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.

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.

(8/2)
load more videos
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

Afsaneh Ghafarian Rabe’I

Afsaneh Ghafarian Rabe’I

Afsaneh Ghafarian Rabe'I is a self-taught audiovisual maker and was selected during the Scout Night in Amsterdam. In the development plan, the maker describes the ambition to tell the story of the second generation of Iranian-Dutch people from a personal perspective. To this end, she is going to make a series of portraits of Iranian-Dutch people and their peers in Iran. The images from the series will be compiled into a book. In addition to the book, the maker will develop a podcast and organize a theme evening in Pakhuis de Zwijger. In the three-part project, themes like current affairs, emancipation, representation, migration and the Iranian diaspora will play an important role. During the year, Ghafarian Rabe'I will experiment with mixed-media art and photography. She will do this under the guidance of Aàdesokan, a Nigerian photographer and artist specializing in mixed-media work. Furthermore, Ghafarian Rabe'I will investigate distribution strategies with the help of Romaisa Baddar, author of the book 'Middle East Archive'. Marketer and PR-strategist Yev Kravt will help the maker with marketing support. For her substantive understanding, Ghafarian Rabe'I will visit the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies in San Francisco. To realize the podcast and theme evening, Ghafarian Rabe'I will work with journalist and podcast maker Mina Etemad. Khazar Lotfi will help with editing and writing the texts for the publication. Lastly, Ghafarian Rabe'I has the ambition to launch the book internationally and to make a PR tour of large cities where the Iranian community is most represented.
Alex Walker

Alex Walker

Graphic designer Alex Walker graduated from the Sandberg Institute in 2019. With a focus on experimental and DIY modes of production, he works collaboratively with other artists and cultural institutions on publishing projects. During the development year, Walker will formalize a three-part project titled 'Mumbling Matter', comprised of an online resource, a series of publications and an exhibition programme. The online resource focuses on the materiality and pro­cesses behind print-production, ­structured as an open-source library of tools, and a journal to document experiments and works-in-process. The publication series will be designed and produced through collaborations with fellow artists who share a common interest in DIY culture, collectivity and skill-sharing. Towards the end of the development year, Walker will organise an exhibition to showcase the works produced as well as the tools and processes used.
Anna Wonders

Anna Wonders

Anna Wonders is trained as a goldsmith and was selected during the Scout Night in Zwolle. She finds inspiration in nature and likes to combine rough details with fine shapes. Wonders wants to make her own company sustainable and to contribute to a healthy working culture within the gold mining industry, where currently many people are subject to poor working conditions. That is why she is a licensee of Fairmined, an insurance label that certifies gold and silver from artisanal and small-scale mining organizations that develop ethical practices. During the development year, Wonders wants to film in a Fairmined mine in Colombia, so that she can show the story of these workers in the Netherlands. She also plans to purchase casting equipment so she can experiment with vacuum and sling casting. Wonders will also make a trip to Iceland, where she will receive guidance from jewellery retailer PRAKT in Reykjavík. The result will be a jewellery collection of fair-mined gold and silver, inspired by nature. The creation process will be recorded, with the aim of inspiring other goldsmiths to work with this material as well. For the presentation of the collection she is looking at SIERAAD International Jewellery Art Fair in Amsterdam and an exhibition together with other Fairmined goldsmiths in Zwolle.
Anni Nöps

Anni Nöps

Sound artist and electronic musician Anni Nöps (Wetware) completed her bachelor ArtScience at the KABK in 2021. The core of her work is aimed at sensing, perception and creating subtle, sensitive experiences that work on a subliminal, introspective level. She works across various mediums revolving around sound: sound installations, video, virtual reality, fixed media sound works, experimental and conceptual compositions. For the upcoming year, Nöps plans to develop her practice as a sound artist in four ways: 1. by producing several sound installations exploring the concept of materiality of the sound; 2. by creating new compositions alongside a release and live set for performing; 3. by collaborating with contemporary ballet choreographer-dancer Louis Stiens; and 4. by curating music events at the intersection of academic composition and new electronic listening music. In addition, Nöps aims to develop her sound related skills, by participating in residencies and seeking guidance from several electronic and spatial sound composers as her mentors. Possible locations to present her sound works and performances are festivals such as FIBER, Klankvorm and Sonic Acts.
Benjamin Earl

Benjamin Earl

Benjamin Earl graduated from the Royal Academy of Art with a master's degree in Non-Linear Narrative in 2019. As a designer, Earl is interested in how digital technology connects physical space with social relationships. In the development plan, the designer asks himself the question: How can digital technology promote intimacy with our social and material environment? In the coming year, Earl will work on developing skills in coding, writing, graphic design and sound design. The development plan consists of three phases. Phase 1 focusses on technical and theoretical research. During this phase, Earl will design a home-made server, participate in various courses and enrol at the School for Poetic Computation in New York. In addition, Earl will apply for supervision from Professor Matthew Fuller. In phase 2, Earl will examine various methodologies. The designer will experiment with interactive, audiovisual interfaces and explore the ideas of decentralization through conversations with fellow designers working on similar themes. Lastly, in phase 3, Earl will work on various forms of presentation, including education, a public presentation and a digital presentation. For this, he will reach out to V2 and MU Hybrid Art House.
Colin Wegman

Colin Wegman

Music producer and sound designer Colin Wegman was selected during the Scout Night in Utrecht. The Curaçao-born maker grew up in Leusden and, under the name audt98, makes music with sound design as its starting point. In the development plan, the maker asks himself to what extent he is connected to his island of origin. Wegman works with analogue drum computers, synthesizers and sequencers, and is primarily guided by intuition. In the development year, Wegman will investigate his geographical, cultural and musical roots on Curaçao through sound design. For this purpose, Wegman will travel to Curaçao to record samples of local sounds and traditional Curaçao instruments. With the samples, Wegman will make an ode to Curaçao, a piece of music in which the island is represented both conceptually and musically. The sound designer will collaborate with Dutch-Curaçao DJ Suze Ijó, who will support him on his journey. Furthermore, Wegman will improve his technical skills in music and sound design by apprenticing with Dave Mech. The live sets will be presented in different clubs during the development year. Lastly, Wegman will work together with a lighting designer.
Constanza Castagnet

Constanza Castagnet

Constanza Castagnet is a sound designer who researches our relationship to new technologies such as AI, the presence of constantly-recording devices, and voice data. The research translates into immersive installations in which experimentation with voice functions as a bridge to alternative forms of listening. With the development grant, Castagnet aims to develop its practice in the field of machine-learning voice models, both as a creative tool for alternative collaborations between humans and machines, and as an issue on the challenges posed by this technology. In the first phase of the plan, Castagnet will receive mentoring in extended vocal technique from Stine Janvin Motland. In parallel, she will research the content in collaboration with Arif Kornweitz and Eleni Ikonadiou. In the second phase, in which a neural network will be worked on. In this phase, Castagnet will receive support from Hackers & Designers and Studio LOOS on the technical aspects of the project and from Marijn Cinjee on the spatial installation, and will receive feedback on her work from Debit and Upsammy. In the third phase, the presentation will be shaped by three formats: a multi-channel immersive sound installation 'Artificial Hockets', a workshop and an online platform. The installation will be presented at Qo2 in Brussels, platform Aux)) in Amsterdam and Centro de Arte Sonoro in Buenos Aires. The online platform will be created in collaboration with creative coder Toni Brell.
Deborah Mora

Deborah Mora

Deborah Mora (Orah) holds a bachelor's degree in Design Art and Technology from ArtEZ. In her practice, she focuses on performative and interactive spaces. For the upcoming year, she wishes to employ her visual-making practice to contribute to the creation of more immersive, communicative and performative spaces, and thereby engage and connect the audience more. Mora will focus on the research, design and production of one main project: the Bond II, which investigates meditation practices entangled with multimedia spaces. In addition, she aims to lay the groundwork for an efficient methodology that will achieve both the advancement of her technical skillset and theoretical and applied research, and the tightening of her collaborative engagement. Mora will seek guidance from several artists to help professionalize her practice, including Alice Bucknell, Kevin Bray and the artist collective Keiken. She also plans to attend workshops in video art direction and screenwriting, and to make study trips to learn new ways of producing and researching. Mora will present her work in the form of an exhibition and performance at FIBER Festival.
Dérive

Dérive

Under the name Dérive, Hedwig van der Linden and Kevin Westerveld work on a research-driven design practice, operating between architecture, public space and urban strategies. In the development year, they want to develop Dérive into a full-time practice that can engage a wide range of actors in the (re)development of an area. They will do this through three main tracks: a transversal track, a thematic track and a strengthening track. In the transversal track, the practice's method will be developed. In the thematic track, this method will be applied via three projects: 'Garden Room - encounters in the garden city', 'RTM x BXL' and 'From Allotment Complex to City Garden Park'. The strengthening track consists of a number of activities that will run in parallel with the development year. Dérive will be supported during this year by various collaborations and coaches, including Jan Rothuizen, with whom they will work on visualization techniques to capture the atmosphere of an environment, and Michelle Provoost, who will explore with them how Dérive's working method can be translated into the 21st century. In addition to more conventional forms of architectural presentation, Dérive also wants to reach a wider audience by means of a performance in collaboration with Verhalenhuis Belvédère and the Rotterdams Wijktheater.
Elif Satanaya Özbay

Elif Satanaya Özbay

Elif Satanaya Özbay, with her visual and video-based research and design practice, engages with social groups and focusses in the project 'How to Trace a Forgotten Diasporic Identity?' on the question: what to do when you don't find yourself reflected in the archives and the content you want to investigate is too hard to find? How do you build on something that was once destroyed and how can we collectively restore it? During the development year, Ozbay wants to develop in the areas of collecting, recording and connecting the oral history of a diasporic identity before it is lost; and then connect this to the present through experimental ideation methods. In creative development, the emphasis will be on working with audio expressions, where her previous work was predominantly visual. In the research phase, Ozbay will mainly make recordings with different Circassian communities. In the development phase, the maker will investigate how to present her work in different contexts for diverse audiences. During the year Ozbay will make studio visits to various artists and creators. As a final presentation, Ozbay will develop an interactive online storytelling platform.
Elizaveta Federmesser

Elizaveta Federmesser

Elizaveta Federmesser, works at the intersection of digital culture and (fashion) material research. Her development plan focusses on mastering AI and machine learning technologies, using material archives as databases for AI and showing how these databases can be used for future designs. During the research phase, Koroleva will take courses in Data Analytics and Python on Coursera and a course in Modern Curatorial Practices at Zurich University of Arts. The research process will be expressed in a digital publication, for which she will take courses in storytelling and creative writing. In the second phase, the project 'The Prototype' will be worked on, making use of the archives of the Depot Boijmans van Beuningen or the Design Museum Den Bosch. For the digital models produced, Federmess wants to present them at EBB Global and Dissrup. Three of the models will also be physically produced at Pi Modelling.
Estelle Barriol

Estelle Barriol

Estelle Barriol is an architect who, under the name Studio ACTE, rethinks the relationship between architect, material, drawing, model, construction and building to achieve low-tech, resilient, and sustainable architecture. Barriol's goal within the development year is to use an experimental research method to develop 1:1 prototypes that are natural alternatives to the CO2-intensive standard practices of the Dutch construction industry. The year will be divided into two projects: Learning and Building. In Learning, engineers, suppliers and craftsmen will be involved as experts and excursions will be made to Limburg and Japan. During Building, the acquired knowledge will be applied in practice and a catalogue of circular building details will be developed. The results will be presented in an exhibition to both the architectural profession and a wider relevant audience.
Florian Regtien

Florian Regtien

Multidisciplinary maker Florian Regtien was selected during the Scout Night in Amsterdam. Regtien is a self-taught maker and will use the coming year to master various disciplines and crafts. The maker is concerned about the state of the earth and wants to use his practice to create more awareness of craftmanship, as a counter-reaction to mass production. During the development year, Regtien will follow programmes in shoemaking, leather working, metal working, furniture upholstery, furniture and wood restoration, jewellery making, object photography and a course in painting techniques. The maker will engage two mentors, namely Jos van den Hoogen and Phil Merry. Guidance will be provided to Regtien by creative strategist Manon Schaap. For the final presentation, Regtien intends to organize a multidisciplinary exhibition in which works from the various programmes will be presented.
Florian van Zandwijk

Florian van Zandwijk

Florian van Zandwijk, a graduate of ArtEZ, focusses in his practice on the functioning and medium-specific characteristics that define our media technology. During the development year, Van Zandwijk will be working on two projects: 'The Arena' and 'The Camcorder', from Television to Internet. With 'The Arena', he researches the football stadium as a metaphor for society. For this purpose, he will visit archives and conduct field research at Argus Productions, Feyenoord football stadium De Kuip and CORNER Football + Society, among others. Van Zandwijk wants to present the results as a performative lecture and a livestream. The second project will research the camcorder as a democratizing transitional medium. For this research, Marga van Mechelen, Susan Aasman, the Sound and Vision archive will be contacted and a study trip to Japan will be made to visit the factory of the Sony VX1000. In addition to livestreams and video essays, he will also examine whether a physical installation can be built as a form of presentation. For various technical aspects such as software, sound design, hardware, and installations, Van Zandwijk will collaborate with partners such as: Luuk Schipperheyn, Ibo Ibelings, Marianne Noordzij, Oscar van Leest, Jelle Reith, Sjoerd Mole, Eva van Boxtel and Thomas van de Bliek. Salim Bayri and Johan Grimonprez will be approached for practical support throughout the entire process.
Gijs Schalkx

Gijs Schalkx

Designer Gijs Schalkx graduated in 2021 from ArtEZ with a bachelor's degree in Product Design. In his practice, the power of doing things yourself is central. With his method 'Provisational Design', in which he uses only what is locally available, he wants to challenge the system of consumption. During the development year, Schalkx will be conducting experiments around generating, storing, transporting and using energy. The aim is to provide sufficient energy for himself and various aspects of his practice. He will seek guidance from artist Joost Conijn and tech journalist Kris de Decker, among others. He also plans to immerse himself in the relationship between man and technology by taking a philosophy course. He is considering the Dutch Design Week for the presentation of his work, in the form of a physical installation, a book and a website.
Hattie Wade

Hattie Wade

Hattie Wade graduated from the master Non Linear Narrative at the KABK in 2021. She is a researcher, designer and visual journalist who is interested in how past institutional violences are reproduced through legal frameworks, heritage protection and the form the dissemination of this information takes. She critically researches, dismantles, and rebuilds to make tangible that which is not, taking the form of digital, video, and spatial work. In the upcoming year, Wade will work towards developing a methodology that can replace how Europe currently relates to its sites of heritage; exposing the frameworks of toxic nationalism, and offering a counter narrative - a counter heritage - in its place. She will use the grant to hone this methodological practice and improve her skills in research, video-editing, scriptwriting, 3D fabrication and information design. The site of heritage she has in mind as a case study is The Rooswijk, a shipwreck belonging to the VOC (Dutch East India Company). Wade will first conduct theoretical, historical and community research, which includes guidance from Dr. Grietje Baars and a series of conversations with researchers and activists. During the development phase, she will create iterative outputs stemming from the research as a form of reflection, experimenting with different tools such as 3D rendering and fabrication. Wade will present the resulting spatial information design and videos in the form of an exhibition. In addition, she will create a guided tour, organize a discussion, and share a research film through online platforms.
Igrien Yin Liu

Igrien Yin Liu

Igrien Yin Liu (刘寅) is a self-taught multidisciplinary maker and was selected during the Scout Night in Amsterdam. Liu grew up with both Chinese and Dutch cultures. In the coming development year, the maker will examine her Chinese-Dutch identity by conducting various studies to create three visual portrait series of up to eight images. This will be combined with a written story in the form of a poem. The maker divides the development year into three overarching themes: 'Silent Metamorphosis', 'Surreal Dreams' and 'Chinese Aesthetics'. The three series, entitled 'The space in between', 'The world within' and 'A realm beyond', bring together subjects such as social status, hopeful dreams, beauty and mythology. In the first series, Liu will elaborate on the sense of otherness as a non-Western diaspora. For the development of this series, the maker will experiment with digital painting and will further develop her current skills in Adobe programmes. In the second series, Liu will delve into the world of stereotypes and beauty ideals. To gain inspiration, the maker will be taking courses in Chinese Painting at the Sunny Art Centre in London and in modern photography at the SOAS University of London. For the last series, Liu will immerse herself in Chinese mythology and philosophy. During the development year, Liu will engage with various Chinese individuals, including writer Pete Wu, media maker Chee-han Kartosen Wong, photographer Zhang Jing Na, artist Oscar Yi Hou, photographer Leslie Zhag and artist Liu Zheng. With them she will discuss the Chinese identity and perspectives.
Iris Lam

