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TALENT PLATFORM

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

GRANT PROGRAMME FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT

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

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.

TALENT PLATFORM 2020
TALENT PLATFORM 2020
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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.

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TALENT PLATFORM 2019
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2018

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

TALENT PLATFORM 2018
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ESSAY: DIAMOND INVESTMENT & THE NEW OIL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2017

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

TALENT PLATFORM 2017
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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

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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

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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

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essays
essays

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

 Hélène Christelle Munganyende

Hélène Christelle Munganyende

Writer and designer Hélène Christelle Munganyende is self-taught and was scouted during the Scout Night Eindhoven. In her practice, she uses typography as a political tool to raise social issues, with a special focus on the historical and gender context of design. The applicant wants to build a new design ecosystem by means of typography. During the development year, Munganyende will explore how to translate her current work as a designer into an intersectional typography practice. For this purpose, she wants to develop a vocabulary that questions the classical image of 'the typographer' and presents a new form of typography development. Black women and African cultural heritage play a leading role, with the Black Beauty Shop as a space for design. In order to educate herself further, she is putting together an autonomous curriculum at ArtEZ under the supervision of Frank Tazelaar (head of the Creative Writing department) and is attending an online summer school on typography at the Royal College of Art London. She is collaborating with Doru Loboka, Studio ZZZAP and OSCAM, amongst others. The goal is to design her own font with which she compiles a feminism ABC. She is presenting her research in film and audio and writing an Intersectional Design Manifesto. She is also screening an audiovisual documentary at the Beursschouwburg in Brussels, Van Abbemuseum and OSCAM.
Adam Centko

Adam Centko

Adam Centko graduated from the KABK in 2020. In the coming year, Centko will be exploring the hidden resources and costs of digital communications with the project 'Invisible Infrastructures'. In order to strengthen his methodology, he is following several workshops in the fields of virtual production, Unreal Engine, fiction and screenwriting and documentary film. He also has a number of studio visits and mentors in mind, including artists and designers Constant Dullaart, Amalia Ulman, Hito Steyerl, Kévin Bray, Liam Young and Team Rolfes. During the development year, Centko is organizing three study trips: within video-game worlds, to physical locations of 'invisible' infrastructure and a residency 'off the grid'. The 'Invisible Infrastructures' project will result in a 30-minute documentary, which the applicant will submit to various local and international film festivals. Finally, with a second project, Centko is creating a digital metaverse that serves as an archive, a habitat for digital entities and a place for collaboration with other makers.
Alexander Beeloo

Alexander Beeloo

Alexander Beeloo graduated from the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam in 2019. The project 'Een dialoog met het Hollandse Landschap' is a continuation of his graduation work. It is design research into local material use and the beauty of the landscape as an alternative to the current way of building. During the development year, he wants to work in three steps: 1. a study of the Nieuwkoopse Plassen, an area characterized by reed beds, as a production landscape, 2. material studies into using reed and peat from the landscape as building material and 3. designing a folly to emphasize the experience of the landscape. These sub-investigations are supported by experts from various organizations such as Natuurmonumenten, Studio Marco Vermeulen, IVN Nieuwkoop Landschapsbeheer, Moerasbeheer and Bioblocks. For the development of his design practice, Beeloo seeks guidance from architect Machiel Spaan, landscape architect Anouk Vogel, and designer Elmo Vermeijs. The project will eventually come together in a small publication and a series of scale models that will be on display at Galerie Hoeve in Rijlaarsdam, the Rechthuis in Nieuwkoop and, in consultation with Natuurmonumenten, in the landscape of the Nieuwkoopse Plassen.
Ameneh Solati

Ameneh Solati

Ameneh Solati obtained her Master's degree in Architecture from the Royal College of Art. She sees that refugees are forced to simplify their histories, social customs and family structures, so that cultural practices fit 'neatly' within the existing structures of the built environment. From this observation, she wonders how refugees deal with this pressure to conform. In addition to this issue, Solati will focus in the coming year on developing an interdisciplinary spatial design practice, where research, text and design come together. She is building an open-source archive that includes a lexicon, stories, artefacts, images, maps, recordings, documents and more. Solati interweaves narratives with informative essays in which she describes different kinds of environments – private, public, the productive and the spiritual – and will be experimenting with moving image as a means of representation. The media (such as digital video, animated drawings, 3D models, collages and sound) will be merged into an essay film. In addition, Solati is calling on various professionals for mentoring, participating in animation and editing courses, and receiving guidance in writing from author Priya Basil.
Anastasia Eggers

Anastasia Eggers

Anastasia Eggers graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017. Eggers believes that it is urgent to speak about countries' identities and relationships using the medium of food – especially now, when European borders and the fragility of national food systems have become more evident through the COVID-19 restrictions and divisions are taking place within Europe with effects that are not yet clear. In the development year, she plans to deepen her research into the complexity of food and geopolitics. She is doing this by taking Dutch agriculture and food culture as a starting point to explore international trade relations, identity and the relationship between local and global. Eggers is working on two projects: 'Brexit Herring' about the North Sea as negotiating table in the context of Brexit, and 'Migrating Seasons' on migrant seasonal labour and the fragility of the food system. The first project follows three lines: 1. conversations with experts about Brexit policy and maritime law; 2. research into the Dutch herring tradition in collaboration with craftspeople; and 3. an ethnographic study into the crews on fishing boats. In the second project, she is carrying out ethnographic research by participating in the harvest. Resulting from this, she is designing a contemporary farmers' almanac, with new narratives about speculative rural festivities. Eggers is being guided by a trade strategist, graphic designer Benjamin Sporken and Dr Clemens Driessen from Wageningen University. Eggers plans to present 'Brexit Herring' during Dutch Design Week and at symposia. The outcome of 'Migrating Seasons' will be presented at Z33 in Hasselt.
Angeliki Diakrousi

Angeliki Diakrousi

Designer and artist Angeliki-Marina Diakrousi graduated from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. In her practice, she relates to the invisible political and social impact of technology and examines how this manifests itself in the public domain, both urban and online. She sees technology not as neutral, but as a tool that reproduces bias and social injustice. In her design practice, she relates to a techno-feminist perspective, low-tech, hacking and open-source practices, political audio and radio art, critical architectural theory and experimental publishing. During the development year, Diakrousi will be collaborating on two projects, 'Hunting Mosquitoes' and 'WordMord', and aims to further develop her technical, programming and writing skills by attending relevant workshops. The applicant will be guided by curator and researcher Linnea Semmerling and another yet–to-be-selected artist. She is presenting her work and organizing work sessions at the Center for Art and Urbanistics ZK/U in Berlin, TENT and Varia in Rotterdam, Sonic Acts, TU Delft and the University of Thessaly, among others.
Anne Nieuwenhuijs

Anne Nieuwenhuijs

Anne Nieuwenhuijs graduated from the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam in 2018. With her studio Deltascapes, she designs spatial solutions based on the smallest particle in silt: clay. 'Vloeibaar Land' is a sequel to her graduation project. Nieuwenhuijs's aim with the project is to develop landscape scenarios and objects that influence the forces shaping the landscape at the boundary between water and land, stimulate biodiversity and create hospitable living conditions for many species. In this way, she aims to contribute to climate adaptation. To become a specialist in landscape productions, the designer is following three lines of learning during the development year: collecting raw materials to make products that interfere with natural dynamics, researching the properties of clay and designing a visual language and company mission for Deltascapes. For this purpose, she is taking courses in ceramics and soil chromatography, doing work placements with experts from various disciplines and entering into a collaboration with a creative communication agency. 'Vloeibaar Land' results in a number of clay objects that are presented in an exhibition.
Ant Eye

