about

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.

2023

In 50 1-minute film portraits, you get to know talented designers, makers, artists and architects, who received a talent development grant in 2022/2023, in a personal and intimate way. Concept: Koehorst in 't Veld and Roel van Tour (design Toon Koehorst en Jannetje in 't Veld, video Roel van Tour, interview Wilbert Eerland). During the Dutch Design Week 2023, the film portraits were shown together with performances and exhibitions in an installation designed by Koehorst in 't Veld in the Portiersloge, Eindhoven.

Publication Talent Platform 2022

TALENT PLATFORM 2023
TALENT PLATFORM 2023
(4/2)
load more

2022

In 51 1-minute film portraits, you get to know talented designers, makers, artists and architects, who received a talent development grant in 2021/2022, in a personal and intimate way. Concept: Koehorst in 't Veld and Roel van Tour (design Toon Koehorst en Jannetje in 't Veld, video Roel van Tour, interview Wilbert Eerland). During the Dutch Design Week 2022, the film portraits were shown in an installation designed by Koehorst in 't Veld in MU Hybrid Art House, Eindhoven.

Publication Talent Platform 2022

TALENT PLATFORM 2022
TALENT PLATFORM 2022
(4/2)
load more

2021

In 35 1-minute film portraits, you get to know talented designers, makers, artists and architects, who received a talent development grant in 2020/2021, in a personal and intimate way. Concept: Koehorst in 't Veld and Roel van Tour (design Koehorst in 't Veld with Sjors Rigters, video Roel van Tour, interview Maarten Westerveen, soundtrack Volodymyr Antoniv). During the Dutch Design Week 2021, the film portraits were shown in an installation designed by Koehorst in 't Veld in the Klokgebouw, Eindhoven.

Publication Talent Platform 2021

TALENT PLATFORM 2021
TALENT PLATFORM 2021
(4/2)
load more

ESSAYS

Over the past seven years, the Creative Industries Fund NL has supported over 250 young designers with the Talent Development grant. In three long reads by Jeroen Junte, we look for the shared mentality of this design generation.

2020

Talent Tours provides via short video portraits insight into the thinking and practice of 39 emerging design talents, each of whom is concerned with topical social themes. What are their motives, their doubts and ambitions, and what values do they put first in their work? From 18 to 25 October 2020, the Creative Industries Fund NL presented the video portraits and daily livestreams with new talent during the Dutch Design Week.

Publication Talent Platform 2020

TALENT PLATFORM 2020
TALENT PLATFORM 2020
(4/2)
load more

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 together with performances by the talents in the MU artspace during Dutch Design Week 2019.

TALENT PLATFORM 2019
TALENT PLATFORM 2019
(4/2)
load more

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.

TALENT PLATFORM 2018
TALENT PLATFORM 2018
(4/2)
load more

ESSAY: Longread Talent #3

Me and the other
In the past seven years, the Creative Industries Fund NL has supported over 250 young designers with the Talent Development grant. In three longreads, we look for the shared mentality of this design generation, which has been shaped by the great challenges of our time. They examine how they deal with themes such as technology, climate, privacy, inclusiveness and health. In this third and final longread, the focus is no longer on personal success and individual expression but on ‘the other’....

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.

TALENT PLATFORM 2017
TALENT PLATFORM 2017
(4/2)
load more

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

TALENT PLATFORM 2016
TALENT PLATFORM 2016
(4/2)
load more

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

TALENT PLATFORM 2015
TALENT PLATFORM 2015
(4/2)
load more

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

TALENT PLATFORM 2014
TALENT PLATFORM 2014
(4/2)
load more
essays
essays

Dancing with trouble

THE 2022 BATCH WAS PRESENTED DURING DUTCH DESIGN WEEK THROUGH THE PROGRAMME DANCING WITH TROUBLE, A THEME THAT IS TAILOR-MADE FOR THIS GROUP OF UP-AND-COMING DESIGNERS AND MAKERS.

In her 2016 book Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene philosopher and theorist Donna Haraway suggests that, in building the future, mankind should not get caught up in fixing systems that are known to be obsolete. Instead, she suggests to wildly imagine beyond the known. By being present and by bonding with a variety of others, in unpredictable or surprising combinations and collaborations. For her, staying with the trouble means that we as humans do not just need solutions, but most of all need each other.

What is being felt in this year’s group of up-annd-coming creatives is the search for the collective and the need to go beyond the boundaries of design disciplines. But also the messiness that trouble represents and the freedom it gives to experiment. They look at the world beyond solutionism. Beyond future scenarios, they courageously embrace the possibility of having no end point, no solution or no future at all. Yet, this does not cause paralysis or defeat. The talents dare to dance with life and trouble. Firmly grounded in the here and now, they experience, experiment, question and navigate the unknown. The approaches differ but are connected by movement. Moving forward, inward, backward or through, constantly making new connections, changing angles, perspectives and positions, without a pre-set outcome. The group distinguishes itself by this movement that could be interpreted as a continuous dance – agile, soft, fluid and daring – with the profound troubles we face today.

The emerging talents share a holistic perspective and prefer to design an imagined elsewhere or part of the process rather than an object for the sake of it. We see the designers turning to ancient or ancestral knowledge, to imagine how reconnecting with land, soil and nature could offer alternative ways of existing and belonging. Some artists seek to create connections with a more varied group of beings, including non-human and digital entities, to understand the world and mankind’s position in it. Several explore the human skill-set, and how feelings as opposed to thoughts can be a valuable and valid source of knowledge while navigating the future. Others imagine what our future surroundings – physical, digital and hybrid – could look like, and what behavior we may need to master to exist in these spaces.

While all dance to the beat of their own drum, the talents are connected by the idea that we are not alone in dealing with the challenges of our time. On the contrary: they show a deep-rooted conviction that everything is connected and that we may be hopeful, as long as we have each other. But most of all, they inspire us to see the silver lining. Instead of living a life of worry about the past or future, we can choose to be here, now. Trouble is a given, but life is a dance floor.


INTERVIEW DANCING WITH TROUBLE

DANCING WITH TROUBLE HAS BEEN COMPILED BY EVA VAN BREUGEL (AGOG AND URBAN ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME MAKER), ESTHER MUÑOZ GROOTVELD (PROGRAMME MAKER AND STRATEGIC CONSULTANT AT THE INTERSECTION OF FASHION, DESIGN, ART AND SOCIETY), AND MANIQUE HENDRICKS (CURATOR, WRITER AND RESEARCHER IN THE FIELD OF CONTEMPORARY ART, VISUAL AND DIGITAL CULTURE). MARIEKE LADRU AND SHARVIN RAMJAN, BOTH ASSOCIATED WITH THE TALENT DEVELOPMENT GRANT SCHEME OF THE FUND, SPOKE WITH THE THREE PROGRAMME MAKERS.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF TALENT DEVELOPMENT?

EB ‘I think talent development is essential. We are facing huge transitions in the field of housing, energy, water, greening and sustainability; in short, a changing society and culture. We need a new vanguard to effectively take on this challenge. The new generation can bring a fresh perspective and different approaches.’

MH ‘The challenges are relevant professionally, but are also issues we need to relate to as human beings. And that’s quite demanding, also for these young makers. While the first years following graduation are already quite challenging. That’s why the talent development grant is so important. Besides offering time and funding, it gives the recipients the opportunity to develop focus, to present yourself to the world, and to engage in collaborations and forge connections.’

EMG ‘One of the important values of the grant is that it enables talented makers to meet each other. That way they can move ahead together, which builds confidence. Talent is often the vanguard since they still have a certain open-mindedness. They look toward the future with hope, and move toward the future with boldness and freedom. I think that’s wonderful to see.’

WHAT TYPIFIES THESE MAKERS?

MH ‘The hope that Esther refers to is certainly striking. These makers do not envisage a dystopian future. They are aware of living and working in a complicated time, but they want to ride the waves. Being part of a collective is an important part of it. That’s why the programme was titled Dancing with Trouble. Each individual chooses their own rhythm, but they are in this together.’

EB ‘Many makers focus on personal themes such as identity, queer community and diaspora, but also engage with the current crises in the world concerning the climate, the changing landscape, available agrarian land and migration. Who has the right to claim a certain space? That’s a relevant question in a physical sense, but also philosophically and culturally. Design and research interrogate the status quo by finding new ways to look at what’s here now.’

MH ‘The lived experience often takes centre stage. How can you communicate this? This is attempted for instance by means of technology, enabling the user – or the audience – to empathise with others, to share experiences and to build communities. It involves creating and appreciating other forms of knowledge transfer.’

EMG ‘What seems to characterise this group of upcoming makers is a holistic approach and a desire to connect with the environment and the future. Designers are working on shaping and developing relationships and connections. The physical object often seems to be of secondary importance; what really matters is stimulating a dialogue or change process.’

EB ‘The emphasis is often on the process and the experiment, with less concern for an end product or goal. I also notice that these talents show a very adaptive approach to the current time of transition.’

DOES THIS IMPLY ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES?

EMG ‘The absence of a tangible end result can make it more difficult to present a story. Of course a picture is worth a thousand words; but projects that address complex issues are often hard to capture in language. For some designs, there simply isn’t any vocabulary yet.’

EB ‘Perhaps it’s also easier to work on a concept, and in this phase of your professional practice it might be difficult to take a certain position and then to materialise this in a product or end point. But then this might also be a particular quality of the new generation!’

HOW MIGHT THE EMERGENCE OF HYBRID PRACTICES AFFECT THE FUTURE OF THE DESIGN FIELD IN RELATION TO THE VISUAL ARTS?

EMG ‘The connection with visual arts is quite particular for the Dutch design sector. Designers are often trained at art educational institutes that are all about artistic expression. So it’s no surprise that the distinction between design and visual art isn’t always clear-cut. What I find more interesting is how makers are increasingly investigating other disciplines such as biology or geology. This leads to collaboration projects in which the designer acts as the linchpin.’

EB ‘Designers and artists are increasingly adopting interdisciplinary approaches, and are developing more rapidly than the underlying systems. This causes some complications in the work field. For example, grant schemes often presuppose that designers can be categorised in terms of discipline. And having a complex profile can also make it difficult to obtain commissions.’

EMG ‘Indeed, a hybrid practice can be difficult to pigeonhole. Certainly in the world of institutions, it can be hard for these practices to fit in. The makers face questions such as: how do I claim my position in the field? How do I demonstrate the relevance of my work? And how can I obtain funding for my work? This can be difficult for design research, which doesn’t have a clearly projected end result. Not many clients are willing to accommodate experimentation. These designers need to think carefully about the partners in industry

and other disciplines that they want to involve in their work.’

CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE FIVE THEMES THAT MAKE UP DANCING WITH TROUBLE?

EMG ‘We distinguished five themes that inform and connect the different presentations and performances during the Dutch Design Week 2022. The theme of Sensing Forward pertains to the increasing acknowledgement of emotions and experiences as a valuable and valid source of knowledge. A good example is the work by product designer Boey Wang, who explores how you can design on the basis of touch and feeling. Beyond Bodies is about no longer seeing the human being as central but learning to listen to nature and other entities. Thus, Dasha Tsapenko offers a glimpse of the dressed body in the future by examining how we would dress if our items of clothing were living beings. Relating to Land(scapes) focuses on future landscapes and the new skills and behaviour we need to develop to live and navigate communally. For example, Lieke Jildou de Jong examined what would be the best diet with a view to the soil. Longing to Belong addresses the sense of rootlessness that many people have in this hyper-individualist era. What does it mean to “feel at home”, and how can designers contribute to a sense of togetherness? Finally, Power to the Personal focuses on practices in which personal stories play an important role.’

MH ‘These themes reflect the mood and the movement apparent among this group of designers and makers. It is special to see so many new ideas juxtaposed. And the fact that this group also consists of makers that were not previously represented in the sector is cause for optimism.’

Longread Talent #1
Me and my practice
How design talents (have to) reinvent themselves

Over the past seven years, the Creative Industries Fund NL has supported over 250 young designers with the Talent Development grant. In three longreads, we look for the shared mentality of this design generation, which has been shaped by the great challenges of our time. In doing so, they examine how they deal with themes such as technology, climate, privacy, inclusiveness and health. In this first longread: the in-depth reflection on the field and place of their own practice in it. The entrenched principles of fashion, design and architecture are questioned and enriched with new tools, techniques, materials and platforms.

The Dirty Design Manifesto by Marjanne van Helvert is a fiery argument against the fact that the production of many design objects causes so much pollution. It also takes a stand against tempting design products, without individuality or intrinsic value, fuelling consumption. The manifesto focuses not only on manufacturers and consumers but also on designers who pay scant attention to sustainability, inequality and other pressing social issues. In short, it is a j’accuse against design’s darker aspects.

Marjanne van Helvert, The Responsible Object: A History of Design Ideology for the Future
Marjanne van Helvert, The Responsible Object: A History of Design Ideology for the Future

As well as being a critic, Van Helvert is also a textile designer and developed Dirty Clothes, a unisex collection of used clothing. In 2016, to further advance her critical vision, she received a talent development grant from the Creative Industries Fund NL. They award this €25,000 subsidy annually to about 30 young designers. Van Helvert used the support to write The Responsible Object: A History of Design Ideology for the Future, in which she thoroughly examines various design philosophies, testing them for durability and applicability now and in the near future. Unsurprisingly, the book was convincing in design alone, executed in a clean grid and a powerful black, white and orange palette. In addition, Van Helvert’s writing demonstrates she is an astute thinker and conscientious researcher.

Sabine Marcelis, a library of materials
Sabine Marcelis, a library of materials

HEALING WAR WOUNDS

Van Helvert’s approach is indicative of a design generation who no longer cast their critical eye solely on their individual practice but on the entire sector. This trend is clearly evident when we look at the various cohorts of Talent Development Scheme grant recipients over the years. Together, these design cohorts provide a current snapshot of the creative industry.

Since the Talent Development Scheme’s launch in 2014, some 250 young designers have drawn on this opportunity to professionalise. In the first few years, the participants mainly focused on an in-depth reflection of their own practice – with great success, in fact. For example, product designer Sabine Marcelis (2016 cohort) used her development year to collaborate with manufacturing professionals, resulting in a library of new, pure materials for various projects. It brought her world fame. Fashion designer Barbara Langedijk and jewellery designer Noon Passama (2015 cohort) experimented on Silver Fur, a joint project with a high-tech, fur-like textile. It resulted in an innovative collection that organically merged clothing and jewellery. Or architect Arna Mačkić (2014 cohort), who examined architecture’s role in healing war wounds in her native Bosnia. In 2019, Mačkić won the Young Maaskant Prize, the highly prestigious award for young architects. All these talented practitioners broadened their particular fascinations and strengthened their design skills to develop a unique profile. This remains the basis of the Talent Development Scheme – the name says it all.

Gradually, alongside the recipients expanding their professional boundaries, they increasingly began to explore the precise boundaries of their professional field. The youngest cohort also demonstrates that research is not just a means to arrive at a design. Research has become design, and this is as true in fashion as it is in product design, graphic design, architecture, and gaming, interactive and other digital design. Why should an architect always design a building, an urban district or landscape? This is the starting point of Carlijn Kingma’s utopian landscapes (2018 cohort). Her architecture only exists on paper and is made of nothing but jet-black ink. The meticulously detailed pen drawings are often more than a metre high and wide and consist of buildings that are part fantasy and partly historical. These maps depict abstract and complex social concepts architecture has grappled with for centuries – utopia, capitalism and even fear and hope. Kingma infuses her field with philosophical reflections and historical awareness. By eschewing the term architect and instead calling herself a ‘cartographer of worlds of thought’, she positions herself beyond architecture. Like Marjanne van Helvert, she is simultaneously a participant and observer of her profession.

Carlijn Kingma, A Histoty of the Utopian Tradition
Carlijn Kingma, A Histoty of the Utopian Tradition

TECH-FOOD AS A CONVERSATION PIECE

The textile designer who makes a book and the architect who does not want to build exemplifies a generation that is researching and redefining its profession. What are the options for a fashion designer who wants to break away from the industry’s dominance? What does it mean to be a product designer in a world collapsing under the weight of overconsumption? How do you deal with privacy issues or addictive clickbait when designing an app, website or game? Although this fundamental self-examination is based on personal dilemmas, sometimes even frustrations, it nourishes the whole professional community.

This research can be both hyper-realistic and hypothetical. Food designer Chloé Rutzerveld (2016 cohort) combines design, science, technology, gastronomy and culture to realise projects about the food of the future. Edible Growth is a design for ready-to-eat dishes using a 3D printer. They are made up of layers containing seeds and spores in an edible substrate. Once printed, they become an entirely edible mini garden within a few days using natural yeast and ripening processes. Rather than an emphatically concrete product, Rutzerveld has developed a paper concept to bring discussions on social and technological issues surrounding food to a broad audience. The resulting mediagenic images of fake dishes and intriguing project texts have resulted in Rutzerveld figuring on the international circuit for lectures and exhibitions. Her prototype has become the product.

This probing attitude has become the unifying factor among the young designers who received a talent development grant. The goal can be a specific result, such as creating a materials library or a fashion collection independent of seasons and gender. The entire design field is also being researched, including a manifesto about dirty design. Another outcome is exploring the designer’s role as a producer, as Jesse Howard (2015 cohort) does with his everyday devices that allow the user to play an active role in both the design and production process. Utilising an open-source knowledge platform, Howard explores innovative ways to use digital fabrication tools, such as 3D printers, computerised laser cutters, and milling machines. He designs simple household appliances, such as a kettle or vacuum cleaner, that consumers can fabricate using bolts, copper pipes and other standard materials from the hardware store. Specific parts, such as the protective cover, can be made with a 3D printer. They share the required techniques on the knowledge platform. If the device is defective, the producing consumer – or prosumer – can also repair it. These DIY products are made from local materials and offer a sustainable and transparent alternative to mass production.

Juliette Lizotte
Juliette Lizotte

PERFORMER, DJ, CHOREOGRAPHER – AND DESIGNER

During the past seven years of the Talent Development Scheme, design’s boundaries have been interrogated and expanded through new idioms, such as social design, food design, conceptual design, and speculative design. Architects act as quartermasters and cartographers. Fashion disrupts with anthropological installations. Today it is as much an inquisitive mentality as a skillset that distinguishes design talent. Sometimes the individual’s approach is such that graphic design, architecture or fashion no longer appropriately describe their practice.

Juliette Lizotte (2020 cohort) wants to employ videos and LARP (live action role-playing, a role-playing game in which players assume a fantasy role) to stimulate the discussion about climate change. Under the name Jujulove, she DJs, collaborates with dancers and theatre makers, and, with a fashion designer, makes recycled plastic costumes for the dancers in her videos. In her self-appointed role as a witch, she promotes ecofeminism, in which women represent a creative and healing force on nature. Through a multisensory experience of image, sound and performance, she mainly aims her work at young people and target groups not traditionally considered by the cultural sector. However, her fantasy world actually runs parallel to the traditional design world. Jujulove is not a designer but creates a groundbreaking holistic design using diverse disciplines such as film and storytelling.

Designers are no longer central to their own design practice. There is an explicit pursuit of interdisciplinary collaboration and interaction. Though French-Caribbean programmer/designer Alvin Arthur (2020 cohort) trained as a designer, he has developed into a versatile performer, teacher, researcher and connector. His toolkit is his body, which he uses to visualise how the writing of computer programs works. He calls his mixture of choreography, performance and design body.coding. Through a specially developed lesson programme, full of group dance and movement, he teaches primary school children about the extent to which their living environment is digitally programmed, from their school buildings and places where they live to the design and production of their smartphones. Above all, he shows that programming and design are not necessarily sedentary activities that you do behind a desk. Designing is thinking, moving, combining and collaborating.

The latter is especially true. Sometimes two different disciplines work together to great effect, such as jewellery designer Noon Passama and fashion designer Baraba Langendijk. Increasingly, however, designers are combining their knowledge and skills in close-knit collectives. Knetterijs (2019 cohort) is a group of eight graphic designers who operate as one studio. Each member has their expertise and role, from analogue printing techniques, such as risoprint and screen printing, to digital illustration techniques or running the Knetterijs webshop. They used their development year for the joint production of three ‘magazines’ in which new techniques such as graphic audio tracks and an interactive e-zine were explored. They replace individual ego with ‘we go’.

Saïd Kinos, HIDEOUT, Uruma hotel in Okinawa, Japan. Photo Masafumi Kashi
Saïd Kinos, HIDEOUT, Uruma hotel in Okinawa, Japan. Photo Masafumi Kashi

STORYTELLING AND STREET ART

This transformation of the design disciplines is now at the heart of the Talent Development Scheme. Since 2019, scout nights have offered creative talent that has not trained on the usual courses – such as those at the Design Academy Eindhoven or TU Delft – an opportunity to pitch their work to a selection committee. Professionals in art direction, storytelling or city making are given the opportunity to consolidate their practice. Street artist Saïd Kinos (2020 cohort) already had success with his colourful, graphic murals featuring design techniques like collage and typography. Thanks to a talent development grant, he can now transcend the street art category and expand his practice into being an artist whose canvas extends beyond that of the city. He has mastered digital techniques, such as augmented reality, animation and projection mapping (projecting moving images onto buildings).