Iris Lam

Iris Lam graduated from the KABK with a bachelor's degree in Design in 2018. She tells stories using written text, illustrations, animations, audio and video. The coming year, Lam wants to further develop as a writer of children's books and as an illustrator. To this end, she is setting up two projects: a children's book about fear, entitled 'De Bond voor Bangeriken' (The League of Big Babies), and a pilot for an animated documentary about climate anxiety. With these projects, she wants to make fear and climate anxiety more understandable and to invite an open conversation among children and adults, with the intended side effect of them overcoming their fears and taking action. Lam will be working together with book designer Eva van Bemmelen and publisher Volt children's books. For the documentary, VPRO Jeugd is being considered. Furthermore, Lam plans to participate in several courses that will allow her to learn interview techniques as well as animation and stop-motion techniques.
Ivo Brouwer

Ivo Brouwer

Ivo Brouwer holds a master's degree in Type and Media from the KABK. He positions himself as a graphic designer specialized in experimental type design. In his practice, he explores and does research to broaden and further push boundaries of current type design. For the upcoming year, he wishes to dive deeper into the experimental part of type design and explore the possibilities that more recent type technology enables to collectively come to new solutions. His research project 'Type & Technology Laboratory' will be focused on alternative possibilities of visual expressing language with type. His activities will include creating an online environment, taking courses in interactive design and modeling for 3D printing, updating several typefaces, and organizing multiple workshops. In order to discover possibilities and gain new perspectives, Brouwer will be guided by David Jonathan Ross as coach and collaborate with sound-artist Sefano Murgia, 3D designer Rutger Paulusse and typographer Indra Kupferschmid, amongst others. The research will be presented online, through workshops and in the form of an interactive installation at events such as TypeLab and Dutch Design Week.
Javier Rodriguez

Javier Rodriguez

Illustrator and designer Javier Rodriguez obtained his master's degree at the Sandberg Institute in 2019. The designer is inspired by two sub-genres within science fiction, Cyberpunk and Solarpunk. In the development plan, Rodriguez describes the ambition to build a sustainable practice through five components. These include engaging in research, writing, storytelling, creating functional objects, analyzing previous work, developing new methodologies, exploring audiences and working on online and offline visibility. Rodriguez will participate in a monthly online sci-fi reading club and will experiment with different printing techniques. Under the guidance of writer Max Urai, researcher Angela YT Chan, Arif Kornweitz and critic Julie Philips, the designer aims to take his research and writing skills to the next level. To develop new products, Rodriguez will immerse himself in 3D scanning, CNC engraving machines and laser cutters with the help of designer Kevin Bray, ceramist Octave Rimbert-Riviere and the Fablab Amsterdam. The material products such as text, images and objects will come together on Rodriguez's website. The designer will create an experimental graphic novel and will present it at Sans Serriffe. Lastly, Rodriguez will organize an exhibition in iso Amsterdam.
Kalkidan Hoex

Kalkidan Hoex

Jewellery designer and artist Kalkidan Hoex graduated from Maastricht Institute of Arts. Under the name theNewtribe, Hoex questions the form, context and representation of contemporary jewellery. She does this from her perspective as someone who lives between different cultures, adopted from Ethiopia and raised in the Netherlands. In the coming year, the designer will focus on her design research IAM MOTHERLAND, a multidisciplinary project that combines jewellery, video and photography. The research is representative of a heterotopic world, in which the audience is challenged to think about concepts such as identity, creolization, hybridity and representation. The maker wants to explore these terms that are related to 'wokism'. Hoex poses the questions: when is there a movement of awakening that brings about recognition, and when does this movement lead to the categorizing, the stereotyping or the enforcement of a symbolic order that keeps 'us' separate from 'them'. Her goal is to create a 'Third World', a surrealistic place where worlds fade away and where Hoex's jewellery can exist in a (still) unknown cultural language. To deepen her practice, the designer will speak with a mix of mentors, including filmmaker Giel van Geloven, director Anthony Nana Kofi Nti, jewellery designer Castro James Smith and designer Ted Noten. She will present her work at various venues, including NYC Jewelery Week. In addition to a new jewellery collection, Hoex will be developing three short trailers: interviewing several people with mixed identities in which her jewellery serves as the starting point of the conversation; doing research on material and technique, such as embossing; and exploring braiding techniques from the heavy culture by collaborating with local afro shops.
Lindsey van de Wetering

Lindsey van de Wetering

Lindsey van de Wetering graduated in 2020 from the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam with a master's degree in architecture. In the development plan, the architect expresses the ambition to elaborate on her graduation project 'Poku Oso'. In the 'Poku Oso' project, music as a means of connection is the central theme. Following on from the graduation project, Van de Wetering will work with the board of the National Parks Foundation (Stinapa) on a management plan to protect and conserve the Cultural Garden [Cultuurtuin] in Suriname. The project consists of three phases. In the first phase, the Cultural Garden will be researched by experimenting with test models, among other things. In the second phase, Van de Wetering will delve deeper into the 'threshold zone', the intermediate area between indoor and outdoor spaces. In the third phase, the architect will make test models, prepared and produced in both Suriname and the Netherlands. Van de Wetering will talk to various experts, including Ruwan Aluvihare, Delano Hoogvliets, Djaientie Hindori, Tessa Leuwsha and Marcel Balsemhof. She will also take courses in essay writing and woodworking and a workshop in model making. The process and results of the research will be collected in a book and various media such as film, photography, collages, drawings and paintings.
Line Arngaard

Line Arngaard

Designer Line Arngaard graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie with a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design in 2018. In the project 'Clothes in Crises', Arngaard investigates how different forms of patchwork can represent times of crisis from a graphic perspective. The development plan consists of three chapters: in the first chapter, Arngaard will research the 'Feestrok' (Skirt of Celebration). The designer will explore patchwork as a means of expression through both contemporary and historical examples from craft, fashion and graphic design. By taking a course on 'Decolonizing Fashion History' at Central Saint Martins in London, the maker aims to gain skills that will help her reflect critically. In the second chapter, Arngaard will experiment with developing various exercises to use the meaning and form of patchwork as a medium within fashion and graphic design.
Maarten Brijker

Maarten Brijker

Maarten Brijker is going to develop a VST audio plug-in, under the name Yonder, in the development year and thereby combine his skills and knowledge in the field of programming and music. The goal is to eventually set-up a long-term research project on the sensuality and tangibility of sound. In the first phase, Brijker will start making Max/MSP patches, and in the second phase he will translate these into C++. Yonder will follow a series of workshops at IRCAM in Paris and receive guidance from Gideon Kiers. He will also make a study trip to various plug-in studios in Berlin, including: Peter Kirn, Sugar Bytes, Meeblip, Bitwig u-he and Renoise. Thomas Arn is brought in for technical support in C++. In the area of graphic design, Yonder will work together with Rik Laging. Everything will come together in a plug-in music album, for which he will collaborate with sound artists, composers and vocalists. Brijker is in contact with Sonic Acts to arrange for the presentation of the plug-in and the album in a lecture and workshop.
Malik Saïb-Mezghiche

Malik Saïb-Mezghiche

Designer Malik Saïb-Mezghiche (dojo) graduated from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. His multidisciplinary practice includes illustration, animation, graphic design, video production and event organization. In his work, Saïb-Mezghiche focusses on radical anti-colonial theory around visual narratives and indigenous storytelling. The coming year, the maker wants to lay the foundation for a long-term animation project, exploring the impact of (racial) violence on the mental health of minority groups and colonialism. During the development year, Saïb-Mezghiche will take several workshops to improve his technical and storytelling skills, such as drawing style, sound composition and scriptwriting. The maker plans to work with a creative team that understands the diversity, layering and intersectionality of the mental struggles that minorities face. Possible collaboration partners and advisors in this are writer and director Andra Gunter, animator Andy Cung, writer Laura Nsafou and Orisun Studio founders Nike Ayinla and Nas Hosen. Saïb-Mezghiche will also seek interaction with his audience and community through conversations, screenings, workshops and YouTube. To this end, he intends to set up collaborations with organizations such as Salwa, Metro 54, the HipHopHuis, (A)wake or The Niteshop.
Manal Aziz

Manal Aziz

Audiovisual maker Manal Aziz was selected during the Scout Night in Amsterdam. The maker is mainly guided by intuition in their work. Aziz has a background as a psychologist, writer and interviewer, and their interest in identity issues is the link between all of these roles. In the coming year, Aziz will work on structuring their practice while focussing on their method. Aziz's work relates to key themes, including gender and cultural identity, otherness, autonomy, intimacy and mental health. The maker intends to improve their mastery of digital audiovisual programs. Furthermore, the maker will work on written pieces, photography and audiovisual media, and bring them together in a hybrid mixed media magazine with the aim of sharing stories in an inclusive way. The maker will also experiment with physical formats of photography. During the year, Aziz will explore which form of presentation is most suitable. To this end, the maker will work together with organizations and communities from both Morocco and the Netherlands.
Maren Bang

Maren Bang

Maren Bang graduated with a master's degree from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2021. Bang is interested in concepts such as controllability, calculation and anticipation. The coming year, the designer will focus on further developing her practice through research, skills development, producing a lecture and conducting a fake open call. Bang will do this by 'splitting' herself into three categories: Mono-Maren, Multi-Maren and Meta-Maren. For her research, Bang will visit exhibitions and lectures, read literature and talk to various professionals, including Dr Peter Sonderen and Dr Adeola Enigbokan. She will also participate in the De Structura research programme. Bang expresses the ambition to increase various skills, including making 3D models at Audrey Large and taking woodworking classes in Hjerleid, Dorve (Norway). In addition, she will explore weaving techniques through the Crafts Council NL and The New Order of Fashion. Bang will develop her performance skills under the guidance of Studio Legrand Jäger and increase her knowledge in film with Alexandre Humbert. Bang will seek guidance in writing skills from Oli Stratford. A fake open call forms the framework in which Bang will work. She will carry this out in collaboration with curator Amanda Pinatih and Lucas Maassen. The results of the open call will be presented in an exhibition. Lastly, Bang plans to organize a workshop in collaboration with ArtEZ to share the knowledge and experiences she has gained.
Margherita Soldati

Margherita Soldati

Designer Margherita Soldati holds a bachelor's degree in Art and Design from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. She has a strong curiosity for tactile perception at the intersection of art and sensory wellbeing. Stemming from a personal experience, Soldati wants to focus her attention on the similarities between burnout and material degradation, creating emphasis on the act of reparation. Her idea is to create textile portraits of people who suffered from burnout that narrate their healing process. The development plan consists of four phases: 1. preparatory research, which will include consultations with designer Kornelia Dimitrova and the TextielMuseum in Tilburg; 2. on site material research, conducted at textile factories in Prato, Italy and through a residency at Lottozero Laboraties; 3. conversations with participants about experiences with burnout, for which she will receive training by a psychiatrist; and 4. creating textile portraits by using new techniques learned in Prato. The process and work will be presented through a short video documentary and as an exhibition in Italy and at Waag and Dutch Design Week.
Mario Gonsalves

Mario Gonsalves

Photographer and filmmaker Mario Gonsalves graduated from the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Design. In his practice, he relates to themes such as poverty, migration, masculinity and identity. As a maker from the Caribbean diaspora, Gonsalves faces many external influences that make him think a lot about his identity. Gonsalves states that this is partly due to Dutch colonialism and post-colonialism, of which Aruba is still experiencing negative consequences. The coming year, Gonsalves will focus on the question 'How can I tell stories that inspire and bring hope from design as opposed to just documentation?' and will build a new perspective in relation to Caribbean themes. To develop himself, the maker will participate in an online course in 3D design rendering and a three-week programme in DLAB (UK). Furthermore, Gonsalves will brainstorm with Antoine Bowers (FIER Architecten) and Wouter Pocornie (26H & The Black Archives) about architecture, gentrification and presentation. In collaboration with curator Inez van der Scheer, Gonsalves intends to present his work during the Dutch Design Week in a combined installation of screens, VR and 3D models.
Martijn Holtslag

Martijn Holtslag

Self-taught maker Martijn Holtslag was selected during the Scout Night in Zwolle. Under the name Ongewoon Onbegrensd (Unconventionally Unlimited), he works on miniature dioramas to tell stories. In the development year, he wants to study his artistic vision more closely. For this purpose, he will talk to Mieke Conijn of Kunstenlab Deventer. Furthermore, he will develop his craftsmanship in the field of mechanics as an apprentice to Rob Hillenbrink and Electric Circus. To incorporate videography in his work, he will involve 3D visualizer Lars van Dorenvanck. Lastly, Holtslag plans to increase his knowledge of video presentations in collaboration with videographer Niek Koot and editor Terry Kerbusch. In addition to online, his work will also be presented in his own studio and at the Kunstenlab during the IJssel Biennale.
Matilde Patuelli

Matilde Patuelli

Matilde Patuelli, a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, uses storytelling to explore the perception of reality, social constructs and human relationships. In the coming year, Patuelli will be diving into psychology and psychiatry through the methodology of LARP (Live Action Role Play), on the basis of three processes: 1. acquiring knowledge; 2. applying the knowledge in practice by design; and 3. discussions with participants. First, Patuelli will participate in two conferences on LARP as a working methodology. Then, she will make a study trip to Slovenia, where she will participate in trainings and take courses at Uppsala University on Transformative Play. She will also set up a collaboration with MinD in Italy, attend a workshop by Mala Kline and talk to The Beautiful Distress, a foundation that organizes a residency in New York in which Patuelli will be participating. To guide her in her development year, Patuelli will approach Elektra Diakolambrianou, David Bassuk and Nina Essendrop. The designer will apply the knowledge she has gained in a psychiatric and educational context. Her work will be presented as a lecture and a LARP workshop at Knuktpunk 2023.
Moreno Schweikle

Moreno Schweikle

Studio Moreno Schweikle's work is situated at the intersection of sculpture, furniture and installation with one central aim: the portrayal of the field of tension between nature, culture and technology. Schweikle proposes three phases in the development year: 1. a research period to gain a deeper understanding of historical and material knowledge; 2. a residency in Brazil and cross-disciplinary mentorship to better position his research skills; and 3. an immersive exhibition to convey his artistic vision. To broaden his knowledge in the field of additive and circular production methods, Schweikle will be going on a study trip to the FormNext fair in Frankfurt. For his new work 'Sometimes the water is the bridge', the designer seeks collaborations with anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wolf Dieter Storl and philosopher Clemens Driessen. For the development of his practice, he gets advice from curator Mercedes Gómez Gonzáles. As presentation locations, he is looking at locations such as P/////AKT in Amsterdam, PS101 in Cologne and Triphase in Brussels.
Myrthe Krepel

Myrthe Krepel

Myrthe Krepel graduated from TU Delft with a master's degree in Design for Interaction in 2018. As a social designer, she creates experiences and interventions around social challenges. With her work, she creates in-between spaces that enable people to reflect on their own actions and thinking. In the coming year, she wants to further develop the performative character of her work and approach and elaborate social issues in a physical way. In doing so, she focusses on the theme of the balance of power between government and citizen. Her development plan consists of three phases. In the first phase, Krepel will gain (embodied) knowledge about the body and will learn to work with the body as a research tool and material. In addition, Krepel plans to take a course in which she will learn to use the body in production processes and will attend a workshop in the field of performance in the public space. In the second phase, she will apply what she has learned in the context of the theme of power relations by making performative interventions in the public space. With the help of a videographer, Krepel will make a short film of this research and these interventions. In the third phase, Krepel will focus on presenting her research and interventions to the public, the field of social design and the government. She seeks guidance from actor, theatre maker and teacher Thomas Spijkerman, and artist and social designer Tabo Goudswaard, among others.
Noëlle Ingeveldt