Ant Eye

Product designers Hanneke Klaver and Tosca Schift, both graduates from the Product Design department at ArtEZ in Arnhem, together form the collective Ant Eye. Their work moves on the cutting edge of product design, performance and film and is characterized by absurdity, transformation, protest and imagination. The applicants want to free objects from their applied and serving function. During the development year, the collective will start an artistic research project with the working title 'I Object'. This title refers to Ant Eye's vision: the objects are in revolt. Klaver and Schift want to learn to better interpret and convey the voice of the object by professionalizing themselves in film and storytelling and the making of costumes and performances. They want to gain more knowledge and experience in the theatre world and the film industry and within these disciplines expand their network and find collaboration partners. As a mentor, they have found design theorist Rana Ghavami willing to coach them. They have also approached filmmaker Douwe Dijkstra and Joris Suk, designer at Maison the Faux, as coaches. Ant Eye plans to present the results of this research during Dutch Design Week 2022 and the International Short Film Festival in Nijmegen.
Axel Coumans

Axel Coumans

Social designer Axel Coumans (Atelier Coumans) gained his Bachelor's degree at the Design Academy Eindhoven. In his practice, he approaches ecological issues from different social contexts and a non-human perspective. In the coming year, Coumans will develop his ability to listen, which he considers one of the most important skills of a social designer. In the various projects and activities that he develops for this purpose, trees play a central role, including trees in the city. First of all, he is going to Ireland, where he wants to learn from Celtic farmers, after which he will go to the primeval forests of Poland to listen to lumberjacks and foresters. Subsequently, during Dutch Design Week, he will create a space in Eindhoven where the public sector will enter into dialogue with the public. The subject is the living environment, which will be discussed based on the plane tree growing in his work area. In addition, Coumans is carrying out projects with Zone2Source and BioArt Laboratories and is being advised by Arita Baaijens (explorer) and Darko Lagunas (socio-environmental researcher). He is also following a master class in Socratic dialogue with Sandra Aerts and Ine Rietstap, and a training course in Urban forestry with Tom van Duuren.
Baratto&Mouravas

Baratto&Mouravas

Nicola Baratto and Yiannis Mouravas both graduated from the Sandberg Institute and now work together in the practice Archaeodreaming. During their development year, with the project 'Seabed', they aim to research a specific cultural artefact that they consider essential to understanding our times: the bed. The intention is to generate utopian forms of imagination by connecting the socio-cultural discourse on sleep, dreams and deep-sea exploration. Baratto and Mouravas will be guided by the mentors Studio Ossidiana, Tjeerd Veenhoven (HuisVeendam) and Ernst van der Hoeven (MacGuffin). In addition, there will be collaborations with the Greek bed manufacturer COCO-MAT, the Donders Institute, and musician Marijn Degenaar (Circular Ruins). The project results in an immersive scenographic installation that will be presented at various locations in Italy and the Netherlands; the applicants are approaching the Oerol festival and the Zuiderzeemuseum, among others.
Benjamin McMillan

Benjamin McMillan

Benjamin McMillan graduated from ArtEZ in Arnhem in 2020. In the coming year, he will work on the project 'Full Auto Foundry' and the smaller project 'Sunday Lunch'. The goal of 'Full Auto Foundry' is to develop a workshop-based practice that starts from the collaboration between designer, non-human intelligence and automated processes. For this purpose, McMillan will be holding talks and following courses with experts in typography, automation and artificial intelligence. He will be doing this with Aaron Bastani, K. Allado-McDowell, Nora N. Khan, Fredrick Brennan, Just van Rossum and Loes Bogers, amongst others. For organizing workshops, McMillan is involving the expertise of Gaile Pranckunaite and Benoît Bodhuin. Together with Dong Bin Han, he is setting up workshops, for which he has a number of locations in mind: ArtEZ, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, KABK, San Serriffe and Varia in Rotterdam. For 'Sunday Lunch', the applicant is seeking guidance from professionals in the typography field to develop alternative modes of distribution.
Boey Wang

Boey Wang

Product designer Boey Wang (Studio Boey) gained his Bachelor's degree in Man and Wellbeing from the Design Academy in Eindhoven. Under the title 'Perceptual Design', Wang questions the dominance of the visual perspective within the design world. In the coming year, he will develop a theoretical framework and principles for a new way of designing, under the title 'Haptic Aesthetics', which is based on non-visual principles. Together with designer Simon Dogger and Visio Revalidatie & Advies Eindhoven, he is carrying out interviews and organizing workshops to gain greater insight into the perspective of people with visual impairments. Wang then applies the knowledge gained to new objects that promote the sense of touch. In addition, Wang intends to introduce his methodology within design education in order to break the dominance of the visual image in the design process on a larger scale. The knowledge and theory gained will be come together in a publication and various presentations. During the year, Wang is involving several advisers, including writers Gert Staal and Dirk van Weelden and The Agency For Ambition.
Céline Hurka

Céline Hurka

Graphic designer Céline Hurka gained a Master's degree in Type and Media from the KABK in The Hague. In her practice, Hurka is involved in book design, photography, interactive design, writing and materials research. For her, typography is what connects these disciplines. She pursues an experimental and research-based approach, using new technologies to explore and question typographic conventions. During the development year, Hurka is focusing on the development of new typographic standards, using variable typeface technology. She also wants to question typographical conventions and broaden the field, including by enabling typefaces for minority languages such as the Sámi. The applicant will work to acquire new skills in coding, non-Latin typeface design (including Cyrillic script), and writing. Russian typographer Anya Danilova will guide her during the process. Hurka would like to go to the US (New York, Rhode Island, San Francisco) and to Moscow and St. Petersburg for her research. She will present the results on a website, in a printed publication and in an interactive, physical installation. She will show her work at institutions in the Netherlands and Moscow and give lectures and workshops at conferences and academies, such as KABK and Konstfack Stockholm.
Charlotte Rohde

Charlotte Rohde

Graphic designer and typographer Charlotte Rohde graduated from the Sandberg Institute. In her practice, she explores the meaning of 'the letter as a body' in a multidisciplinary way, by transforming typefaces in different media, such as writing and making three-dimensional objects. During the development year, Rohde wants to sharpen her methodology for making multidisciplinary works from the letter design. In addition, she wants to initiate a discussion about integrating feminist strategies into a male-dominated field. For this purpose, she will write a short story in which she introduces a new typeface as the protagonist. To give this story a spatial interpretation, she will transform the typeface into ceramic and bronze objects. The applicant will present the results in a publication and a spatial installation. She will also conduct public interviews with typeface designers and argue in favour of making typeface licensing more accessible. To guide her, Rohde has found queer Armenian-American film theorist and writer Tina Bastajian and graphic designer and typographer David Bennewith. In addition, she is conducting feedback interviews with Jungmyung Lee. In the US, she wants to visit The Letterform Archive in San Francisco and meet a number of experts in the field of typography.
Christine Kipiriri

Christine Kipiriri

Fashion designer Christine Kipiriri (Women Ofwar) was selected during the Scout Night in Amsterdam. Having fled from Bujumbura, Burundi, the maker travelled with family to Germany, to subsequently end up in the Netherlands. Kipiriri describes in the development plan how she had her first experiences with racism here. Not only the lived experience as a refugee, but also growing up with computer parts, tools and other items found by her father are her inspiration. In the coming year, the designer will further expand her fashion label 'Woman Ofwar'. She is conducting research into her cultural background, with the aim of anchoring artistic values in her practice. To do this, Kipiriri is travelling to Burundi. The maker is seeking contact with Margaux Wongart, a local jewellery designer, who will guide her in the application of traditional fashion. She will also gain experience in making clothes during the master classes at Meesteropleiding Coupeur and at the Promiday workshop in Almere, where she has laser cutters and embroidery machines at her disposal. Kipiriri will present the final collection in the form of a fashion film.
Colette Aliman

