubristic manipulation of nature as towards fatalistic or alarmist narratives as dramatic devices, and reveals the complete technological saturation of every element of our society, no matter how "natural" it may appear. Her practice aims to inspire fascination, contemplation, and informed action in her audience.

Text: Tamar Shafrir
Munoz Munoz

Munoz Munoz

Lucas Muñoz Muñoz already had an established practice as a product designer when he came across, by chance, what would become his creative obsession. A few years after graduating from the Design Academy Eindhoven with a master's in Contextual Design, he went to Thailand to visit a former classmate. Hearing about a rocket festival in a village in Isan, they were determined to see it in person. The tradition had developed over centuries, possibly influenced by migration from present-day China carrying knowledge about gunpowder. The rockets are built by Buddhist monks from bamboo and (more recently) PVC pipes; the largest are eight metres long, contain 120 kilograms of gunpowder, and reach altitudes of up to eight kilometres. During the month-long festival, about 500 rockets are launched, even causing annual diversions in airplane traffic.

Lucas and his friend were not visiting simply as spectators. They wanted to engage with the monks as craftsmen, and spent two months living alongside them and learning how to make rockets. Meanwhile, they were joined by a few curious filmmakers, and spontaneously the idea arose to make a documentary - something none of them had done before. They began to collect footage, taking a wide view on the rocket's role as an instigator of temporary social liberties, as well as a symbol of the farmers' dependency and vulnerability in relation to the yearly monsoon. They also followed another tangent into the oral history surrounding the village's main Buddhist abbot, recently deceased, who was famed for his powers in black magic.

For Lucas, the rocket is an object that cuts through seemingly distant cultures, topics, and histories. A rocket carrying a nuclear bomb could destroy the world, but a rocket could also save humans from extinction by carrying them to another planet. Essentially a flying cylinder propelled by a chemical reaction, this single object is the vehicle for a multiplicity of technological dreams, cultural beliefs, political conflicts, and existential fears. This diversity of meanings forms the basis for a series of documentary films, each chapter investigating a particular typology situated in a complex social context.

For example, Lucas explored the rocket as a weapon in Lebanon, collaborating with NGOs that work with refugee communities displaced from their homes by missiles and other tools of destruction. To approach the subject sensitively, Lucas took a more associative approach using personal narrative. He asked Syrian and Palestinian children to describe their memories of their old homes, and then reconstructed each memory through found archival footage, reflecting on the possibilities and paradoxes of cross-cultural empathy. In another chapter, he interviews doctoral researchers in Newcastle University to examine the rocket as a catalyst for debates about space law, colonisation and mining. While Lucas Muñoz Muñoz still works as a maker, he is also eager to challenge the expectations of how objects inspire and emerge from creative processes, and how research manifests in design practice.

Text: Tamar Shafrir
NINAMOUNAH

NINAMOUNAH

There's a feeling of concentrated commotion at Ninamounah Langestraat's studio in the middle of Amsterdam's Jordaan neighbourhood. She graduated from the Rietveld Academie just a couple years ago, and is now working in close partnership with her brand manager Robin Burggraaf, and a diverse collection of employees. Her studio is bursting at the seams, so Ninamounah is considering moving the whole company to Zaandam, saying, 'it's more affordable there, and there's also more space'. She's more interested in finding a community than an incubator, and fantasizes about having her own place on the Nieuwe Meer in Amsterdam, where a close-knit artist's colony already resides.

That's not too surprising for someone who grew up in Ruigoord, the free-spirited community outside Amsterdam that her grandparents helped found. She shares, 'My grandmother was one of the pivotal figures of Pink Monday, and I still wear her earring', a silver piece made up of three interlocking feminist symbols.

So far, she's created five collections, with names like '001 Mothers Nature is a Slut ', '002 Smell my Pheromones' and '004 Evolve Around Me'. The collections each have their own number, because Ninamounah deliberately decided not to work with the traditional fashion seasons. She's also made a few films, and her second, 'Hormones are my Master' has been nominated for several (fashion) film festivals.

She's currently working on a book and exhibition with Amsterdam-based photographer Paul Kooiker, and created a perfume with artist Anna Gray. She says, 'I like scents that serve as a warning to alert you that something is wrong, but are very attractive at the same time.' Ninamounah has a background in biology, and did a course on taxidermy while training to be a park ranger. After that, she ended up at the Rietveld Academie, first studying textiles, and eventually fashion. She often got into debates with her professors, but laughs and says that ultimately, it all worked out. She still occasionally does taxidermy – mostly dogs or cats from her friends. She still has quite a few in the freezer, but at the moment, is short on time.

As a child, Ninamounah and her parents survived a plane crash in Faro; they were planning to move to permanently to Portugal. She doesn't have any memory of it. After that, her mother took her on a trip around the w