Noëlle Ingeveldt

From a fascination for the neatly raked Dutch cultural landscape, Noëlle Ingeveldt (Berkveldt) conducted research into artificial nature during the master in Interior Architecture: Research + Design at the Piet Zwart Institute. With her background in spatial design, she approaches the Dutch landscape as an interior and focusses on the friction between man, animal and landscape design. Her digital works allow visitors to experience a subject from a different, non-human perspective. In her development plan, Ingeveldt focusses on a study of the possible future presence of large carnivores in the Netherlands. What would the Netherlands look like if bears, lynxes or golden jackals were to roam our cultural landscape? With a speculative design, Ingeveldt wants to create support for the arrival of these animals and prepare the Netherlands for them. In the coming year, she will conduct intensive desk and field research in Romania, Serbia and Spain, through interviews with biologists, ecologists and environmental philosophers. The results of the research will be presented as a non-linear story in the form of a multimedia, immersive installation and publication. During the development process, Ingeveldt will involve interaction and media designer Olivier Otten as a coach, and she is planning to deepen her technical knowledge in the field of non-linear storytelling, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality.
Nohaila Gamah

Nohaila Gamah

Self-taught director and screenwriter Nohaila Gamah characterizes her practice as shaping human
experiences through audiovisual techniques. She believes in making recognizable and authentic films that originate in safe spaces and in which equal representation is central. Themes Gamah addresses are biculturalism and gender identity, spirituality and intergenerational transmission. In the coming year, the creator will develop her own voice and style, with the goal of offering a new representation, so that normative images we know about being a woman/man/human being are
broken. To this end, Gamah will research Afro-surrealism. Alongside this, she is delving further into her own cultural history and what it means to be Moroccan Amazigh to be. These investigations form the basis for two Film projects.
Nóra Békés

Nóra Békés

Designer Nóra Békés graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (KABK) in Graphic Design. In the coming year, she will be working on a typographical study of cultural-historical narratives within the project 'Library of Narrative Types'. The research is threefold: 1. a morphological study of Roman majuscule lettering; 2. a modernist modular lettering experiment; and 3. the illustration of organic growth in a typeface. For this, Békés will visit archives and receive mentoring and technical support from David Bennewith, Ramiro Espinoza, Françoise Berserik and Vera van de Seyp, among others. She will also attend the ATypl Tech Talks and the ATypl conference. Her work will be shared via a website in combination with an exhibition and launch event at San Seriffe, Page Not Found or W139.
Paul Coenen

Paul Coenen

Paul Coenen graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven with a bachelor's degree in Design in 2019. As a designer, Coenen considers it his job to design products that have a long lifespan, are not susceptible to trends and are ultimately easy to recycle. In his practice, he focusses on the 'limitations' of the industry and searches for new possibilities by experimenting with materials. The coming year, Coenen plans to study hydroforming, a technique for shaping sheet metal and profiles using liquid and pressure. In collaboration with Expansor specialists, he will investigate the possibilities of applying this technique to the furniture industry and thereby pushing the boundaries of product design. Coenen also wants to concentrate on the business side of his design practice. For this, he is looking for help from a business coach and several experienced designers who can advise him on branding, business operations and strategic marketing.
Paul Kuijpers

Paul Kuijpers

Drag queen and trend-watcher Paul Kuijpers was selected during the Scout Night in Utrecht. Kuijpers grew up in a small village and experienced a lot of homophobia, which made him ask himself how you can be both safe and true to your own identity. Creating drag persona Cindy van der Loan, Kuijpers makes more room for himself and his development. In the development plan, Kuijpers describes the many facets of drag and is inspired by Hollywood glamour. In the coming year, Kuijpers will further develop himself as a drag queen with an eye for sustainability. The maker wants to make outfits himself and wishes to further develop his sewing techniques for this purpose. He will also further develop his design skills by designing both physically and digitally. This will be achieved by means of feedback sessions and online courses in digital fashion design under the guidance of designer Isabell Schulz. With a ten-day wig course at the Haarwerk Vakschool, Kuijpers aims to make better-quality wigs. To improve his performances, Kuijpers will take lessons from choreographer Shahin Damka. Furthermore, Kuijpers will participate in a residency at New Order of Fashion and will follow the 'Design, Science and Value in a Sustainable Clothing Industry' course at Wageningen University and Research. Kuijpers will present the development and results of the project at the New Order of Fashion exhibition during the Dutch Design Week.
Pernilla Philip

Pernilla Philip

Social designer and Crip designer Pernilla Manjula Philip graduated from the Sandberg Institute in Design in 2021. Her design practice stems from the experiences of living with a chronic illness. With her designs, Philip wants to facilitate and promote the conversation around chronic illness and justice for people with disabilities. In the coming year, Philip will focus on the gap that arises when healthcare institutions fail to meet, or only partially meet, the needs of people who are dependent on medical treatment. Her project plan has three phases. In the first phase, Philip will develop two workshops, experimenting with different hacking and DIY techniques in relation to medical tools and techniques. At the same time, discussions will take place around the legal and historical aspects of these open-source hacking experiments. Also broader issues around speculative care, security and agency in relation to treatment methods will be addressed in the workshops. Within this phase, Philip will work together with experts such as medical technician Kate Cameron (AMC Amsterdam) and Open Insulin (USA). In the second phase, the designer will explore ways in which she can reinforce and shape the knowledge and questions that emerge during the workshops. For this she will talk to mentor and artist Jesse Darling and will visit the Wellcome Collection (London). In phase 3, Philip will work on a web publication that will be widely accessible through the additions of audio descriptors, image descriptions and closed captioning. Again, Philip will involve various experts, including Casper de Jong. With this approach, Philip aims to shift the focus of her practice from creating end products to a practice that relies on co-learning, co-creation and knowledge sharing.
Pim Boreel

Pim Boreel

Audiovisual designer Pim Boreel graduated from the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Creative Media and Game Technologies. With a fascination for sonic storytelling and audio curation, Boreel will spend the coming year developing his research- and music-driven practice. Boreel argues that designers play a crucial role in depicting sensory hidden worlds and refers to sound as an indispensable element in making the viewer more aware of his surroundings. The designer is surprised at the ignorance surrounding deep-sea mining and the extraction of minerals for commercial purposes without consideration for the ecological consequences. From these perspectives, Boreel will work on the research project 'AquaPocalyps' about underwater sounds. With Robertina Šebjanič as a mentor, Boreel aims to get a better idea of the sonic nature of aquatic ecosystems. AquaPocalypse will generate three results. The first result will be a live performance on the impact of deep-sea mining on marine life and the ocean floor in collaboration with Post Neon. The second result will be a hybrid fiction 'Who is going to Hell for the Metals of Hades?' in collaboration with Annemiek Höcker. For this, Boreel will also seek coaching from DJ and producer Joeri Woudstra. The third result will be an exhibition at murmur, a media art and sound space in Amsterdam, curated by curator and producer Femke Dekker.
Siddharth Pathak

Siddharth Pathak

Self-taught maker Siddharth Pathak focusses his work on the study of behaviour and perception. This is expressed in an interdisciplinary practice that combines paint, moving images, found materials/objects, sculpture, performance, new media technology and sound in installations. Since 2021, the maker has focussed on designing audiovisual environments that draw his audience into introspective encounters with 'the self'. Questions that are central in his search: In a world overloaded with sensory stimuli and information, what is the nature of our relationship with sound? And: What is the role of sound in our engagement and exchange with material environments? In the coming year, Pathak wants to experiment with fragile materials such as glass and ceramics and investigate their sonic qualities.
Sophia Holst

Sophia Holst

Architect Sophia Holst obtained her master's degree at KU Leuven in Brussels in 2018. In the coming year, she will focus on developing a critical practice in which she can work both on commission and of her own accord. She will do this through the project 'Housing Pain, Healing Strategies', a proposal for alternative renovation strategies, without displacing local communities, but with sensitivity for the existing social and architectural context. The research will lead to a manual comprising three parts: a journalistic article on Amsterdam Nieuw-West and the Tweebosbuurt neighbourhood in Rotterdam, a series of references based on study trips and several design proposals. In addition, Holst will be working on her communication skills, improving her website and seeking advice from Veerle Alkemade and others to further professionalize her practice.
Steef Offerhaus

Steef Offerhaus

Illustrator and maker Steef Offerhaus was selected during the Scout Night in Rotterdam. In the development plan, Offerhaus describes the ambition to design a clothing collection as an ode to ravers, skaters and everyone who falls outside the norm. Under the name Paradice, which freely translates to 'a paradise for everyone', Offerhaus combines fashion, graphic design and events. The maker states that Paradice should stand for individual responsibility, creativity, autonomy and living up to your own ideals. In the coming year Offerhaus will research rave culture, under the supervision of Marieke Holtes. He will do this by conducting interviews, following theoretical research and documenting information. For the collection, Offerhaus will experiment with various textile techniques and designs under the supervision of Anna van Jaarsveld. Offerhaus will also visit the Groningen production company Kleerlijk and will learn more about digital programmes for sketches, mood boards and sewing patterns under the supervision of Jesse Nikolaj. The research and the collection will come together in a rave, to be organized by Offerhaus in collaboration with Steven Morais. The looks will be captured by photographer Lois Cohen and styled with the help of Marleen Ettema. Offerhaus aims to reach a large audience and therefore seeks advice from digital marketing consultant Melle Wehman.
Stephanie Idongesit Ete

Stephanie Idongesit Ete

Architect and researcher Stephanie Idongesit Ete graduated in 2021 from the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. During her development year, Ete plans to explore four West African coastal cities (Lagos, Accra, Dakar and Abidjan) with the aim of learning about the cultural character of these places and mapping, observing and recording different architectural typologies. Ete wants to use these city trips to strengthen her network of contemporary African architects and craftsmen. She will collaborate with several mentors, including landscape architect and urban planner Remco Rolvink, architect Joseph Conteh (Sierra Leone) and architect Kabage Karanja (Kenya). She will also take workshops with makers such as Mobolaji Ogunrosoye (MOE+ Art and Architecture, Lagos) and Namata Serumaga-Musisi (The Griot Introspect, Accra) and seek contact with the team of African Architecture Matters (Amsterdam). The whole will come together in the production of an 'Anthology of Collages', a compilation of artistically-translated observations that can be used for future research or building projects in the cities visited. The progress of her research can be followed on the online platform 'The Architectects Project' by Juliet Sakyi-Ansah.
Sunjoo Lee

Sunjoo Lee

Sunjoo Lee designs tools and media in which the biosphere and the techno sphere come together. The hybrid world thus created, in which human tools are used by more-than-human entities, is a condition she calls 'Inviting Invasions'. In the development year, Lee has the desire to develop a deeper understanding of the tools she uses in relation to the aesthetics that result from them. She also wants to break away from the Dutch context and gain insights abroad about how other cultures view the relationships between the biosphere, technology and industry. During the year, three research questions will be worked on: computation, creative production and fieldwork. In doing so, Lee will be supported in practice development by Jip and Ko de Beer, Jap Smits, Dr W. Bouten, Dr R. Fuller, and will take courses in web automation, JavaScript, AI and bird-watching. The 'Terra Invasion' project tracks shorebirds in the Wadden Sea in the Netherlands and the Yellow Sea in East Asia. For this project, coaching will be sought from Arne Hendriks, Mark IJzerman and Sema Bekirovic. The findings and 'acts' will be collected and published online. The 'Tree-001' project follows a tree through a live stream in collaboration with Seokyung Kim and Timm Donke. The project will be presented in a launch event for the website.
Taya Reshetnik

Taya Reshetnik

Taya Reshetnik is a graphic designer, researcher and visual storyteller. As studio2992, she tells stories about human experiences in the urban environment, focussing particularly on public space. The projects materialize as digital assemblages of found and self-produced text, audio, and (video) images. During the development year, Reshetnik's project '87 Days' will aim to bring a new perspective to the question of how public space could function. In the first phase, research will be done into the story of Yvonne Paul, who spent no less than 87 days at Schiphol in 1967. This research will be documented in a publication, which will subsequently be developed into a video installation. Reshetnik's wish is to present her work in the public space in addition to the gallery context. Studio2992 will also organize a pop-up exhibition, for which an open call will be issued.
The Nightmare Disorder

The Nightmare Disorder

Benji Nijenhuis and Nemo Cheminée together form the duo The Nightmare Disorder (TND) and graduated from ArtEZ with a bachelor's degree in Fashion Design in 2020. The duo is inspired by themes such as nostalgia, fantasy and exclusion. The otherness and queer perspective of the fashion designers play an important role. In the development year, TND will professionalize in both the artistic and the business sense, and explore opportunities in the film industry as costume designers. The development plan consists of an exploratory trip to London, one-on-one guidance from costume designer Angela Mombers, and conceptual deepening under the guidance of cultural analyst Joy Bomer. During the exploratory trip, TND aims to gain more insight into leading costumiers and their working methods. Possible options are Jenny Beavan, Michele Clapton and Jany Temime. Angela Mombers will guide the duo in putting together the costumes that require a lot of technical and artisanal skills, given TND's focus on using 16th and 17th century references, techniques and customs. With Joy Bomer's guidance, TND will search for new artistic leads. Lastly, the different parts of the development plan will culminate in a live event in which film and design will come together.
Tim van Hooft

Tim van Hooft

Tim van Hooft, who graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy, works with game engine software and CGI on speculative storytelling and worldbuilding around the theme of the Anthropocene. During the development year, he wants to better position himself as a researcher in the field of worldbuilding under the name of Timaeus as a potential place for depicting alternative ecological and technological transformations. In order to incorporate multiple perspectives into his practice, Timaeus will seek guidance from FIBER and Modem. The research period will result in a research paper, the conclusions of which will be put into practice in the form of two installations. To develop his technical skills, Van Hooft wants to take courses on Unreal Engine and Narrative & Storytelling. During the development year, he will also make several study visits, including to Jakob Kudsk Steensen's studio Erratic Animism.
Timothy Scholte

Timothy Scholte

Fashion designer Timothy Scholte graduated in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in Textile and Fashion Design from the Royal Academy of Arts. The fashion designer has a strong interest in how society views sex. In the development plan, Scholte describes the ambition to critically examine how subjects such as sex, the body, unrealistic ideals of beauty, the effects of digital filters and pornography are experienced by society. During the development year, the designer will work on a research project and will create a collection of eight outfits and three wearable sculptures. For his research, Scholte will visit the fetish festival Folsom Fair in Berlin and will dive into the ballroom scene under the guidance of Amber Vineyard to gain a better understanding of the sexualised categories. Furthermore, Scholte will professionalize himself in leather processing techniques, will take courses in 3D printing and will seek out collaborations with grime artists. Scholte plans to publish the research in a book and present the pieces during Dutch Design Week 2023, FASHIONCLASH and during the fifth Utopia Ball in the Kunsthal.
Tymon Hogenelst

Tymon Hogenelst

Tymon Hogenelst is part of Studio Wild, a design practice that focusses on architecture and landscape projects in the Italian countryside. His interest lies in how site-specific narratives, following a non-nostalgic and critical attitude, can enrich the architectural landscape. With his plan 'Situated Architecture', Hogenelst wants to delve into the material culture of Liguria and translate this into an architectural intervention. He will further investigate the research questions from his graduation project 'The Situated House' at TU Delft in order to better understand the subject of tacit knowledge. This knowledge will then be put into practice in the project 'The Gate'. In support of this, Hogenelst plans to take a number of courses, including: a language course in Italian, a writing course and courses in bronze casting, welding and charcoal making. He also plans to complete the Professional Traineeship, with Enzo Valerio as his mentor, to obtain his architect's degree. The culmination of this development year will take the form of a presentation of architectural models, drawings, photographs and a small publication.
Adam Centko

Adam Centko

While still an Interactive/Media/Design (IMD) student at the Royal Academy of Art, Adam Centko started organising an annual guerrilla film festival, Sand Nudes, in the dunes of The Hague. Centko feels that the established film festivals take themselves a little bit too seriously: their selection policies only accept productions made with a wellknown producer, and themes shouldn't be too light-hearted. His 'bad cinema appreciation society' takes a completely opposite approach: anyone can participate, and it's all about the fun factor. How else are you supposed to encourage people to get involved in cinema?

This initiative was born from Centko's fascination with the moving image and the countless parallel realities it allows us to create. The installation that formed his graduation project at KABK, Silicon Sights, explores the interface between physical landscapes and their digital replicas, and how people behave in these worlds. This project was an early demonstration of the dependence of the digital world on the energy sources and technologies that we assign to it. Engrossed by the infrastructure behind the screen, Centko decided to go deeper with his research: he is currently working on a documentary titled Invisible Infrastructures. 'We keep talking about “the cloud”, which sounds very romantic, but in fact it's just a pretty word to describe gigantic data centres.'