Colette Aliman

Colette Aliman graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2019. She is researching the 'Mechaphony' (the mechanical soundscape) in the development year with the 'Sonic Recalibration Lab'. This research focuses specifically on three topics: urban noise, anthropomorphization of sound quantification and the sound paradoxes of green energy. With a three-part online publication, she aims to reach scientists, sound artists, and a wider audience interested in sound. In addition, Aliman is organizing a series of 'Soundscape Mixtape' workshops to connect different institutions to the network of the 'Sonic Recalibration Lab'. In the further professionalization of the lab, Aliman is guided by Marion Beltman (business coach), amongst others.
Dasha Tsapenko

Dasha Tsapenko

Designer Dasha Tsapenko graduated from the Master's programme in Social Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven. In her practice, Tsapenko investigates alternative production processes and designs or redesigns daily routines relating to the body and clothing. Within her holistic way of working, she borrows methods from agriculture, mycology and microbiology and nature systems. In the coming year, the designer will focus on further developing the research project 'Fur_tilize', in which she explores how to grow fur-like garments. Two plant species are central to the project: Trametes Betulina (a type of mushroom) and Cannabis Sativa (industrial hemp). During the year, Tsapenko will work with various scientists, including Professor Han Wösten (head of the microbiology department at Utrecht University), the Textiellab Tilburg or the platform 'Fashion for Good' and felting/tufting specialist Olga Mys. The result comes together in a collection of garments that will be presented during Fashion Clash Festival and DDW 2022.
David Schmidt

David Schmidt

Architect David Schmidt graduated from TU Delft. In his talent development trajectory, he aims to strengthen his practice by deploying a traditional craft approach on the one hand and by broadening his field of work to a more landscape-oriented approach on the other. The project 'De Andere Stad' (The Other City) is a design study into how a different kind of city can arise from place-based production processes within changing urban conditions. With a focus on Amsterdam-Noord, the project is structured according to three research themes: greening through reducing the amount of hard surfaces, new housing typologies, and an inclusive (sustainable and social) economy. A large scale model functions as an exchange place for new ideas. Schmidt is inviting a total of six experts: three are specialized in the research themes mentioned above, a fourth is focused on the changing role of the architect and a fifth on communication and representation. A sixth expert has yet to be determined. As a form of presentation, the large-scale model is intended not only as a summarizing end product, but also as a narrative representation of an evolving project. In public 'Site Salons', a learning network will be set up with the invited experts. In conclusion, there will be a 'Finissage De Salon' where the project will be presented by means of an exhibition of the model and an accompanying publication.
Diego Manuel Yves Grandry

Diego Manuel Yves Grandry

Designer Diego Manuel Yves Grandry studied Interactive Media Design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. In his practice, he uses tools from the digital world to create new stories about 'the other'. He hopes that people will become more empathetic and understanding. Grandry has a younger sister with a neurological disorder: Rett syndrome. During the development year, Grandry plans to work on developing alternative therapy methods for people with this syndrome. For this purpose, he uses Virtual Reality technology to animate their movements. To do this, he works from the art perspective in collaboration with the medical field, including neurologist Nicolai Joost (UMC+ Utrecht) and psychiatrist Gabriel Brun (Charles Perrens Hospitale in Bordeaux). In addition, he is looking for exchanges with families of Rett-syndrome carriers in the Netherlands and France. The ultimate goal is to fill a gap where traditional medical treatments come up short, and to jointly build alternative healthcare systems. The applicant wants to follow workshops at the VR learning Lab in Leiden. He has approached artist and designer Ali Eslami to be a mentor and is in contact with artist Kévin Bray. Grandry will present the results of his research in a series of online videos. He also hopes to show his work during the IMPAKT festival.
Djatá Bart-Plange

Djatá Bart-Plange

Djatá Bart-Plange aka NDNMK Solutions completed his Bachelor's degree in English Language and Culture at Utrecht University in 2018. Much of his work stems from the frustrations he experienced within the academic world. For example, knowledge politics, whiteness and masculinity are often-recurring themes. In the coming year, he will focus on producing the first chapter in the series of audiobooks called 'FF:FF:FF:FF:FF.FF' – a mishmash of prose, fiction and non-fiction, sound collage, and game elements. Through this series, Bart-Plange wants to build a digital bridge between the Western, hegemonic knowledge system and various West-African knowledge systems. This project aims at a decolonization of the mind through, at best, the development of a kind of bilingualism or multilingualism in world views – if not: it is an insight into the malleability, contingency, and strengths and weaknesses of our Western way of understanding the world; and it seeks to provide assistance in letting go, joining the scary unknown, learning to listen to voices from outside the imperial centres of the white world, in order to build something else together with the vast wealth of knowledge from all the sciences of the world and its people.
Dylan Westerweel

Dylan Westerweel

Fashion designer Dylan Westerweel gained his Bachelor's degree in Fashion Design at ArtEZ. He characterizes his label 'Dylan Westerweel' as a celebration of queerness: a fashion brand for everyone who wants to express his/her/their beauty and strength. Primarily because queer people dare to look at the world differently, because the world looks at them differently. This includes examining social constructs, such as beauty and design. Westerweel draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including the lives of rent boys in Victorian London and the work of Armenian filmmaker Sergei Paradzhanov. In the coming year, Westerweel will focus on developing a new collection entitled 'Sergei'. The collection tells the queer life story in seven seasons. For the development of 'Sergei', the designer is conducting literature and texture research at IHLIA and couture embroidery house Maison Lesage in Paris. The knowledge gained will be made accessible through a databank and an exhibition at Szalon Amsterdam. In addition, Westerweel is organizing a photo shoot of the collection with Nella Roz, after which he will offer the images to magazines such as Dazed, Paper, Slippage and Another Man. Finally, the collection will be presented in a gallery during Amsterdam Fashion Week and Westerweel is going to collaborate with KnitwearLab, Spice PR and Iconic PR.
Ebru Aydin

Ebru Aydin

Audiovisual maker Ebru Aydin was selected during the Scout Night in Utrecht. As a Turkish-Dutch woman with a Muslim background, Aydin is committed to raising awareness on the themes of social inequality, migration & Islam, perception, discrimination & racism, identity, (super)diversity and inclusion. As a follow-up to the project 'Hijab verhalen', Aydin will be researching the social position of Muslim women in the Netherlands in the coming year. To do this, she will talk to various experts such as university lecturer in religious studies Margreet van Es, programme maker Hajar Fallah, writer Samya Hafsaoui, politician Fatima El Atik, researcher Anne Dijk and editor Berna Toprak. For her artistic development, Aydin is taking a course in storytelling and consulting photographers Cigdem Yuksel and Sebiha Oztas. She is also making a podcast, for which she is collaborating with 'Wij Blijven Hier', an online platform for Dutch Muslims. Finally, Aydin is developing an in-depth programme and exhibition in collaboration with Pakhuis de Zwijger, OBA and TivoliVredenburg.
Eduardo Leòn