A PRACTICE OF EVOLUTION

The advancement of an individual or collective practice thus coincides with the development of the entire discipline. The fixed principles of traditional design disciplines, such as fashion, design and architecture, are explored and enriched through new tools, techniques, materials and platforms. By now, everything is mixed up: street, museum and website; cartography and aerosol; witchcraft and 3D printers. These talented designers respond to social developments and leave their mark on them, thereby shaping tomorrow's society, which is the ultimate proof of the necessity of talent development.

Text: Jeroen Junte

Longread Talent #2
Me and the world
Post-crisis design generation seeks (and finds) its place in vulnerable future

Over the past seven years, the Stimulation Creative Industries Fund NL has supported over 250 young designers with the Talent Development grant. In three longreads, we look for the shared mentality of this design generation, which has been shaped by the great challenges of our time. In doing so, they examine how they deal with themes such as technology, climate, privacy, inclusiveness and health. In this second longread: design talent is nourished by a sense of urgency. ‘If we do not turn the tide, who will?’

15 September 2008. 12 December 2015. 17 March 2018. These may seem like random dates, but these moments have left their mark on the contemporary design field. On 15 September 2008, the Lehman Brothers investment bank in New York went bankrupt. The ensuing severe financial crisis exposed the disarray of the global economic system. On 12 December 2015, 55 countries (now 197) concluded a far-reaching Climate Agreement recognising climate change as an indisputable fact. The industrial depletion of existing raw materials and energy supplies is now ‘officially’ unsustainable. And on 17 March 2018, The New York Times reported on large-scale political manipulation by the data company Cambridge Analytica. Fake news and privacy violations shattered the twentieth century’s democratic ideal.

These events – and more, for that matter – highlight the world’s continuing crisis conditions. The more than 250 designers the Talent Development Scheme of the Creative Industries Fund NL has supported since 2014 were trained during, and thus shaped by, these crises. They belong to the last design generation with a clear memory of 9/11 – a generation motivated by a sense of urgency. They understand that if we don’t turn the tide, then who will? They are also devoid of arrogance and well aware of the limitations of their expertise and the disciplines in which they work. Whether product design, fashion, digital design or architecture, they do not harbour the illusion that they have that one all-encompassing solution.

Irene Stracuzzi, The legal status of ice
Irene Stracuzzi, The legal status of ice

MAPPING THE MONEY FLOWS

However, communication is a potent weapon, as graphic designer Femke Herregraven (2015 cohort) understands. She delved into and visualised the financial constructions behind the neoliberal world economy. Herregraven focused on offshore structures and the disconnect between capital and physical locations. Through a serious game, she playfully introduced you to international tax structures in faraway places. Her Taxodus draws from an extensive database that processes various international tax treaties and data from companies and countries. Becoming rich has never been so fun and easy. She also investigated the colonial history of Mauritius and this Indian Ocean island’s new role as a tax haven. Herregraven’s meticulous research and surprising designs reveal hidden value systems and clarify their material and geographical consequences. To reform unbridled capitalism, one must first know its pitfalls.

Knowledge is also power. Thus these designers are trying to determine their place in an increasingly vulnerable world. Vulnerable in a very literal sense because climate change is perceived as the most dangerous threat. As graphic designer Irene Stracuzzi (2019 cohort) demonstrates, geopolitical forces also determine the playing field here. Her installation The Legal Status of Ice details how the five Arctic countries – Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the US – are laying claim to the North Pole. After all, immense oil and gas fields may lie beneath the melting icecaps. But shouldn’t the disappearing ice, which has shrunk by half since the late 1970s, be the issue? Stracuzzi has mapped this contemporary imperialism in a giant 3D model of the North Pole, onto which she maps the overlapping claims and other data. The legal status of ice concerns not only the North Pole but also the uranium mines in Angola and the new space race in search of lunar minerals. It is about a system of exploitation and colonialism. The influential curator Paola Antonelli selected Stracuzzi’s work for the Broken Nature exhibition at the 2019 Triennale di Milano. No one can now claim we didn’t know.

Marco Federico Cagnoni
Marco Federico Cagnoni

LIVING LAMPS

The realisation that the complexity of the climate crisis is too great to confront alone is profound. Designers eagerly collaborate with other disciplines. For example, Marco Federico Cagnoni (2020 cohort) is researching latex-producing edible plants with Utrecht University. Corn and potatoes, among other plant varieties, are still grown as raw materials for bioplastics, but the production process discards the nutrients. Cagnoni is studying food crops whose residual material is also processed into fully-fledged bioplastics.

Designers seek a symbiosis with nature from an awareness that we can no longer exploit Earth with impunity. The roadmap is diverse, and nature is protected, imitated, repaired or improved. Let us not forget, we are in the Anthropocene: the era in which human activity influences all life on Earth. But if humankind can destroy nature, then humanity can also recreate it. Biodesigner Teresa van Dongen (2016 cohort) collaborated with microbiologists from TU Delft and Ghent University to develop the Ambio lamp based on luminescent bacteria. The lamp features a long, liquid-filled tube in which marine bacteria live. When the tube moves, it activates the bacteria to give off light. The better the bacteria are cared for, the more and longer they give light. As well as being a sustainable alternative, her Ambio lamp also functions as a powerful means of communication. So working together with nature is possible; we have simply forgotten how to do it.

Teresa van Dongen, Ambio
Teresa van Dongen, Ambio

This situation explains why designers are looking for ways to restore our relationship with nature. Architect Anna Fink (2020 cohort) proposed a country house consisting of rooms scattered in woods, meadows and a village. Residents must maintain their Landscape as House by felling, planting, mowing, building and repairing. The essence of this fragmented ‘house’ is a daily rhythm of movement from room to room and an awareness of the environment, time and space. Routines and rituals are rooted in the weather’s changes. Seasons become a domestic experience. Fink drew on the age-old, semi-nomadic lifestyle of her ancestors in the valley of the Bregenzerwald in the northern Alps. Here, the hyperlocal offers a solution for global issues.

Sissel Marie Tonn i.c.w. Jonathan Reus, Sensory Cartographies
Sissel Marie Tonn i.c.w. Jonathan Reus, Sensory Cartographies

RAW SATELLITE DATA

However, some designers rely on technology to experience nature. Indeed, why should we long for something that no longer exists? The Anthropocene has already begun. Sissel Marie Ton (2020 cohort) uses scientific data such as seismographic measurements. She combines this complex and abstract data with empathic conversations with Groningen residents about their earthquake experiences, which are common to this region because of gas field drilling. This layered information about both the human and geographical aspects of seismic activity was – literally – woven into a wearable vest in collaboration with two fashion designers. Together with sound artist Jonathan Reus (2018 cohort), she also realised an interactive composition of sonic vibrations to translate the intense experience of an earthquake to a broad audience. Ton’s installations connect natural processes with technology to make humankind’s impact on Earth visible and tangible. It is worth remembering that the earthquakes in Groningen were set in motion by humans.

New technologies, such as life science and biohacking, are reshaping our understanding of the natural world. It is no coincidence that these designers are about as old as Dolly the sheep, which in 1996 was the world’s first successfully cloned mammal. In his Tiger Penis Project, Taiwanese-Dutch designer Kuang-Yi Ku (2020 cohort) extended this genetic replication to healthcare. Many traditional Asian medicines regard the tiger penis as a medicine beneficial for male fertility. As a result, the tiger, already facing extinction, is under even more threat. Ku – who previously studied dentistry – proposed using stem cells to cultivate a tiger penis in the laboratory. This immediately raised all kinds of new dilemmas. Is the tiger penis that is laboratory-grown rather than from a wild tiger still suitable as a traditional Chinese medicine? In short, what are the limits of nature by design?

Kuang-Yi Ku, Tiger Penis Project
Kuang-Yi Ku, Tiger Penis Project

This fusion of biology and technology will eventually lead to a new kind of being: the posthuman. Jewellery designer Frank Verkade (2017 cohort) developed a scenario for this engineered body with his Paradise project. However, instead of technology, Verkade gives plants and animals a prominent role in adapting the human body to modern times. The origin of jewellery is, in fact, to be found in prehistoric peoples who used animal forms and natural materials to harness the mythical forces of nature. By harking back to the ancient, Verkade connects the modern human to its environment.

HACKING TECHNOLOGY

If technology becomes such a determining factor for humankind’s future, then surely we cannot entrust the future of our technology to a small group of wealthy, middle-aged white men from Silicon Valley and the European Parliament? According to speculative designer Frank Kolkman (2018 cohort), the discussion about technology’s quotidian role must therefore be part of our daily life. OpenSurgery is a study into a do-it-yourself surgical robot. These are already being built using 3D printers and laser cutters by people in the US who cannot afford a doctor. The self-proclaimed design hacker exposes technology’s social, ethical and political implications. But what do we think of this, and is this something we even want? After all, turning back technology is almost impossible.

Frank Kolkman, Opensurgery
Frank Kolkman, Opensurgery

Such ambivalent attitudes towards technology are a common thread in the new design mentality. With the tablet at hand and a laptop at school, this design generation grew up as digital natives. Technology plays a prominent role in their lives. However, they also know the risks: robotics, big data and artificial intelligence raise novel ethical dilemmas about privacy and employment. According to data designer Julia Janssen (2018 cohort), multiple times a day, we carelessly dismiss warnings that state ‘I agree with the terms’ or ‘click here to continue’. But what do we actually permit? Who collects what data, and above all, why? And what is the value of such information flows? Janssen’s project, 0.0146 Seconds (the time it takes to click on the ‘accept all’ button), informs us of the invisible economy behind the internet. She published all 835 privacy rules of the website for British tabloid the Daily Mail in a hefty tome. At events like the Dutch Design Week, the public reads this book aloud as a public indictment.

PROSECUTION AND DEFENSE

The new digital reality in which nothing is as it appears and fake news lurks everywhere pushes designers into the role of seeking the truth. To prevent complex global issues, such as globalisation or climate change, from becoming bogged down in an abstract discussion, the design duo Cream on Chrome (Martina Huynh and Jonas Althaus, 2020 cohort) used a fictitious lawsuit, without a trace of irony, to indict everyday objects. A sneaker is arrested and prosecuted for climate change, and a face mask is put on trial for not being present in time to prevent contamination. Cream on Chrome uses this debate between prosecutor and defence to question the mutual recriminations and the search for a scapegoat. In reality, are we not the ones who are actually on trial?

Cream on Chrome, Proxies on Trial
Cream on Chrome, Proxies on Trial

DESIGNING FOR URGENCY

Designers thus assume the role of the canary in the coal mine, warning us about the consequences of 15 September 2008, 12 December 2015 and 17 March 2018. The Talent Development Scheme enables them to do this without the hindrance of a lack of time and money – and perhaps even more importantly, without the pressure of quantifiable returns. Only free experimentation allows for unexpected insights. Who would have thought that Kuang-Yi Ku’s Tiger Penis Project could have prevented a global pandemic if also applied to bats and pangolins? Or that the Daily Mail is no longer recognised by Wikipedia as a reliable news source, as Julia Jansen already indicated?

Instead of conforming to the powers that be, designers take on the opportunity to transform the world; instead of imminent irreversibility, potential improvement is nurtured. The world is explained and improved with speculative and practical, but always inventive, designs. This makes the Talent Development Scheme a valuable resource for individual designers and society as a whole.

Text: Jeroen Junte

Longread Talent #3
Me and the other
Empathetic design talent focuses on people, not themselves (or things)

In the past seven years, the Creative Industries Fund NL has supported over 250 young designers with the Talent Development grant. In three longreads, we look for the shared mentality of this design generation, which has been shaped by the great challenges of our time. They examine how they deal with themes such as technology, climate, privacy, inclusiveness and health. In this third and final longread, the focus is no longer on personal success and individual expression but on ‘the other’.

The refugee crisis dominated 2015. Although people from Africa and Central Asia have been cast adrift by war, poverty and oppression for years, that summer, hundreds of refugees on often makeshift boats and dinghies drowned in the Mediterranean. The impotence, anger, frustration, despair and sadness were aptly depicted in the photo of the drowned three-year-old Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi’s body washed ashore on the Turkish coast. Where the financial crisis of 2008 was almost invisible – indeed, even the bankers were at a loss – it was no longer possible to look away, not only in the media but also on the streets. The misery of the other has become pervasive and omnipresent.

Asylum seeker centres in the Netherlands were full to overflowing. Designer Manon van Hoeckel (2018 cohort) saw the refugees in her neighbourhood during her studies at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Realising she had never spoken to an asylum seeker, Van Hoeckel visited a squatted building that housed people who had been rejected asylum. She saw these people were neither scammers nor pitiful, but rather powerful people who want to participate in and contribute to society – precisely what this group was prohibited from doing. Out of concern and determination, Van Hoeckel devised a travelling embassy for undocumented asylum seekers and migrants in limbo: unwanted in the Netherlands and their country of origin. The refugees, or ‘ambassadors’, could invite local residents, passers-by and officials here for a conversation. The In Limbo Embassy facilitated meetings between local residents and a vulnerable group of newcomers.

EMPATHIC ENGAGEMENT

In many ways, Van Hoeckel’s attitude is typical of a generation that has benefitted from the Talent Development Scheme of the Creative Industries Fund NL for the past seven years. Design is no longer about stuff but about people. This empathic enthusiasm now permeates all design disciplines. Personal success and individual expression are no longer paramount. The designer, researcher and maker are categorically focused on the other. The 2015 refugee crisis has acted as both a particle accelerator and a broadening of the profession because such humanitarian crises require unorthodox and radical proposals and ideas.

Lena Knappers
Lena Knappers

Urban planner Lena Knappers (2019 cohort) studied the spatial living conditions of asylum seekers, labour migrants and international students. As part of her research at TU Delft, Rethinking the Absorption Capacity of Urban Space, she developed strategies to integrate migrants into the host society sustainably. Too often, housing is temporary and informal, such as ad hoc container housing in the suburbs or vacant army barracks. Knappers researched alternative and more inclusive forms of reception, focusing on the interpretation of public space. Ultimately, she has an even greater goal: an inclusive city in which all forms of inequality in public space are investigated and remedied.

The extent to which immigration has become part of the creative disciplines’ everyday reality is evident in the practice of Andrius Arutiunian (2021 cohort). After completing a master’s in Composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, he focused on the tension between migration and new technologies. In his development year, he studied the impact of displacement and dissent on society and how this impact can manifest itself in soundscapes. What does the integration of newcomers to the Netherlands sound like? A common factor is the concept of gharib, which means ‘strange’ or ‘mysterious’ in Arabic, Persian and Armenian. Arutiunian does not want to create specific encounters between people or pursue new forms of living. The cultural influence of migration only serves to enrich his professional practice.

SINGLE FATHERS

Inclusivity and cultural diversity are now dominant societal issues. For example, the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States has fuelled intense debate about institutional racism. The other is no longer a stranger to our borders and is our neighbour or colleague. Despite this, society threatens to become polarised, marginalising demographic groups as a result. Designers actively engage in this discourse and apply design as an emancipating force for an all-inclusive society, open and accessible to everyone, regardless of background.

Giorgio Toppin, KABRA (XHOSA), Foto: Onitcha Toppin
Giorgio Toppin, KABRA (XHOSA), Foto: Onitcha Toppin

The emancipation of disadvantaged groups starts with exploring and understanding a shared identity. Only by understanding one’s origins, culture and traditions can one finally obtain a fully-fledged place in society. Giorgio Toppin (2020 cohort) is a proud Bijlmer-Amsterdammer and a Black man with a Surinamese background. His Xhosa fashion label mixes these worlds into new stories, translating them into men’s clothing that fits within the contemporary Western context. For the Surinamese diaspora narratives that inform his collections, he travelled to his native country to research and document local craftsmanship and traditional production techniques. He then manufactured sweaters using indigenous knotting techniques and interpreted a winter coat using hand-embroidered traditional prints from the Saramacca district. Conversely, he reimagined the Creole ‘kotomisi’, which is difficult to wear, with a comfortable and contemporary cut. Toppin’s bicultural fashion strengthened the cultural identity of Surinamese people and thereby increased the understanding and appreciation for their origin among other population groups. After all, Toppin insists his clothes must first and foremost be ‘cool to wear’.

Of course, creative disciplines have always been good at strengthening an identity. Fashion, functional objects, interiors and photographic images are simply excellent means for showing who you are and especially who you want to be. In recent years, however, identity no longer signifies a non-committal lifestyle but can also be a stigma that determines one’s social position. Identity is not always a choice, yet it has considerable influence on daily life – something to which Surinamese, Turkish, Moroccan and Antillean Dutch people, up to the fourth generation, can testify. Any designer that examines fixed identities must be acutely aware of cultural and emotional sensitivities. The designer who simply explains what is right and wrong lags behind the inclusive facts.

Marwan Magroun, The Life of Fathers, Adison & Ayani
Marwan Magroun, The Life of Fathers, Adison & Ayani

Consequently, designers increasingly work from a position of personal involvement or agency (ownership). Photographer and storyteller Marwan Magroun (2020 cohort) captured the world of single fathers with a migrant background in his documentary project The Life Of Fathers. Magroun, who grew up without a father figure for most of his childhood, sought answers to and stories of an often unnoticed but deeply felt fatherhood. He wanted to dispel the notion that fathers from a migrant background are not involved in parenting. His photographic report and accompanying film (now broadcast on NPO3) has given a group of devoted but underestimated fathers a voice and a face.

QUEERS AND EXTENDED FAMILIES

Diversity is embraced and propagated throughout society. Prevailing views on gender, sexuality and ethnicity are shifting. This also means plenty of playing and experimentation with identity and how it can be designed. As a result, designers are no longer a conduit for industry or government but adopt an activist stance. The guiding principle is social cohesion and no longer one’s ego. Renee Mes (2021 cohort) wanted to dismantle the stereotyping of the LGBTQ+ community and thereby increase acceptance. She focused specifically on how extended families are shaped within the various queer communities. This self-selected family is often built as an alternative to the rejection or shame from the families in which queers were raised. But this new lifestyle struggles with legal, medical, educational and other institutional disadvantages. Mes’s approach was that was make being seen the first step toward recognition.

For her research and film portraits, Mes, who is white cisgender, worked with the organisation Queer Trans People of Colour. Collaboration can also generate agency. Besides, whose identity is being addressed? Or, to use the terminology of Black Lives Matter, ‘nothing about us without us’. It is logical – and maybe even necessary – that inclusive design is realised according to these politically correct rules of agency and representation. Indeed, the countless cultural sensitivities demand great care.

SELECTION AND SCOUTING

The creative industries are not exempt from equal opportunities. The design disciplines are not free from stereotypes. The Mediated Bodies research project by Gabriel A. Maher (2016 cohort) meticulously maps the gender relationships in the international design magazine Frame. Eighty per cent of the people in the magazine were male – from the designers interviewed to the models in the advertisements. Moreover, women were mainly portrayed in role-confirming and sometimes even submissive positions, such as bending over or crouching down. Maher’s feminist practice seeks to ‘deconstruct’ the design discipline to identify the existing power structure and prejudices. Only after an active process of self-reflection and criticism can design fulfil its potential as a discipline that contributes to societal improvement.

However, attention to polyphony alone is insufficient. Representation should be proportional, especially in the creative disciplines. The Talent Development Scheme actively contributes to this balance with new forms of selection. Scout nights are available for designers, researchers and makers who have developed professionally in practice, without a formal design training. During these evenings, talented designers who work outside the established creative channels can pitch their work to a jury. Many designers who use these scout nights belong to minority groups for whom going to an art academy or technical university is less established.

Khalid Amakran, Hady
Khalid Amakran, Hady

The self-taught Rotterdam photographer Khalid Amakran (2021 cohort) has developed from hobbyist to professional portrait photographer. After selection during a scout night, he devoted a year to a project about the identity formation of young second and third-generation Moroccan Dutch people. Amakran’s 3ish project comprises a book and short documentary detailing this group’s struggles with loyalty issues, code-switching, institutional racism, jihadism, and Moroccan Dutch males’ politicisation. Representing emerging talents from bicultural or non-binary backgrounds is imperative for the creative industries. Only visible examples and recognisable role models can create a feeling of recognition and appreciation and guarantee the diversity necessary for the creative industries.

ARAB CALLIGRAPHY

The scout nights have selected nine talented practitioners for the 2020 and 2021 cohorts. This number will undoubtedly increase in the coming years. An added value is that these designers are growing the diversity of content in their field through their singular professional practices. Another self-taught recipient is ILLM, the alias of illustrator Qasim Arif (2021 cohort). He mixes the age-old craft of calligraphy with contemporary elements of hip-hop and street culture. Traditional Arabic calligraphy is, by definition, two-dimensional because, according to Islamic regulations, the sculpting of living beings is reserved for Allah. ILLM wants to convert this visual language into sculptures. He also draws inspiration from his own life. He grew up in a metropolis as a third-generation Moroccan Dutch citizen, which informs his mix of calligraphy with pop-cultural icons like the Nike Air Max 1, a recognisable status symbol representing the dreams, wishes and memories of many children from migrant backgrounds. ILLM merges street culture and age-old graphic craftsmanship into a completely new idiom.