Centko set out to find the facts. 'How much electricity does an Instagram post consume? And where does that electricity come from?' To answer the latter question, he visited a coal mine in Germany. He also investigated the silicon crystals that microchips are made of. As the project progressed, however, he decided to involve 'softer' values as well. 'These crystals are not only essential for digital technology – it seems that they have a healing effect on people.' This led Centko to drop all technology and embark on an offgrid trip through the Malaysian jungle, or at least as close to a zero technology off-grid trip as he could get while still bringing a camera to record the dream-like world he encountered there.

In a course on the subject of NFTs at the Berlin Art Institute, Centko explored a completely different side of the digital spectrum. This is typical of Centko's constant movement from the digital domain to the physical and back as he seeks to capture the value of both worlds. His latest work, Garden of Aether (commissioned by Slagwerk Den Haag), studies the impact of simulations. It involves a home-built computer on which an autonomous cameraman leads his own, digital life… until it all becomes too much and the simulation crashes. 'Unlike with video, simulation means giving up control to the computer. It's essentially a kind of videogame that plays itself.'

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Alexander Beeloo

Alexander Beeloo

Architect Alexander Beeloo grew up near the lakes of Nieuwkoop in the province of Zuid-Holland. He has now spent the last year researching the future-readiness of this area as a potential production landscape for construction materials, against the backdrop of today's pressing issues such as soil subsidence, CO2 emissions, and the transition in construction materials. 'The dual nature of this area appeals to me. There are agricultural areas and there is a nature area where reeds are harvested for roof thatching and façade covering. By studying all these purposes and processes, you can arrive at a suitable answer to local issues.' Beeloo's proposal boils down to this: create a mosaic landscape with mixed functions, where there is room for livestock farming, for nature, for the 'wet cultivation' of reeds and bulrush, and for these local crops to be processed into construction materials.

During his research, Beeloo continually maintained a critical view of his own role as well: how can I, as an architect, relate to this issue (that touches on so many important themes)? How can I visualise the potential of this region in such a way that I can get all stakeholders – local residents, farmers, clients – to support the required changes? 'I consider it my responsibility as a designer to not just develop knowledge but also to persuade other parties.' Thus, at an exposition in Nieuwkoop, Beeloo presented studies of bulrush, reed and hemp as construction materials; all of which can be grown and processed locally. 'When people can see and smell the actual material, it triggers a dialogue. And then you notice that people are open to change and experimentation.' In addition to the materials study, Beeloo is working on a design for a viewing tower built using local construction materials. 'The tower forms an illustration of my own research. It not only demonstrates the local materials, but from the top of the tower you can look out on the new landscape, as I imagine it.'

For the coming time, Beeloo wants to focus more explicitly on building his profile as an architect. He likes to be closely involved with the actual building of his designs, and he works on different scales: from the overall landscape to the scale of materials use, and down to the architectural details. He would also like the freedom and autonomy he experienced during the past year to become a lasting part of his identity. 'If you're not performing commissioned work, then you can consider a design question with an open mind and can listen to all stakeholders. I hope to preserve this open, investigative attitude in future assignments.'

Text: Merel Kamp
Ameneh Solati

Ameneh Solati

It was during her master's study at the Royal London School of Art that Ameneh Solati realised that an architectural practice can also consist of viewing the world through a spatial lens. She decided to continue as an independent researcher. She draws on various disciplines for her research: from architectural design to film and visual arts, and from teaching to writing and editorial work. 'My practice is geared to revealing the kind of spatial knowledge that is not activated in the more traditional architectural practices.'

Solati applies the various disciplines to tell stories and to acquire new insights and perspectives regarding urgent issues. 'When I look back on everything I've done so far, my work is about alternative ways of living. I research the lives of people who drop out of society, whether or not of their own accord, and who attempt to elude what society considers acceptable and to resist the dominant systems that are extractive or exploitative.'

Initially, Solati submitted a proposal to research alternative cultural production in Europe, more specifically in the Netherlands. 'But then I decided to focus on another project I was working on at the same time, and which was gaining momentum just then. The project is essentially comparable but is set in a completely different context. This project is about the Mesopotamian wetlands in Iraq and how the local population and environment have been suppressed over a history spanning thousands of years. Most of the swamps were drained in the early 1990s. The area is now suffering catastrophic problems as a consequence of the water politics and climate change. I investigate how the dynamics of power and resistance in peripheral areas is being played out, challenging national narratives. My research is about how themes such as resistance, government, society, gender, production and ecology can be understood more accurately within the context of this specific region.'

Solati now works as an editor for the online platform Failed Architecture, and last year started teaching at the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and at Design Academy Eindhoven. 'Besides the research, I have developed my teaching, writing and editorial skills. The talent development grant gave me the freedom to explore the sources and opportunities that I happened to come across, but also to create these for myself. The next step is to conduct field research in Iraq and to determine how best to respond to all the research results.'

Text: Lotte Haagsma
Anastasia Eggers

Anastasia Eggers

Anastasia Eggers has always wondered how our complex food system works. With Migrating Seasons, her research on migrant seasonal labour, the fragility and complexity of the food system and geopolitics, she comes closer to an answer. She took Dutch agricultural and food culture as a starting point. 'For me, the subject is a way of saying something about the world. We live in a “post-season world”, because everything is available all year round. Growing, harvesting and consuming food no longer depend on natural factors.'

You could call her an action researcher: 'I participate in my own research to familiarize myself with the context.' For this project, for instance, Eggers worked temporarily in a vegetable greenhouse in the Westland where she interviewed people and captured on film the harvest in the peak season, the transition to the winter season and the preparation for yet another new season.

The tangible result of her participatory research includes the publication of a contemporary interpretation of the traditional farmer's almanac, a calendar documenting what is needed in agriculture during the year, such as knowledge of sowing time, tide tables and weather forecasts. With global trade and the modernisation of technology within agriculture, this almanac 'went out of fashion', along with the rituals and celebrations surrounding the harvest. Eggers' farmer's almanac should breathe new life into this by telling new seasonal narratives and revealing what remains hidden from us within the food system. After all, who are the parties involved, how does the migration of seasonal workers and food work, and what about the interdependence of international trade relations? On a timeline in the calendar, she highlights themes that are the subject of new, speculative rituals around the harvest. Like a ritual to celebrate the collective harvest, or the transfer of the aubergine harvest from the Westland to Europe's other largest aubergine exporter in Almeria, Spain, visualised with an Olympic torch as a metaphor.

At various points in her research, Eggers collaborates, such as with Dr Clemens Driessen of Wageningen University who is researching the history and future of the Westland, and with graphic designer Benjamin Sporken who advises her on the graphic layer in the farmers' almanac.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Angeliki Diakrousi

Angeliki Diakrousi

Angeliki Diakrousi studied architecture in Greece and Experimental Publishing at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. She is developing an interdisciplinary practice, grounded in her interest in the social aspects of technology and design. 'I am interested in the politics of social media and how this digital infrastructure relates to the physical, public space of a city. The way these spaces were designed often has a constraining effect. People have different ways of understanding the world, and I believe that these differences should be able to co-exist both online and in the city. Conceiving and visualising other, techno-social futures is what I'm working on, together with Varia, the Rotterdam-based collective practice that I'm part of.'

She worked on two projects in the past period. Hunting Mosquitos is about the use of the Mosquito high-frequency sound device in Rotterdam, to deter young people from loitering in public space. 'It is first of all a socio-political issue which I approach from the angle of artistic research,' Diakrousi says. The second project is a collective research project by a group consisting of mainly Greek performers, artists and architects. 'WordMord is about language, code and trauma. We are developing performative actions and digital tool scripts and programming experiments to this end. Our research hovers between language, art and technology. We draw attention to the violence of Greek language. This not only concerns spoken language but also technological language, computer code, which sometimes reproduces the bias inherent in spoken human language.'

Diakrousi used her development year especially to reflect on her position as researcher and maker, and on how she wishes to flesh out her practice. She paid a thorough visit to Documenta in Kassel, where she learned a lot about collective working. 'In Kassel we discussed for instance how to deal with joint budgets.' In the meantime she is experimenting with different forms of presentation. For Hunting Mosquitos, for example, she organises guided tours along spots in Rotterdam, Oslo and Amsterdam to let the participants experience the impact of this technology. She also gave workshops during the biennial festival Art Meets Radical Openness (AMRO) in Linz, Austria. At the end of this year she will participate in a group exhibition in Tent, Rotterdam.
Anne Nieuwenhuijs

Anne Nieuwenhuijs

Anne's graduation project as a landscape architect was about poisonous sludge in the Schelde river, and what it could be used for. It led to her application for a talent development grant, which enabled Anne to spend one year studying natural resources and their properties.

'It was a year that was all about patience as well as further learning', is how Nieuwenhuijs sums it up. 'The thing is that I became increasingly interested in the smallest components of the earth. That's why I also wanted to do a course in chromatography, which is a process for separating components of a mixture. But then this course was repeatedly postponed because of corona, and so I just set about on my own with buckets and sludge. I've put the sludge in small containers in my studio and will examine it through a microscope to zoom in even further, but I can already perform experiments now. What happens when you add seeds? Or other substances? How does the sludge dry up and then what are you actually left with, when it's no longer sludge? Right now my whole studio is full of these containers.'

It is a form of knowledge about the earth that wasn't part of her education curriculum. Of course Nieuwenhuijs learnt about peat soils and clay soils and about sand; 'but they don't teach you to really understand what it is. What is its composition? And once clay is no longer clay, how do the components start to behave? For example, there is a poisonous form of sludge from the Schelde river that produces a wonderful glaze for art works. I found this inspiring, and this was reflected in the ceramics course I was doing: I also started mixing substances there. I was given “pure” studio clay to work with, but I added sand. Because I was interested in discovering how the one type of natural resource behaves with respect to another.' There is so incredibly much to discover, and Nieuwenhuijs is determined to do so, but under her own conditions. 'I notice that by experimenting, by observing and recording, I am increasingly clear about how I wish to conduct my experiments. And I feel supported in this endeavour by the Fund.'

Above all, she wishes to conduct her experiments without any prior plans or judgements. So the question is not: where can I find the most suitable type of soil for a park? But instead she simply wants to wait and see what happens in her containers in her studio, of their own accord. You could also describe it as listening. First listen and look at all the components, before you start answering back.

Tekst: Jowi Schmitz
Ant Eye

Ant Eye

Hanneke Klaver and Tosca Schift are a duo who create works that straddle the boundary between design, performance and art. They met at ArtEZ art academy in Arnhem, where they both studied Product Design. Klaver and Schift are inseparable, operating together under the name Ant Eye. 'The objects we create are not functional: what we do is anti-design,' says Klaver. 'But because “anti” sounds so negative, we chose a name that has a different spelling, but is pronounced almost the same. Ant's eyes see details, see things from a different perspective every time.'

Ant Eye's art is best described as playful, absurdist and slightly magical, focusing on the tension between the everyday and the surreal as a gateway to a world of imagination. 'We embody the objects we create, thus bringing them to life,' says Schift. 'By literally putting ourselves into our work, and experimenting with it, we find perspectives that teach us more about what the role of design could be.' For example, a repurposed, wheeled and winged washing machine that 'eats' socks is the main character in Sock Monster, Klaver and Schift's first short created for a film festival. The thirteen-minute production premiered at the Go Short – International Short Film Festival in Nijmegen in April 2022. 'For designers, an object is often the final product. At a presentation, such objects stand on a pedestal, accompanied by a brief description. In performance and film, however, the object is just the start. Through time, atmosphere, sound and interaction, you create more room for the object's story,' Klaver explains.

Last year Ant Eye has been supported by film maker Douwe Dijkstra and design theory teacher Rana Ghavami. It is a journey of discovery, of reading, watching and learning, and it has led Klaver and Schift to the realm of magic realism. Schift: 'The ambiguity, the fact that one thing can contain different truths and stories, really appeals to us. We are not looking for a single essence or meaning, but a plurality of voices. We want to challenge our viewers to find their own meaning. If it means that a work can be hard to figure out at first glance, then that's fine. We intend to seek out this friction even more in the future.'

Text: Iris Stam
Axel Coumans

Axel Coumans

Social designer Axel Coumans (Atelier Coumans) studied at Design Academy Eindhoven. In his practice he approaches ecological themes from different social contexts and a non-human perspective. He believes that listening is one of the most important skills for a social designer to have. His work revolves around trees, from the plane tree on the grounds of his own studio to the primeval forests of Poland.
Baratto&Mouravas

Baratto&Mouravas

Nicola Baratto and Yiannis Mouravas were both stu-dents at the Sandberg Instituut when they discovered how their interests connect. While Baratto worked with dreams and dreamscapes, Mouravas focused on archaeology. And through a number of remarkable research projects, they demonstrated how well the two interests go together. They have now been working for two years as a duo, Baratto & Mouravas, and are currently developing their fourth research project titled Zolfo Rosso.

Remnants from days gone by are the starting point and source of inspiration for the duo. Consider for instance a shipwreck, a pillar, a desert, and old map. What is known about the object? What significance does it have from a historic, archaeological and societal perspective? And what else can you imagine, based on these findings? With the aid of archives, historical artefacts and a poetic gaze, the duo embarks on their Archaeodreaming: a multi-disciplinary methodology that merges archaeology with dreamscape-making.

Mouravas: 'In archaeology, you don't always have definitive facts to go by; speculation plays an important role.' Baratto: 'The night is a special period for pondering things. In your dreams you create stories that cannot emerge during the day. I refer to that as re-imagine. It's possible to train yourself in this ability, which often produces valuable stories and images. We incorporate those into our work.'

Baratto and Mouravas: 'In our view, archaeologists and dreamers do the same: they weave together the past, present and future. An archaeologist excavates something from the past, brings it into the present, and projects its significance onto the future. In dreams you excavate your memories. With the resulting images you create a scenario in which the past, present and future blend together. We process the images of the archaeologist and the dreamer, and in that way create a history for our future audience.'
The duo is currently working on Zolfo Rosso: an Archaeodream project that will ultimately result in a 16mm-film installation. Baratto: 'The film speculates on the creation of an upside-down world map in the twelfth century. At first we follow the geographer and interweave this historical quest with the work of a young film maker living today.' Mouravas: 'In our view, this map symbolises the radical shifts in ideology, power, perception and narratives that determine how history is written. Inspired by the world map, the research and film also revolve around the quest for 'red sulphur': an alchemist substance that represents the exploration of the unknown, and is inaccessible and invisible.'

Text: Maaike Staffhorst
Basse Stittgen

Basse Stittgen

The German bio-designer Basse Stittgen obtained his master's degree in Social Design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. He now lives in Amsterdam, where he has spent his last year focusing on – among others – the project Fluid Dialogues. In recognition of the 40th 'anniversary' of HIV in the Netherlands, Stittgen interviewed people from various communities. How did the diagnosis affect their lives? What prejudices did they encounter?

In addition to their stories, the participants provided Stittgen and Jennifer Struikenkamp, the project's collaborating microbiologist, with another kind of highly personal material: their blood. Using enlarged microscope images and video footage and combining this with the words of the interviewees, Stittgen built an installation that presents a poignant portrait of these people's struggle with an autoimmune disease that, until quite recently, was a death sentence. The work was created with support from the Fund and will be on display at the Stopera in Amsterdam in August 2022 as part of the exhibition House of HIV. 'The idea was already there, but the talent development grant gave me the opportunity to put it into practice,' Stittgen says enthusiastically.

The same is true of Recombined Wood, a project in which he is investigating how he might create a new product using two residual products from the paper industry. 'The first is lignin, a brown substance in wood that glues the cellulose fibres together. It is not used in the production of white paper because of its colour. I want to combine this component with the cellulose fibres from paper that have become too short through repeated recycling, and make them into paper once more.' The project is currently in the research and development phase. 'Trying out new machines and production techniques, visiting a paper mill as an observer, building my knowledge by collaborating with chemists… I also feel a strong need to seek out the forest. Right now, I am too far separated from the original material.'

Stittgen explains what his work as a bio-designer is all about: 'How can I connect with what I make? I am not too concerned with the applicability of objects. For me, it's about the story. Where do the products that we use come from? I want to know what the process is, retrace the steps. The point is to better understand the world we live in.'