Eduardo Leòn

Fashion designer Eduardo Leòn (Avoidstreet) graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2017. In his multidisciplinary design practice, he focuses on showing the beauty of the banal and projecting 'high-gloss luxury' onto the everyday. In the coming year, he will be working on a new collection called 'Piazalle Lotto'. The collection is named after a district in Milan, where his grandmother ran an illegal restaurant from her living room and Peruvian immigrants from different parts of society found a second home. With this as starting point, Leòn aims to facilitate the conversation about immigration, culture and community, while also addressing the absurdities of the fashion industry. The collection is brought together in a physical and digital exhibition, a publication, a public programme and a website. For this, Leòn is working together with Amsterdam Warehouse. Throughout the year, the designer is involving various experts, including strategist and digital-culture expert Emily Segal. He is also looking to collaborate in the graphics area with Claudia Martinez Garay, Arturo Kameya and Elisabeth Klement of San Serriffe, on audio with Jonathan Casto and on choreography with Juan Pablo Camara. He is also planning to follow a 3D workshop at the AMFI and make study trips to Peru and Milan.
Emilia Tapprest

Emilia Tapprest

Emilia Tapprest is a 2019 graduate of the Sandberg Institute. With 'NVISIBLE.STUDIO' she is researching the way digitization processes shape the interaction between society, ideology and power. In the development plan, Tapprest focuses on a number of collaborative projects that use film and other forms of immersive storytelling to represent alternative ways of being. In collaboration with science historian Victor Evink, Tapprest is working on the project 'Zhōuwéi Network', which explores 16 archetypal and speculative models of society. During the development year, three projects are central: 'Sonzai Media', 'Inner Futures' and 'Embodied Protocols'. Tapprest is also working on three secondary projects: 'Zhōuwéi Network Film', 'Ambitopia' and 'Birthpains'. For the professionalization of her practice, the maker is following performance and movement workshops. As mentors, she is approaching Daan Milius (dramaturge), Huib Haye van der Werf (curator), Daniel van der Velden (designer), Rob Schröder, Martin Lopatka (data scientist) and Romeo Kienzler (IBM). The presentation of the work will take hybrid forms in physical exhibitions, workshops and online platforms.
Emirhan Akin

Emirhan Akin

Due to its sensitive nature, Emirhakin has made the request to keep the project unpublished until completion.
Gianna Bottema

Gianna Bottema

Gianna Bottema is in 2019 afgestudeerd aan de Architectural Association in Londen en wil in het ontwikkeljaar een kritiek vormen op de Nederlandse woningbouwpraktijk vanuit feministisch en intersectioneel perspectief. Haar onderzoek naar ongelijke verhoudingen in de woningomgeving bevraagt paradigma's rondom gender en seksualiteit en verkent de ruimtelijke mogelijkheden voor economische, politieke en sociale gelijkheid om deze vervolgens te vertalen naar alternatieve woningplattegronden. In de eerste helft van het ontwikkeljaar doet Bottema met 'woonatlas' theoretisch en typologisch onderzoek gedaan. Dit komt onder andere tot uiting in samenwerkingen met deskundigen op het gebied van wonen en genderstudies en een studiereis naar niet-Europese projecten. In de tweede helft wordt met 'woonrevolutie' gewerkt aan experimenten met beeldtechnieken, ontwerpstudies, en speculatieve woonvoorstellen. Ter afsluiting wordt met ' woondiscussie' het werk gepresenteerd via workshops, een publicatie gericht op vakpubliek en een website voor het bredere publiek.
Ivan Čuić

Ivan Čuić

Sound designer Ivan Čuić holds a Bachelor's degree in ArtScience from the Royal Academy of Art | Royal Conservatoire. With Kantarion Sound, Čuić organizes programmes combining live/DJ performances, improvisations, self-initiated projects, silent film with live electronics, exhibitions and listening sessions. He creates site-specific set-ups to make sound more physically experienceable and strives to achieve an optimal relationship between sound, space, audience and performance. During the development year, Čuić is focusing on optimizing the physical experience of sound. He does this in the Sonic Elevation project, which consists of audio work, a sound system, acoustic panels, an inflatable mattress, fog and light. He will build a custom-made sound system for Murmur, a space for sound in Amsterdam. He has entered into a long-term collaboration with them to explore the best possible listening environment. He is working together with Flex Acoustics, which develops flexible, inflatable acoustic units, and is initiating an acoustics training course with an expert. In addition, he is requesting feedback from sound artist Sébastien Robert. He is also organizing a 24-hour listening session at the Zandmotor off the coast at The Hague. He has been invited to present Sonic Elevation at the Nxt Museum and to perform at the festival The Gray Space in the Middle.
Jarmal Martis

Jarmal Martis

Digital product designer and image-maker Jarmal Martis was selected during the Scout Night in Utrecht. In the development plan, Martis describes the impact of image formation on communities, specifically Curaçaoans, and how population groups can be reduced to stereotypes. The maker wants to focus further on this theme in the coming year. In the project 'Yuli', Martis follows a single mother from Curaçao for a longer period of time. He visits her once or twice a week and documents her life through photography. In the coming year, the maker will lay the foundation for this project through participant observation and co-creation. He is also working on a short documentary and a number of essays to give the story a more layered quality. During the project, Martis will collaborate with documentary filmmaker Isaura Sanwirjatmo and curator Mona Penn-Jousset. The maker is also requesting feedback from Richard Terborg, Marlike Marks and Francois Hendrickx. The photo series and documentation will be presented in an exhibition, and a website will also be developed.
Karin Fischnaller

Karin Fischnaller

Designer Karin Fischnaller graduated from the Information Design Master's programme at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Fischnaller aims to unravel new technologies and reveal their disruptive impact on systems, both in design and in society. She does this by developing interactive interfaces: 'digital information spaces' where content is reorganized into network-like structures. By bringing together journalistic methods, design and creative coding, she wants to offer new insights and surprising perspectives, and facilitate a public debate. During the development year, the applicant is working on the further development of her methodology for navigating complex and interconnected storylines on digital platforms. She is building a knowledge database by interviewing experts, attending master classes and collecting examples. With the collected knowledge, she subsequently wants to give workshops at the Design Academy Eindhoven, the KABK, Free University of Bolzano (IT), or the Critical Media Lab (CH). She will present the findings with online events and spatial installations at institutions such as ACED, The Hmm or On Data and Design (CH) and at MU artspace, Dutch Design Week or the GLUE festival. Rik Dijkhoff and Roosje Klap have agreed to guide her.
Kirsten Spruit

Kirsten Spruit

Graphic designer Kirsten Spruit gained a Master's degree in Information Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven. In her work, Spruit relates to the theme of 'off time', or 'doing nothing' – time that seems unproductive within a capitalist value system, but which she believes is necessary for a meaningful existence. Using various media and disciplines, she creates circumstances, environments or stimuli to make room for aimless thinking. During the development year, Spruit is sharpening her methodologies and theoretical framework with regard to 'doing nothing', work, productivity and technology and making them publicly accessible. At the same time, she is developing her skills in graphic design, writing, coding and sound, and interviewing experts via her radio station Good Times Bad Times. Erik Viskil, professor of Research and Discourse in Artistic Practice at Leiden University, will provide guidance in making an essay film. She also plans to take New York University's online course Theories of Media and Technology and a course in online publishing by Laurel Schwulst and John Provencer. To share her findings, she is developing a workshop for art academies, making a radio show and screening her essay film at LantarenVenster and Lab1.
Leyla-Nour Benouniche