DRIVERS OF INCLUSION

The Talent Development Scheme is a necessary social empowerment that naturally coincides with an activist attitude. A sincere and profound commitment to identity and inclusivity guides designers, researchers and makers. Through a capacity for empathy and sensitivity – either innately or through collaboration with the target group – they can catalyse transformative initiatives and constructive debate. This capacity unlocks the creative disciplines’ powerful potential: the realisation of a diverse society in which all sections of society are equal. After all, looking at the other ultimately means looking at us all.

Text: Jeroen Junte

Diamons 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.


Text: Rosa te Velde

Alessandra Scalora

Alessandra Scalora

Illustrator and urban beekeeper Alessandra Scalora of House of Honey was selected during the Scout Night in Eindhoven. Scalora creates work on bees with materials she finds and conserves during beekeeping. Inspired by the bee, returning themes are the environment, women's emancipation and feminism, collaboration and her own history. During the talent development year, Scalora wants to develop a clear, personal style, research the Sicilian beekeeping culture and set up a community of female beekeepers. In particular, she wants to gain knowledge so that she can make pigments from flowers and experiment with different painting and material techniques. Through literature research and taking workshops, Scalora wants to learn from other artists. Scalora intends to start collaborations with Paddy Johnson, Nan Groot Antik, Ellen Gallagher, Cleo Goossens, Margarita Osipova, Yolande van der Heide, Marieke Pijler, and Masharu. At the end of the year, House of Honey will present ten new works in an exhibition at TAC. Scalora will also make her first photo book.
Alyson Sillon

Alyson Sillon

Designer Alyson Sillon graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie with a bachelor's degree in graphic design in 2022. In the development plan, Sillon describes the ambition of looking analytically at established and hidden visual codes through graphic design. She builds on the work Before/After, experiments with world-building and links three communication methods to them: narrative writing, visual creation and embodied manifestations. For the first communication method, Sillon wish to involves the expertise of a Black writer and critic to obtain a decolonial perspective, to work on writing stories. With 'visual creation', Sillon wants to get a better understanding of visual creatorship. To do this, Sillon will visit Tianzhuo Chen in Berlin and will make digital collages that will reflect on The Book of Drexciya by Abdul Qadim Haqq. Through the third communication method, Sillon wants to remodel her graphic design into embodied manifestations and performances. The designer will seek the expertise of choreographer Connor Schumacher and Michele Rizzo. In order to steer the project in the right direction, according to the maker it is crucial to possess production management skills. By attending Dweller festival in New York, Sillon will observe how you can reach an audience in the right way, and how you let this grow. The project will result in a showcase in a nightlife venue of Amsterdam. Lastly, Sillon will create a publication in which black heritage, techno and spirituality are linked to each other. The publication will be presented by Pamela, San Serriffe, After 8 Books, Presence Africaine and Do you read me?
Amos Peled

Amos Peled

Amos Peled designs experiences in the audiovisual domain of art and performance. His work explores the definition of 'doubt' in relation to medical technology. Peled uses defamiliarization, alienation and doubt as methods to stimulate research into the human perception, the perception of oneself and the construction of intersubjectivity. This interest follows on from his own experience of growing up in a hospital environment. Here, he experienced and observed the work processes of the medical system, which are designed in such a way that there is hardly any room for doubt. In the coming year, he wants to introduce creativity into the medical environment, by working with the University of Twente Technical Medical Centre and the Leiden University Medical Centre and introduce medical technology into an artistic context. He will be mentored by artists Aya Ben Ron, Karel van Laere and iii.
Ange Neveu

Ange Neveu

Ange Neveu, who graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts The Hague, researches the rapid changes in the relationships between 'nature', technology and people and the blurring that arises between them. According to Neveu, these changes emphasize existing power structures, but they also offer new possibilities for co-existence and connection. As an observer, a storyteller and a designer, they want to tell these multifaceted stories from different perspectives, no matter how contradictory. In the talent development year, Neveu wants to further develop their voice as a researcher at the interface between eco-surveillance, production and reproduction technologies and non-normative desires, develop a polyphonic narrative style that speculatively, poetically and accurately combines words and images. Also, Neveu wants to develop new research and speculation methods for phenomena across the physical and digital world. Neveu will work on two projects: May your eyes never look away, may your genitals always be lubricated and Invasion Diaries. In addition, they will develop research methods in a smaller collaboration project and will learn practical skills, like scriptwriting, video editing and planning. Neveu will work with, amongst others, June Yu, Waag, Ine Gevers and Mari Bastachevski. The findings will be presented in a publication and during Waag's Open Evening Programme. Other locations where Neveu will present are FIBER, IMPAKT, International Film Festival Rotterdam, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam and Brussels Short Film Festival.
Anna Torres

Anna Torres

Anna Torres is an artist, architect, a visual storyteller and a general spatial poet. Her work uncovers the various power structures that play a part in the so-called public space, in which gender, sexuality and homosexuality are central. In the coming year, Anna will research the spatial display of power at the Wallen (the Red Light District in Amsterdam). Anna intends to deepen her artistic sensibility and spatial knowledge, expand her network and investigate her own definition of what an architect is. She will take a spatial storytelling workshop and a multimedia course. She will be mentored by René Boer. The year will find form in a series of spatial drawings, architecture collages and critical texts that will be bundled in a publication.
Anna Zan

Anna Zan

Anna Zan's architecture practice focuses on the cultural and artistic value of raw materials. Zan's work is an exploration of new, regenerative building materials. Up until recently, efforts in the field of sustainability specifically focused on energy consumption when using buildings, whilst interest in the carbon included in the construction was marginal. Replacing carbon-intensive building materials with regenerative resources from the biosphere is an important approach for making our built environment carbon-free. Using the Talent Development grant, Anna will work on two parallel studies (Material Cultures Limburg and Material Cultures NL) in order to deliver a contribution to the new, sustainable, local, material culture of the Netherlands. By means of this research, she will explore solutions for low-carbon construction in the Netherlands with a special focus on raw materials (plants and minerals). She will be supported and mentored by, amongst others, Coen Eggen, Oskam, NAP Ingenieurs, Werkstatt and Lucie Havel. Zan intends to go on study trips to Atelier Luma+Gernoble National School of Architecture and to Bolthauser Architekten+ETH Zürich material lab. The work will be presented during the We are warming up festival and in the gallery of ceramicist Marjoke de Heer in Amsterdam.
Aurélia Noudelmann & Laëtitia Delauney

Aurélia Noudelmann & Laëtitia Delauney

Curatorial and social design duo Aurélia Noudelmann and Laëtitia Delauney graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Their practice focuses on hybrid spaces where new creation-based dialogues can be facilitated. Noudelmann and Delauney are driven to re-appropriate crafts dominated by men, in particular shipbuilding, by researching sustainable design methods, like upcycling and through inclusive structures offering scope to practices that focus on communities and specifically feminist and queer initiatives. Core themes and topics are intersectional feminism, upcycling, open source and shipbuilding. Using the Talent Development grant, they want to develop De Walvis project, a hybrid and modularly designed boat which can be used in all seasons as a residence and as a presentation space. To realize this, Noudelmann and Delauney will study shipbuilding techniques, build and test prototypes, and carry out upcycling experiments and learn about participative design. They will also develop an open, participative shipyard. Noudelmann and Delauney will work, amongst others, with Buurtwerkplaats Noorderhof, Fiona De Bell, Recycle Valley, and Bureau Double. Presentations will take place at Fanfare, Buurtwerkplaats Noorderhof, SAIL Amsterdam, and will be published on social media.
Chen-Yu Wang

Chen-Yu Wang

Designer, artist, researcher, maker and factory girl, Chen-Yu Wang graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven. In these different roles, Wang translates Eastern and Western ways of thinking, written information in Mandarin and English, the implicit between material and immaterial and the dialogue between us and the other. Wang wants to break through the silence of the important but invisible voices of capitalism. Core themes are decolonization, decentralization of euro-centrism, hybridization and anti-racism. Wang is looking for ways to integrate sociology and anthropology into her artistic practice. Using the Talent Development grant, Wang wants to set up The Rest Factory: a self-sustaining social organization that offers immediate inclusivity, fair wages and dignified work to factory girls. To realize this, Wang will take courses in social business development, anthropology and sociology, she will study existing social enterprises that are active in a creative or artistic context, do a foreign residency, go on a study trip to Prague to learn about weaving and interview factory girls. Wang will work with Ben Platts-Mills, Lukas Völp, Sabeena Ibrahim, WNOOZOW, Eleri and Ana de Fontecha. The presentations will take place at the GLUE Festival and Dutch Design Week.
Chenda

Chenda

Chenda (Chisenga) is a self-taught fashion designer with a background in woodworking. She focusses on leather mask, with the aim of empowering different types of bodies, promoting sexual freedom and at the same undermining the male gaze. According to Chenda, it is the fashion industry that, to a significant extent, determines the ideal of beauty. Chenda hopes to offer a healthier alternative to this ideal. Her brand Chisenga explicitly links up with the characteristics of black queer feminism. In the coming year, the designer will focus on leather crafting. Chenda will visit various tanneries in Naples in search of a high-quality preferred supplier. She will also research the possibilities of fruit leather in Rotterdam. She will work on positioning her brand and will be mentored by art director Maxime van Namen. A graphic layer for Chisenga will be designed in collaboration with Fital de Frel. The work will be presented during a performance art club night at Studio Papa in Amsterdam-Noord (The Gang is Beautiful (TGIB)). The event will be promoted through a poster campaign in collaboration with Jim Mooijekind.
Cote

Cote

Creative maker from Chile, Cote of Cotecreate Studio lives in Leeuwarden and was selected at the Scout Night in Zwolle. Cotecreate Studio combines social design and graphic design in her practice. She sees art and creativity as impactful means for bringing people together and solving social issues. She is passionate about protecting, building, understanding, sharing, educating about and fighting for equality. Using the Talent Development grant, Cotecreate Studio wants to further develop a specific artistic signature, by integrating Latin-American visual codes in her existing style, taking a course on mural painting, participating in a residency and doing community work in Chile for a large social organization. In addition, she wants to gain knowledge about social, demographic, economic and political aspects of social issues in the Netherlands and learn commercial skills like time management in large community projects as well as marketing skills. Cotecreate Studio will work with, amongst others, Payo, Eva Koopmans, Katie Creekay, Annerieke Otten, Carolien Tiedema, Jeroen Dijkstra and Jessie Jansen. At the end of the talent development year, she wants to have a new website.
Daeuk Kim

Daeuk Kim

Daeuk Kim of Studio Deaukkim, who graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, creates objects that serve as alter egos to fulfil, explain and express his desires and dreams. Growing up in the conservative culture of Korea, he had to suppress and hide his desires, identity, gender expression and freedom of choice, because of the social expectations surrounding his gender. By creating mutated objects - or characters - that represent his previously hidden desires, Kim changes this shame into pride. Themes in Kim's work are diversity and the acceptance of differences. Studio Deaukkim wants to create work that evokes emotions and an stimulates understanding of social issues. Using the Talent Development grant, he wants to further develop storytelling and things other than verbal narrative techniques around previously created characters, for example based on fashion, a photo series and a video series. Kim will be coached for this and will take part in storytelling, photography, videography and 3D-graphics courses. Studio Deaukkim will work with MAISON the FAUX, Alexandre Humbert, Koen de Bruyn and Cusson Cheng. Presentations will be shown both online and offline by sharing his process on social media, by publishing the final work on platforms like Dazed, NOWNESS or Numéro and physically, among other things, in a group exhibition in the Hyundai Motor Studio in Korea.
Denzel Veerkamp

Denzel Veerkamp

Fashion designer Denzel Veerkamp was born in Amsterdam-Zuid, as the child of a Dutch mother and a Surinamese father. Questioning social systems and translating his personal experiences around his modern black identity are central in his practice. Veerkamp is, generally speaking, critical of the systems that are applied within the Western, capitalist society and specifically those within the fashion industry. In the coming year, Veerkamp will focus on The Perpetual Reverse Assimilation Project (PRAP). PRAP is about discomfort, openness, interaction, perception without judgment and innovation. It is research into the multi-layered facets of Dutch-Surinamese history. For this, he will seek the guidance of Janice Deul, Chiquita Nahar, Marian Duff, Esmeralda Zijp, Richard Kufi, Edson Sabajo / Guillaume Schmidt and Jefferson Osei. In addition, he will go on a research trip to Surinam. His findings will be presented in an online visual archive and in a short documentary.
Driever

Driever

Spatial design, art and science converge in the sculptures of self-taught multidisciplinary maker Driever. Driever, who was selected during the Scout Night in Zwolle, mainly works with recycled and recovered materials, like broken up devices, toys and found wood and metal. With his designs, the maker wants to challenge the audience to reflect on choices and possibilities or to look at our planet from another perspective. Using the Talent Development grant, Driever will let his work respond to the movements of viewers. It will appeal to several senses. He wants to present his work in a wider and suitable network, focusing on Enschede and Rotterdam. He also wants to take a Python and a robotics course, go on a study trip to Lisbon, be coached in cultural entrepreneurship and build a new website. Driever will work with Edwin Dertien, Michel Beek, Mare Kiers, Anne Wenzel, Nicky Assman and Kees de Groot. At the end of the year, he wants to present work in Enschede, Rotterdam and during Dutch Design Week.
Dunya Zita

Dunya Zita

Dunya Zita has an interdisciplinary practice, combining lens-based media (photography and film) with audio and poetry. Drawing from her Moroccan-Dutch background, she delves into themes of human interaction and perception, exploring their entanglement with nature and nurture influences.

In the coming year, Zita plans to further develop her practice through artistic experimentation in the realm of image-making and content exploration, including anthropological research, poetry, and interactive exhibition elements. To achieve this, she intends to seek assistance from professionals in various disciplines such as researchers, journalists, visual artists, electrical engineers, and writers. Additionally, she aims to enhance her technical expertise through workshops in film development and color grading theory, among others. As part of her creative journey, she will spend ten weeks in Morocco collaborating with local artists, including Yassine Sellame, a photographer, and the founder of Moroccan Darkroom.
eeden ATELIER

eeden ATELIER

Fashion designer Tessa van den Eeden (eeden ATELIER) was selected during the Scout Night in Eindhoven. Inspired by our inner world, eeden ATELIER sheds a light on difficult to discuss issues around mental health, like depression, burn-out and suicide, using haute couture. Using the Talent Development grant, eeden ATELIER wants to realize a five-part design series, Les Finns, based on her own mental health struggles and realize a series of couture pieces, named US, realiseren, that tell the experiences others have with addiction. Van den Eeden will enhance her technical knowledge of and skills in materials and different body shapes by taking various courses. eeden ATELIER will work with, amongst others, film maker Noël Oosterhof and music designer BLKTYLR, psychiatrists and addiction workers and marketing professional Eline Levering. At the end of the development year, eeden ATELIER will have realized a digital portfolio and developed a presentation strategy.
Emmie Massias

Emmie Massias

Emmie Massias designs workshops, installations, and objects, with water as a recurring theme. Emmie's goal is to shed light on the disappearing cultural, territorial, and post-colonial identities shaped by geopolitical forces today. In the coming year Emmie aims to conduct research on the Dutch Imperial Oyster, which offers insights into the politics of water management and the exportation of Dutch water expertise to Southeast Asia. Through material exploration, Emmie reflects on cultural influence, neo-imperialism, and the consequences of a European perspective rooted in colonialism. Emmie has a personal connection to the subject matter as she grew up in Vietnam. Throughout the year she will expand her skills in ceramics through a course on river clay (Stichting Fabrikaat) and conduct a series of performances during a month-long residency (the Fondation Martell). She will be mentored by i.a. Henriette Waal (Luma), Lada Hrsak (Shollow Waters Institute) and Louise Carver (political ecologist, TBA-21). Emmie will spend three months in Vietnam to establish collaborations with artisans and organizations as to expand her work and reach communities in Ho Chi Minh City and a wider international audience. The work will be presented on storytelling platform Nextblue and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe.
Enzo Aït Kaci

Enzo Aït Kaci

Enzo Aït Kaci (Enzo De Tandt) is a digital designer with a background in fashion. Their practice investigates the value of fashion images through the digital prism of the internet. During the talent development year, Enzo intends to research the value of online fashion images and how they relate to the distribution networks. During the first research phase, Enzo will challenge the local Dutch community of makers that work with images, mentored by Paula Canovas Del Vas (fashion designer) and Jacque Percomte (media artist). In the second research phase, Enzo will carry out experiments on materials at the Lottozero residence in Prato, Italy. In the last design phase, Enzo will create a hybrid fashion collection in collaboration with Clara Pasteau. The collection will be produced in collaboration with curator Isobel Whalley and will be presented in an offline exhibition that will function as a physical materialisation of the website.
Hand of Fatima

Hand of Fatima

Hand of Fatima is a socially engaged henna artist. With her work, she questions the prevailing Western image of the North African woman. During her development year, the maker will focus on the project Restore the Narrative (through Hennafication). For this, she will dive into the archives in search of images of North African women from the last century, to uncover the European fantasy image of the 'Arabic world'. During the talent development year, Hand of Fatima will be coached by, amongst others, Nina Hama, Fatima Essahsah and Nathalie Alblas. In addition, she will take a photography masterclass and a Procreate course by Gouden Lijntjes. The presentation will consist of a new website and a promo video. Hand of Fatima will also investigate the possibilities of presenting her work in the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam or Tropenmuseum Amsterdam.
Ikael Echteld

Ikael Echteld

Self-taught fashion designer Ikael Echteld is co-founder of The Gang is Beautiful (TGIB). TGIB is a creative and cultural collective that engages with fashion, art and lifestyle in the form of products and events. What TGIB exudes is that there are no boundaries between different 'boxes' in society. Afro futurism, spirituality and challenging norms around gender and cultural minorities are central in Ikael's practice. As a self-taught maker, Ikael lacks knowledge of the technical side of fashion design. In the coming year, he will therefore further develop his pattern drawing skills (a course at Vogue Academy), denim and leather-work (coaching by denim expert Alljan Moehamad and leather specialist Frankie Boateng) and applying digital drawing techniques (Adobe illustrator course at MK24). In addition, he will start researching a production method at the New Order of Fashion Lab to make his practice resilient for the future. Ultimately, a collection will ensue from this, which will be presented in an exhibition, a short film and a photo collection.
James Noya

James Noya

Designer James Noya works in wood engraving. As a result of colonialism, much of the knowledge of and about Moluccan wood engraving and Moluccan symbols and motifs has been lost. In his practice, James focuses on reintroducing this craft, injecting new life into it. In the coming year, Noya wants to further develop his wood engraving technique by taking a sculpting course at Creapoelka and wants to do in-depth research on heritage, based on museum collections. In addition, he wants to investigate the right stage or platform for presenting his work. He will be mentored in this regard by Amanda Pinatih (design curator at the Stedelijk Museum). Noya intends to present his work in a short documentary, which he will make in collaboration with video producer Geraldo Solisa and film maker Tahnee Elloreen Leupen.
Jazmon Voss

Jazmon Voss

Originally trained as a ballet dancer, Jazmon Voss is inspired by dance, music and movement. Vos was selected during the Scout Night in Eindhoven. Deconstructing gender norms and his personal African-native background are recurring topics and sources of inspiration in his practice. He processes vintage clothing in his designs. With the grant, Voss wants to take various courses in design software, pattern drawing and jewellery making and to do literary research into deep-see fish. During the year, Voss will work with, amongst others, Telma Patricia Fonseca, Samir Bakir and Henna Astra. His objective is to design and produce five upcycled garments, as well as six ready-to-wear looks that will be produced externally. The collection will be presented at a non-traditional, immersive runway event.
Jenny Konrad

Jenny Konrad

Jenny Konrad is a visual translator of information expanding towards a multi sensory praxis. Konrad aims to find new ways beyond traditional and digital journalistic media, pushing the boundaries of storytelling to make information digestible to constantly overstimulated minds and understimulated bodies. Konrad works with topics like disability rights, (self/community) care and body politics. They research, in particular, the body's role in an increasingly digital and physically estranged capitalistic culture. Works take shape in installations, performative interventions and experimental websites, presenting information with which the audience can interact. As a designer, Konrad wants to make information more accessible in order to contribute to the agency of individuals and to initiate connections for community care. Using the Talent Development grant, they will concentrate on building a sustainable practice. During the development year, they will participate in the Crip the Curriculum events of the Sandberg Institute and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, as well as in the Disability Justice Reading Group, they will take workshops in quilt-making and they will develop new workshop concepts. To achieve this, Konrad will work with Ludmila Rodriguez, Lotte van Laatum, Renée Kooijman, Lotte de Rooij and Brittany Thorpe. Konrad wants to present at Mediametic and during Dutch Design Week.
Jeroen Alexander Meijer

Jeroen Alexander Meijer

Interdisciplinary mindscape artist Jeroen Alexander Meijer graduated from the Royal Academy of Art. With his practice, he focuses on the mental landscape of the digital society. His work is given shape in different hybrid media, varying from installation art, performance and writing to spatial design and wearables. Inspired by his own experiences with ADD, Meijer works with themes like attention, technology, ritualism, simplicity, clarity and embodiment. During the talent development year, Meijer wants to research how you can captivate your senses whilst deliberately ignoring visual stimuli. More specifically, Meijer will attend the Dutch TouchDesigner conference and workshops to improve his software skills and learn about new media, redesign his website and social media, do residencies at Crossing Paralells/TU Delft and Uncloud and visit cultural institutions and organizations that are relevant to his practice. Meijer will work with Stefan van der Stigchel, Joris Strijbos and Edwin van der Heide. His experiments and research results will be shared, amongst other things, through his website in text, image and interactions and at Uncloud Festival.
Jesse van den Berg