Text: Iris Stam
Benjamin McMillan

Benjamin McMillan

Graphic designer Benjamin McMillan graduated from ArtEZ in Arnhem in 2020, and devoted his development year to working on his project Full Auto Foundry. 'I research how automation can be used to develop new letters and letter types. I organise workshops where new letter types are designed, which are then automatically converted into a digital file. It has become a kind of mobile letter foundry.'

McMillan did not train as a letter designer. 'I wondered what I, as a relative amateur, could contribute to the traditional craft of letter design.' At the same time he was fascinated by the auto-correct function on his smartphone: the idea that a machine can make suggestions and in that way play a role in how you formulate sentences. 'I wanted to investigate how the automatic generation of words – or in this case, design elements – would work in the context of typography. The idea is to arrive at a letter design more or less by accident. You just sit and scribble and doodle for a bit, and eventually a letter A or H or X emerges, or perhaps it just remains chaos.' The automation influences both the making process and the aesthetic form of the resulting letter designs.

He automated the letter design process in two ways. He developed analogue tools that are used in the workshop to draw new letters. Initially these were templates of all sorts and shapes, but now he works with visual artist Tjobo Kho on a series of large drawings from which workshop participants can copy elements, which can lead to new letters in turn. 'The templates and drawings automate the sketch process in a certain sense; you can reproduce them infinitely with the same result each time. It is a simple tool that adds a certain degree of amateurism to the design process, and accelerates the process at the same time.' The digital automation consists of a script written by McMillan which ensures that hand-drawn drawings are automatically converted into a digital letter type. 'The machine is actually a scanner connected to a small computer. As soon as the drawings have been scanned, the letters undergo a digitisation process and are then automatically uploaded to the website fullautofoundry.com.'

McMillan wishes to visit various art education institutions across Europe with the Full Auto Foundry workshops, and is furthermore examining whether other designers can apply the platform in their own design or education practice. In the meantime he is further developing his freelance practice and works as an assistant at the Metropolis M and McGuffin magazines.
Boey Wang

Boey Wang

In his comic Job 100, designer and artist Boey Wang focuses attention on the one hundred most ignored jobs in China. From the street hairdresser to the person who washes your windshield at the traffic lights. Each page shows a single occupation as a single drawing. In terms of both content and method, the booklet typifies Wang's work, in which attention for minorities and an emphasis on the intuitive and illustrative are recurrent elements. 'I question how we see and understand things based on the prevailing values and standards. The dominance of those values and standards means that certain perspectives and people are excluded and ignored', Wang explains. 'In my work I most like to engage with the things we ignore.'

As an example, says Wang, the intuitive and non-visual sensory experience is marginalised within the design world. 'It means that there is barely any awareness of the complexity of the human experience, in fact resulting in a kind of visual discrimination, even in products that are intended for people with a visual impairment.' Wang proposes instead to develop a multi-sensorial, intuitive perspective on design, where the starting point for a design is no longer first and foremost the faculty of sight.

This last year, Wang worked with designer Simon Dogger, who lost his faculty of sight during his study at the Design Academy. Their joint project, Design beyond vision, is both a research and an educational method: a 'plug-in' for regular design education consisting of guest lessons and workshops, where the participants are invited to think outside the usual (visual) box. That means: with eyes shut! And then off to the beach, or a museum, or to stage a performance. 'Sensory storytelling', is what Wang calls it: translating the non-visual sensory experience into a visual language. Ideally, the outcome is an 'illustrative design' that can be read intuitively by people with as well as without a visual impairment.

A strong example of this practice is Wang's own Haptics of cooking: a (prize-winning) set of kitchen utensils whose use can be read both visually and through touch. Wang is currently working to upscale its production. In addition, he is busy setting up a brand that specialises in affordable products whose beauty can also be appreciated by visually impaired people. 'With this brand, I try to start from a neutral perspective so that the products will be intuitively accessible for everyone, regardless of one's talents or impairments.'

Text: Merel Kamp
Céline Hurka

Céline Hurka

'A letter is just as much a design object as a chair,' says Céline Hurka. 'Letters are everywhere and are a beautiful means of expression.' Hurka was already interested in calligraphy as a young girl in Karlsruhe, and as a student she came to The Hague for a bachelor in Graphic Design and a master in Type and Media at the Royal Academy of Art. Three years on, she's busy setting up her own type foundry. She is developing ten fonts simultaneously; some commissioned, and others at her own initiative. The talent development grant gave her room to further develop her personal style and to experiment with new technologies. She was able to make important strides with Tonka: the variable font she has been working on since 2019 and which is ideal for use in animation. This year she teamed up with a colleague typographer to work on this huge file together, which will eventually make it possible for users to personally adapt the size, weight, width and slope.

The sans-serif Tonka derives from a sans-serif developed by typographer Arno Drescher in the 1930s. Hurka likes to find inspiration in the past. 'Many letter types have been the same for ages. The popular Garamond was designed 500 years ago, for example. I find that fascinating and seek to build on that.' The Dark Academia which she published in March 2022 harks back to the elegant initials in medieval manuscripts: a contemporary interpretation of what monks used to paint with infinite patience. Twenty-six flamboyant floral capitals form a play on image versus legibility. 'Thanks to the grant, I was able to create this type in five months, working 24 hours a day on a letter. In doing so I experimented with a more casual approach to designing. I'm becoming increasingly intuitive in how I draw my letters, and I elaborate them further, not per individual pixel on the screen but simply by eye.'

She has made Dark Academia available as open source, which is rather unusual in the letter type world. But after 5000 downloads, it's clear she's meeting a need. Another example is the Carmen Is Regular type, which she developed with Carmen Dusmet for the Solitype fundraiser to support women and children in Afghanistan. This way Hurka is not just pushing her own boundaries, but is also critically addressing typographic conventions. She gave workshops on the subject at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and the Konstfack in Stockholm. She enjoys the autonomy that her new practice affords. 'I look forward to launching my foundry with my own projects next summer.'
Charlotte Rohde

Charlotte Rohde

'Do what attracts you most' is the motto of typographer, graphic designer, performance artist and instructor Charlotte Rohde. Rohde likes to explore a variety of artistic worlds. She grew up in the German city of Aachen, graduated from the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam in 2022, has a visual communication and research office in that same city, and regularly visits Weimar, where she teaches Typography and Type Design as a guest professor at Bauhaus University. She also performs, and pours her heart and soul into all manner of activities in the context of the Talent Development Grant: research, seeking out new collaborations, design and writing. 'I'm both workhorse and show pony,' she laughs. 'And I have fun either way.'

Rohde takes a multidisciplinary approach to her study of 'letter type as a body.' She does this by presenting letters in new ways: as three-dimensional objects, or as a character in a text, for example. She is currently working on a number of poetic miniature essays in which she addresses capitalism and the contradictory messages being sent to modern women. 'Women are under a lot of pressure,' she says. 'They're expected to be feminist, but if they take too much of a leading role, they are criticised for it. In short, they can't win.'

Key terms for Rodhe are openness and freedom. 'It's fine if my creations raise questions, but I don't want to provide any answers. It's up to everyone to come up with their own meanings, to see what they want in my works. I'm not someone to shout my opinions from the rooftops – I stay well away from discussions about design. I want both my artistic and applied work to be recognisable, sexy and flirting. Present in a hot, but subtle way.'

Last year Rodhe has been guided by the Armenian/American film theorist, writer and queer Tina Bastajian and by David Bennewith, head of Rietveld Graphic Design, while engaging in feedback interviews with graphic designer and type caster Jungmyung Lee. She also intends to travel to the United States to visit the Letterform Archive in San Francisco and meet a number of typography experts. 'I am so happy with the appreciation from the Fund. Being recognised in this way makes me feel talented, and it gives me the room to further develop my practice,' Rohde concludes

Text: Iris Stam
Christine Kipiriri

Christine Kipiriri

In July 2022, fashion designer Christine Kipiriri travelled to Burundi, the home country that she fled with her parents as a young child. The goal of her visit was to draw inspiration for her fashion brand, Women of War. But the journey had an unforeseen impact. 'I had never visited Burundi before and experienced a massive culture shock.' A lot of used clothing from the West ends up in Burundi. Kipiriri, who had previously created a collection using recycled materials, wanted to delve more deeply into that textile stream. The idea was also to take clothing back to her studio and to upcycle them there into customised clothing pieces. Yet that didn't feel right, once she arrived in Burundi. 'I would prefer to give, rather than take things away. Ideally I would set up some venture through which to contribute locally.'

After the first shock had subsided, Kipiriri was able to appreciate all the beauty she encountered there, ranging from the traditional textiles to the omnipresence of handiwork and craftsmanship. 'Tailors sit at the market with their sewing machines. The tailored clothing they make is of course for the richer customers. Poorer people tend to wear a simple wrap-around.' Kipiriri also got to know a local craft through a workshop on weaving with beads, given by Suavis: a woman who teaches this technique to other women and also makes bags and trivets to sell. 'I want to experiment with this technique to see how far it can take you. In time I want to incorporate bead work into clothing pieces and accessories for my Women of War brand.'

But Kipiriri is first of all working on a dress, woven entirely with beads. In addition she wants to use the traditional textile produced by the Burundian company Afritextile to make a dress, using western techniques such as moulding and corsetry. This is how Kipiriri aims to express her own double identity.

The trip to Burundi not only raised questions about the future of her own professional practice, but also helped consolidate her identity. 'At first the clash was overwhelming, but in the end it was very inspiring to be there. After one week I was able to accept: this is where I come from. And at the same time I suddenly felt very Western.'.

Text: Merel Kamp
Colette Aliman

Colette Aliman

Rotterdam-based researcher Colette Aliman has always been sensitive to the impact of sounds. After completing her studies in contextual design at the Design Academy Eindhoven, she decided to build on her sensitivity to and fascination with sound by launching the platform Sound-Office, where she researches the sound landscape that we have been living in since the Industrial Revolution. What does our sonic culture look like today, with the intrusion of robots, data centres and machines into our soundscapes? Aliman calls it Mechaphony: the landscape of mechanical sound.

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, our relationship with our sonic environment has become strongly based on measurability. What would happen if we were to let go of our preconceptions and perceptions of sound in order to redefine it and predict our future sonic world through experimentation?

Aliman collected all sorts of information for her broad-based investigation, ranging from scientific studies, research articles, science fiction books to sound art. She took inspiration from the sounds of objects produced by creatives for sci-fi films and TV series. A fascinating development in this context, she finds, is the increasing prevalence of biological technology, where industrial sounds seek to mimic biological systems, such as the lower-noise, higher-efficiency turbine designs based on the motion of whales' fins. 'Soft robotics are replacing harsh industrial noise, cars are becoming quieter, and the industrial soundscape as we know it will fade away,' she speculates. 'We may be heading back to the sonic world as it was before the Industrial Revolution.'

Aliman's investigation focuses on urban sounds, anthropomorphic sounds and the sound paradoxes of the green energy surge. These themes will be part of her three-part online publication that blends graphic design, sounds and all the different narratives. 'It is a non-linear construct of sound studies, an organically growing library that everyone is welcome to borrow from.'

Her intent is for the project to reach scientists, policy makers and sound designers, among others, but also other creatives and a broader audience with an interest in sound. 'I want to demonstrate new ways in which we and other living beings can relate to sound. My objective is to create a better understanding of our inclusive sonic culture.' Aliman is also organising a series of Soundscape Mixtape workshops, through which she hopes to incorporate the creative sector, cultural organisations, community centres and municipalities into the Sound-Office's organically growing network. Business coach Marion Beltman and lab mentor Gabriella Gómez-Mont are assisting with the further professionalisation of this Lab.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet

Dasha Tsapenko

The world is shrinking for material researcher Dasha Tsapenko. In her home country of Ukraine she worked as an architect, but here in the Netherlands she has shifted to micro-biology. 'Whatever my research question is, for one or other reason my projects always end up with a piece of clothing, or something else related to the body.'

For a while Tsapenko single-handedly investigated growing organic clothing pieces from plants. Searching for new methods, in 2020 she applied to the Bio Art and Design Awards. This resulted in a collaboration with Han Wösten, a micro-biologist working at Utrecht University. That's how Tsapenko ended up in a laboratory. 'I am a bit of a hectic person, while in the laboratory it's all about order and protocol. A very productive combination!' Wösten and Tsapenko experimented with symbioses of edible plants and mycelium, a type of fungus. The combination of hemp and mycelium seemed most promising. 'This has the potential to produce real, usable textile.'

There is a long tradition of using hemp for various purposes in Ukraine, and so Tsapenko aimed to bring together Ukrainian hemp and craftsmen with Dutch mycelium from the laboratory in Utrecht. But then Russia invaded Ukraine. 'I began to doubt the relevance of my work. Shouldn't it become much more political?' Tsapenko started looking for Ukrainian and Dutch designers and makers whose practice had changed as a result of the war. The idea for a group exhibition titled Home(land) emerged, focusing on collaborations between Dutch and Ukrainian makers and craftsmen, and revolving around the question: Is it possible to feel at home without being at home? The 'gunya', which is a traditional Ukrainian wool coat that isn't just watertight and insular but to which protective properties at a spiritual level are ascribed, became a symbol of home for Tsapenko.

In collaboration with people including Marjo van Schaik, Ruslana Goncahruk and Oksana Devoe, she produced a series of twelve gunyas using different materials, among which: discarded Dutch wool, hemp combined with mycelium, and a fungus called Schizophyllum commune, which produces woolly fruitbodies. The exhibition and her collaboration with Wösting taught Tsapenko a lot about her professional identity and work method. 'I always considered myself a thinker. Someone who conceives an end result and then works systematically toward that end. Now it turns out that my approach is much more intuitive, and that each step in the making process tells me what step to take next.'.
David Schmidt

David Schmidt

What are the preconditions for building a city in the year 2030? And what is the architect's role here? These were the principal questions that David Schmidt investigated over the past year. He investigated these questions as part of existing commissions obtained by Site Practice: the architecture and design office he founded with Anne Geenen, with branches in Amsterdam and Mumbai.

'We are facing immense climatological and socio-economic challenges. As an architect, you are expected to “solve” these issues through the buildings you design. You cannot do this on your own. The current age demands an integral approach to problems.' The architect/designer should operate as the linchpin in a larger network of actors and competences, says Schmidt. Accordingly, today's architect should be at home in various markets, though without needing to be an expert. 'You need to be able to conduct a meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders in a project.'

As part of a large construction project in the city of Nijmegen, Schmidt (and his office) researched the large-scale use of hemp as a construction material. 'We were in close touch with the farmer in Groningen who grows the hemp, but also with the housing association that we were designing for.' Hemp is a CO2-neutral and hence sustainable material. Yet for Schmidt, as an engaged architect, the sustainability issue doesn't end there. 'We wish to contribute to a sustainable, social economy through all our project. So we keep asking the question: where do the sustainable materials we want to apply actually come from? Which parties are involved in the production chain, and who benefits? Can we use local workshops and in that way support local economies?'

The opportunity offered by various projects to reflect more deliberately on the role of the architect enabled Schmidt and Site Practice to accumulate a lot of knowledge. 'I would love to compile a handbook or internal manifesto based on these experiences, including a kind of manual for our own practice.' One question that, in a certain sense, will remain unanswered is: How do you, as an office, combine your own agenda and commitment with working for clients? 'I don't always manage to persuade a client to adopt my vision. Does that mean I should decline the assignment? After all, at the end of the day my job is to provide a service.' Nevertheless, Schmidt is increasingly able to apply his commitment to Site Practice's projects. 'We are increasingly selective in the commissions we accept, and are gradually becoming more activist.'

Text: Merel Kamp
Diego Manuel Yves Grandry

Diego Manuel Yves Grandry

Exclusion. That was the theme of Diego Manuel Yves Grandry's graduation work at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. 'The theme was inspired by my younger sister, who has a neurological condition called Rett syndrome. One of the symptoms is that she moves her hands in an unusual manner, and people notice that. I decided to take this as a starting point for my graduation project.' Grandry subsequently wanted to focus further on the phenomenon of exclusion and Rett. He initially thought of a 'library of Rett gestures', as a series of films about unusual hand movements. 'I was going to work with a scientist and would a VR workshop in Leiden. That was the initial plan.'