Leyla-Nour Benouniche

Artist Leyla-Nour Benouniche studied at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague. From her background as a French-Algerian queer researcher and facilitator, she focuses on the stories of queer people and women of colour, with a focus on mental health and consent. During her development year, Benouniche wants to build an online and real-life community to support young marginalized people in Europe, where tools, common experiences and magical escapism can be shared. For this, she wants to make a video series of live talk shows, framed by an overarching fictional animation story. Popular 'life lesson' programmes such as children's programmes and talk shows such as Queer Eye or Oprah serve as examples. She combines this with elements of science fiction from African and specifically North African mythologies, and visual codes from the queer and diaspora communities. For this purpose, she is conducting research into mediation, science fiction, and ethical, cultural and digital literacy. She is receiving guidance from the (A)wake Artist Residency in MONO Rotterdam. She will also seek advice from Nike Ayinla and Nas Hosen (Orisun studio), Margarita Osipian (The Hmm) and Navild Acosta and Fannie Sosa (experts on ethical and inclusive practices), among others. She plans to present the resulting workshops, talks and screenings at festivals such as the New Radicalism Festival at MONO Rotterdam, Dutch Design Week and The Hang-Out.
Lieke Jildou de Jong

Lieke Jildou de Jong

Lieke Jildou de Jong, a graduate of the Academy of Architecture, wants to develop as a landscape architect with a specialization in food cycles. With her design practice landscape.collected, she is working on the project 'Bodemlegger' during her development year. In this project, she researches how food culture shapes the landscape. For this purpose, she is conducting talks at an experimental farm with knowledge of soil vitality in relation to crops, with a cook who makes the food landscape edible and with entomologists who are charting the diet of insects and soil life. Subsequently, the design phase starts. In this phase, she is developing a design methodology that results in an installation that gives the public insight into the workings of an ecosystem. In order to strengthen her position in the field, De Jong will receive guidance from various experts and tutors, including Lada Hršak, who will coach her throughout the development year.
Luis Ferreira

Luis Ferreira

Coder Luis Ferreira (Schuur Creations) is self-taught and was selected during the Scout Night in Eindhoven. In the past two years, Ferreira has developed independently in creative coding. In the development plan, Ferreira describes his ambition to develop further in storytelling through technology. The development plan is divided into three phases, which include self-development through research and collaborations, gaining inspiration with like-minded makers and supporting others through workshops. During the year, the maker will gain knowledge from Paul Raats, Alissa+Nienke, Jing Wang, The Orchestra, Ellen de Vries and Ricky van Broekhoven, among others. He is also seeking contact with organizations that can contribute to the development of his practice, such as Creative Coding Utrecht, FIBER, Waag and We are Playgrounds. To stimulate the exchange with like-minded people, Ferreira is working on a platform for Creative Coders in Eindhoven, which now exists only as a Facebook group. To further develop himself technically and artistically, he is following a number of master classes and training courses, for example at Unity's Create with Code. Finally, the maker is translating the knowledge gained into several workshops that will be held in collaboration with Future Makers Factory and Sintlucas.
Maggie Saunders

Maggie Saunders

Designer Maggie Saunders graduated in 2019 from the Master's programme in Social Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven. In her practice, Saunders focuses on improving the working conditions of sex workers from her personal experience as a stripper. With this in mind, she developed the social-design project 'Striptopia', a performative experience that aims to create a new culture concerning sex work using technological means. During the development year, Saunders intends to further explore and develop the social, performative and spatial experience of the strip club. She does this in co-creation with sex workers and under the guidance of external experts. In addition, she wants to develop new forms of social interaction between the public and sex workers: approaching the strip club as an interactive journey through a series of choreographed events and exploring a new aesthetic and spatial layout that no longer follows the rules of the classic gentlemen's club. In this search, she wants to collaborate with Marieke Samallo (Milkshake Festival), Theo Heskes (Totally Events and Rotterdam Pride) and social-media expert Yema Lumumba. In addition, she is seeking contact with Jess Barry, researcher gender-sensitive design practices and theory, and Joel Blanco, Professor of Design for Innovation and Trend Research at ESD Madrid. The presentation will take place during Dutch Design Week 2022.
Marcel Mrejen

Marcel Mrejen

Marcel Mrejen holds a Bachelor's degree in Art & Design from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. His practice is characterized by a multidisciplinary approach, at the intersection of art and science. He uses digital media to develop new ways of learning and increase our awareness of our dependence on ecosystems. His work takes various forms such as multimedia installations, software, AI models, moving images and publications. During the development year, in dialogue with makers and thinkers, Mrejen intends to develop a research methodology that focuses on the learning of non-human beings and multiple organic intelligences. For this purpose, he will carry out material experiments and create a new work with which he aims to reach a wider audience. In the bay of Paimpol (France), the applicant will develop a site-specific, multisensory installation, using underwater sensors and augmented reality. Mrejen's work will be part of an exhibition in France, and in addition he wants to present the digital part of the installation in Eindhoven or Rotterdam. Finally, he is sharing his research through an online knowledge platform and producing a publication.
Marko Baković

Marko Baković

Shoe designer Marko Baković gained his Master's degree in Footwear from the London College of Fashion. In his design practice, hybridity and circularity play a central role. During the development year, Baković wants to explore how practice-based knowledge can be digitized and how off-the-shelf materials can be incorporated into scalable production chains. He is addressing the questions through three elements: 1. the definition of a research lab, 2. the creation of a crafts database and 3. the production of 'Collection 01'. In the research lab, Baković will be carrying out several experiments with footwear and working on the deployment of digital tools such as VR and UX design within the design process. The designer will provide access to this knowledge in a database and collection called '01'. To develop the collection, Baković will carry out field research in Veneto (Italy) and take individual lessons from shoemaker René van den Berg. He will also collaborate with coder Michiel Heems for the technical development of the project. The collection will be presented via an interactive website with exclusive tours, and during Paris Fashion Week in collaboration with Tomorrow Ltd.
Octave Rimbert-Rivière

Octave Rimbert-Rivière

Designer and ceramicist Octave Rimbert-Rivière graduated from the Sandberg Institute in 2020. In his practice, he investigates the field of tension between uniqueness, craft, mass production and new technologies. His design methodology is based on existing technology for streamlined production, which he then disrupts to achieve unique results. In the first phase of his development path, Rimbert-Rivière is experimenting with CAD software. He is supported here in the technical area by 3D artist and game designer Guillaume Roux. In the second phase, the digital models are translated to a physical form through traditional techniques such as ceramics and glass-blowing. Here, he is guided by ceramicists Marianne Peijnenburg and Anne Verdier, and glass expert Steef Hendricks. Ultimately, Rimbert-Rivière will present his work in a publication (in collaboration with graphic designer Alex J. Walker and curators Sophie Lvoff and Joel Riff), an exhibition in ISO and online (in collaboration with coder Olivier Jonvaux).
Patricia Mokosi

Patricia Mokosi

Fashion designer Patricia Mokosi (On God by Tries) was selected during the Scout Night in Amsterdam. The maker, who was born in Congo and raised in Eindhoven, currently lives in Amsterdam. Mokosi draws her inspiration from her turbulent youth, which has left her with a fascination for everything that has to do with the audiovisual, spiritual and occult. In the coming year, the fashion designer will focus on further developing her label On God by Tries. For this purpose, she will gather knowledge and work on her technical skills, and follow a master class in Textile Design. She will incorporate the results of her research into a collection of unisex clothing and accessories made from sustainable materials. The collection will be presented in a fashion show and fashion film. To strengthen her audience reach, Mokosi is working with Blanche Agency.
Renske van Vroonhoven

Renske van Vroonhoven

Olfactory designer and perfumer Renske van Vroonhoven is self-taught and was scouted during the Scout Night Eindhoven. With her interdisciplinary practice, she aims to design comprehensive experiences, focusing on the senses of touch, taste and especially smell – the so-called lower senses – to bring people into an experience in an inclusive way. Van Vroonhoven stands for openness and wants to share her knowledge and skills with other artists, designers and students. She works together with commercial as well as artistic and scientific partners. In 2018, she launched her label Attic Lab. She is involved in the open-source Scent Lab and the Memory Bar collaboration. She is also a guest lecturer at the KABK in The Hague and ArtEZ in Arnhem. During the development year, Van Vroonhoven will focus on the relationship between smell and memories. She is immersing herself (theoretically and practically) in the meaning of smell as a design medium and experimenting with new techniques. In addition, the applicant is exploring the role of smell in exhibitions and expanding her involvement in art education. She is currently participating in Tussen Kunst & Skills, a mentoring programme focusing on entrepreneurship.
Robbert Doelwijt Jr.