Jesse van den Berg

Jesse van den Berg graduated from the Master Institute of Visual Cultures, part of St. Joost School of Art & Design in Den Bosch. In their practice, they focus on intimacy through photography, video, audio, installation and the representation of queer people. Collectivity, love and vulnerability play an important role in the creative process. Together with their models, Van den Berg tells stories that they find important to tell within the representation of queer persons, such as celebrating the diversity of body types, trans- and non-binary persons, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and other identity traits that are still often underrepresented. With the Talent Development grant, Van den Berg plans to attend workshops in sound design and zinemaking, develop a website, take study tours to Madrid and Extremadura and set up their own residency project. They will work with, among others, Guinevere Ras, Yin Aiwen and Lana Prins. At the end of the year, Van den Berg will present work in an exhibition at the Dutch Design Week.
Katharina Nejdl

Katharina Nejdl

Graphic designer, developer and educator Katharina Nejdl graduated from the Sandberg Institute and uses digital technologies like web (open source), AR and AI as graphic devices. By experimentally approaching web design and creative coding, Nejdl's practice reflects on our relationship with technology and the impact it has on the design field. In the coming year, Nejdl wants to research the potential of creative coding as a design tool and to reflect critically on the impact technology has on the creative field. In order to understand the potential of coding from different perspectives, Nejdl will develop a poster generator, a type tool and a publication creator. Through mentoring sessions, coding assessments and online courses, but also business coaching and financial advice, Nejdl wants to professionalize her practice both artistically and organisationally. Nejdl will work with The Rodina, Vera van de Seyp, Varia and Same Same Studio. Besides sharing her findings in a printed publication, a workshop will be her most important presentation form.
LAMEIAE

LAMEIAE

Visual storyteller LAMEIAE (Lamiae El Hajjaji) uses various media, e.g. illustration, graphic design and animation, to contribute positively to the narrative of the BIPOC/MENA community within the art world. El Hajjaji does not focus on the painful story but offers representation to different generations and groups and scope for an open dialogue. In the coming year, El Hajjaji will work on a deconstructed comic under the name Hia (Arabic for she/her). During the development year, the designer will participate in a residency at LFMC, where she will be mentored by Brian Elstak and Giuseppe Du Crocq, amongst others. In order to improve her narrative skills, she will receive guidance from copywriter Zindzi Zevenbergen. The work will be given shape in a number of objects and a printed comic. El Hajjaji will be mentored by screen-print studio KAPITAAL in Utrecht in experimenting with the structure and format of the comic. She will take a ceramics course at Juultje Meerdinks and will exhibit her work at LFMC.
Lashaaawn

Lashaaawn

Lashaaawn is an on- and offline drag performance artist who is passionate about the greater good. With their artistic practice as a drag performance artist and an epic fantasy writer, Lashaaawn wants to gain a more prominent presence in the digital domain. During this development year, Lashaaawn wants to improve the quality of their work through the artistic guidance of writer and cultural programmer Simone Zeefuik, amongst others. In addition, Lashaaawn will work on both their technical and performance skills through workshops. Lashaaawn will start a collaboration with similar, but more advanced artists, including Richard Kofi and Meliibees. They also plan to learn more about how to navigate the social media landscape and how to better realize their own fictional epic fantasy world, both online and offline. All this will converge in a web series of about seven episodes, performance videos, a physical exhibition and presentations through livestreams on Instagram and Twitch.
Lena Winterink

Lena Winterink

In her work, textile designer Lena Winterink focuses on patterns. In the work, there is a strong connection between both textile patterns and social systems. Winterink's biggest driver is to translate 'social' patterns into textile designs. In doing so, Winterink makes themes that are difficult to grasp more tangible, both literally and figuratively. Winterink has four development themes, namely textile skills (weaving with technical weaver Thera Berkhout), industry and innovation (increasing knowledge and network in collaboration with Enschede Textielstad for local production with transparency about the origin of raw materials), positioning (mentoring and methods with, amongst others, Buro Belèn) and lastly reporting and securing (recording the vision and the practice). Winterink's research will be presented in the form of a publication. In addition, she will come out with a new website for her work and during the year she will explain her work in various lectures on location, including at the Material District and Contactgroep Textiel.
Lukas Engelhardt

Lukas Engelhardt

Lukas Engelhardt is a graphic designer and artist. His work revolves around the struggle for space, in the digital as well as the physical domain. Lukas researches ways to hack or crack systems and uses self-organization to create temporary autonomous zones. Alternatives, like cracking and self-hosting, may seem to be inaccessible. According to Engelhardt, demystifying these processes is crucial, both in and outside the creative sector. In the ongoing process of decolonization of institutions and practices, a wide-ranging discussion on infrastructure is essential. To deepen his understanding and refine his practice, Lukas will do research on self-organization and the aesthetics of autonomy by means of lectures and interviews with, amongst others, artist collective the Hundred Rabbits and the Brussels Open Source Publishing collective. He will also build several servers from old hardware and software and develop sys-admin in collaboration with Ada Reinthal and Fablag Waag. Engelhardt will reflect on this during the development year by working on the Self-Hosting Manual, receiving guidance from Silvio Lorusso and Roel Roscam Abbing. He will present four servers/prototypes at Dutch Design Week and he will publish his Self-Hosting Manual in collaboration with Paul Bille.
Maciej Wieczorkowski

Maciej Wieczorkowski

Architect Maciej Wieczorkowski studied at the Technical University Delft and leads the Dividual spatial design practice together with Andrea Bit. Wieczorkowski is fascinated by the power of architecture to evoke feelings and stimulate solidarity. Central themes in his practice are the commons, productivity and unproductivity in the built environment, and more specifically the reuse of infrastructure, the unlocking of underutilized sources and an exploration of the notion of metabolism. With the grant, Wieczorkowski wants to further develop as a designer by bringing order to his understanding of the commons, to translate this into a personalized design approach and research its potential applications. He will do this through a literary study and by visiting locations that embody the commons, a series of design exercises and experimenting with different ways of presenting his findings. Furthermore, Wieczorkowski will delve into project management, financial administration and marketing. Wieczorkowski will work with Thijs Lijster, Scott Lloyd, Wojciech Mazan and others. Possible presentation places are Waag, Nieuwe Instituut, Architectuur Instituut Rotterdam, the Board of Government Advisers and the Rotterdamse Academie van Bouwkunst.
Maria Fraaije

Maria Fraaije

Self-taught social illustrator Maria Fraaije was selected at the Scout Night in Rotterdam. In addition to her creative work, Fraaije is a researcher at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), where she does research on, among other things, power, justice and social innovation in large social transitions. Using the Talent Development grant, Fraaije wants to intertwine these two practices. At the end of the development year, Fraaije wants to have developed her artistic practice into a practice with a clear-cut artistic signature informed by her scientific expertise, with fantasy and imagination playing a bigger role, and with her drawings stirring reflection and debate. Fraaije chooses the relationship between man, nature and agriculture as a theme. Fraaije researches the relationship between these three elements based on network meetings with similar makers and thinkers, field visits, courses and three drawing phases - on reality and fantasy and narratives about the future. In the coming year, Fraaije will work with Marieke Meesters, Nick Verouden, Eva Hilhorst, Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken, Stichting Wij.land, Emily Haworth-Booth and Lily Higgins. Fraaije will present the eventual results in, for instance, an audiovisual exhibition and on the Drawing the Times platform.
md-2 architects

md-2 architects

Michal Dlugajczyk and Mahaut Dael of md-2 architects graduated from the Rotterdamse Academie van Bouwkunst Academy of Architecture and work in Rotterdam on small-scale and medium-sized renovation projects. md-2 architects delve into the stories, history, significance and identity of a place, with them seeing themselves as defenders of the existing context. They protest against the continuous demolition and the brushing aside of the valuable and complex city. Using surrealism as a methodology, Description by Design, they want to create new realities based on enriching, supplementing and revealing what already exists. Returning themes are identity, sustainability and flexibility. Using the Talent Development grant, md-2 architects want to combine research, practice and exhibitions. They will go on a study trip to Prague, visit construction material factories in the Rotterdam region and analyze the current waste flows of demolition materials. They will also take courses on project management and curation. md-2 architects will work with ENCI, Jan Skrivanek, Heidelberg Materials and the Rotterdamse Academie voor Bouwkunst. Presentations will be given shape in Diffuse Architecture Gallery (d.a.g.), a series of public events in empty spaces, with interactive sessions being organized in the Nieuwe Instituut and/or The Independent School for the City. An exhibition will take place at OMI or Gallery 3 By You.
Michelangelo Winklaar

Michelangelo Winklaar

Multidisciplinary designer Michelangelo Winklaar was selected at the Scout Night in Rotterdam. Using his designs, Michelangelo wants to produce feelings and an experience and expose social issues. Recurring themes are, for example, imprisonment or slavery, female shapes and inclusivity. Using the Talent Development grant, Winklaar wants to develop a tactile couture exhibition that is accessible to the visually impaired. For this, he will carry out material research, take a workshop on couture embroidery and investigate how he can enhance the experience of an exhibition for people who are visually impaired, for example, by adding touch and sound. Winklaar will start collaborations with Madelief Hohe (Kunstmuseum Den Haag), Carlo Wijnands, Visio (Institute for the Blind), Marcel Westerdiep (Escher in het Palais), and Beeld & Geluid, amongst others. At the end of the development year, Winklaar will have a roadmap with different possible presentation forms, the results of his research and meetings, and workshops to present to various museums.
Michèle Boulogne

Michèle Boulogne

Textile designer, visual artist and multimedia archivist Michèle Boulogne graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven. Her areas of expertise comprise artisanal and industrial textiles, archive research and research into what it means for humanity to navigate in space through ecosystems, observe and use them. Boulogne places this in parallel with earthly issues, like the use and regulation of community resources and decolonial ecology. Boulogne divides the development year into four parts. She will apply techniques she learned during an internship in Kalingo, basket weaving techniques in Martinique and Dominica, Watikubuli in her studio and she will also learn industrial weaving by experimenting with the Digital Jacquard loom. In addition, Boulogne will seek contact with the academic world by means of interviews, visits and discussions about textiles and world construction, at Waag, for example. She will also explore the long-term How do environments come to [[matter]]; translating radar signals into textiles project. Lastly, she will commence the Caribbean Arc and Outer Space, an academic and visual reflection on exploration project. Michèle Boulogne will work with the Kalinago community, Marie Line Mouriesse, Miha Tursic at Waag and Jens Hauser. Boulogne will present her work by means of printing, textile samples and lectures at, for example, Leonardo/OALTS 2024.
Michiel Terpelle

Michiel Terpelle

Graphic designer Michiel Terpelle graduated from ArtEZ University of the Arts with a master's degree in typography in 2020. The designer is interested in exploring queer dating apps, sexual inclination, drag, gender, eroticism, technology and the use of tools like fonts, templates, grid systems, instructions, card systems and workshops. In the development year, Terpelle is going to experiment with the different tools to document community-driven productions, publications and archiving from a queer perspective. With the character Jizz Taco, Terpelle is going to strengthen their presence within the heteronormative design world. Terpelle regards the character as a medium for interventions within spaces where a normative audience could be confronted with a queer perspective. With the project C.A.R.E. (Community, Archiving, Restoring, Expressing) Terpelle will visit different queer initiatives, collectives and events that save their work in archives and publications. The goal of these visits is to increase accessibility to the knowledge within the initiatives and to question the effects of categorization. The initiatives include The Queer Feminist collective nietnormaal*, Bebe Books, Los Angeles Collectief, The Apoqalypse Party, The Pink Cube, The Utrecht Ballroom Scene, The Queer Arcana and MIAUW. Terpelle will also take voguing classes to feel more comfortable in their body, both as a queer person and as Jizz Taco. To gain more insight into maintaining and managing archives, Terpelle will visit The Black Archives and Queer.Archive.Work. During the year, Terpelle will contact various mentors, including artist Nat Pyper, drag queen Sasha Velour and other queer graphic designers like Rosen Everleigh, Tabea Nixdorf and Bart de Baets. Terpelle will present the knowledge acquired and their research during the Paris Ass Book Fair or at Bebe Books in Ghent.
Milenco Dol

Milenco Dol

Creator Milenco Dol was selected during the Scout Night in Zwolle. With photography as the most important medium, Dol focuses on telling stories from an authentic and personal perspective. Topics vary from following the Groningen band The Vices, to a series about starters on the job market. Using the Talent Development grant, Dol wants to further develop himself artistically and commercially. In addition to coaching, Dol wants to delve into analogue photography, different materials and printing techniques, exhibition design and develop a website. He also wants to participate in open calls and expand his network of prospective clients. In the coming year, Dol will work with Wouter le Duc and Denise Woerdman. At the end of the year, he will present his development in an exhibition of new work.
Niels de Bakker

Niels de Bakker

Niels de Bakker makes installations, in which materials are manipulated, displaying intangible phenomena. His projects often start with a search for forgotten, failed or obscure inventions and machines. He controls these machines like an instrument in his performative installations. His practice touches on the areas of mechanology, media archaeology and sonology. In the coming year, De Bakker will develop new scientific instruments. To enhance his knowledge about this, he will carry out theoretical research in mechanology (study of machines), being supported by the TU Delft Optics Research Group. In addition, De Bakker will be mentored by Kees Reedijk, technical adviser at the Rijksakademie in the field of electronics and mechanics. The research will be expressed in a final presentation, the location for which will be determined at a later stage.
Pedro Daniel Pantaleone

Pedro Daniel Pantaleone

Pedro Daniel Pantaleone, part of Studio-Method, operates with a research-based approach intersecting architectural interventions, spatial installations, theoretical explorations, and product design. His focus lies in exploring innovative practices for reusing materials and a radical commitment to sustainable construction in response to the urgency of scarcity that asks us to rethink our material relations.

A central theme in his work involves questioning the possibilities of Architecture and Community in a context characterized by material depletion, transcending the traditional perception of waste as a mere technical problem. Over the next year, he intends to experiment with the expansion of Studio-Method's "Contingent Designs," which reimagine value systems of control and extraction in Design to foster convivial and communal practices of care- taking and repair. He aims to investigate the feasibility of implementing this methodology systematically, establishing a Living Lab where he will construct an architectural section. This Living Lab will be an experimental space to explore alternative methods of working with waste, creating connected and structured prototypes through collaborative thematic exploration.

The primary objective is to generate accessible knowledge and research in recycling, expanding within a systematic framework. Pantaleone will receive support from Studio Ossidiana and Studio Frank Havermans for artistic guidance, along with other collaborators specializing in construction and architectural support, areas the practice seeks to advance. Furthermore, he will undertake courses on point cloud technology, 3D mapping, and welding to enhance their unique working method and skill set.

During the testing phase, Studio-Method will collaborate with a network of suppliers offering reused materials in the Rotterdam area, engage with the Milan-based Zattere collective as a peer collaborator in construction, and collaborate with a photographer/video maker to enhance communication and documentation capabilities. The project's outcomes will be showcased at the lab, with the research being presented during the 2024 Dutch Design Week and eventually at the Model Festival for Experimental Architecture in Barcelona.
Peter Peels

Peter Peels

Self-taught interdisciplinary maker Peter Peels of 4DMagnetics was selected during the Scout Night in Eindhoven. His work can take on various forms, from analogue to digital illustrations, 3D design, animations and music. Using the Talent Development grant, 4DMagnetics wants to develop a video game about a Moluccan warrior on a fictitious, precolonial Moluccan island. In light of this project, Peels wants to pool his creativity with technical skills, immerse himself in his Moluccan background and record the stories of his ancestors. He wants to achieve this by taking game development courses as well as an Indonesian language course. 4DMagnetics will work with the Moluccan community and Het Moluks Museum.
Quiana Cronie

Quiana Cronie

Quiana Cronie graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven. Studio Quiana Cronie creates sustainable fashion and visual narratives that tell a cultural story as well as the forgotten and undocumented stories of Cronie's country of birth, Aruba. Cronie combines traditional Aruban workwear with new ways of pattern assembly and production. Central themes in Studio Quiana Cronie's work are Aruban heritage, upcycling, sustainability in fashion and visual storytelling. Cronie will use the development year to further develop her Aruban workwear project by refining her research, visual storytelling and practical skills. Specifically, this consists of experiments with new media like 3D fashion and Cinema 4D, and taking a course on making workwear and organizing an exhibition. During the year, Cronie will work with Rancho Aruba, Aruban locals and historians, Bibliotheca National Aruba, Plataforma Aruba, Krosshart Project, Botter Paris and Yvonne van Zijl. The research results will be displayed in a runway exhibition, a short film and a hybrid magazine. In addition to presenting her work on Aruba, Cronie wants to give a presentation in the Fashion For Good Museum, organize a screening and a pop-up event in a shop like The Bonne Suit Flagship and put online publications on her website and through Rancho Aruba.
Ro Buur

Ro Buur

Ro Buur looks for ways to step outside the traditional disciplines and frameworks. They take on different roles within their multidisciplinary practice, such as storyteller, visual researcher, activist, feminist, film maker, photographer and typographer. Buur's practice act as a tool for expressing themselves on certain themes. This is their way of contributing to our reality, based on intersubjectivity instead of normativity. In the coming year, Buur wants to further develop themselves within the themes they have recently been interested in and have worked on but in which they have not yet been able to get a thorough grounding. Buur will receive guidance in this regard from researcher, artist Jan Hoek and documentary maker Nirit Peled. Buur also wants to delve further into developing concepts by enrolling in the IDFAcademy and taking a course at MK24. Buur's work will be presented in an installation at NEVERNEVERLAND.
Rosalie Apituley

Rosalie Apituley

In her work, product designer Rosalie Apituley focuses on the world around energy, the energy transition and communication problems related to this. In the coming year, Apituley wants to make new work for her Chasing Polar Bears project. She is challenging herself to take a more decisive and activist stance. Apituley will be mentored by Tega Brain, Sam Lavigne and Arne Hendriks in developing the speculative side of her work. Furthermore, she intends to take a course in Arduino and a residence on Spitsbergen. In 2024, she will present the results at The Solar Biennale and Springtij.
Samuel Rynearson

Samuel Rynearson

Grafisch ontwerper Samuel Rynearson onderzoekt de symbiotische relatie tussen de digitale en fysieke wereld. Een centrale vraag die hij stelt, is: hoe beïnvloeden objecten onze omgeving en vice versa? Een belangrijk thema in zijn werk is 'het ongewone' als een kenmerk van objecten, een ruimte tussen genres en classificaties, en een plaats voor verhalen die nergens anders thuishoren. Tijdens zijn talentontwikkelingsjaar zal hij de verschuiving van uitsluitend digitale kunst naar het creëren van fysieke objecten verkennen, die geworteld zijn in de digitale wereld. Dit zal vorm krijgen in een serie fysieke objecten die samen met ontwerper Jonathan Looman tuinen in Den Haag zullen sieren. Rynearson zal samenwerken met diverse ontwerpers, beoefenaars en kunstenaars op verschillende gebieden, waaronder keramiek, 3D-printing, digitaal kunstenaarschap, materiaalonderzoek en schrijvers die zich richten op het concept van 'vreemdheid'. Daarnaast zal hij live teken- en AutoCAD-cursussen volgen om zijn beurs te ondersteunen. Het resultaat van dit onderzoek zal samenkomen in een open-source digitaal archief, ontwikkeld in samenwerking met Paul Bille.
Sandipan Nath

Sandipan Nath

Sandipan Nath graduated in 2020 with a master's degree in Industrial Design from the Royal Academy of the Arts. In the talent development year, Nath will focus on the interaction between language, listening and the freedom of choice in relation to non-human ecological processes and animals. In addition, Nath will research political data and technologies behind machine-listening systems like automatic voice recognition (AVR) and language processing (NLP). Nath has set himself a number of objectives, including experimenting with alternative presentation forms, practising with and using AI tools, professionalizing sound and video skills, cultural business skills and business strategies. The development plan consists of three phases. In phase 1, Nath will work with sociologist Darko Lagunas and artist Theun Karelse to develop his research and storytelling skills. He will be mentored in this regard by Lucas van der Velden and Marijke Cobbenhagen. In phase 2, Nath will be experimenting, and he will be mentored by researcher Dr Ramon Amaro. Furthermore, Nath will take an AI coding workshop in Berlin. In phase 3, Nath will reflect on the activities he has done. The different phases will be presented in subpresentations and workshops, including at the Rijksmuseum Twenthe and V2_Lab.
Sébastien Robert

Sébastien Robert

Sébastien Robert is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher. With his projects, he researches disappearing indigenous sonic rituals and cosmologies. Sébastien seeks to archive them by developing alternative recording techniques using sustainable materials that reflect the traditions and geo-specific characteristics of the communities. In the coming year, he will start IN-FOR-OUT-TOWARDS, a new artistic project that focuses on a trans-Mediterranean instrument: the bagpipe. This instrument reflects on the interconnectedness of cultures around the Mediterranean and takes a critical look at the definition of traditions. In creating the work, he will be mentored by instrument makers Leo Maurel and he will work with creative programmer Lucien Nicou. To refine his own technical skills, he will take a Rhino workshop, do a residency at GMEM in France and a performance residency at CAMP in France. The work will be presented at Grey Space in the Middle, at the Rewire Festival in The Hague and at the Scopitone Festival in Nantes.
Shanella Bleecke