But then the scientist that Grandry had already started working with during his graduation year changed jobs, and the VR workshop was only for businesses and given in Dutch besides. 'So then I decided to do it all myself. I got together a group of people with all sorts of knowledge about games and film. We all share our knowledge within that group, so we learn, but I also teach. And it's working very well. The interaction with the group also influences the kind of film I'm making. In the past year I became interested in further forms of exclusion: so not just with regard to people with an impairment, but also because of your skin colour or the quality of your clothing. Right now I'm working on a film that features various characters who are all different from the average human being, in all sorts of ways. It's a film based on what's called a 'game engine', meaning that the viewer can “play” with the characters, so that they start showing very different reactions to each other. I can't describe it in much detail now, since I'm still in the midst of the design process. But it will be an accessible film without a lot of equipment. A film that you could watch on Vimeo, for example.'

The people that Grandry chose as mentors – designer Ali Eslami and artist Kévin Bray – continue to support him. The study group helps him make the film, but getting to know other talents at the Fund and their own struggles is also a source of inspiration. 'So I started studying exclusion, but in a sense I wound up with the opposite: we have an intense collaboration that's accessible for everyone. So I ended up with the theme of accessibility. Accessibility and connection. Quite surprising, really.'

Text: Jowi Schmitz

Djatá Bart-Plange

Djatá Bart-Plange completed his bachelor in English Language and Culture at Utrecht University, but transitioned to multimedia design soon after. In his current practice he draws on the frustrations he felt in the academic world, such as the formal reproduction of knowledge, the way language is used, the Western values that determine which knowledge is deemed meaningful, and the social and pragmatic consequences of this order in a self-centred world dominated by white men. Yet his interests are far broader still: what fascinates him are the stories we use in the West to make sense of the world. He combines these themes with his love of music-making, the cutting and pasting of samples on his computer, and writing.

His goal: to critically question this way of understanding the world, and to reveal the assumptions that hide behind the obvious. 'We often act as if we can produce neutral, universal knowledge. I think that's a kind of superstition that determines who gets to say something about the world and who does not, and what course of action is pursued. This view of knowledge often leads to the reproduction of colonial and patriarchal hierarchies,' Bart-Plange says. 'One of the things I want to do in my project is to devote more attention to human values that are “forbidden” and underappreciated in the scientific world, such as playfulness, emotion, fiction and values that are deemed feminine. I hope to change something by making people open their minds to other perspectives, listen to voices outside the white bubble, and engage in self-reflection.'

Bart-Plange grew up in rural South Limburg with his Dutch mother and Ghanaian father. As an accepted, dark-skinned boy, he experienced the stories that were told about 'black people.' Ever since, he has been curious about the stories we use to assign meaning to the world and ourselves. Although he is not yet sure how, Bart- Plange intends to build a digital bridge between the hegemonic Western knowledge system and various West-African knowledge systems.

In an accessible, playful manner, he hopes to appeal to people – young people, in particular – by combining music, video, illustration, 3D models and text into an aesthetic and attractive multi-media collage. Each thematic chapter in his audio book, which bears the cryptic working title of C Major Sewer, will be downloadable as a computer folder. 'You could describe it as an organically growing labyrinth, with folders within folders within folders. Each folder contains its own room of sorts, with illustrations, texts, links, sources and personal stories from people who have something to say about racism, colonialism, masculinity and similar themes. Eventually, it will grow into one big archive.'

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Dylan Westerweel

Dylan Westerweel

He describes his own fashion label, Dylan Westerweel, as a celebration of queerness: as a fashion brand for everyone wishing to radiate his/her/their beauty and strength. Westerweel: 'Queer people are bold enough to view the world differently, because the world looks differently at them.' Westerweel applies that different gaze to fashion, investigating social constructs such as beauty and design. Westerweel draws inspiration from various sources, ranging from the lives of 'rent boys' in Victorian London to the work of the Armenian filmmaker Sergej Paradzjanov.
Ebru Aydin

Ebru Aydin

Ebru Aydin, with Turkish roots, was born and bred in Utrecht. In 2021 she caught the public eye with her exhibition titled Hijab stories: 21 portraits of Muslim women and their special hijab. One of the reasons for Aydin to make these portraits was that women wearing headscarves are often seen as 'a particular type of female Muslim'. When Aydin, as a self-taught photographer, was awarded a talent development grant in 2021, she decided to explore the theme at greater length and to develop a more layered approach to her work. 'I experimented with various materials, including textile, in combination with my photography. I also researched my own visual family archive and what this reveals about my family history, in relation to the larger societal stories about Muslim women.' Aydin started her year with workshops, discussions with other image makers, and by reading lots of books; facilitated in part by the corona pandemic lockdowns. She recently started a new series of dialogues and portraits with Muslim women aged between twenty and thirty-five, which she will portray in sound and image in an exhibition at the end of this year.

The main theme of the dialogues is 'sense of belonging', and when and how you get this sense. It's a relevant question for Aydin personally as well. She often recognises herself in the women's answers, but at times is also taken by surprise. 'For example, I asked where and when the interviewee has a sense of belonging. I expected the answers to refer to physical places, say “Amsterdam” or “in the mosque” – and I did get those answers too – but sometimes the answers were more abstract. It would be about a feeling, or a longing. One very beautiful answer, I thought, was: “I would feel at home if people stopped trying to pigeonhole me.” It's a statement that has stayed with me, even though it feels rather utopian.'

Aydin isn't sure what the outcome will be, in the end. 'I graduated in sociology in 2013, and since then I've done all sorts of work. For example, I worked as a lecturer in higher education, and right now I work for the Van Gogh Museum as a freelance moderator and photographer. I don't feel like a true-blooded artist, but am more of a creative generalist, or a socially engaged maker. My fascination goes out to people and stories and a more inclusive society. That's why I'm always looking for ways to create impact. And photography is one of the ways to achieve that impact.'

Text: Jowi Schmitz
Eduardo Leòn

Eduardo Leòn

An old family photograph stirred up a memory: at the age of eleven, Eduardo Léon lived with his grandmother in a suburb of Milan where she ran an illegal restaurant. The family had just arrived in Italy from Peru and desperate to earn money. Léon: 'Most of the customers were transvestites. They would walk in as men and then walk out again as beautiful women. This malleability of identity, the exposure to new cultures, and the family feeling of this living room restaurant – looking back, my love of fashion was born from that combination.'

Following his study at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Léon established his own fashion brand, avoidstreet, with deliberate attention for the beauty of the everyday. Léon also landed a paid job quickly, including work for the Calvin Klein fashion house, where he learnt about the commercial aspects of the discipline. 'Obviously I wanted to develop avoidstreet, but my paid work always came first. Then corona came along and with that, time for important questions. What kind of an artist do I want to be? How do I want to develop? I tidied up my studio and in doing so came across that old photograph in a family album. The tangibility of discoloured photographic paper gave me a feeling that my laptop never did. I sensed immediately: this is what I want to continue with.'

He has named his collection Piazale Lotto, after the neighbourhood where his grandmother lived. Léon went on a study trip to Peru and returned with a suitcase full of 'sentimental souvenirs', clothing and textiles. As in his previous collection, Léon transforms existing clothing: bought T-shirts become apron dresses, and his aunt sews on Peruvian beads known as 'shakira beads'. Léon's father welds the robust clothes hangers used to display the collection. 'I notice that I have developed as a designer over the course of this last year. In my work I now try out things that are not necessarily commercial, but that do fit with my vision. This boosts my confidence, since I'm more familiar with more aspects of the discipline and at the same time dare to make bold choices. I feel I have more grip on the fashion discipline, on my culture, and on my own goals.'
As an amusing anecdote: Léon also went to Milan, to visit his grandmother. And then he pinched her curtains. 'They had such a beautiful orange colour, and the transparent textile is perfect as an extra layer in my dresses. But of course I bought new curtains for my grandmother, I wouldn't leave her with bare windows!'

Text: Jowi Schmitz
Emilia Tapprest

Emilia Tapprest

Finnish filmmaker and researcher Emilia Tapprest's work seeks to make visible the forces, power dynamics, emotions and atmospheres that occur where man and ideology intersect. She does this in her independent research practice NVISIBLE.STUDIO, together with the Dutch cultural historian Victor Evink. The two explore this interface by asking questions, using various research methods and building 'worlds'. They present the results of their research through audio-visual media, articles, lectures and performances.

The collaboration between Tapprest and Evink began at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, where Tapprest obtained the master's degree in film in 2019. Tapprest's background in industrial design was the stepping stone to her research practice. She says: 'I was drawn to the design of tangible user interfaces, to the fact that technology can rewire our senses. But what happens when these new technologies become commonplace? That re-kindled my interest in filmmaking, a medium through which I could explore technologies as part of the big picture.'

This resulted in the Embodied Ambitopias (2021), which focuses on three characters, each of whom lives in a different 'world'. Each world is driven by a different value or belief in a good life which is reflected not only in the way technology is implemented, but in all layers of society. Tapprest: 'With the concept of Ambitopia we aim to break away from the duality of utopian or dystopian thinking and instead raise new political and ethical dilemmas.'

One of these characters is explored further in Scent of Time (2022), the film Tapprest and Evink worked on in the year of the talent development grant. 'It is about a 12-year-old girl who flees into her subconscious, a symbolic space where she can dance her way out of the value paradigms of her real life.' The events on the world stage made the difference between fiction and reality eerily small. During the production process, war broke out in Ukraine. Polina Hordiievska, who played the lead role, had to leave everything behind. 'In the performance adaptation of Scent of Time, she chose two dance improvisations with her mother: one to the music of Beyoncé and one to a Ukrainian song, which is about having no home. A powerful, beautiful and moving representation of her situation.'

Text: Iris Stam
Emirhan Akin

Emirhan Akin

'Recently I've started using the word “exercise” rather than “practice”, says Emirhan Akin in response to a question about his current work practice. 'I see everything I do as an exercise in being. I exercise my different selves by seeking out derangement, estrangement and reprogramming. I have worked as a dishwasher, soldier, fashion designer, editor, cleaner and graphic designer. I see all these “ways of being” as exercises with which I stretch my muscles until something snaps.

After which I can start building another self. This constant exercise often results in a design, a research or performance – which I think I could call my “works”.' For his development programme, Akin sought ways to develop new opportunities, to gain access to new places, and to work together with other people. 'There's never an end point to my projects, instead one thing always leads to another. This grant gave me the opportunity and freedom to invest in my work, to take it one step further and to find a future for it – whatever the outcomes may be.'

His continuous (self-)investigation covers the domains of history, politics and religion, and how these branch out in post- Ottomanism and the repressive structures of Turkish politics and the Islam. 'I don't think that it's the subjects that make my work sensitive, but the ways in which I personally tie them together. It's the route I take when going from one branch to another. What really matters today is how these subjects resonate between people, interpersonally. That's why I decided to spread the research out horizontally, to strengthen the branches between them, so to speak, rather than trying to present a single unambiguous, vertical or spectacular result.'

Akin put on his new performance DUTY-FREE at the Unfair '22 art fair. 'This work can be read as the status quo of my current investigation. It's about the attention economy and the market for performance art, the body's stamina, the issue of censure or self-censure, and the perpetually rotating character of identities. Pretty much all my deliberations come together in this work. In practical terms I was also trying out the positioning of a body, an installation, and a dialogue between the performer and the audience. For a next piece. For more future.'
Gianna Bottema

Gianna Bottema

Architectural critique is a permanent ingredient in architect Gianna Bottema's work method. She questions the norms and values that underpin the built environment, and makes books on the subject. 'Those books are actually my building projects,' Bottema says, just before flying off to Brazil. There she will study the work of Lina Bo Bardi in the archives of the Museo de Arte de Sao Paulo, who designed the museum in the late 1960s.

She will then continue on to Argentina to study the work of Flora Alicia Manteola, among others. It's all part of her research into the emancipation of the built environment. It started with Home Politics, an analysis of the post-war housing construction in the Netherlands, with the single-family home as the new standard. The hetero-normative worldview, in which the male earns income and the female is at home caring for the children, determined the layout and furnishing of the single-family home, which continues to make up 60 per cent of the current housing stock.

Bottema is investigating the ideas of feminist architects in the 1960s and 70s who took a different view and who managed to evade the designated female role of interior stylist. She started with Ida Falkenberg-Liefrinck, Koos Pot-Keegstra and Luzia Hartsuyker-Curjel in the Netherlands. Their work is presented in her Home Atlas, which will soon be enriched with South American architects. The third phase of her study also kicked off recently: Home Revolution. This phase involves Bottema's own experiments to create a better fit between post-war dwellings and today's hybrid society, which is increasingly open to different roles and identities. 'Life today is so much more colourful than the functional layout of these homes can accommodate. I want to let people decide for themselves how to design their home environment.'

Her goal is to stretch and open up the laws and social conventions that determine the contours of daily life. 'The Building Decree to a large extent sets out how you need to build, but this mainly pertains to quantitative criteria. While the design of a good home is about so much more, it is really an interdisciplinary project.' Using typological incisions and cut-outs, Bottema investigates the outer boundaries of a layout for collective use. She examines the transition from inside to outside and from private to collective, using drawings and models in which she experiments with transformations. A number of these 'spatial fragments' were on display at the Dutch Design Week. And that's just the start: the atlas is becoming thicker all the time. 'For me, this project is a kickstart towards more research into the future of post-war dwellings.'
Ivan Čuić

Ivan Čuić

How can you create the best possible conditions for the physical and mental experience of music? Sound designer Ivan Čuić has been researching the matter for years. For his ArtScience bachelor at the Royal Academy of Art/Royal Conservatoire, he wrote the thesis In search of harmonies, for which he studied spatial arrangements for musical experiences. Čuić: 'The quality of sound has a huge impact on one's experience of music. I am interested in how to steer people's behaviour in a physical space, and how the combination with sound can influence the atmosphere within that space.'

According to the sound designer, four elements play a crucial role in the experience of music: the space, the sound, the public and the performer. 'These factors together determine the total experience. My intention is to bring these elements into harmony with each other. To do so I first examine them as separate elements, and then compare my ideas, observations and experiences with the references produced through my research.'

For the element of sound he developed his own sound system, using the best audio components. 'It is a system with three channels, each with its own audio signal, which in turn affects the spatial character of the sound. A stereo soundbar has two audio channels, for example; one left and one right, which come together in the middle. I play the left and right channel simultaneously and add a central channel in the middle. It requires a lot of practice to get that spatial character perfectly aligned.'

'The acoustics of a space is another important element in everything I do. What conditions should a space fulfil so that you can have a high volume without damaging people's ears? This year I was at a festival in Germany. Usually it's impossible to carry on conversations in that situation, but here you could. The sound was produced by the best equipment, but because the echo was reduced and the reflections were filtered, you could understand each other while the music was playing. This is important information for me which I want to explore further.'

As for the other two elements of public and performers: 'At live performances, it is important for the performers to have contact with the public. After all, the performer is there for the audience. Without a live performer, I create settings in which the visitors are invited to fully immerse themselves in the sensation. For instance by placing an inflatable mattress in the space for people to sit on. The mattress is surrounded by acoustic panels and my customised sound system. This way, a musical sensation can also be experienced physically. That's how everything really comes together.'

Text: Maaike Staffhorst
Jarmal Martis

Jarmal Martis

Jarmal Martis was trained in IT: he studied Communication and Multimedia Design at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. As a photographer, he is self-taught. What he enjoys is portraying stories that he feels are interesting to tell. The fact that he was awarded the Talent Development Grant as an autodidact was unbelievable at first, he says. 'What I create is important to me, personally. But because the art world is quite new to me, I had no idea how photography experts would judge my work. This confirmation that I am on the right track is great.'

Martis primarily portrays the lives of Dutch citizens with a migratory background. 'I'm one of them myself, from Curaçao,' he says, and states: 'We do not determine our own heritage.' One of Martis's themes is the formation of identity. How do people see themselves? It often starts with the way they were raised by their parents. 'Mothers play a defining role in Antillean society. In addition to working outside of the home, they offer up part of themselves to raise their children.' So it was with his own mother, whom he respects enormously. And Yuli, a secondary school friend whose life he has been capturing on film for the past three years, following her as she brings her children to school, washes the dishes, organises parties.