Robbert Doelwijt Jr.

Audiovisual maker Robbert Doelwijt Jr. was selected during the Scout Night in Amsterdam. In the development plan, Doelwijt describes his ambition to develop further as a director and writer. The maker was born in the Bijlmer (Amsterdam) and has Surinamese parents with roots in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, China and Indonesia.

This family history and having a bicultural identity form the basis for the themes in Doelwijt's practice. During the development process, Doelwijt will work on the short film 'The Underwear Boys', in which he records his feelings about his identity as a black bicultural man. He will work with experienced producers to gain knowledge about building a career as a writer/director. In addition to the short film, he will also be making a start on the documentary 'There's an app for that', which is centred around Third Culture Kids, a group of Gen Z youth with bicultural backgrounds. For the screening of the film, the maker will talk to film festivals in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and abroad.
Rosen Eveleigh

Rosen Eveleigh

Graphic designer Rosen Eveleigh studied at the Werkplaats Typografie at ArtEZ. In their practice, they explore how queer and trans people utilize graphic design to communicate and represent themselves. They focus on the Netherlands in the context of the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. During the development year, Eveleigh plans to take this research further by means of a 'reactivation phase'. With a series of collaborative intergenerational oral histories and workshops, they are exploring this queer and trans history from a contemporary standpoint. They hope this will provide new insights into the relationship between queerness and graphic design in the Netherlands. They are using the results of their research as the basis for a series of workshops with queer and trans youth. In addition, they will present the results of their research in a multidisciplinary project consisting of a lecture, debate and publication.
Rossel Chaslie

Rossel Chaslie

Illustrator and animator Rossel Chaslie is self-taught and was scouted during Scout Night Amsterdam. In his practice, Black History, (anti)racism and the African diaspora play a central role. With his work, he wants to empower himself, born in Suriname, and others from Africa and the African diaspora. By depicting Afro-Surinamese and Afro-Dutch stories, he wants to educate and emancipate people. To do this, he uses fiction forms such as Afro-futurism, Sci-fi and fantasy. During his development year, Chaslie wants to develop himself further as a visual artist and animator. He wants to work on a pilot for a Dutch-Surinamese animation series, a children's book and a collection of illustrations and stories about Black history. In this process, he will collaborate and exchange information and experiences with other animators, voice actors and sound designers. In the animation series, he wants to combine the history of Suriname in the 1980s and 1990s with a fictional story about the girl Manu. Among other things, he wants to do research in Suriname and work together with The Black Archives. His aim is to present his work to Afro-Surinamese and Afro-Dutch people and also reach a broad, white audience to achieve more understanding and respect for Black history and culture. For this purpose, he is organizing events in his studio, making videos of the work process and offering internships for young people.
Sebastian Stittgen

Sebastian Stittgen

Biodesigner Sebastian Stittgen graduated from the Social Design Master's programme at the Design Academy Eindhoven. In his practice, Stittgen researches how to use design to transform seemingly worthless matter, such as residual products from industrial processes, into artefacts with a cultural value. In doing so, he raises questions about the ethical side of production and consumption, and our moral responsibility in this. During his development year, under the heading 'Matter out of place', Stittgen is developing three projects that inform each other: For 'Recombined Wood', he investigates hoe lignin and cellulose fibres (industrial waste products) can be used to make a new type of wood. In collaboration with microENVISION and Juan Arturo Garcia he is making a series of interviews on the subject of blood, entitled 'Fluid Dialogues', with the aim of breaking down HIV-related stigmas. The third component consists of 'Moving Matter Laboratory', a mobile biodesign workshop, hosted by MAK Vienna, dieDAS Design Akademie Saaleck, STORESTORE, BurgHalle University and the Floriade Almere. In the coming year, Stittgen will involve designer Maurizio Montalti (Officina Corpuscoli) in all of this as a mentor and sparring partner.
Shaquille Veldboom

Shaquille Veldboom

Game designer Shaquille Veldboom was selected during the Scout Night Amsterdam. Veldboom followed various engineering studies, but discovered that he would rather tell stories than design real cars. He works in the video-game industry and now wants to develop his own video game, entitled 'GodSpeed'. With this game, he wants to convey his personal experiences and life lessons. In the game, main character Grio Yggdrasil, who, like the applicant, grew up in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost, follows his dream and starts his own car brand. During his development year, Veldboom wants to learn how to tell interactive stories with his 3D designs. For the presentation of 'GodSpeed', he is producing a real version of the microcar from the game. The applicant will organize demonstrations of the game on Dam Square and other busy locations inside and outside Amsterdam. In addition, he is raising awareness of his game through social media (YouTube and Instagram) and making it available on various gaming platforms, such as Epic game store, Steam, Playstation store and Microsoft store, and to some YouTube racing-game streamers.
Stefan Duran

Stefan Duran

Audiovisual maker Stefan Duran (Tastic Visuals) was selected during the Scout Night in Rotterdam. As a motion designer, Duran has the ambition to develop further in the field of animation. He wants to increase its expressiveness. The reason for his research is the commercialization of Hip Hop and the way this scene is losing its critical message and position. Duran asks himself the question: “How can I use the combination of music, dialogue and animation to convey an in-depth and socially relevant story?” In his development year, the maker plans to focus on developing 3D animation, symbolism and producing a music video and an animated musical called 'De 3e kamer'. During the development period, he will follow several courses, including 'motion design professional' at Created Academy. Duran is calling on the expertise of theatre dramaturge Maarten van Hinte and wants to collaborate with animation and illustration collective Lemon Bandit and music producer Tim Block. He intends to release the animations at Noah's Ark and 101Barz and will collaborate here with Aidem Agency. The pilot of 'De 3e Kamer' will be published on a website, along with short vlogs, sketches and a backstory.
Sterre Richard

Sterre Richard

Illustrator Sterre Richard graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy. She is committed to achieving a better representation of how mental illness manifests itself and affects people, and what family or friends can do to help. The reason behind the project is the way people with a mental illness are represented in media and pop culture. An example of this is the common stereotype of the 'psychotic killer'. In the coming year, Richard will be working on a script, a project pitch and a comic book focusing on the above-mentioned themes. Richard is asking cartoonist and writer David Mazzuchelli to guide her during the development process. The maker is also taking a number of writing courses, including the Odysse Writing Workshop in Manchester (USA). Finally, Richard will continue to research the optimization of full-colour work in order to make conscious colour choices.
Süheyla Yalçin