Shanella Bleecke

Shanella Bleecke is a multidisciplinary maker. As a film maker, programme maker, journalist, curator and politician, she spreads untold stories of the new generation and gives them a stage. The priority in the talent development year lies in developing a plan for a documentary about Surinamese women, called MATA'S. Going through the entire process is an effective method to further develop her talents as a digital storyteller. She will be mentored in this by documentary maker and director Sacha Vermeulen. During this development process, Bleecke also wants to keep on networking with both established documentary makes and starting makers. For this, she wants to work with The Black Archives, the Surinaams Nationaal Archief and Eye Filmmuseum. Bleecke's work specifically focuses on the Dutch-Surinamese community - for her presentation she wants to produce an exhibition in collaboration with Kunst is Leuk.
Sjoerd Willem Bosch

Sjoerd Willem Bosch

Designer Sjoerd Willem Bosch studied at the Technical University Delft and wants to create contemporary architecture in the Ommelanden, the countryside around Groningen. He regards his role as an architect as a mediator between the landscape, inhabitants and future scenarios. Topics Bosch works on include the loss of biodiversity and social and economic inequality which are manifested in the Groningen landscape as subsidence, salination and earthquakes. Using the grant, Bosch wants to broaden and strengthen his position as an architect in the non-urban landscape and obtain his architect's degree. His plan includes taking weekly walks in Ommeland as a 'listening architect' and meeting up with inhabitants from Groningen, officials and landscape experts, amongst others. Some of those Bosch will work with include Rien Korteknie, Sijas de Groot, Lieke de Jong, Zef Hemel, Christian Ernsten and Rubén Dario Kleimeer. The information gathered will be documented in models, sensory maps and drawings. Presentations will be given shape in articles on Platform GRAS, a Tumblr page, an exhibition and an essay.
Sun Lee

Sun Lee

Sun Lee is a textile and social designer. She graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven with a master's degree in Social design. During the development year, Lee will further delve into the historical and cultural crafts of paper art and paper cutting. As a Korean designer working in the Netherlands, she always stands at the boundary between maintaining her identity and adapting to a new environment. This is why she deeply connects with the philosophy embodied in craft history. She sees it as a collection of cultures that has been accumulated in specific regions and time. As she builds her practice, she finds a deeper connection working within the craft realm. It is clear that in the past, mankind developed a craft culture through numerous cultural exchanges of each country. She believes the various representations resulting from these exchanges don't bring identity crises, but create opportunities for cross-cultural development. Her study aims to examine the similarities and differences between cultural contexts, while also building on existing studies that focus on the transmission of knowledge and skills between cultures as well as the role of crafts in shaping cultural identity. Lee will carry out research, experiments and will work with experts and makers, including the Vereniging voor Papierknipkunst, the author Jan Peter Verhavem, Sjamaan Buwon Joe, artist Jae Pil Eun and researcher Lim Seung-Bum. Lee will work on the presentation of the development year with June Yoon, an American visual designer who currently works for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. A final location will be selected in collaboration based on the reason behind the project.
Tofe Al-Obaidi

Tofe Al-Obaidi

Graphic designer Tofe Al-Obaidi (Studio Tofe) graduated from ArtEZ. In his practice, he explores the 'digital realm' with coding software like Processing and P5.js and animation software like Blender, Unreal Engine and Cinema4D. Through animation or VR, but also through physical objects, he processes his Iraqi background, the Arabic language and culture and his experiences as a refugee in his work. Al-Obaidi wants to use his work as a means or experience to help people to save or process memories. Recurring themes are fleeing, integration, traumas and loss. Using the Talent Development grant, Al-Obaidi wants to further develop his Removing Dust Covers graduation project, from telling his own story to telling the stories of others. To do so, he wants to become more competent with various software techniques, data analysis and interpretation, design skills, psychological insight and interdisciplinary collaboration. Studio Tofe will work with Wineke Salemink, Remco van Baren, José Huibers and Janine Zielman. The work will partly be presented digitally and, in part, physically in the form of an exhibition and presentation at Dutch Design Week.
Tycho

Tycho

Tycho creates interventions in the public space. Their work mainly deals with urban change, which they use to address and visualize themes like the housing shortage and gentrification. During the development year, Tycho will focus on three goals. Developing their research and design methods, specifically aimed at the gentrification theme. Tycho will be mentored in this regard by Massih Hutak. Utilizing new contexts with the help of Bureau Ruimtekoers and Bouke Bruins. And developing technical skills by taking a course at MK24 and masterclasses by Michel Alders. The development year will lead to three interventions: one in the outdoor space, one in the public indoor space and one on the instructions of an organization.
Zobayda

Zobayda

Audiovisual maker Zobayda was selected at the Scout Night in Rotterdam. With their work, Zobayda captures the queer and BIPOC community around her to enhance connections between people, knowledge and actions based on care. Zobayda is inspired by family beyond the nuclear and heteronormative structures, consisting of chosen family, close friends and loved ones. Zobayda's practice is non-individual, driven by the community and holds up a mirror to euro-centric views. The work can be expressed in film, photography, assembly and production. During the development year, Zobayda will work with theme rest. He will research this concept via literature studies, interviews and brainstorming with her community. Zobayda will also develop a sustainable business model and will learn about branding and building a brand identity. Zobayda will, amongst others, work with Yasmin Najiba, Setareh Noorani, Yasser Abubeker, Leyla Benouniche, Reda Senhaji, Ada M. Patterson and Rami Abadir. The findings will be presented via an archive website, a short film and an exhibition with panel discussions. Nieuwe Instituut and Bar Bario are possible presentation locations.
Zuzanna Zgierska

Zuzanna Zgierska

Zuzanna Zgierska is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher. She draws inspiration from indigenous relations with nature and is motivated to sketch climate conditions that escape the Western concept of 'classifying the world'. Zgierska is inspired by the capacity of minerals to store information and researches the possibility of rewriting colonial histories by means of geo-hacking. In the coming year, she will carry out a case study on the giant potbelly sculptures created by the ancient peoples of Monte Alto. To do this, she will do a residency on her own initiative in the Guatemalan Highlands. Here, she will work with Manuela Girón Recinos, an experienced film director and producer who specializes in this region. During the year, she will be mentored by Paulien Dresscher (art) and Annique van der Boon (science). In addition, Zgierska will take courses in hacking, scriptwriting and creative film editing to refine her artistic skills. The research will be published in an online reader and presented in spaces that go beyond white gallery environments. The actual space still needs to be defined, but local community centres and initiatives, education and workshop institutes, geological and scientific institutes and anthropological conferences are among the ideas.
Afsaneh Ghafarian Rabe’I

Afsaneh Ghafarian Rabe’I

Afsaneh Ghafarian Rabe'I is an Iranian-Dutch self-taught photographer and visual artist. She creates layered images that translate into stories full of messages, symbols and paradoxes. 'As the daughter of migrant workers who ended up in the Netherlands in the late 1960s, I found out at a young age that the Netherlands is not the centre of the world, but that multiple realities can and do exist side by side.' This layered reality is also reflected in the techniques she employs. In addition to photographs she also makes collages, combining photography with paintings, screen printing and textiles.

For Parallel, which is due to be elaborated and released as a self-published art book, Ghafarian Rabe'I examines the parallel experience of second-generation Iranian Dutch nationals. 'It is specifically about the group that was born or grew up in the Dutch system as the result of a choice that their parents made. A world where the outdoors at first glance bears no resemblance at all to their roots. Iranians in diaspora are known for their rapid and successful integration and even assimilation. But the paradox is that many of them, despite not having been born or raised in Iran, maintain strong cultural links with their country of origin and often have a strong sense of homesickness and uprootedness.'

Besides her experimentation with images, this year Ghafarian Rabe'I also worked on her positioning and profile. Her first venture was to design a stamp that bridges her two cultures. 'I find it important to leave a stamp behind, literally from my own point of view.' The prints and merchandise in her online shop fulfil an important role in her communication with her target groups. This year she also exhibited for the first time the photographic series MHD SKATE 1401 – LIFE GOES ON, about the skating generation Z in the holy Iranian city of Mashhad. The series was displayed as part of the group exhibition QOQNOOS – You Can't Burn Woman Made Of Fire, curated by the Iranian-Dutch artist Tina Farifteh.

It has also been a taxing year. A few weeks after she started the Talent programme, the Woman, Life, Freedom revolution broke out in Iran, triggered by the death of the young Kurdish-Iranian woman Jina Mahsa Amini. It turned the world on its head, certainly for Ghafarian Rabe'I as well. A number of her original plans could not be carried out, but other plans soon took their place. As she says: 'It's all part of my practice; you learn to be resilient from a very young age.'
Alex Walker

Alex Walker

Through his publishing project Mumbling Matter, graphic designer Alex Walker documents artistic practices that are grounded in resourceful, do-it-yourself and collective production methods. The project was launched in February 2023 with Growing Blue, a micro-site which hosts a collection of 102 paper and fabric filters that were used by textile designer Lucila Kenny to extract indigo pigment from the leaves of Dyer's Woad. Each individual filter shows different traces of the pigment, and as such are artefacts that capture a moment in time and an alchemic interaction with the plant.

The second project to be released as part of Mumbling Matter is Best of Days — a monograph documenting Octave Rimbert-Rivière's ceramic works. This book showcases the ceramist's experimental use of casting, glazing and the ways in which he incorporates digital 3D sculpture into the production process. Photographs of the works are reproduced using fluorescent CMYK, which emphasises the lively character of the objects.

In November 2023, Walker will launch the publication flower, fruit, leaf, husk and root: experiments in growing colour — another collaboration with Lucila Kenny and the third project to be released as part of Mumbling Matter. This publication documents the friendship and artistic collaboration between Kenny and artist Naan Rijks. Kenny and Rijks have a shared garden adjoining their studio which is part of their project Painting Plants. The publication contains conversations and photographs of the work, the studio and the artists' gardening activities. To share their knowledge and offer inspiration, the publication also includes a number of recipes. Each book has a unique silkscreen-printed cover, using homemade inks produced from plants in the artists' garden.
Anna Wonders

Anna Wonders

A strand of seaweed from a black beach on Iceland ends up on the workbench in Anna Wonders's studio in Zwolle. There, the seaweed is pressed into a synthetic rubber mould using a vulcanising press. After pouring wax into the mould, the wax replica of the seaweed is transferred into a cuvette, and plaster is poured in. Once the plaster has hardened, the wax is heated and poured off. The resulting mould can then be used to cast precious metals.

Wonders uses this ingenious and time-tested procedure to transform natural forms into gold and silver jewellery. Her latest collection is based on the curling form of a piece of seaweed. In the past year she was able to spend another month in the Icelandic studio where she performed her graduation internship in 2018, as part of the goldsmith education programme at the Vakschool Schoonhoven. She also invested in new equipment for her studio to enable the in-house production of her jewellery pieces. This marks a renewed start to her own business, with a shift in emphasis from commissioned work to developing her own work. To underline this new start, her own name is now the brand name. 'I think that the core of my discipline is about creating narrative. This is my story, alongside the customer's story.'

At the same time, Wonders is increasingly aware that, as a goldsmith, she is part of a chain. It's not just the relationship to the customer that matters, but she has also started contemplating her relationship to the people who mine the raw material – gold – for her. 'Being a goldsmith is a wonderful artisan practice, but when you really start looking into it, it often turns out to not be very sustainable.' That is why she works with Fairmined Gold: a quality label for gold sourced from responsible and small-scale mining organisations that guarantee that the gold is traceable and mined in a sustainable manner. Wonders also aims to increase this awareness among her customers and colleagues, and to show that you can choose for sustainably sourced gold. 'It's important to me that people choose my jewellery for the design, but also that they are happy with the backstage story. And that they want to join me in spreading this story and in that way to inspire others as well.'

Text by Roosmarijn Hompe
Anni Nöps

Anni Nöps

Sound artist and electronic composer Anni Nöps started her talent development year with a residency in Zurich, at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology. There, she studied how the movement of speakers affects sound. In the conceptual installation Becoming an ocean, speakers produce a static hiss – a monotonous sound when they are at rest, but when they move around it creates the impression of waves. That sensory aspect of sound is what fascinates Nöps. 'Part of my research for this development year is “sonic materiality”. I want to study sound in the broadest sense, but also from the perspective of how sound can feel physical and tangible in a space.'

She has now studied these qualities of sound in a museum setting for the first time. The sound installation Borderlands (a collaboration with sound artist Casimir Geelhoed) will be open to visitors in Stedelijk Museum Schiedam for six months. No fewer than twenty-two speakers have been installed in the museum's attic. As the sound moves between them, the dark room enhances the senses, creating an intimate experience. With regard to the title, Nöps explains: 'In a way, you feel as if the sounds are coming from very far away, so you feel that you are part of the same world as the sounds, as it were, but not always. That creates a space that exists between the real world and the imaginary or virtual world.'

Presenting the installation in a museum allows a much larger and diverse audience to experience her work than at specialized festivals, resulting in different feedback than she is used to. She also intends to invite a choreographer to Stedelijk Museum Schiedam to respond to the sound with dance and motion (whereas usually in choreography, sound follows movement). Nöps is also working towards a music release, since she has also developed further in her compositions. Among other things, she participated in a mentorship programme to explore classical composition.

All in all, Nöps is satisfied with her development year. 'Being able to fully focus on my work has been amazing. It was wonderful to develop myself and be able to investigate things without knowing what the outcome will be.'

Text by Victoria Anastasyadis
Benjamin Earl

Benjamin Earl

Technology helps us in our daily lives, boosting our productivity and making our lives more efficient. Since completing his master's studies in Non-Linear Narrative at the Royal Academy of Art, tech artist Benjamin Earl sees technology in poetic terms. This year, he wanted to conduct research that would ultimately lead to a 'home-made' computer – a DIY computer that would serve not only as a tool but also as company. 'I came to know computers in a new way this year. Not just as a slick interface, but as something built up out of materials that I can play with.'

In this past year, Earl joined the Varia collective in Rotterdam, which employs technology in poetic ways. In his opinion, the closer you zoom in on technology, the more poetry there is to be found. 'The language used for coding, for example, but also the way we deal with technology as a society. With my work, I want to bring the intangible into the foreground.'

While creating his computer, one aspect that Earl thought about was the power source. He chose solar energy. 'Using technology based on the sun's rotation is interesting. One direct consequence is that the computer does not work at night: like the rest of us, it sleeps.' A computer that 'goes to sleep' and functions in a cyclical manner: it is as poetic as our daily computer usage is prosaic. The fact that the computer does not function at all hours of the day is part of the project. 'You come to realise that there are limits to the way things were made.'

Finding likeminded others was a challenge. 'I found it difficult to break out of my bubble,' Earl says. Fortunately he had the computer by his side, who gradually became a friend of sorts that travelled with him. 'It gained a personality of its own, and because it worked on solar energy, I could use it outside in the park as well.'

The computer will never be completely finished in Earl's mind – an attitude that he also adopts when talking about his project. Always open and inquisitive; not adamant, but possessed of a certain carefulness. This approach was well received at the symposium Naive Yearly. 'I involved the audience in my findings, and that yielded a lot of positive responses and suggestions, which felt very good.' That was the moment when Earl's bubble broke, and he was able to find the kindred spirits he had been looking for. Thus, his DIY computer graduated from good company to matchmaker.

Text by Priscilla de Putter
Photo by Camilla Marrese
Colin Wegman

Colin Wegman

Music producer and sound designer Colin Wegman was born in Curaçao and moved to the Netherlands with his parents at a young age. For many years, he had a wish to do something involving the island where his family came from and still lives. Curaçao is therefore central to the development plan that he submitted to the Fund. Through music, he hopes to become more intimate with the feelings that Curaçao arouses in him.

Wegman travelled to the island for a month. He met and talked with many people, visited museums, and conducted research in music archives. With the traditional music of Curaçao as starting point, he studied the musical instruments that play a role in this musical tradition. That led him to the tambú, a drum that is played during celebrations and has long been used to perform protest songs. 'I visited the workshop of the first and only woman in Curaçao who makes her own instruments, Tatiana. She taught me how to make a tambú. This instrument came to the Caribbean from Africa and has always been used as a political statement. It is also a ritual instrument: the rhythms are played quite fast and create a kind of trance that I recognise from night clubs. Techno music was always associated with resistance, too. I was able to collect all kinds of ingredients, like another instrument, a benta, to take back to the Netherlands and use in my composition. There are a lot of similarities between club music in the Netherlands and the music of Curaçao, that's something I want to work with.'

Before his trip, Wegman spent some time working with Cosmic Force (the stage name of Ben Spaander). 'Cosmic Force has been active as a producer of Electro music in the Dutch dance scene for many years. I worked with him in his studio and learned a lot from him. It was a valuable experience that will help grow further.'

Wegman would like to capture the beauty of Curaçao in several tracks. With that in mind, he made a large number of audio recordings during his trip. 'There are some things that everyone experiences in Curaçao – the way the wind blows, for example. Where my family grew up, the wind is always strong. That's very familiar to me. My grandmother's veranda is always lively, with people coming and going. There's always the sound of chatting and cars passing by. And there's always the wind, which carries sounds from far away as well. All that together creates a kind of mystical quality, which you'll definitely be hearing in my music.'

Text by Maaike Staffhorst
Constanza Castagnet

Constanza Castagnet

Constanza Castagnet's design practice focuses on sound, technology and performance. She is particularly interested in language and voices, which allow us to express ourselves in all manner of ways. 'That fascination has been with me ever since I was a toddler,' she says excitedly. 'I used to mimic all kinds of voices and experiment with high and low tones.'

Talking in more depth about her work, the sound designer explains: 'I use sound, text, performance and video to create experimental environments in which I resist the temptation to use the voice as a shaper of meaning. I create eerie settings in which I use non-verbal and indefinable forms of expression to question our conventional understanding of communication.'

Castagnet came to the Netherlands from Argentina in the fall of 2019 for a two-year master's programme, Approaching Language, at the Sandberg Institute. During her studies, she focused her research on singing as a way to dissolve the structures of language. She created compelling installations that encouraged people to reflect on how preconceptions about meaning, sense and misunderstandings can be changed.

The currently ongoing discussions about new technologies are a subject of great interest to Castagnet. 'I am intrigued by the ways in which new technologies affect our lives and how we express ourselves, especially the unexpected ways they can be linked to the creation of sound.'

The project is in part an homage to her great-grandfather, who composed tangoes around the year 1930, largely in the capacity of ghost writer for other musicians. 'His own works had been lost, there were no more sound recordings to be found, but during a family visit in Buenos Aires I discovered the existence of a number of original scores. I was seized by the idea that I could revive his music using technology. First, I arranged a quartet performance of his original scores, and recorded that music in order create an archive of his forgotten works. I also had the ensemble perform my own reinterpretations of his works. Now, I am in the process of creating my own compositions using the collected materials, while for example also using AI and other generative software to transfer the woody tones of, say, a cello to my own voice recordings, endowing my voice with a phonic quality that it does not have by nature. Using all of these materials, I am currently preparing an album, which will be followed by a live presentation. Thanks to sound, I can find some sort of connection with my great-grandfather, even though I never knew him.'

Text by Iris Stam
Deborah Mora

Deborah Mora

Visual artist and designer Deborah Mora has loved nature for as long as she can remember. She grew up near Lago Maggiore in Italy, surrounded by nature and greenery. In her work, too, nature is present everywhere.

In the context of her artistic practice, she is interested in storytelling through combinations of image and sound. Mora studies how these components complement each other, produce stories, convey meaning, have tactile qualities and physical sensations. 'I am curious as to how physical and sensory ways of telling stories can mesh with my image-focused practice, using physical and digital techniques,' the designer says. She creates her audiovisual experiences in collaboration with artists from other disciplines, such as sound designers and musicians. For example, Mora (stage name: Orah) presented an audiovisual performance at FIBER Festival 2023, accompanying the premiere of Kenny Kneefel's (Shoal) new album with visuals that immersed the audience in new worlds where reality and illusion merge.

Mora takes another stride forward in her new project, which is to create a live performance in interaction with her audience. Because she misses hiking and cycling through nature, the designer is – during a brief spell back in the area where she grew up in Italy – spending a lot of time outside, zooming in on plants, insects and rocks with her macro lens. The resulting photographs, videos and graphic 3D animations will then be combined with collaborations with musicians, sound designers and dancers. Mora also wants to embrace spontaneity, improvization and intuition. After all, as a designer she can exercise a great deal of control. 'Visuals can always be corrected, the work is planned and structured,' she says. 'I am learning to relinquish control by working with musicians, dancers and performers whose practices are based more on improvisation. By organising live audiovisual performances, I am learning to accept the unexpected. To experience the physical in person, I took an intensive dance workshop at Amenti in Rotterdam.'