In addition to the tribute that is Yuli, Martis is also working on other projects. 'One is about the demolition of pre-war homes in Rotterdam's Tweebosbuurt quarter, and how the people living there are dealing with it, considering that many of them have migration backgrounds and are therefore part of my target group.' Another project sees him following the generation of migrants between the ages of forty and fifty. 'These people have been told ever since they were children that they did not belong here, that they had to adapt, which caused many of them to develop a defiant or belligerent attitude. What is it like to feel that way? You can convey a lot with photography, but not everything, so I'm experimenting with a more documentary-like form of storytelling using video and text.' His photo series about the childcare benefits scandal (toeslagenaffaire) is another project for which he is still seeking the right form of expression, having recently met a number of mothers with migration backgrounds who were victimised by this failure of government policy. 'I don't want to just come in and take pictures, like with Yuli and the Tweebosbuurt. I want this project to really contribute to the ongoing discussion about this important topic.'

Text: Iris Stam
Karin Fischnaller

Karin Fischnaller

When do you stop scrolling? When you found the information you were looking for, or when you chance upon something interesting you weren't looking for? Designer Karin Fischnaller is fascinated by the choices people make when browsing the internet. In her studio The Anderen in Amsterdam, she is working on a database detailing how people absorb information online.

Fischnaller obtained her master's degree in Information Design at Design Academy Eindhoven and discovered her mission in unravelling various technologies. For her research project When do you stop scrolling?, she draws on the experience of experts by interviewing journalists, philosophers and designers, and is also attending masterclasses on the subject. 'But I also analyse my own behaviour. I try to figure out what makes me click on a link that catches my interest, and why I subsequently stop reading. I have also started wondering to what extent links that refer to further information truly add more depth. And what are the various ways by which information is conveyed? Can you add humour and lightness to layered, complex information, and to what extent does this happen? And how reliable are the things you read online? In addition, I try to figure out why certain online platforms are so hugely popular, while they don't attract me at all. What has made TikTok such a success, for example?'

Fischnaller admits that these are many and very different questions. It seems an impossible task to piece all these bits together, but she sees it as a challenge and as a great adventure to visualise all her findings as networks. 'Through the connections I make, surprising storylines often appear.'

Another global issue drew her attention previously: why do we see empty shelves in shops? A collaboration ensued with designer Tamara Orjola. 'Whereas she mainly concentrates on research, I tried to map out the whole supply chain. The main question was how one missing component can take the food packaging industry to breaking point. It was quite a challenge to visualise this.'

Fischnaller organises workshops about the accumulated knowledge. Being able to further expand her professional network is an important and welcome side-effect of the talent development grant, she says. 'I have come into contact with people I would otherwise not have been able or not have dared to approach. That's very valuable and stimulating.'

Text: Maaike Staffhorst
Kirsten Spruit

Kirsten Spruit

Kirsten Spruit's work dwells on the theme of 'lingering'; that is, thinking aimlessly, or doing nothing. She is fascinated by the value of time and duration. Doing nothing is generally seen as unproductive and worthless in capitalist value systems, but Spruit believes that it is essential to leading a well-balanced and meaningful life. Spruit, who is a graphic designer with a master's degree in Information Design from Design Academy Eindhoven, also draws on personal experience.

She finds the pressure to perform burdensome, but is a perfectionist at the same time. Time pressure has a mental effect on her. 'In today's digital age, where people usually want to see results as quickly as possible, it is difficult to find room for rest and reflection.' As an issue that everyone is forced to deal with to some extent, Spruit saw the urgent need to address it head-on.

During the talent development year, Spruit developed a method and theoretical framework with respect to doing nothing, productivity and technology. 'I try to strike a balance between the aimless and the purposeful in my way of working. It helps to have a direction or certain rules, precisely in order to safeguard the opportunity to linger and be open to coincidence.' To approach the topic from different angles, Spruit applies various media and disciplines that enable her to create the circumstances, environments or stimuli amenable to contemplation. She uses all her skills to this end: from graphic illustration, drawing and writing to coding, composing and producing radio.

In her research project How to Save Time, Spruit attempts to build a routine around 'lingering' and 'essaying', and she archives these manners of spending time through memos, images, audio and associated meta-data. She also gives herself room to monitor and question her documentation urge and fascination for time duration. She furthermore reflects on the work of others, such as the diary films by Jonas Mekas, also known as the 'godfather of American avant-garde cinema', the time-intensive performances by Tehching Hsieh, and the slow compositions by composer Éliane Radigue. And more personal yet: in her grandfather's archive she discovered that he, too, was inclined to keep track of everything by writing them down, as a way of getting a grip on fleeting time. In her grandfather's carefully kept diaries she found a poetic layer of meta-data.

Spruit's ultimate goal is to capture everything in a time-based medium: an essay film that will draw the audience in. She is supervised in this endeavour by Erik Viskil, professor in Research and Discourse in Artistic Practice at Leiden University.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Leyla-Nour Benouniche

Leyla-Nour Benouniche

Leyla-Nour Benouniche, a.k.a. Captain Nightlight, is creating a series of video registrations of live talk shows on the theme of mental health. The interviews are set in a spaceship in a science fiction world, and the guests are psychiatrists, artists, scientists and more. Each episode is introduced with an opening animation and soundtrack.

The pilot episode of this multimedial video series, titled Clueless Captain, an emotional space odyssee, is aimed at young adults whose voices aren't heard or are not sufficiently reached. Benouniche offers them access to important information about topics such as burnouts, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, fear and panic attacks. A potential future episode would feature Dr Romy to discuss Internet and game addiction. Through this series, Benouniche is creating a platform and a toolkit that exist in a mix of reality and fiction in order to establish a growing community and network to support young people – particularly young queers of colour, who find it difficult to talk about these topics with each other.

Benouniche, a French/Algerian artist, illustrator, video producer, studied Interactive/Media/Design at the Royal Academy of Art. 'Identity and descent were important topics of discussion at the academy, and I became more interested in them through my internship as a video editor for Navild Acosta and Fannie Sosa of Black Power Naps.' For her research, Benouniche examined children's cartoons, talk shows such as Queer Eye of Oprah, science fiction, African mythology and visual codes in queer and diaspora communities. 'I'm still a fan of children's cartoons on YouTube. I used to watch them myself whenever I felt anxious. It's a very accessible way for children to learn about all kinds of subjects, but there doesn't exist anything like it for young adults.' This inspired Benouniche to include cartoons in the pilot episode about anxiety.

For the production, she is collaborating with a co-producer, a graphic designer and a sound designer. She was also advised throughout the process by Joy Mariama Smith and Mary Maggic of (A)wake, who chose Benouniche and other artists from the Asian and North African diasporas for artist-in-residencies at MONO Rotterdam.

In the meantime, Benouniche is working to create more episodes. She has already presented her project at the New Radicalism Festival in MONO Rotterdam, and at Sexyland in the context of the Pride[/I. The pilot episode is launched on yayemma.com in September.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Lieke Jildou de Jong

Lieke Jildou de Jong

Lieke Jildou de Jong, a graduate of Amsterdam's Academy of Architecture, is intrigued by the systems of nature and culture. Her own roots lie in Groningen, where her father was a farmer. She also has the use of a plot of land in the northern province, which she is studying and tending to as part of her development project, Bodemlegger (roughly, 'ground maker'). Every month she makes photographs and videos to document the field's development, which she will subsequently incorporate in a spatial installation. With a bit of luck, this installation will be presented in the huge hall of what was once the Groothandelsmarkt: the creativity hotspot where the landscape architect keeps an office. Describing the field, De Jong say: 'The land was in a poor condition. After working the land and sowing seeds, a sea of flowers grew this summer, which is good for the soil and attracts insects. In September I'll be joining an entomologist to determine exactly which creatures found their way to the plot of land.' De Jong is also working with an analyst to perform field work. 'In an on-site laboratory, we recently examined some of the clay ground with a microscope. Such a tiny bit of earth contains an entire world.'

In all her work, performed through her landscape architecture practice Landscape Collected, she investigates the systems of the natural landscape and how this is affected by the cultural histories of humans. With her Bodemlegger project she aims to create more awareness of this. 'We shouldn't exhaust the soil through intensive agriculture with mono cultures, but should create vitality and a rich soil life, by growing a variety of plants. It is essential to feed the soil, to create a basis. For in that way we will ultimately create fertile ground for ourselves, with healthy crops.'

One of the aspects of her research is to determine the target group of her Bodemlegger project. 'I am increasingly inclined to target the government. For them, water and soil are container concepts, while I would like to take policy makers beyond the surface, to the layers beneath. I want to show them how we can treat the upper layer, and how we can activate the soil's buffer capacities. Through my collaboration with scholars from the Louis Bolk Instituut, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, I am increasingly discovering just how clever the ecosystem is. I want to demonstrate that cleverness and the potential for the landscape. Not in a dry way, but in a visual and and intelligible way.'

Text: Iris Stam
Luis Ferreira

Luis Ferreira

Luis Ferreira has set out three paths for his talent development programme. 'I want to develop further in creative coding, want to examine how artists think, and to find my way in the world of art and design.' Ferreira studied computer engineering in Portugal and wound up in Eindhoven in connection with a job. There he discovered the light art festival Glow. He also visited music festivals in the Netherlands and was impressed by the quality of the light shows. It inspired him to start working on his own ideas. 'I had been experimenting with light effects and animations for two or three years, before I discovered that there is such a thing as creative coding, along with a whole surrounding culture.'

In his work Ferreira applies the technical skills he developed as a software developer and robotic researcher to conduct creative experiments. 'I mainly discovered the opportunities for an artistic application of digital technologies in the Netherlands. In Portugal it never seemed feasible to develop a career as an artist.' Previously, Ferreira would initially start a project based on a specific technology. Now he wants to learn how to start from an idea, a concept, and then to figure out how to realise it. 'I have a technical background, the way I think is mainly logical and linear. By engaging with artists and designers, I want to find out how they think.'

Ferreira aims to develop interactive projects on the intersection of the digital and the real world. 'Since a year or so I work a lot with movement, together with a musician based in Eindhoven. We used sensors to record the movements he makes when performing. We then worked with a designer to convert that information into visuals, which then reacted to his movements in real time during a following concert.' He is also working with fashion designer Nicole Plender to create self-moving dresses. This idea turned out to be complex to execute within a short time period. Now they are working on two dresses fitted with LEDs and with animations that respond to the model's movements. Bringing lifeless objects to life and infusing them with a story; that's what Ferreira wants. 'How can you evoke flowing movements and emotions with a technology that essentially consists of just zeroes and ones, yes and no?

His ambition is not so much to develop an autonomous career, but especially to build and be part of a collective of makers. 'I want to work with different artists: dancers, performers, musicians, architects. I believe that the encounter between different disciplines generates the most interesting results.' Ferreira furthermore wants to help give creative coding a place in Eindhoven, contributing to an active community, like the ones already existing in Utrecht and Amsterdam.'
Maggie Saunders

Maggie Saunders

For her project Striptopia – a strip club 2.0 for millennials – Saunders draws inspiration from her own experience as a professional stripper and her fascination for strip clubs. Like her previous project Moulin Rough and Peep Show Hoes, this project is part of the series Making the (ab)normal. Born in North Caroline, Saunders stopped stripping five years ago. 'It was fun, but very draining emotionally.' She is also a furniture designer, and subsequently decided to study social design at Design Academy Eindhoven.

Her mission is to bring a mainstream audience into contact with the world of strip clubs; a world that many people don't know and about which they might have various prejudices. Following research into strip clubs and in co-creation with sex workers, Saunders managed to present this stigmatised sub-culture in a wholly new light when she tested her ultimate pop-up strip club in Eindhoven's Ketelhuis. 'It was great to see so many young but also older people in the audience. There was an inclusive and queer vibe in the air, everyone was exuberant and wanted to show who and what they are. And the visitors were pleasantly surprised. We had a diverse company of local strippers and pole dancers, dancing together. Two worlds met on stage.'

Saunders's Striptopia is a young, fresh and pleasant alternative to the traditional and near-obsolete strip clubs. She brings the strip club 2.0 to life, creating a more interactive setting where the rules of the outdated men's club no longer apply. Despite having worked with 'experience designer' Henrique Nascimento, social media expert Yema Lumumba, and Joel Blanco, professor at the School of Design in Madrid (ESD Madrid), Saunders continues to do a lot by herself. She isn't just the producer of Striptopia, but also designs objects with furniture designers Gian Maria Della Rata and Giorgio Gasco, the décor, some of the clothing, the light and the technology that interact with the dancers.

You can see her strip club as an interactive journey, a spatial experience where new forms of social interaction between the audience and sex workers emerge. To this end, Saunders is developing a number of totems that are positioned centrally in the space and that interact with customers' app requests. The mobile app furthermore ensures a better and more transparent pay system, offering sex workers and dancers a greater degree of financial autonomy.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Marcel Mrejen

Marcel Mrejen

In the near future, the bay of the town of Paimpol, Brittany, will become home to a number of metal, glass and plastic objects. Invisible during high tide, they emerge when the waters recede, communicating with each other through sound, light and temperature. This series of sculptures, titled Tidal Symbionts, is part of the Experimental & Post Digital Art Trail Refresh/Episode 1: Bloom, which is set to open in Paimpol next year. 'I saw that specific place as an interesting inspiration to develop something underwater,' says Marcel Mrejen with regard to Tidal Symbionts, his site-specific, multisensory installation that uses underwater sensors and Augmented Reality.

The project is not quite ready yet, though. Mrejen is currently developing his own platform, a server to connect the sculptures with each other. To that end, he is collaborating with engineer Iyas Dalati and web developer Dorian Chouteau to help him program the sculptures and develop the required software and interfaces. Mrejen has also performed field research along the coast of Brittany, developed forms and structures for his machines and conducted material experiments to determine how his objects will fare underwater.

A native of France, Marcel Mrejen studied graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, graduating in 2018. However, his professional practice soon evolved into a multidisciplinary approach that combines technology, art and science. Mrejen makes frequent use of digital media, such as AI, AR, video and multimedia installations, to make his audience aware of the effects of digital culture on the ecosystems we live in. 'I use technology to take a different approach to learning, and to better understand the world we live in. It's a tool that makes it possible to look at and listen to the ecosystem in new ways.' His new series of sculptures illustrate this: some have sensors that regulate temperature, others have light sensors.

This creates a hybrid system of non-human creatures that communicate with each other, activate and influence each other, and adapt to their environment. Essentially, they are clever machines that were not made for their environment, but do exchange information and respond to each other, the same way that organisms in nature do.Tidal Symbionts may result in a publication or film about the installation in France.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Marko Baković

Marko Baković

Shoe designer and maker Marko Baković is attracted to working at the interface of traditional and digital design and production processes. Following his Masters Footwear at the London College of Fashion, commissions by fashion designers and performers came pouring in. As one particular highlight, Baković designed a pair shoes for none other than Beyoncé. 'It was kind of unreal to receive the measurements of Beyoncé's legs by email.'

Baković long cherished the wish to start his own brand in order to produce autonomous work. 'I often experiment while performing commissioned work. Many of those try-outs never see the light of day. But now I can incorporate these things in my own line of shoes.' The financial leeway afforded him by the talent development grant enabled Baković to concentrate on his own brand, Baković Studio, and to develop further as a maker and a professional. With three collections already released, Baković Studio has a distinctive work method: Baković sends his design to a producer, who then supplies him with a semi-finished product. Baković then finishes the shoe in his own studio. 'I can do things in my studio that they can't or won't do in the factory, because they aren't cost effective. A factory's foremost goal is to make money, while I am interested in innovation.'

In the past year, Baković has learned a lot about the tension between creativity and innovation versus profitability. 'Of course it's not easy to sell a pair of shoes with a price tag of two thousand euros. But the design and production process of my shoes is very time-consuming. I always ask myself: how can I scale up this product? How can I achieve the same impact but at lower production costs?' Baković continues to experiment with materials and techniques. 'I regularly use a type of scanner that is also used in the orthopaedic industry. I can scan a physical last with it, and then continue to work on it digitally. That way a dialogue emerges between the analogue and the digital.'

He has also started exploring the world of synthetic rubber. 'I started experimenting with this material in my studio on a small scale. Right now I'm working with a partner in the automotive industry to see whether we can develop this further. For this type of a project, I communicate with various industries and suppliers. Such collaborations I find interesting. That's the direction I want to pursue.'
.
Text: Merel Kamp
Munganyende Hélène Christelle

Munganyende Hélène Christelle

As a publicist and art critic, Munganyende Hélène Christelle is passionate about a wide range of subjects. Her work mostly focuses on contemporary political movements, with popular culture as the main topic. Last year she used typography as a political tool with which to formulate an important design issue: who gets to say what design is? Thus, under the working title of Times New Thotiana, she is examining the future of typography design.