Süheyla Yalçin

Audiovisual maker Süheyla Yalçin was selected during the Scout Night in Eindhoven. During the development year, Yalçin, as the daughter of parents with a migration history, is making the claiming of the forgotten Turkish history central to her research. In the project 'De Diaspora Designer', the maker questions in a satirical yet critical way who decides what design is. The project is divided into four phases. In Phase A, Yalçin conducts research in cities that can provide her with insight into the development of migration flows of Turkish workers, such as Eindhoven, Ghent (BE), Schiedam, Saarlouis (DU) and Istanbul (TR). In Phase B, Yalçin works on scriptwriting, audio editing and develops graphic design skills. The maker calls on the expertise of Mustafa Duygulu, Collectief Schik and Roisin Tapponi, among others. In Phases C and D, Yalçin works on several transmedia productions, including an audiovisual documentary. She hopes to present these on platforms such as the VPRO and HUMAN.
Tabea Nixdorff

Tabea Nixdorff

Tabea Nixdorff graduated from the Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem and is focusing during the development year on the research project 'su-sur-rous (a chorus of expanded bodies from the margins)'. The project is a search for under-represented biographies of those who, through hybridization of their bodies with musical instruments, machines or other technologies, have developed alternative languages. In addition, Nixdorff plans to continue working with Setareh Noorani on a study of intersectional, feminist design strategies during the second feminist wave in the Netherlands. Together with Gerardo Ismael Madera, she is developing a seminar and is looking for connections with schools and cultural institutions. During the year, she will gain expertise from sound artist and poet Caroline Bergvall. She is also revamping her website in collaboration with web developer Magalie Chetrit and taking voice training with vocalist Fides Krucker. The research will come together in a publication that is accompanied by a number of listening sessions and performative lectures with guest speakers. Nixdorff has the Kunstverein in Amsterdam and Errant Sound in Berlin in mind as locations for these sessions.
Tobie van Putten

Tobie van Putten

Fashion designer Tobie van Putten is self-taught and was scouted during the Scout Night Eindhoven. Under his label new.toob, he presents clothes in which he combines illustration and fashion. His design process starts from an illustration, which he converts into a design. He prints that design on fabric and from there he designs a garment. During the development year, he will focus on making his own textiles, in order to develop greater freedom of choice, more autonomy and sustainable fabrics. For this purpose, he wants to delve deeper into the properties of textiles, learn new weaving techniques and experiment with printing on technical fabrics. He is seeking expertise from Yumuna Forzani, who makes knitted art and her own fabrics. In the TexielLab in Tilburg, he works with 3D print designer Rutger Paulusse, and with Vince Reece Hale he is developing a collection of denims. He is learning pattern drawing from Leonore Boeke. With photographer Tom ten Seldam he is working on his website. These interdisciplinary collaborations bring him the following: his own fabric, an improved fit, more detail in the clothes through 3D print design, a new collection and professional campaigns. He will present this collection in an interactive installation.
Yuro Moniz

Yuro Moniz

Ceramicist and maker Yuro Moniz was selected during the Scout Night in Rotterdam. Moniz works with clay in a traditional way and with her vases and objects she goes back to the essence of what makes us human. In the coming year, Moniz will focus on further developing her technical skills, specifically the hand shaping of ceramics. With the project 'Transcend the Mundane', she is specializing in the form, function and story of an object. Themes such as symbolism, origin and cultural values play an important role here. By researching old decoration techniques, including gilding, Moniz is strengthening her own visual language. In honour of her 30th birthday, Moniz is making a series of 30 objects which can be seen in a solo exhibition. The ceramicist is also presenting her work at the Salone Del Mobile in Milan. For guidance during the development process, Moniz is calling on the artistic and business knowledge of designer Harvey Bouterse. In addition, the maker is visiting Atelier NL, following various workshops and carrying out archival research at The Black Archives.
Zalán Szakács

Zalán Szakács

Zalán Szakács gained a Master's degree in Fine Art and Design from the Piet Zwart Institute. In his practice, he wants to make forgotten media visible again, through archaeological research. In the coming year, Szakács will focus on the further development of his own methodology, artistic signature and positioning within the digital culture field. He is developing two projects: 'Lichtspiel' and 'Tisztás'. For Lichtspiel, the maker will explore 17th-century lenses and light reflections and their metaphorical qualities. Professor Frank Kessler will guide him in this process. He will also talk to media archaeologist Erkki Huhtamo, media teacher Eric Kluitenberg, Professor Nana Verhoeff, media producer Rudi Knoops, Sonic Acts director Lucas van der Velden, artist Joost Rekveld and researcher Javier Lloret Pardo for artistic, content-related and technical guidance. For the Tisztás project, Szakács will make a physical and mental journey back to his childhood in Transylvania. In the Carpathian Mountains, he will collect data on smells, sounds, materials and light. He is working together with olfactory artist Klara Ravat. In addition, the applicant is involving the expertise of organizer Paulien Dresscher, Fiber founder Jarl Schurlp, artist Eva Fischer, photographer Sophie de Vos and curator Viola Lukacs, among others. Both projects will result in installations that will be presented during Dutch Design Week 2022.
 Gabriel Fontana

Gabriel Fontana

To which team do you belong? Who can, and should participate? Who gets the ball? To which dressing room do you have access? In the recent work of social designer and researcher Gabriel Fontana, (team) sports are seen as a metaphor and model for society at large: 'Sports are pre-eminently a normative and often exclusive domain. There are gender-specific rules concerning behaviour and appearance. Moreover, not all bodies are able to participate in every sport.' Fontana observed how social norms are propagated, internalised and reproduced in sports education and decided to investigate and reshape this practice.

'I had people play mixed team sports in silence and saw that girls got the ball more often and felt more at ease because usually it's mainly boys who shout each other's names,' says Fontana. This raised the question of the voice's role in the production and reproduction of social norms. For the Voice and (Hear)archies project, Fontana designed a series of sports games that use the voice and listening in a new way.

Fontana, whose father was a sports teacher, works at various art academies and sees education as an extremely political context. The production and reproduction of social norms and identities take place not only during sports education but also in the interiors and design of educational institutes' physical space. His project Safer Landscapes responds to this and offers a Queering Manual, a practical set of interventions that institutions and teachers can use to disrupt the usual norm-affirming practices and achieve a more inclusive physical context.

Fontana, who works at the intersection of sociology and design, enjoys collaborating with people from different disciplines to broaden his understanding. 'Ultimately,' he says, 'every form of design is inherent in social design.' Design produces and reproduces ideologies. 'It is important to recognise the complexity of the issues you deal with as a designer, and to recognise one's responsibility.'


Text: Merel Kamp
Andrius Arutiunian

Andrius Arutiunian

Andrius Arutiunian is a composer and sound artist who received his BA and MA from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. His hybrid practices include multimedia installations and audiovisual live performances that investigate the cultural and social histories of different, often peripheral communities. In 2017 for example, he researched the Armenian diaspora and disco music by collecting cassette tapes and records from the 1970s and 1980s. Arutiunian then released a limited-edition record, drawing upon the sounds of these sonic artefacts. 'The project examines how people interact with vernaculars, how they express their cultural histories, and the extent to which a periphery can reveal who we are and our place in the world.'

Arutiunian's The Irresistible Power of Silent Talking is an audiovisual installation based on the automated system of the iBorderCtrl algorithm. 'This algorithm recognises the facial expressions of migrants entering the European Union. Recognising the necessity for a critical stance towards technology and the political implications of using violent forms of surveillance underpin my work.' In a poetic way, Arutiunian questions the use of technology as a political instrument in migration. 'I am currently conducting research which stems from my fascination with the word “gharib”, or “foreigner'' in English.' The word originates from Arabic and Farsi and also occurs in Armenian and Greek. It differs from the Western interpretation of a foreigner as “the other'' and is more aligned with the idea of belonging to something without being a part of it.'