Exactly how she will fuse together music, dance and the interactive live performance remains a bit of a puzzle. Once all the pieces click together, Mora will present the result at arts and culture festivals, such as the next edition of FIBER Festival in Amsterdam. Visitors will have the opportunity to form their own interpretations of what they hear and experience, and the nature of the connection they feel with the natural world that Mora has created.

Text by Viveka van de Vliet
Dérive

Dérive

Hedwig van der Linden and Kevin Westerveld met at Delft University of Technology, where they were studying for their master's degree in Architecture. After gaining experience in various internships and workplaces, they founded Dérive in 2022. Operating from Brussels and Rotterdam, their research-driven design practice focuses on scenography, public space, landscapes, co-creation and strategy. The socially engaged duo does so in a world full of transition issues, for instance in the areas of climate, biodiversity, food, water and mobility. 'We want to take steps, to bring fresh air to those complex issues, by taking a conceptual and co-creative approach and by being attentive listeners,' says Westerveld.

'We do so both upon request and at our own initiative, so that we can put issues on the agenda,' says Van der Linden. 'We are open-minded and embrace an intuitive and associative approach that lets us deviate from the established way of doing things. That deviation – whose meaning is encapsulated in the French word dérive – can be difficult because it requires more persuasion. But it also breeds excitement.' A sense of wonder, strolling around and studying environments at eye level are essential elements in Dérive's design practice.

Building on what is already there and operating on a basis of equality and a plurality of perspectives are two further important principles for Dérive. 'We want to involve a diverse group in the development or redevelopment of a given area, and to stimulate a public dialogue,' says Westerveld. Van der Linden elaborates: 'We relate to each other like amphibians, we speak different languages: the tongue of politics as well as of the citizen. All so that we can increase the involvement of the local community.'

The duo's application for the grant centred around a further investigation of the dérive method and its potential applications in various areas for their design practice. 'Around the time when we were awarded the grant, we were also selected for the Young Innovators programme and got the opportunity to create an exhibition design in collaboration with AIR and OMI Rotterdam,' Van der Linden explains. 'That gave us the confidence to investigate whether we can make Dérive a full-time practice.' Westerveld adds: 'We are working on various projects, in both fixed and variable collaborations.' Van der Linden: 'With the Dutch Design Week approaching, we are also turning our attention to our visual identity and our website, to share insights with young designers about the dérive method and how to run a firm, based on talks with various experts.' 'Transparency is important to us,' Westerveld notes. 'It's going to be a showroom full of stories.'

Text by Iris Stam
Elif Satanaya Özbay

Elif Satanaya Özbay

Elif Satanaya Özbay's background is in film and video. She obtained her bachelor's degree from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2013, and her master's degree from the Sandberg Institute in 2017. Through her research-based works, the artist – born in the Netherlands and of Turkish Circassian descent – seeks to decode diasporic nostalgia within the horror genre by producing performances, visuals and installations.

With her project How to Trace a Forgotten Diasporic Identity, Özbay wishes to further develop both her inner storyteller and her inner researcher, as well as to investigate how she can make materials and information more accessible.

Talking about her background, the artist says: 'My ancestors come from Circassia and Abkhazia, an area in Caucasia, in northern Russia. Ethnic cleansing and genocides forced the Circassian people to flee in the late nineteenth century, creating a diaspora that halted the growth of this demographic group and caused their languages and cultures to slowly be forgotten.' Impassioned, she continues: 'I consider it an honour to create works around this theme. Even with my minimal knowledge, I can help resist this slide into obscurity. I believe that this is important for my community, and I also want to inform others about it. Most people don't know about Circassians, the region of Circassia or the genocide committed against Circassians.'

Özbay describes her project as 'research combined with performance, framed within the horror genre, using linking methods and mind mapping.' She explains further. 'I combine Circassian mythology, folklore and information about historic events with contemporary references, for instance from pop culture. The story's starting point is autobiographic. After that, I play with the idea that myths are born from a place of truth before gradually transforming into fiction. I use structure, but also intentionally create chaos. This way I try to tell my story in a playful and informative way, and to create new stories together with the audience.'

Following a number of educational studio visits and meetings with researchers and members of the Circassian community, Özbay is now focusing on further elaboration and presentation. The first performance has already been held in Antwerp, while the second version will be presented during the Dutch Design Week. The third and final version will be presented in December, again in Antwerp.

'The grant has given me freedom, recognition, time to conduct research, and opportunities to network and establish working relationships,' Özbay concludes.

Text by Iris Stam
Elizaveta Federmesser

Elizaveta Federmesser

When Elizaveta Federmesser used AI to create new designs based on a database of images of modern jewellery, the software soon came up with the image of a coin. She quickly realized that this is the archetypal form of jewellery in many cultures. For Federmesser, this lucky find opened up the idea that 'instead of creating something new, you can also look at how the new is actually the super old.' It made her wonder whether for every object group there is a source object that we forgot but AI can remember. She applied for the Talent Development Grant with a plan to 3D scan objects from prominent Dutch museum collections and feed them to AI as a dataset to discover the archetypal form of different object groups.

As she carried out the various steps of her plan, contacting museums and starting an acting course to work on her presentation skills, she realized that she needed a venture closer to heart. 'I wanted to expand the project, extend its scope by involving institutions, but instead I expanded into thinking: why do I even care?' She realized that she is not so much interested in the objects as in the stories behind them, the mythology and iconology that gives objects their unique meaning. This realization marked the start of an investigation into icons, mythology, archetypes, fashion theory and philosophy.

During this research, several pieces of the puzzle fell into place. Her new insights converge with her previous research on 'it' bags and coming-of-age stories, and Federmesser sees many similarities between these theories. 'I adopted the coming-of-age angle to examine these tropes. Many cultural theorists are talking about them, they just have different fields they want to influence. But then I realized I don't need to influence a field; I can just tell a story about interesting icons and tropes through a coming-of-age story to acknowledge what they mean and how they changed throughout time.'

The story will take the form of a self-published magazine, BagMag, in which essays and interviews are alternated with AI enhanced images. The first issue will be dedicated to the iconic as an enduring genre in media and everyday life. 'It is a teen magazine for reading adults who are curious about culture, fashion and ideas,' says Federmesser. 'What you might call a mixed bag.'

Text by Roosmarijn Hompe
Estelle Barriol

Estelle Barriol

'I believe that we have to build differently in order to create future-proof, resilient and low-impact architecture,' says Estelle Barriol, founder of Studio ACTE, an architecture firm that specializes in designs based on reused materials. Sourcing those materials and subsequently using them for construction is something Barriol prefers to do personally. There are times when she feels more like a contractor than an architect.

The past year has given her a better grip on her positioning. 'The most interesting thing about applying for grants is that it forces you to think clearly and to figure out how you want to evolve and develop your practice.' One of her insights pertains to the scale of her work: that it needn't be very big. What is more important is that her design method of hands-on building is clear to see. She also realized that her practice, at heart, is shaped by a deep love for artisanal professions and regional or indigenous (vernacular) architecture.

This year gave Barriol the financial room she needed to participate in pitches that pay little or nothing: challenging competitions that do not always lead to a commission but are interesting in terms of substance and offer a good way to expand one's expertise. For example, she was able to elaborate her preparatory process with an additional step, engage in more on-site research into available materials, and create detailed models. She created a database of local materials, found among others at junk dealers and horticulturists, thereby further positioning Studio ACTE as an expert in the field.

Barriol was also able to further professionalize her practice in terms of the recording and documenting of projects and submissions. This is an important factor in acquisitions, especially because the reused materials are often not recognizable as such. This aesthetic aspect is something that Barriol also finds important. 'What kind of language could reuse bring to architecture? And how can we use the urban mine stocks to build in a substantial spatial manner, with design quality?'

Barriol has run her firm for three years, of which the past year was the most exciting: so many things came together. 'Because I could reshape all these thoughts about what reuse means and push it further, that created the chance to get selected and develop more meaningful projects.' The highlight of the year was the studio's selection for the French equivalent of the Prix de Rome, for which she is researching the antique recycling technique of spolia. Her contribution will be part of a group exhibition in Paris, along with the other selected participants.

Text by Victoria Anastasyadis
Florian Regtien

Florian Regtien

Florian Regtien is straight about it: 'I am addicted to the sewing machine, and I am content with that addiction.' Every piece of clothing he creates is unique and, in that sense, a work of art. Aside from that, he paints and creates mixed media sculptures and collages, often also with the use of his sewing machine. And he is an actor too. Clearly, Regtien has a strong drive to create: 'I just really enjoy making things. It's a kind of meditation, a thought process, something that gives me peace.'

Regtien wanted to use his talent development year to 'taste' a variety of traditional crafts and in doing so develop himself into a true multidisciplinary artist. He apprenticed under a shoemaker, a furniture maker and a goldsmith; he made sneakers, an ottoman, pedestals; he upholstered, learned how to weld, and took a painting course. During a residency in Japan, he dedicated himself fully to denim fabric. 'I was already in love with denim, but now I feel that this love has grown into something eternal.'

Initially Regtien was preoccupied with the techniques, striving to execute them as well as possible. But he gradually let go of that fixation and instead came to focus on the question: what do I want to make, and what do I want to say with my works? Expanding his toolbox of skills has multiplied the creative possibilities in his mind, allowing him to adopt a broader perspective. Now, the challenge is to channel all these ideas. In the past year he was assisted by a creative strategist, who helped him figure out and communicate his broad practice. Regtien will be presenting a selection of his various recent creations in a solo exhibition at Vrij Paleis in Amsterdam.

The many workshops and courses that Regtien took gave him new skills, but even more valuable is a new important insight: 'This year, the main lesson has been that you need to enjoy the process, instead of being obsessed with the end product.' This is symbolised in the artwork that he composed out of the lists he makes every morning, when he writes down everything he wants to get done that day, followed by a daily motto. The most important motto of the year sits at the piece's centre: Maybe I should seize the day. 'I really got to know myself better. I have more peace and more love for myself now.'

Text by Victoria Anastasyadis
Florian van Zandwijk

Florian van Zandwijk

Florian van Zandwijk obtained his bachelor's degree in Design Art Technology (DAT) at ArtEZ in Arnhem in 2019. He works in the field of digital culture, both as an autonomous maker and on commission. The latter includes assignments as event organizer, curator, designer, producer and educator. Van Zandwijk describes his work as 'an unrelenting search for order in the chaos and complexity that surrounds us and an attempt to make some kind of sense of it.' He explains: 'We humans are constantly taking action to keep the systems, protocols and technologies running that we ourselves created. That incessant need, alongside humanity's inability to truly grasp and control, is central to my work.'

Van Zandwijk's focus is currently on De Arena, in which he investigates the football stadium as a metaphor for society. This project is a continuation of his ArtEZ graduation project, The Ball The Field The Arena, in which he interviewed workers and journalists from the worlds of data collection, stadium security, technological tools and the recording for TV of football. The book Homo Ludens by philosopher Johan Huizinga served as a basis for the project.

De Arena has already resulted in Spectacle of Sports, a performative lecture at W139 about the personal, political, cultural, social and technological aspects of the football World Cup. The performance was live-streamed on a large screen. This year also saw the emergence of a new video work, which Van Zandwijk created in the stadium of football club Sparta Rotterdam. It centres around a performative action that relates to technology: 'Before every match in the Eredivisie football league, someone has to bounce a football in the goal on both ends of the pitch to calibrate the television cameras, to ensure that all cameras register the bounce at the exact same moment. This prevents errors during the match itself, for example in the registration of offside. My video work centres on the absurdity of such obligatory protocols.'

Van Zandwijk is currently being mentored by curator Sanneke Huisman. 'My approach has gradually grown more direct. I am trying to develop fewer 'round' concepts and instead respond more to fleeting observations and inspirations, such as an online video or something that I encounter on the street and record. This has grown into a collection of works that I will present both online and in a physical setting in the coming months, for example via open calls and by organising a studio visit.' Concluding: 'Getting out there with my work is good for me. It takes me out of my comfort zone.'

Text by Iris Stam
Gijs Schalkx

Gijs Schalkx

At his graduation, designer Gijs Schalkx drew attention with his home-built moped, powered by methane gas that he personally 'harvested' from ditches. Why? Because what drives him is a desire to minimise his dependency on the infrastructure that shapes our lives and to demonstrate that we can do more than just consume. 'And because I am very interested in energy, mobility and vehicles, I thought to myself: you know what, I'm going to investigate how much driving a car actually costs.'

The intention to build a car with his own hands had been with him for a while, but the main question was: what should it be powered by? 'My first thought was electricity, but that would never satisfy my requirements and be low-tech at the same time. I would have had to build enormous batteries, so big that the car would be too heavy to move under its own power.'

After some further research, the designer came up with another answer: oil. Or rather, plastic. 'We all throw away so much of it, and plastic is made from oil. I wondered whether I could reverse the chemical process and convert plastic back into its original form, and then use that oil to power my car. It seemed like a very interesting idea.'

Schalkx found almost everything he needed to build his car at the scrapyard. 'Unfortunately, the car I chose turned out to be the most rotten one of the lot, so I had to cut out the entire floor in order to fix everything underneath it, including the brakes. I ground away all the rust and spent an enormous amount of time welding. Right after the official inspection, the engine broke, although I was able to replace it with another second-hand one. Now, the vehicle is road-ready.'

'For the Dutch Design Week, I want to have succeeded in getting the car to run on oil. But even that process has consequences that may not be entirely responsible. What I do is boil plastic on the car's roof until it evaporates, and cooling down those vapours gives me oil to fuel the car. One kilo of plastic yields a bit less than a litre of oil. So although my plan to make a car that I can fuel independently was a success, I am not completely self-sufficient as regards energy. I need plastic for each trip, and because of that I may end up having to start consuming more again. So how independent can you really be, nowadays? Everything has consequences.'

Text by Maaike Staffhorst
Hattie Wade

Hattie Wade

She was always one to ask critical questions, wanting to understand the frameworks that preserve a status quo in Europe. Hattie Wade questions what we accept as the truth with respect to our national heritage. Stories about the 'official' heritage can create a sense of national identity based on pride, which can lead to what Wade describes as 'toxic nationalism'. As an example: white nationalists in Great Britain – Wade's place of birth – protected the statues of slave traders during the Black Lives protests. And in the Netherlands, the Forum voor Democratie national party proposed a 'Dutch Values Protection Act', in response to the escalating debates about the figure of Black Pete (Zwarte Piet). 'This is rarely opposed by “contra-heritage”, that is to say, by understanding how the violence inherent to colonialism and imperialism is maintained through the contemporary frameworks of law, education and media,' she says.

Wade is working on three projects to expose this and to offer 'anti-venom', through extensive online, archival and field research. For example, she has interviewed Sadia Habib, a lecturer, researcher and project coordinator of Our Shared Cultural Heritage in Manchester Museum. Habib works with young diaspora communities to explore the question how heritage institutions can contribute to creating safe spaces where they can access heritage. Wade also interviews teachers and children in the Netherlands and Great Britain about the way colonial history is presented. She is working with the archaeology department of the municipality of The Hague to understand how historical stories are formed in response to archaeological finds. Her work will result in an experimental documentary. 'Wherever possible, I like to use audiovisual media to let the voices of others be heard.'

Her two other research projects focus on legislation. Wade is working with ARIJ, which is a network of Arabic research journalists in the Middle East and North Africa. The project concentrates on a colonial law from 1917 in Morocco, which protects forests on the one hand but that stimulates creating wildfires on the other, in order to facilitate the occupation of land. 'As a designer, I am able to represent their research in a spatial, sculptural exhibition, due to go on display in Jordan in December. I enjoy making complex and concealed information tangible, visible and comprehensible for the general public,' Wade says. 'I cannot cause systems to collapse but can make them wobble. And I hope that, a few generations after us, the narrative will have shifted to a more polyphonic, honest historical narrative and fairer laws.'

Text by Viveka van de Vliet
Igrien Yin Liu

Igrien Yin Liu

Creative director and image creator Igrien Yin Liu (刘寅) had a clear idea in her mind when she formulated her plans for her talent development year. She would explore her own visual and personal identity as a woman of Chinese descent who grew up in the Netherlands. The identity that ended up taking centre stage was very different, however, because during the past year she became a mother. As a result, it has been a wonderful but tumultuous year. 'The pregnancy really changed me, and so has parenthood. As a person, but also as an artist. You start seeing things differently, your perspective changes. It was a real shift.'

In order to capture this reality in images, Liu created Motherhood: a visual series about motherhood, parenthood and the fragility of womanhood, as well as the power that comes with being a mother. The foundation of the series is a twelve-chapter poem by her own hand. Each chapter is accompanied by an image, and together they tell a complete story.

This new subject demanded a new visual style, leading Liu to experiment with photography. Where she used to do her shoots in the studio, with copious use of flash and post-processing, she now decided to test out natural light. 'Painting with light' is how she personally describes the technique, a kind of hybrid of photography and painting, softer and with fewer sharp lines. 'I really feel like new version of myself. I think that that's also why I felt the need to invent a new style.'

After her parental leave, Liu returned to her work by participating in a Chinese painting course at a Buddhist temple in Amsterdam, as she had intended to do (among other things) at the start of the development year. She is now turning her attention back her original plans to investigate her cultural identity, although the scope of her research has since expanded with new questions: what does her culture mean for her child? And who does she want to be for her daughter? Identity, after all, is always evolving.

Text by Victoria Anastasyadis
Iris Lam

Iris Lam

Interdisciplinary artist Iris Lam had the idea for her first children's book in 2020, as she lay on the couch with a burnout. 'I just couldn't get my body to relax. That's when the image popped into my mind of myself hooked up to a transformer, able to produce electricity. That way, the tension in my body could contribute to the energy transition!' It struck Lam as an amusing story, and the narrative wrote itself. While writing, Lam forgot about the world. The story was just too exciting to stop. 'There's a point when the main character is trapped in an indoor playground. I simply could not go to bed before I had freed her.'

In the past year, Lam learned how to create a book, write a well-rounded story and how to use various writing styles. More importantly, she learned a lot about overcoming one's anxieties, which is the topic of the book. 'I already knew a thing or two about anxieties, since I have enough of my own. I put all of that into my book.' What Lam did not know is that ten per cent of primary school students suffer from recurring anxieties, and that climate anxiety is a growing problem among this group. Despite that, there are very few children's books that deal with these subjects. So Lam had her work cut out for her: 'I like to work with themes that people find difficult to talk about. To me, taboos are frustrating and unnecessary.' And so De Bond voor Bangeriken (League of Cowards), which Lam both wrote and illustrated, is all about heroic cowards and shivering heroes.

The book helped Lam overcome a few of her own anxieties as well. 'I find self-promotion quite daunting. I was advised to visit children's bookstores to promote my book, so I did that my own way, by going on a cycling trip through the Netherlands. I announced my visits on social media and slept in hostels or stayed with other people along the way.'

It proved to be an educational experience. 'Booksellers know a very great deal about youth literature, and they gave me useful tips. In a sense, that trip through the country was my own "League of Cowards", which made me set aside my social fears.'

Although Lam did not find the answer to the energy transition, she was able to use her energy and creativity to normalize fear among children. And writing one book has left her eager to write the next. The theme? Consent. 'It's going to be a coming-of-age story, a queer story. I've already taken a course about it, in which sex worker Betty Martin explained the wheel of consent. I think it will be a valuable theme for teenagers.'

Text by Priscilla de Putter
Ivo Brouwer

Ivo Brouwer

For graphic designer and letter enthusiast Ivo Brouwer, experimenting is the way to new discoveries. His first goal this year was, therefore, to set up a Type & Technology Laboratory to welcome in the 'great unknown'. Brouwer: 'Collaboration is a good catalyst for that. Over the past year, I worked with various designers and artists, hosted workshops, and took courses to learn new programming languages.' The end product of all that experimenting is an online archive full of findings. 'When you're doing experimental work, it is interesting to share all the steps and invite others to do the same. That's why I share all aspects of this project on a website, ranging from experiments to videos and articles.' In Brouwer's work, the process is also the product. That's why, in any case, the past year was a successful one.

Letter design is often purely about readability, but Brouwer finds it more interesting to challenge people to decipher the message. He does so by pushing the boundaries of the relationships between the visual and semantics in typography. Brouwer: 'The letter “A” has a phonetic meaning, but also a semantic one. Shapes can change and still preserve their meaning. The letter “A” can come in many different shapes and sizes, but it always remains the letter “A”. What I find interesting is to push the boundaries of that and to find out what you can do with the shape and behaviour of such a letter. I also always like to add an additional layer of meaning. By playing with that, text is more than just text, becoming a puzzle that lets you decipher multiple messages.' One word can have two meanings, for example. 'Not the functional but the poetic aspect of letters is what primarily interests me in this tension between form and meaning.'

How does sound relate to this attribution of meaning? This, and what a letter sounds like as a physical object, is what Brouwer explored in one of his collaborations, with sound artist Stefano Murgia. 'These kinds of questions are so rich that they give me lots of new ideas.' The fruitful collaboration spawned new perspectives, studies, and possibly new projects as well. First, however, there is still that online platform that needs to be published, which is Brouwer's final hurdle to clear. After that he can start exploring the depths. 'This was an exploratory process. At the next step, I want to completely unravel certain themes.' In this case, we can actually take 'unravel' literally. 'One concrete project that could grow into something big is Typographic Tapestry, where I make carpet patterns using letter shapes. It lends itself very well for a collaboration with the Textile Museum.'