Her starting point is the Central African cultural heritage of imigongo. In Rwanda, where Christelle grew up in Kigali's migrant chambers, imigongo is a centuries-old art form with a strong visual idiom that is especially popular among women as a form of expression. 'The imigongo practitioners use geometric shapes to decorate walls and earthenware with patterns that carry textual meaning. They are like modern hieroglyphs.'

Christelle interrogates the classic image of 'the designer' and is curious to see how she, as a publicist, can contribute to a design world in which non-western design can be brought from the periphery to the centre. 'I aim to develop a modern design methodology based on the imigongo tradition. You cannot modernise industries if you ignore popular culture, the culture of the young masses. Hence the title of my research, as a bit of a humorous reference to the innovative power that my digital generation can offer the design world.'

To place her encompassing vision in an international context, she spent six months making working trips to other design cities that are developing their own authority in the margin, such as Accra and Dakar. In Dakar she visited the Biennale of Contemporary African Art. 'Besides the official programme, there is an equally large OFF programme held in living rooms, independent galleries and boutiques. There you discover work that you won't encounter in the established institutions.'

Christelle was able to make important strides during the research year, also regarding how she thinks about her own practice. 'An art gallery owner in Dakar said to me: “It's not just a matter of political urgency. It's also about the beauty of our work. For if my life does not serve beauty, then what purpose does it serve?”'

Following her research period, Christelle will now embark on the phase of collaborating. In the Werkplaats Typografie (typography department at Artez) she will curate a critical design practice with collective lectures and group exhibitions, in collaboration with colleagues from the art, culture and design disciplines.

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Octave Rimbert-Rivière

Octave Rimbert-Rivière

They immediately attract attention: the teapots and countless cups in the Amsterdam workshop of designer and ceramicist Octave Rimbert-Rivière. They are often brightly coloured, with a slight sheen, some taut and angular, others seductively opulent with deliberately applied irregularities or, on the contrary, monstrously grotesque with wounds in the even surface. At his graduation at Het Hem in 2020, Rimbert-Rivière displayed for the first time more than a hundred pieces on two large tables, exhibited as a massive crowd of wacky creatures. He then continued to make the disruptive tableware, as an addictive and educational continuation of a project that once began as a joke.

The French Rimbert-Rivière, who has now lived in the Netherlands for four years, explains: 'I wanted to explore the link between handcraft practices and new technologies such as 3D printing. A cup, a universal object that has been made since time immemorial, was the first pretext to add sculptural characteristics to an everyday object. 3D software allowed me to stretch, deform and displace simple geometric shapes, resulting in unexpected combinations. This is how I blended the use of the computer with traditional techniques to create distorted tableware in a really playful way. I like to produce ceramics that catch the attention for their seductive materiality and their monstrous aspect, but that are still functional.'

Rimbert-Rivière passionately pours his love for craft into his objects, through techniques that he partly made his own with the help of online tutorials. He is very glad that the talent development grant helped him acquire practical experience from masters such as ceramist Marianne Peijnenburg, mould maker Frans Ottink and glass expert Steef Hendriks. In an earlier stage he worked with artist and game designer Guillaume Roux. 'It was the first time I could learn advanced techniques from experts and bring them back into my processes. Working with professionals gave me the chance to push forward my creative output, optimise production, and start running my own ceramic workshop.'

A publication about his work is planned for the final phase of the talent development grant, which he will make with graphic designer Alex J. Walker. His objects will also be exhibited physically and online. Rimbert-Rivière concludes: 'I found it extremely enriching to work closely with experts that are at the forefront of the digital and craft realms.'

Text: Iris Stam
Patricia Mokosi

Patricia Mokosi

Fashion designer Patricia Mokosi was born in Congo, raised in Eindhoven, and currently lives in Amsterdam. She derives her inspiration from her turbulent youth. She is fascinated by everything relating to the audio-visual, the spiritual and the occult. In the past year, Mokosi has concentrated on further developing her label On God by Tries.
Renske van Vroonhoven

Renske van Vroonhoven

'How hard can it be?', Renske van Vroonhoven thought when she started exploring the world of smell on her own. It turned out to be rather more complex, but by now Van Vroonhoven is very comfortable in this world and very effective at conjuring up the past using fragrances. 'Smell is an intimate portal that can immediately evoke memories.'

In many of her (multi-disciplinary) projects, Van Vroonhoven attempts to gain and prolong access to the past. For example, last year she was on Jersey working with artists Thomas Buckley and Ned Lawlor to create Memory Bar: a series of performances in the form of a cocktail evening, through which to evoke memories of the island's occupation during the Second World War and making these palpable for a diverse audience. To do so, the three collected stories from (elderly) island inhabitants.

'One lady told us that she had felt so hungry in a hot summer during the occupation that she tore bits of asphalt from the melting roadways and rolled them into balls, and ate them as if they were toffees.' This memory became part of a multi-media five-course dinner. Visitors tasted (edible) birch tar from a 'black path' laid out on their table while listening to the island inhabitant's story, and her memories were projected on their table as visual translations.

'Visitors were really made to wonder: “ugh, am I eating tar here?” We try to let people not only relive an event from the past, but also seek to create a physical experience to mirror its impact. It should really hit home.' For another memory Van Vroonhoven composed the fragrance of a garden on Jersey in summer. 'I have now learnt how I can design a fragrance. An aromatic substance called stemone smells like torn leaves, green figs and stems, for example. Lavender and thyme also grow widely on Jersey, so you need to add some of that. But you also need to take account of the fact that some elements dissipate more quickly than others.'

Van Vroonhoven is currently developing her own product line while following a two-year research programme in Cambridge, allowing her to concentrate fully on scent as her material of choice. She applies the knowledge thus gained to her own educational programme for a Dutch art academy. 'Did you know that the Romans at their banquets would sometimes drench doves in fragrance and have them fly around the room? And here's us thinking we're breaking new ground…'

Text: Merel Kamp
Robbert Doelwijt Jr.

Robbert Doelwijt Jr.

'“A black film maker with autism wants to make a film”; that's basically what my application for the talent development grant boiled down to. I wanted to take position and felt called on to speak on behalf of a group.' Self-taught audio-visual maker Robbert Doelwijt jr. was born in Amsterdam's Bijlmer district, with Surinamese parents whose roots reach back to Nigeria, Sierra Leone, China and Indonesia. Enough groups on whose behalf to speak, then, and enough inspiration to make a film that records his identity as a black bi-cultural male.

But so much has happened since. 'Being awarded the grant gave me the courage to believe much more strongly in myself as an artist. And that awareness caused me to understand that my quest is not about labels. I am not a “black maker”, or a “neurodiverse maker in the autism spectrum”. I am a maker, and that's it. Someone who processes his own experiences in his work. So the subject remained the same, but now the emphasis is on the work, rather than on the person making the work.'

The sense of being an artist has also influenced Doelwijt's other plan: a one-month residency in Tokyo, which has been postponed to 2023 due to corona. 'During my residency in Tokyo I'll be doing an experimental film project that explores the role of jazz in Tokyo. The two months leading up to that, when I'll be travelling around Japan, won't be about jazz but are mainly intended to draw me out of my comfort zone.'

According to Doelwijt, it's a question asked by numerous black people in the diaspora: what position do I dare to claim for myself? For example, can you be welcome in the world of jazz but in a country like Japan, where foreigners are sometimes viewed with suspicion? 'I don't know what the trip has in store for me. Perhaps I'll suddenly feel really at home in a Japanese Afro barbershop. Or in some other place entirely. You rarely see black people travelling in films, generally they stay at home. But I do want to see them travelling, so through my journey, I become the black man I would like to see in a film. A man on a quest, outside his comfort zone. He knows that he's engaging in an experiment, and that he's going to discover something. But what that something is isn't clear.'

Text: Jowi Schmitz
Rosen Eveleigh

Rosen Eveleigh

Graphic designer Rosen Eveleigh studied at ArtEZ's Werkplaats Typografie. In their practice they examine how queer and trans individuals use graphic design to communicate and represent themselves. They focus on the Netherlands in the context of the HIV/ Aids crisis of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. With a series of collaborative intergenerational oral histories and workshops, Eveleigh researches this queer and trans history from a contemporary viewpoint. Their aim is to gain new insights into the relationship between queerness and graphic design in the Netherlands.
Rossel Chaslie

Rossel Chaslie

After a busy year that included a residency with The Black Archives, a cover for Antonlogie; verhalen over het gedachtegoed van Anton de Kom, a mural for Weltmuseum Wien and illustrations and a television appearance connected with the documentary De opstand op de Neptunus – the Dutch ship that exploded off the Ghanaian coast in 1785 following a revolt by the enslaved people on board – illustrator, animator and writer Rossel Chaslie chose to slow down for a moment, and to regain his bearings on his own practice.

'As Nina Simone said, it is an artist's task to reflect the time you live in and the community you are part of,' says Chaslie. The moral duty of activism and representations – which members of a minority are often quick to feel – is like a red thread running throughout his work. But the task can also be stifling: 'I am grateful and proud that I, as a maker of colour with a political message, am chosen for assignments and can earn money that way. But I am more than only an activist and also want to explore other sides to myself.'

And so Chaslie chose to slow down, to create the opportunity for self-reflection. He accepted fewer assignments and moved away from animation. 'I want to do more with storytelling, but working on an animation on my own doesn't make me happy and the outcome rarely covers the costs.' Chaslie instead rediscovered one of his earliest loves: the comic strip. He placed on open call for a 'comic anthology' and invited five writers to write a story. Chaslie will then convert these stories into a comic, using a different medium and style for each. 'This way I can research which style suits me best.'

Chaslie also undertook a research trip to his native Suriname to trace the stories from his mother's youth and to visit historically significant places, such as former plantations. 'Black history will always have a role in my work, but I also have a passion for science fiction. What will Paramaribo look like in the year 2500?' Ultimately Chaslie aims to embed his mother's stories in wider (partly fictitious) narratives about the past, present and future of Suriname and to convert the stories into a graphic novel, Sranang Stories.

During his year of reflection, Chaslie regained control over his own story and positioning as a maker. 'I believe in long-term activism, and from now on I mainly wish to create work to leave a legacy that will still be meaningful fifteen years from now.'

Text: Merel Kamp
Shaquille Veldboom

Shaquille Veldboom

Shaquille Veldboom wanted to become an engineer, but in his head and heart he was already a car designer. With a car mechanic as a grandfather, he knew how to put together a car from a young age on. 'I know how to design machines and cars and could make this my profession. But then there are all sorts of rules and safety requirements involved in developing such high-grade products that people will actually use. And then I discovered that, besides designing things, I also really like to tell stories.' He discovered that his design skills were a perfect fit with the games industry, where you are entirely free to decide how something works and can be used. Veldboom: 'In a game you can let the physical and digital worlds merge. With today's programs, the sky is the limit. And you hardly need to do any programming on your own. But if I do need some further technical know-how, then I know where to find it. Just YouTube and a technically-minded father are already a huge font of knowledge.'

Veldboom is currently developing his own video game called GodSpeed, which means 'good luck' or 'have a good trip'. For this game he designed a micro-car. The player needs to collect the car components, and once the car is complete you can start racing other players. But it's not just about playing games for Veldboom.

The ability to share personal experiences and knowledge through games, and to inspire others with a good story, is also an important element. 'In GodSpeed you follow main character Grio Yggdrasil, who lives in Amsterdam Zuidoost just like me. The name means “transmitter”. Grio is my alter ego. When he starts creating his own car brand, I let him discover all sorts of things. The educational aspect is that I take the players along in the process of developing innovations. These discoveries and inventions help the players to advance in the game. This is my way of transferring knowledge.'

In the past year, Veldboom further developed his skills in 3D design and in telling interactive stories. He hopes to couple the presentation of GodSpeed to the presentation of a 3D version of the game's micro-car.

Text: Maaike Staffhorst
Stefan Duran

Stefan Duran

As a motion designer, it is Stefan Duran's ambition to develop further in the field of animation, increasing the medium's expressive power. His research was stimulated by the commercialisation of hip hop and the way this subculture is losing its critical voice and position. Duran's question is, 'how can I combine music, dialogue and animation to convey a profound and socially relevant story?'
Sterre Richard

Sterre Richard

Sterre Richard graduated with honours from the Illustration programme at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. But this versatile cartoonist, working under the name of Sterric, has no interest in preening her feathers and repeating her tricks. Her illustration idiom is determined by the story she wants to tell. And her target group is diverse, ranging from young people to adults and everyone in between. She also has no interest in the cliché romantic stories, where character A and character B initially detest each other, are forced to cooperate because of some adventurous twist, and end up discovering they were made for each other. Her first graphic novel runs counter to this template. 'De Vloek van Rood instead begins with a happy relationship. Conflict then begins to build due to outside forces.'

Sterric creates the kind of books that she would personally love to read. This has resulted in a wide variety of productions that combine feminist themes, European folklore and history. 'I'm also rather fond of occult horror stories, written from a female perspective. As a teenager I was first drawn to this through Japanese shoujo manga comics, intended for girls between ten and sixteen years old. They were first imported in Europe around the turn of the millennium.'

With the talent development grant, Sterric is now working on a research project about shoujo manga. 'The number of female cartoonists has increased substantially in recent years. Although their illustration style is different, you can tell by the structure of the story that they, like me, read a lot of manga in their youth. I am collaborating with a German PhD student, specialised in Japanese culture in Europe, to research whether this increase has also occurred outside the Netherlands. If this proves to be so, then I want to team up with cartoonists from various European countries to create a tribute book to the manga artists that inspired us, with essays and illustrations.'

Sterric mainly works with digital techniques. 'I do enjoy analogue techniques, but then particularly the colouring is a challenge. I am now studying materials and techniques that achieve a smooth and rapidly drying result, so that I will be able to release my first graphic novel created using analogue techniques in the near future. I also want to do an intensive workshop in order to develop further in terms of literary ability. It feels hugely liberating to have that opportunity, thanks to the grant.'

Text: Iris Stam
Süheyla Yalçin

Süheyla Yalçin

As the daughter of parents with a migration background, audio-visual maker Süheyla Yalçin focuses on forgotten parts of Turkish history. In her project The Diaspora Designer, she questions who is entitled to define what design is in a critical and satirical manner.
Tabea Nixdorff

Tabea Nixdorff

Most archives mainly consist of documents, with the written word treated as the most important means of conveying information. Tabea Nixdorff makes extensive use of archives for her research projects, but her focus is on traces that go beyond the written text: what are embodied forms of knowledge that have not been documented? Nixdorff sees body language, oral conveyance, song and other 'instruments', for instance weaving looms, as highly valuable sources with which marginalised stories can be traced and shared.

Nixdorff graduated from the Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem and has been working since as an artist, typographer and researcher. She writes, designs and publishes books, compiles audio-collages and organises social gatherings focused on affective knowledge sharing. Her projects are always interwoven with the personal, in search of queer belonging, and seek to claim or reclaim so-called 'feminine' labour.

She has been researching the history of feminist networks and movements in the Netherlands for the past two years, initiated by an exhibition project commissioned by Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. For this project she is working closely with architect and researcher Setareh Noorani. Together they are attempting to transcend the exhibition by creating intergenerational networks of solidarity and friendship, to (re)imagine the design of the social. The project also inspired Nixdorff to start her own series of publications called Archival Textures, aimed at disseminating ephemeral archive materials such as letters, notes and typewritten manuscripts.

In the past year Nixdorff also worked on her research project su-sur-rous, which she describes as 'a quest for under-represented biographies of those who, through the hybridisation of their body with musical instruments, machines or other technologies, have developed alternative languages.' For this she is also consulting sound artists and poets.

Poetry is a recurrent reference point for Nixdorff. Some time ago she became fascinated by the errata sometimes found on a paper slip in books. 'I wanted to know more about it. Errata are lists of corrections that were overlooked during the production process. As such they cast light on the making of a publication and on the often under-exposed work by an editorial team. Reading errata as a text of its own unintentionally evokes a poetic quality.' She wrote an essay about her research and created a book in which the errata are presented as lines of poetry. The talent development grant enabled her to continue with her work and portfolio. 'It has stimulated me t