Text by Priscilla de Putter
Javier Rodriguez

Javier Rodriguez

Collaboration is at the heart of Javier Rodriguez's practice. It started back in 2019 when he and his creative partner Lou Buche graduated from the Sandberg Institute's temporary master's programme Radical Cut-Up. After their graduation, they continued their collaboration under the alter ego Robuche. Rodriguez and Buche describe Robuche as 'a fast thinker that translates ideas into images in unconventional ways (...) exploring the porosity of media, reorganising and distorting the established production flows to develop its own language at the intersection of art and design.'

Rodriguez's application for the talent development grant stemmed from a need to work on a project for a longer period of time. The grant has provided him with an opportunity to explore a new medium and theme. He is currently working on a graphic novel consisting of three stories, each related to the theme of transhumanism on three scales: material, creature, and space. The first story revolves around gamma-butyrolactone, a solvent that is used as a cleaning agent to remove graffiti, for instance, but which also forms one of the ingredients for the synthetic hard drug GHB. In Rodriguez's graphic novel, the everyday banal and the disturbing, uncanny meet. It is a comic book without text; the meaning can be interpreted from the combination of different images. 'Stories need a certain degree of abstraction so that readers can bring in their own perspective and experience.'

Rodriguez's working method is layered and diverse. He creates, combines and transforms both existing and self-created images, using techniques and technologies such as photography and generative AI. 'That's really interesting to me. There are multiple ways to combine all those different inputs into the end result. And so there's many aspects to each part of the story.' He also enlists the help of others to discuss his storyboards, create images and to publish his graphic novel. 'Collaboration is also a way to support your practice. By exchanging and discussing with others, different disciplines come together, breaking down the boundaries and barriers between art and design.'

For the presentation of his graphic novel in early 2024, he is again considering merging different disciplines, such as cinematography, performance and installation, thereby also dissecting the book's creation process. 'I think it's interesting for the audience to see how you can create a story by starting from something that already exists and then you modify and regenerate it into something new.'

Text by Roosmarijn Hompe
Kalkidan Hoex

Kalkidan Hoex

'A third world', is how Kalkidan Hoex describes the jewellery universe she is creating. Another reality within the world we live in, based on the idea of philosopher Michel Foucault. This third world originates in her own identity, which has been shaped by her adoption background. When she was two years old, she came to the Netherlands from Ethiopia. It was a move that led to a lot of 'friction'; developments that were cut off abruptly, only to then continue somehow.

When Lions Learn to Swim is the project she has been working on this year. The lion as the proud symbol of Ethiopia and her ancestors, but also of herself, as a young girl who was taken to swimming and ice skating lessons by her enthusiastic Dutch parents. While it felt very unnatural and not fun at the time, she can now not even imagine not doing those things. 'These two different cultural sides will always cause shifts in how I perceive culture and identity. The work shows clearly how my background has shaped me as a maker. Given that I have to maintain my balance on this middle way, I find that I'm increasingly asking the public what culture is and whether having cultural influences from two cultures is actually a positive or a negative thing.'

The end result is a collection that is not made up of separate pieces of jewellery, but rather an installation where jewellery, both conceptual jewellery and jewellery that can be worn, goes hand in hand with photography, moving images, and illustrated fabrics. The sensory images that Hoex creates make the jewellery break free from the here and now and connect to ancestors and predecessors. The installation will be on display at Bar Bario in Amsterdam, during the OBSESSED! festival organised by the Current Obsession jewellery platform, and during the New York Jewelry Week.

Finally, the development year has also changed her as an instructor at the art academy where she works. She has abandoned the idea of what quality is or what it should be. Instead, she now prefers to ask, 'What you are trying to say with this and what are your next steps?' The idea of a canon is also something Hoex finds difficult: 'Sure, you need a basis, but it's far more important that you gather your own examples, especially there where you have your connections.' This is the kind of advice she wishes she had received when she was an art student. 'The realisation that how you do things is your most authentic way, is gold to me.'

Text by Victoria Anastasyadis
Lindsey van de Wetering

Lindsey van de Wetering

Lindsey van de Wetering completed her master's degree at Amsterdam's Academy of Architecture with the project Poku Oso, which sought to bring new life to the dilapidated Cultuurtuin (Culture Garden) in Paramaribo. This park was once used to test exotic plants and trees for use on plantations; today, is very existence is under threat due to neglect and reallocation of the land. Poku Oso's nature-inclusively designed bandstands were inspired by the techniques and aesthetics of instruments, and are intended to bring music to the park – not just as an accommodation for the conservatoire, but also as life-sized sound boxes played by nature itself. The project won Van de Wetering an Archiprix award, and she dreamed of realising at least one such bandstand in Paramaribo.

The Creative Industries Fund NL's talent development grant afforded her the opportunity to explore that dream. Travelling to Suriname, she encountered the Green Growth Suriname foundation, who asked her not only for input on the preservation of the Culture Garden, but also to help reflect on the importance of nature-inclusive building in a city plagued by the rising sea level. “In addition to upscaling one of the models, I have made contact with the people of Paramaribo in all kinds of ways, in order to identify their needs and build the future together,” says Van de Wetering.

One thing that stood out in that process was how hesitant many people in Suriname are to dream about the future: 'People are more focused on surviving in the here and now.' A workshop session at the Kinderuniversiteit (Children's University) opened the way for a visual research approach: making collages using photos and drawings makes it easier to dream. Van de Wetering wrote an essay on the subject, titled Dromen over Suriname 2043 (Dreaming About Suriname 2043), in which she not only explains, but also demonstrates the importance of imagination. 'By visualising thoughts, we can create a vision of the future, and such visions are necessary to be able to realise a transition. As far as that is concerned, there is a great need for design capacity in Suriname.'

Van de Wetering became an ambassador for the ecological organisation Forest93, gave lectures and workshops, and encouraged urban residents to create collages of the city of the future. Based on those sessions, she started making collages of her own as well, two of which will soon be on display at Podieum in Amsterdam West. 'This grant has also given me more room to rediscover art. I was always torn between choosing art school or architecture, but now I can bring the two together. I would like to continue telling stories using art, photography and film.'

Text by Willemijn de Jonge
Line Arngaard

Line Arngaard

Line Arngaard studied Graphic Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie from 2016 to 2018. Following graduation, she turned her focus to the research and development of projects at the intersection of graphic design and fashion. 'I am fascinated by the idea of fashion as a social virus that spreads a variety of aesthetic and cultural codes, which expresses itself in the way we look at things, how we dress and how we move. My aim is to make projects that through a conceptual approach to graphic design reflect deeply on fashion as an experiential, and not merely a representational, medium. Studying fashion and textile is something I take very seriously. For example, I find it interesting to examine the way in which times of crisis effect the way we dress. In this context one thing we always see is the return of patchwork, a technique that relates to female ingenuity, resilience, and thriftiness.'

Talking about her own development, Arngaard says: 'By studying patchwork and quilting techniques, I started to see them less as a purely fabric-oriented practice and more as a metaphor for work, a conceptual framework to create new images and tell stories. My main project, Piecing Pages, involves creating patchworks, but not in the traditional sense: it is more a way of thinking about how I can create randomly recycled images in textile, on paper or in other ways. These visual experiments will end up as part of a publication, along with texts that investigate how patchwork serves as a means of expression for women in different times.'
In her second project, Arngaard and her mentor, author Hanka van der Voet, research the Nationale Feestrok: a unifying campaign that provided thousands of Dutch women with clear instructions on how to create their own patchwork skirts in the years following World War II. Her third project is a workshop that centres around the creation of improvisational images in the medium of fabric, using classic patchwork techniques. 'Once the grant period has passed, there will undoubtedly be incomplete “patches” and new collaborations to pick up,' says Arngaard.

Concluding, she notes: 'This past year, I haven't just made things using the computer. I rediscovered that “thinking with your hands” really works. I want to hold on to that practice, because I've found that it has tremendous added value for my work.'

Text by Iris Stam
Maarten Brijker

Maarten Brijker

Maarten Brijker obtained his master's degree from the ArtScience Interfaculty, a joint programme offered by the Royal Academy of Art and the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, in 2018. Brijker enjoys combining creative disciplines, and is therefore active in various capacities: as a music artist, as a composer and as a sound designer in the fields of dance and performance art, video and film. He also creates installations as a sound artist, which are displayed in museums. Brijker is hugely fascinated by the intimacy and power of sound. 'Music is something very physical to me,' he says. 'Some textures of sound, tonalities, are almost tangible. Certain frequencies literally touch your skin and can bring about physical effects. And by playing certain harmonies, you can convey emotions. In films, music is often a subtle yet powerful tool to evoke certain feelings in the audience.'

After graduating, Brijker began to collaborate extensively with other artists from a variety of disciplines. 'I experimented a lot to find my own voice and discover my qualities as an artist. Now, I feel that my practice has acquired a clear form and that I have a good understanding of who I am as a maker.'

The grant that Brijker received in the context of the Talent Platform has offered him the space and freedom to formulate a long-term study into the sensuality and tangibility of sound. He is also working to develop a VST audio plugin, combining his skills and knowledge in the area of music with programming. 'It is good to be able to take a year to focus my attention on this project. Learning how to use the programming language MaxMSP and developing the plugin is taking quite a bit of time – more than I initially expected.'

Brijker is working on a Max4Live plugin compatible with Ableton, a digital audio workstation used by many producers and musicians. 'I want to make my music tool available to as many people as possible. And to join people from the music community in the studio to see how they use my plugin. During this process, I want to publish a mini album of experimental club music under my stage name, Yon Eta. Probably electronic, something in the direction of soundscapes. The music release will probably be ready in 2024.'

Text by Iris Stam
Malik Saïb-Mezghiche

Malik Saïb-Mezghiche

Safi is aboard a jam-packed bus with a friend – the bus is so crowded that she was unable to check in when she got on. When a ticket inspection is carried out, things get out of hand: the inspectors force her to pay a hefty fine on the spot, and when she objects, they become aggressive. This two-minute animation is a small but deeply recognisable example for many people of the daily abuse of power by police and enforcement officers in the French banlieues, says Malik Saïb-Mezghiche. He personally grew up in a suburb of Lyon, where violent riots broke out this summer after the police shot and killed a seventeen-year-old boy in a Parisian suburb during a traffic check.

Saïb-Mezghiche wishes to use his animations to reach young people in similar situations. Having been exposed to it himself, he knows what racial violence can do to people mentally. The series he wants to create around this subject is partly aimed at creating a sense of recognition. The first step is therefore to portray these injustices and the frustration people feel about them. 'But I also want to bring about a shift in the way people think. It helps to know that you're not alone in this. Why do we all still accept it? What can we do to bring about a change?'

In La Porte du Dragon, Saïb-Mezghiche adds a dash of magic to reality. 'It's going to be a coming-of-age story in a fantasy world in which the sad stories of reality are given better endings.' This first clip is a proof of concept; in the coming weeks and months, he will seek investors for the series as a whole. Though originally trained as a graphic designer and art director, more recently Saïb-Mezghiche has invested heavily in his animation skills. At Project City he learned how to write scripts, create storyboards and develop characters. 'As a creator of images, writing dialogues doesn't come naturally to me. I don't want to resort to caricatures and cliches, so I am working with experienced actors – not just for motion, but also for the texts.'

Making and selling animations is a time-consuming process. 'Those initial two minutes represent no less than three months of work. And now I have to generate my own publicity to get other people interested enough to invest time and money in my project.' He has a plan for that, too: starting from September, he intends to kickstart the project by posting a one-minute animation every two weeks.

Text by Willemijn de Jonge
Manal Aziz

Manal Aziz

Manal Aziz has a background as a psychologist, writer and interviewer. The works of this audiovisual maker centre around identity issues, the telling and sharing of stories in an inclusive way, and the impact of work at the social level and in the area of the environment. Manal focuses on sound and image, both still (photography) and moving. 'I also write,' says Aziz. 'My works are an audiovisual translation of the questions I ask of the world around me. I hope that encountering my work helps people feel that they too have room to question their own position in the world and society. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with saying that we don't know or understand something: it creates room to learn, and we should do so much more often.'

Aziz was selected during the Scout nights. 'There were so many talented makers, my expectations were low. In all honesty, it took months for the realisation that I had been chosen to really settle in. As I am self-taught, being recognised in this way is very rewarding. The grant opened many doors for me, especially in how I view myself and my position as a maker. Receiving it was a wonderful thing, of course, but I have to say that it also put a certain pressure on me: a feeling of “it's now or never”. To some extent, that pressure is still with me now.'

As a person, Aziz is always moving between worlds. 'As a maker, too, I move back and forth between disciplines as part of my process. It's something that I want to investigate further this year, in material and process. That gave me the idea for a multimedia zine, combining digital elements with the physical form of a magazine. Content-wise, it might include wordcraft, photography and audio elements in the form of QR codes that grant access to a digital platform.'

The project sees Aziz joining forces with organisations and communities in the Netherlands and Morocco. During a residency in Marrakech, Aziz will dedicate his full efforts to material research for the zine. 'Good friends of mine have founded a platform in Marrakech that focuses on sustainability and experimentation, Khial Nkhel. They previously organised paper-making and printing workshops in their atelier. I am going to experiment with a variety of things, including natural, DIY techniques for photo printing using direct sunlight. I am a fairly analytically-minded person, so I'm looking forward to spending a month working primarily with my hands!'

Text by Iris Stam
Maren Bang

Maren Bang

For Maren Bang, the year following her graduation with a master's degree from Design Academy Eindhoven felt empty and lonely. 'Finding work was a struggle. I didn't want to start working for just any company, or something like that.' What Bang wanted to do more than anything else was to follow her artistic calling without compromise. But how? With help from environmental psychologist and coach Adeola Enigbokan, she took a deep-dive into herself. 'It was Adeola who encouraged me to do something with my theatre background.' Little by little, she came up with a method to boost her own practice. Bang developed traditional skills – woodcutting, working with ceramics, weaving, and 3D design/printing – not just for the sake of it, but to incorporate them into the concept of a 'fake open call'. It saw her do all the characters herself, ranging from woodcutter Ole Riemann, ceramicist Marion Nelé, 3D designer Nolan Meier, and weaver Norma Illene to curator Elma Norine and assistant curator Elenor Monira. All these names are anagrams of her own, Maren Oline Bang. The jury consisted of Bang's mentors Amanda Pinatih, Lucas Maassen, Oli Stratford and Alexandre Humbert.

This was how Bang combined various of her ambitions and was able to lose herself in the fun of making it. 'I find it hard to choose one direction. Organising and running an exhibition is something I find interesting, but I also want to be an artist. The fake open call brings it all together.' And it gave her full control, something that, like insecurity, is a prominent theme in her work. 'While my work is not functional like that of product designers, I still hesitate to call myself an 'artist'. By shaping my own ecosystem, I create the freedom to experiment and to seek myself as a maker, without fearing criticism or rejection.' This is what allowed the autonomous artist in Bang to come out over the past year. Laughingly: 'Whenever I made a mistake in the woodcutting, I'd just blame Ole. I developed his character during a residency at the Hjerleid crafts centre in Dovre in Norway. We have his character to thank for my dramatic woodcutting style.' Bang's theatre background came in very handy when it came to working out the characters. 'I believe in the effectiveness of performance as a production method. It allowed me to discover various facets of myself, for example.'

Bang came up with an institute that she worked out based on research and information from Amanda Pinatih (design curator at Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum). 'Setting up a fictitious museum was such fun. The structures behind it fascinate me enormously.' Not just the characters, but also the institute itself got its own unique personality and costume. 'This lets me move my institute around by myself.' It doesn't get more autonomous than that!

Text by Priscilla de Putter
Margherita Soldati

Margherita Soldati

Exhaustion, rehabilitation, transformation, repair: these are some of the terms Margherita Soldati kept hearing during her recovery process following a burnout several years ago. And they are terms that she was all too familiar with, given her work in the reprocessing of textile waste. She found the similarity fascinating. 'I thought: if I spend all my time working on projects that tackle sustainability in textiles, why can't I do the same for the sustainability of my own brain?'

A worn-out favourite sweater formed the starting point of the project Alchemy of Resilience. She unravelled the body of the sweater but left the edges intact. Using a contrasting thread made of textile waste, she loosely reknitted the remaining parts together, so that the garment transformed into something new, and at the same time became a self-portrait. Soldati stresses that it is better to speak in terms of transformation than of reparation. 'When you ask someone to repair you and to be returned to the condition that you used to be in, you are asking something that is completely impossible, with adverse consequences.'

For this project she wanted to learn how to knit, both by hand and by machine. Partly during a residency at Lottozero in Prato, the famous Italian textile city and a pioneer in the field of textile recycling. She also started talking to the people working there in the industry, and the theme of burnout proved to be an effective conversation starter. During the year she organised several events to let people try their hand at knitting, and at the same time to talk to them. In the library of Tilburg's TextielMuseum, she explored the history of knitting as an artisan practice that brings people together, and thus helps to create and reinforce communities. Soldati is eager to develop this social aspect in her practice.

In the coming period, she will be showing the outcomes of her project in various places and different ways; for instance in the display window of EM Studio/Gallery and in an exhibition in W139, both in Amsterdam and in collaboration with artist Hanna Steenbergen-Cockerton. During the exhibition in W139, there will be a workplace where people can knit and of course talk together. Soldati finds it important to make the theme of burnout visible, also within the cultural sector where it happens frequently. The financial security provided this year was a relief: 'It gave me enough time to work in the right way.'

Text by Victoria Anastasyadis
Mario Gonsalves

Mario Gonsalves

'I want to make Disney for our people.' This is the goal Mario Gonsalves had in mind when he submitted his application for a talent development grant. In 2019, he graduated from HKU University of the Arts in Utrecht with a bachelor's degree in Audiovisual Media. His graduation project was a film called Patroon, which tells the coming-of-age story of a young man called Malik who moved with his mother from the Caribbean Island of Curaçao to Amsterdam's Bijlmer district. The story is told from the perspective of three types of relationships, i.e. with his mother, with his friends, and his first love. The film shows how the path towards adulthood is full of obstacles for young people with a migration background.

Where Patroon is based on his personal memories of setbacks and pain, in his next projects Gonsalves wants to focus on creating stories, characters, and designs that will enable people from the Caribbean to also dream and shape their own environment. To accomplish his goal, he explored new fields and learned new skills. He learned to use Rhino, a 3D drawing program for parametric designing, through a three-week course at AA School for Architecture in London, and he attended an 'active wood bending' workshop.

He started by exploring gentrification and architecture on the Caribbean islands. Tourism is an important source of income here, resulting in waterfronts lined with unattractive colossal hotels that are often box-shaped for economic reasons. Aside from those hotels, there are resorts that cater to more affluent tourists, for which nature conservation areas have had to make way in some cases. According to Gonsalves, Caribbean authorities' short-sighted approach to tourism is harmful for the region and its population. In his photographic work, he uses a fish as a symbol of something that has a holy status on the islands on the one hand, but is also killed for survival on the other. The same paradox also exists in how nature is damaged for the benefit of economic development, including tourism.

His study will be presented as a manual for designers who work in the Caribbean. 'Many designers are stuck in the reality and frameworks within which they are used to doing their work. With my proposal, I want to put people and culture first again in the design mindset.' His manual is an invitation to other designers: 'Build on it.'

Text by Roosmarijn Hompe
Martijn Holtslag

Martijn Holtslag

Painstakingly cutting loose one troll to glue it onto another. A medieval city of varied houses and roofs, every stone cut out by hand. Even when miniature construction was still just a hobby for Martijn Holtslag, he already strayed off the beaten path of tabletop wargames: while these centre on dice and rule-based play, Holtslag was more interested in creating his own worlds. That hobby has grown somewhat out of hand since then: his collection of hand-painted figurines and miniature landscapes is enough to fill an exhibition gallery.

Experimentation and unconventional connections are central elements in Holtslag's works. His practice is diverse, comprising not just miniatures but also music and film. He used part of the development year to define his practice: 'In my head, it was always boundless. Now, it is increasingly: this is what I do, this is what it can do, and that is what I can achieve with it.'

This can lead to interesting crossovers between disciplines, media and elements. Presently, Holtslag is collaborating with a programmer to build an interactive model of a waterfall. Behing the waterfall is a cave with a water surface in the form of an LED screen. By constantly placing different elements on the screen and then projecting images onto them produces scenes in and around the water.

Holtslag is fascinated by landscape elements such as caves, islands and waterfalls, and likes to share that fascination with nature lovers and game designers. Why do elements such as these appeal so strongly to our imagination? What makes a landscape beautiful? What does Paradise look like? What kind of stories can a landscape tell? Questions such as these are what Holtslag's works explore.

Holtslag also used the past year to develop the thematic aspects of his works. In the world of miniatures, landscapes are often connected with a greater narrative – a story from history, the fantasy world or science fiction. History, too, is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Holtslag. 'But those stories are often so much bigger than a single landscape can capture. A landscape is more suited to capturing a moment.' Thematic research led to new questions. 'Because of my background in fantasy landscapes, I wanted to investigate whether I could really make this into an art. The more time you spend creating, the more you start asking yourself: what is it really all about?'

Text by Roosmarijn Hompe
Matilde Patuelli

Matilde Patuelli

Matilde Patuelli is a social designer who examines social constructions, human interaction and how we experience reality. In her current design practice, she is researching to what extent she can incorporate Live Action Role-Playing into her work as a narrative and experience-focused tool.

'During my studies, I began sketching out the “Methodology of Ambiguity”, which investigates ways to express feelings we cannot put into words through visualisation, materialisation and embodiment. My goal was to study LARP as a co-creative tool for interaction, narration and exchange. The idea of LARPing is for players to enter the “magical circle” of the game and agree to reside in a different reality, giving them an alibi that allows them to behave in ways that would otherwise hit too close to home, or instead feel too foreign. This ambiguous space for transformation and safe exploration is what fascinated me and inspired me to incorporate gamification into my practice.'

What Patuelli finds so interesting about LARPing is that the players continuously manipulate and shift the narrative, as a result of which the outcome is different every time the game is played. 'I also integrated that aspect into the workshops and activities that I have developed.'

'I started this research year by joining the Transformative Play Initiative. These lessons gave me theoretical knowledge and a basis that I could use to start experimenting for myself. Throughout the year I took part in valuable learning opportunities that crossed my path, such as Als ik in jouw schoenen stond (“If I Were in Your Shoes”), in Slovenia, where I practiced using the theatre techniques of the Theatre of the Oppressed. At the LARP conference Knutepunkt23 in Denmark, I had the honour of presenting the workshop Visualising, Manifesting, Embodying your Queer Resistance in collaboration with anthropologist Cosmo Esposito. And at a summer camp in Greece about urban game design, Trust in Play, and the College of Extraordinary Experiences in Poland, I had the opportunity to explore non-verbal LARPing.'

'My focus this year was on learning, research and application by means of experimental workshops and collaborations. In the coming months, I want to continue feeding the playful networks into which I was welcomed and to transform the theory into a physical result.'

Text by Maaike Staffhorst
Moreno Schweikle

Moreno Schweikle

The three goals that designer Moreno Schweikle set himself this year all come together in the immersive exhibition he opened in Cologne in August. 'I wanted to broaden my material and technical knowledge, expand my network, and develop myself in a new area. I make autonomous objects at the intersection of sculpture, furniture and installation, and I wanted to take this year to explore whether I could apply my work to spaces and places.' Much to his delight, it worked out very well. 'The relationship between spaces and objects interests me. I think it's great that this can also be part of my work.'

While exploring this new avenue, Schweikle found three interesting books on different types of sculptures, how they work and what they mean. He discovered that his work ties in with the assemblies and readymades we know from pop art and Dada. He also learned more about that through his contacts with art historian Wladyslaw Barion. 'I met artists, journalists, designers, and gallery owners this year with whom I could discuss my work. This gave me a lot of confidence.' Although he was initially not thrilled with the pop art comparison, he does acknowledge that there is an overlap. Just like pop art, he uses existing and banal products, albeit without wanting to elevate them to icons. Schweikle: 'I was always curious about mass-produced objects and I reflect on their function by modifying them.'

Along the way, Schweikle also stumbled on a new material: clay. 'It was like a revelation. Normally, the results of my digital designs and 3D models are somewhat artificial and “cold”, but it's not like that with clay.' Schweikle likes to work with the contrasts between the industrial and the organic, making his work a bridge between these two realms. 'Clay is ideal for that, as an “intermediate material” made of water and stone.' In his exhibition he applied elements from contemporary culture to the space. He used industrial materials to make a vertical 'river' on the window. 'I initially thought of it as a wave, but as I was creating it the wave became a river. It benefited the installation, but it is always a challenge for me to deviate from my initial design and to slacken the reins during the process.' During a small, spontaneous group exhibition this year, he did not have any time to make digital designs, so Schweikle had no choice but to go by his intuition alone. 'As a result, the work became much more the outcome of a process than the execution of an idea.'

Text by Priscilla de Putter
Myrthe Krepel

Myrthe Krepel

Performative designer Myrthe Krepel creates interventions using language, the body and theatre, often in non-artistic contexts. In her new project, Het kamertje, the focus is on a societal theme: the imbalance of power between the government and the people.

The project began with reading a substantial number of books on the subjects of power and discipline. Since Krepel's own education is scientific and linguistic in nature, having obtained a master's degree in Design for Interaction at Delft University of Technology in 2018, she wanted to do something that involved her body as well: power, after all, is something that can also be felt. To that end, she took dance and performance workshops at Amenti in Rotterdam.

'When people want to change something in an organisation in a creative way, they often end up choosing a workshop format. That makes the participants feel inspired, but afterwards they simply return to the daily grind. A performance, however, can truly form an intervention. It stays with people, it encourages taking action, and it enables you to play with social structures – how you move, what you say,' Krepel states. She applied this with the government in the Dialogue and ethics programme, set up following the childcare benefits scandal. 'The official language that policymakers use creates distance, and often acts as a substitute for action,' says Krepel. She had policymakers choose a word that is important in their work, such as integrity or comradeship, and translate it into an instruction for a performance. It proved to be a confrontational exercise, revealing how utterly their language has become divorced from action, and how words are being used without any knowledge or sense of what they mean.

Finally: Het kamertje is a title that intentionally evokes associations with office of the prime minister of the Netherlands. This interactive performance, of which a try-out has already been held as part of the Co-Co festival at Sectie-C, deals with complex social structures – although a bit tongue-in-cheek, with light-hearted and theatrical aspects. A version worked out in more detail will be presented during the Dutch Design Week, in a performance wherein the post-new normal is sustained by people who have comparable jobs in daily life. The concept includes a booklet, Regels Vormgeven, containing ten rules to change the tone of our coexistence. The mildly absurd performance focuses on the status quo that we all maintain together, and which structures and rules we really want to keep.

Text by Viveka van de Vliet
Noëlle Ingeveldt

Noëlle Ingeveldt

What would the Netherlands look like with big mammals tramping through our carefully manicured landscapes? That's what Noëlle Ingeveldt wonders, co-founder of audiovisual art studio Berkveldt with film maker Juriaan van Berkel. The artist/designer performs scientific research into the possibility of future bear populations in the Netherlands. In her speculative project Bear Country, Ingeveldt hopes to stimulate vital discussions about the coexistence of humans and animals and to build support, so that the government can prepare proper measures before bears actually migrate to the Netherlands. It is a real possibility, after all: climate change and deforestation are forcing bears to spread throughout Europe. 'With its many fruit trees, the Netherlands is an attractive feeding ground during the summer,' Ingeveldt suspects.

A graduate of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and holder of a master's degree in Interior Architecture: Research + Design from the Piet Zwart Institute, Ingeveldt has previous experience with studying artificial nature. She is fascinated by the complex relationship between man, animal and landscaping. 'I want to tell stories about the role of mankind in a natural system from a non-human perspective, to show how people should behave in order to redress the balance.'

In Bear Country, the two designers take viewers on a fascinating artistic journey. Their journey in a converted Dacia Loga passes through Romania, Austria, Italy and Switzerland, countries where bears are once again at home. The largest population of bears currently lives in Romania, where they have been a protected species since 2016. Italy, meanwhile, shipped in bears from Slovenia to strengthen its own dwindling population. 'What can we learn from these countries before this predator comes to the Netherlands?'

The objects and 3D scans collected along the way will be combined with insights obtained from interviews with biologists, ecologists, environmental philosophers, bear experts, beekeepers, shepherds and other people to tell a non-linear story. This will take the form of an immersive installation and a documentary. Van Berkel is a skilled coder and Ingeveldt took a course in scriptwriting, 3D animation and design using Blender. Her coach was interaction and media designer Olivier Otten. This project about finding harmony between humankind and the European bear population was launched in TENT Rotterdam and will, if all goes according to plan, be presented at festivals in the future.

Text by Viveka van de Vliet
Nohaila Gamah

Nohaila Gamah

Director and scriptwriter Nohaila Gamah studied Film & Sociology at Amsterdam University College. She lives and breathes storytelling. A descendant of the Amazigh ('free people'), one of the oldest nomadic people in Morocco, she explains with audible passion that 'entertainment is in my family's blood. Whenever something funny or unusual had happened, my aunts would tell the story while putting on different voices, imitating the gestures and movements of whoever they were talking about and making use of scarves and other props.'

Gamah's films are characterised by gut-felt social commentary. 'I consider it important to shine a light on certain normative structures, structures that we invented ourselves or that were imposed on us by others. About what we should be like and how we should live as women, men, people in this world. I want to use my films to create room and break open those suffocating pigeonholes that we never really fit into anyway. So that we start asking ourselves why we do what we do.'

In the style and storylines of her films, Gamah uses impulse, intuition and genre-crossing. 'I am always looking for something innovative and different, something that the viewer does not necessarily expect, but which does appeal to our emotions. And I also like to mix genres, such as drama, horror, comedy and fantasy.'

For her current film project, Gamah among other researched the topic of Female Gaze in Horror. 'The horror genre is interesting in that it has created room for female characters to be more than just an object of lust or a wife whose purpose is contingent on a male character. This genre allows me to investigate the deeper, darker layers of the female psyche.'

Gamah finds it fascinating to use her films to study the deeper layers of the mind and the monstrous aspects of humanity through different characters and from different perspectives. 'Because it shows the feelings that we have inside us but cannot always share or understand where they come from.'

'I will never stop developing as a director,' Gamah concludes. 'Recently, I have been focusing not just on Afro-Surrealism, Female Gaze in Horror, and Intergenerational Trauma, but also on writing and rewriting. I have dived in very deep, to feel it, to understand the characters. That takes a lot of energy, but it is also an interesting process. I want to understand what truly lies at the core. That's how the characters come to life, on their own. And that is what you ultimately want as a director.'

Text by Iris Stam
Nóra Békés

Nóra Békés

Library of Narrative Types is a design research project into cultural-historical narratives in typography and letter designs. Nóra Békés started her project with a study of the Roman script, also referred to as capitalis monumentalis since it only consists of capital letters, used for example to carve inscriptions in stone. Our modern capital letters are derived from this script.

Békés combines an interest in letter designs with visual storytelling and design history. She is converting her interpretation of the Roman script into a contemporary font. The theoretical questions that emerge over the course of the process will be captured in fictitious stories – which is highly unusual in the world of typography. 'Letters communicate. There are so many stories contained in them, they are the carriers of messages,' she says. 'As a designer, I immediately notice the feeling within a letter. I am aware of what the letters represent. There are stories hidden inside; for instance, inside this Roman script are the stories of the enslaved people who had to labour in the stone quarries and often died because it was so hard.' As the designer personally experienced as part of her research: 'Carving letters in stone is also hard work, but at the same time a fascinating discipline that requires a lot of knowledge and focus.'

As she originally hails from Hungary, Békés performed much of her research into the Roman script there. Once upon a time, when this area was part of the Roman Empire, the script was also used here, and carved stones continue to be found today. She discovered that the Roman script encompasses various styles. 'I was pleasantly surprised to discover the diversity of letter shapes. Letters were often cruder or more peculiar in the periphery than the familiar letters seen in inscriptions in Rome, for instance on Trajan's Column. It's also interesting to see how the letters change throughout time, resulting in a wide variety.'

The study of Roman letters is the first chapter in the Library of Narrative Types and establishes Békés's method of investigate and narrative design. After this she will continue by designing a monospace font. All her findings, texts and designs are presented on a steadily growing platform.

Text by Viveka van de Vliet
Paul Coenen

Paul Coenen

Creating designs for his own show in Paris, professionalizing and engaging in more commercial collaborations: just a few targets that designer Paul Coenen had set for himself this year. Reshaping turned out to be the theme of the year. 'A major goal of mine was to learn hydroforming, which is a specialized industrial technique to reshape steel tubes by pumping high-pressure water through them.' Coenen is particularly fascinated by the interaction between man and machine, which also characterises his own work. 'Parts of my works are laser-cut and machine-folded, but I put everything together by hand.'

Coenen makes smaller products as well as grand furniture for high-end galleries. The seemingly simple shapes and steel plate that he uses reveal his interest in materialization and modern production techniques. 'This year, I wanted to take my limited editions for galleries to a higher level. The result was a grand show in Paris, with five new works. The high steel prices meant that the required investment was significant, but it was worth it. I had been working towards it since my graduation.'

In recent years, Coenen has worked on improved versions of his graduation piece at Design Academy Eindhoven. 'The underlying vision hasn't changed, but certain complex technical details have been better thought out. My understanding of the material is getting better and better, and I was able to perfect my designs. That is the most enjoyable part, it's like scoring victory after victory against yourself.'

The show in Paris boosted Coenen's confidence and his business. 'I wanted to design for other brands, and that's something I have managed to do this year as well, with two new collaborations.' Meanwhile, Coenen also worked with four other designers and an investor to establish an American furniture brand. It has become a major project with a lot of potential. 'With our local production site in North Carolina and a material-minded vision, we can make a difference in the American market.'

Though somewhat sceptically at first, Coenen also hired a coach this past year, and the decision paid off with valuable insights. 'It helped to take a good look at my finances, but also to make smarter choices in what to say yes and no to. For the first time I can dedicate myself to my own practice full-time, without having all kinds of jobs on the side. Thanks to that, it feels like everything came together this year.'

Text by Priscilla de Putter
Paul Kuijpers

Paul Kuijpers

Voor trendwatcher en ontwerper Paul Kuijpers, sinds 2018 alias dragqueen Cindy van der Loan, is drag een multidisciplinaire expressie waarin design, performance en fashion samenkomen in één verhaal. Hierbij laat hij zich inspireren door de suikerzoete Hollywood glamour; hij houdt van glans en glitter.

Dat uit zich onder andere in de theatershow voor de opening van de Let's talk about Sex-themamaand van het Parktheater Eindhoven, waarvoor hij werd gevraagd toen hij net met zijn talentontwikkelingsproject was begonnen. In samenwerking met regisseur Lenneke Maas en DayDayGay, een organisatie voor queercultuur in Eindhoven waar Kuijpers sinds de oprichting in 2017 deel van uitmaakt, ontwikkelde hij de show Come (as Sensitive) as You Are. Hierin wordt gevoeligheid in een geïndividualiseerde samenleving onderzocht. Een buitenkans waar Kuijpers, onder directie van Maas, zijn artistieke leiderschap binnen het theater verder kon ontwikkelen.

Die ervaringen en zijn expertise als trendwatcher gebruikt Kuijpers nu voor zijn project tijdens een residency bij het internationale platform New Order of Fashion in Eindhoven. 'Hier onderzoek ik hoe drag duurzamer kan. Onder begeleiding van ontwerper Valentine Tinchant leer ik naaitechnieken en ontwerpmethodes met een focus op upcycling.' Zo wil hij van zijn grote hoeveelheid kledingstukken een nieuwe capsulecollectie samenstellen die beter aansluit bij zijn professionele ontwikkeling. Een van de drie nieuwe looks is een outfit met een top, gemaakt van de leren motorbroek van zijn moeder. Ook op het gebied van performance ontwikkelt Kuijpers zich door vogue- en waacking-lessen te volgen bij professioneel danser en choreograaf Shahin Damka.

Kuijpers is opgegroeid in een klein dorp waar het begrip queer of drag niet 'bestond'. Hij verkleedde zich als kind in groep 2 al het liefst in een bruidsjurk, maar pas tegen zijn negentiende ontdekte hij wat drag was en dat dit voor hem een heuse optie was. 'Al sinds ik klein was had ik een obsessie met lang haar. Met haar werken is een van de meest inspirerende dingen om te doen', zegt de ontwerper, die met het oog op duurzaamheid ook zelf pruiken wil leren maken.

Intussen treedt Kuijpers regelmatig op als Cindy van der Loan. 'Ik vind het belangrijk om te laten zien dat drag onderdeel is van de culturele scene en een podium verdient. In Eindhoven zijn de uitgaansgelegenheden voornamelijk gericht op het mainstream publiek. Dat mag wel wat diverser', vindt hij.

Tekst door Viveka van de Vliet
Pernilla Philip

Pernilla Philip

Pernilla Manjula Philip's roots lie in South Africa and Sweden. She studied at the Sandberg Institute, obtaining her master's degree in Design in 2021. As a social designer, her focus lies on investigating the accessibility of medical treatment, searching for new forms of collective care and questioning the concept of health within society. Her project, which continues on from earlier work, centres around hacking and medical management. She is especially interested in communities of people who are investigating how they can manage their own medical treatments through forms of hacking and tinkering. This raises other issues as well, for example: what is safety? Whose safety is being prioritised? 'When people see the true problem behind open source medical solutions, it will become clear that there is still a lot of work to do,' says Manjula Philip.

The story told is based on Manjula Philip's own experiences with using open source code to reprogram her insulin pump. 'In my work, I experiment with different approaches to share my experiences.' Her current project, Post Purpose Pump station, is an installation in which she invites visitors to reconsider their own stories about unconventional and unofficial treatments. 'Self-diagnosis, tinkering and hacking medical technology is an active practice for many among us who are dependent on the biomedical industrial system.'

In her project, Manjula Philip also challenges data ownership. 'Who possesses my data, who can use it, and what is it used for?' In that context, she recently visited the Wellcome Collection in London, and participated in a try-out workshop and a mentorship session with artist Jesse Darling and writer, media analyst and culture critic Flavia Dzodan. The talent development grant has enabled Manjula Philip to further develop her ideas and develop new forms of experimentation, as well as afforded her the unique opportunity to push her practice in a direction that is meaningful for her at this time.

Text by Iris Stam
Pim Boreel

Pim Boreel

'A deep dive into the complexity of the ocean,' is how audio artist Pim Boreel describes last year's research project, under the title: Aquapocalyps. Boreel studied the extremity and fragility of the system, with special attention for deep sea mining. It is a topical issue, given how the world is on the verge of permitting this type of mining on a commercial scale, as part of the green energy transition. 'Or will we learn from our previous mistakes in time, which have led to the exhaustion of land and people?'

In his research, Boreel relies on his intuition, on 'algorithmic crossovers', and his interest in 'ecological holism'. He maps out the diversity and mutual interdependency of underwater life: the different zones and communities, the food chain, and so on. He also looked for signs of human impact on underwater life, such as pollution, the constant bombardment of sound waves, and the stifling sediment plumes as a result of mining raw materials from the ocean floor. He brought together all the found materials in his own 'oceanic database' – ranging from scientific articles to (pop) songs inspired by the ocean, underwater footage, videos and spectrograms. This interdisciplinarity is what Boreel describes as 'algorithmic crossovers': a network of theoretical, material and artistic information about the deep sea.

Boreel also produced a 'mix tape': a sketch for a musical composition consisting of music samples and sounds collected, recorded and composed in the past period. The musical piece draws the listener increasingly further underwater, towards the ocean floor. Along the way we are accompanied by singing whales, but also by the peeps of human underwater communication and the ominous droning of machines. By creating this world, Boreel hopes to stimulate empathy and the imagination regarding the ocean, and hence to link together science, emotions, and the necessary behavioural change among people.

Another important focus point this year was to position his wide-ranging practice. Besides 'deep research', his practice spans art, media and music, each with its own audience and community. He formulated the steps that he could take in the coming years to arrive at 'the intersecting points' between his various practices. By contemplating what direction to take, he realized that he wants to have more time and opportunity to delve deeper still. That is why he has enrolled for the two-year master programme Artificial Times at the Sandberg Instituut; yet another leap into the deep.

Text by Victoria Anastasyadis
Siddharth Pathak

Siddharth Pathak

'I'm a practical artist: give me any kind of material and I'll work with it.' During the Covid pandemic, Siddharth Pathak only had a keyboard and a laptop at his disposal, so sound became his means of expression. Last year, he expanded his 'sonic universe.' He focused on five themes around sound art to further shape his autodidactic practices and his role as a performer.

The first thing Pathak did was strike up a collaboration with glassblower Selma Hamstra. Together they made ten glass objects that should function as resonance chambers, or sound objects. He is now considering two ways to make this happen. It can be done electronically by equipping the objects with light-sensitive sensors that activate a sound database when light is shone onto them by a light-emitting device that he can hold in his hands. This would make the glass a performing, motion-directed instrument that he does not even have to touch to play it. The second option is mechanical: the objects would then be balanced between two parallel rods with wheels, driven by a motor. By filling the glass shapes with different materials or substances (sand, water), different sounds will be heard when the objects rotate. This rotating motion is also a great reference to the constant turning that is so typical of the glassblowing process.

Pathak has organised his year around different mentors. Besides the glassblowing, he worked with instrument inventor Rafaele Andrade and artist Ronald van der Meijs, who makes analogue sound installations. With media artist Heidi Hörsturz, Pathak roamed the streets of Rotterdam to record different sounds, from the tunnel under the river Meuse to the city's Museumpark. These sounds will form the basis for new compositions. 'I'm a sound seeker and I love nothing more than sounds,' he says. 'The most beautiful sound in the world is the sound of birds singing, equalled only by the sound of streaming water.'

All these learning experiences now have to blend together into a performance featuring glass objects where he – again with the help of a mentor – explores the aspect of duration, the final focus point in his research into sound art. 'It's only because of the Fund that I even got a chance to develop this idea and to challenge myself. Without any expectations as to what will happen, but just to see how it unfolds and what my learning journey turns out