Arutiunian is also involved with music events outside of the regular social or legal norms and rhythms such as night-time raves. 'The periphery is a safe haven for marginalised communities and a way to escape the focus of oppressive systems.' Arutiunian has recently spoken with curators, writers, philosophers and scientists from various disciplines to create a performance which revolves around instrument tuning and its link to alternative sonic realities. 'In the future, I hope to take this collaborative approach through conversations into my practice and develop it into publications about belonging and nocturnal sonic events.'


Text: Manique Hendricks
Asefeh Tayebani
Asefeh Tayebani
Asefeh Tayebani
Asefeh Tayebani

Asefeh Tayebani

'But you don't look autistic'. Asefeh Tayebani heard that sentence many times at the Graduation Show of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, where she exhibited her graduation project to the press and public in 2018. Less than six months earlier she was diagnosed with autism. 'It's difficult to explain to others what that exactly means', Tayebani says. 'I noticed that what I said was often not understood or believed.' With the project Precious Burden she chose to let others feel it. Three wearable accessories let you physically experience what it's like to be hypersensitive in terms of proximity, touch, sound and eye contact. Ever felt a paralyzing shock when someone touches you? Experienced ambient noise as deafening? Or not being able to look someone straight in the eye?

Nevertheless, she kept hearing that one sentence. It became the title of her next project, which Tayebani started with the support of Creative Industries Fund NL. Soon the online platform butyoudontlookautistic.nl will be launched, specifically for women with autism. 'Almost everything you can find about this disorder is geared towards men', says Tayebani. 'Women often don't get the diagnosis until later in life, I was already thirty. And even then there is a lot of disbelief; after all, you can't see it on the outside.' In the past year she has conducted a lot of research, collected personal stories, and worked together with graphic designer Fallon Does on an autism-friendly web design that does not put off the target group. 'A lot of websites I find difficult to deal with; I tune out when there's too much going on on the screen', says Tayebani. Therefore, in this design extra attention has been paid to an orderly layout, without excessive information overload and bright colors.

Removing stigmas from illnesses and making the invisible visible; these are themes that inform much of Tayebani's work. For example, she conducted material research into healing 'wounds' in materials. After a course in clothing repair, where she learned to darn socks with a needle and thread, to lock frayed edges and repair tears, she decided to apply the same technique to metal. Leaving Traces shows copper as you have never seen it before; no smooth, tightly polished surfaces, but sheets with dents, folds, scratches and holes. The visible care with which they have been repaired with copper wire is touching. They were broken, but that is no longer relevant; during the repair process, they have only become more beautiful.


Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Audrey Large

Audrey Large

Audrey Large's work oscillates accurately between the digital and the analogue. She doesn't see the computer as a means of reproducing reality, but rather one that produces reality itself. She wants to use digital technology as a tabula rasa where new forms can spontaneously arise. 'I am a designer, but I produce sculptures. I produce files that may become objects. That's where I can make a difference; not so much in making objects, but in shifting the methodology from object design towards making sculptures.' Her design activity focuses on designing files which can be materialised in different ways: digitally as a three-dimensional drawing or tangibly as a 3D printed object.

Over the course of the past year she created work for an exhibition at the Nilufar Gallery in Milan. The show was presented in several different forms. As 'a first chapter', she made an experimental website that allows the viewer to get close to the work's origin: the file. The website shows a floating tangle of irregularly shaped objects that can be pulled apart and viewed from every angle. The objects seem impossible to 'bring to life', but Large has also 3D printed these shapes. For the willing viewer, their functions seem simple – a table or a shelf – because we simply have different expectations of design than of art. 'I use function as a 'sign', says the designer.

Large considers the digital form to be just as 'real' as the printed form. No hierarchy exists between the online presentation and the arrangement of objects in the gallery. The modes of presentation highlight different aspects of her approach and show different materialisations of the files. 'People always see the physical outcome, but that's just one possible manifestation of the file. I always like to ponder the file's potential and materiality.' She pays a lot of attention to the object's perception and its tactile qualities, both digitally and physically. The choices for the design's execution – size, material, colour – are endless. Hence the title of the online part of the exhibition: Scale to Infinity.


Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Bodil Ouedraogo

Bodil Ouedraogo

Designer Bodil Ouédraogo is always busy with the art of 'dressing up', the rules concerning how garments should be worn and the meanings associated with them. Her interest focuses specifically on fashion related to her West African and Northwestern European heritage. She is searching for connections between the garments of these cultures and for ways to integrate them into her own work.

'In Black Culture, there is so much etiquette surrounding fashion that forces you to take up space. This affects me, showing that one should dare to be visible and take pride in that. Consciously positioning yourself, being aware of this and occupying space intrigues me, especially as someone from the African diaspora. I would like to understand all these elements and translate them into the here and the now. How can I reconnect these dots' Indeed, such connections are of great value; 'The more of those connections you find, the bigger your web becomes and the more enriching and grounded your existence, making it more valuable and intimate for me to be who I am.'

During her Talent Development year, Ouédraogo worked on two projects that she will present during different editions of Amsterdam Fashion Week. She based the first presentation on a previously made video tutorial where four models from Burkina-Faso demonstrate how to wear a grand boubou; a large, stiff, waxed fabric robe that you have to keep moving in order for it to look good. She then asked a choreographer to create a dance based on this video tutorial. The outcome literally portrays carrying the weight of the heavy grand boubou but also the weight you carry as a person of color. The original video is then projected onto the dancers' transparent outfits, designed by Ouédraogo and inspired by the grand boubou: thus, completing the circle.

The grand boubou is also the starting point for her second presentation. She has designed a capsule collection in collaboration with clothing brand Patta, where she translates the folds and wrinkles of the wax fabric into a fabric pattern. She plays with the oversized aesthetic characteristics of both the grand boubou and hip-hop fashion. The presentation is an installation – a 'living still life' – in which Ouédraogo places the models within a landscape she has created from African sculptures, influences from 1970s West African photography, and African diaspora streetwear.


Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Cleo Tsw

Cleo Tsw

A grant from Creative Industries Fund NL allowed graphic designer Cleo Tsw the freedom to create autonomously: alongside her commissioned work, she was given space to be able to take a critical look at the world and how we shape it. 'Designers organize information, that's what design basically is. The way they do this is influenced by everything they have experienced in their lives.' The fact that she herself comes from Singapore, a British colony until 1963, also influences her work, which she calls anti-colonial – but it is much broader than that. It resists imposed frameworks and therefore prefers not to explain too much about the work. The freedom of thought of the maker, the viewer, and the reader, are invaluable to her.

The past year was all about experimentation. Researching, reading, writing, organizing and documenting in an attempt to break free from what we think we know, based on what is presented to us. She made reports in the form of printed quires: loosely folded printed sheets, which, when bundled together make a 32-page book. At the end of this research year, the first quires will be assembled into Off Course 1: a book that plays with words and images. A compilation of seemingly separate fragments challenges the reader to look critically and navigate their own path through the mountain of information we are presented with each day.

The conventions of print are abandoned or used in an alienating way. For example, the book begins not with a preface, but with an associative register, followed by a multifaceted compilation: fragments of statements, passages from books, graphic novels, collages, comics and more. Whoever wants to interpret it faces a challenging task. However, that was exactly the intention; everyone can give their own interpretation and determine their own position. 'I don't like to explain my work too much', says Tsw. 'People can do that themselves. If it were up to me, this text would only say: I made a book.'


Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Don Kwaning

Don Kwaning

While out on his walks, designer Don Kwaning is always on the lookout for beautiful plants with special colors and new exciting materials. By 'picking and fidgeting' on a piece of pitrus (a common grass-like plant), he discovered that the inside of the stem is a fascinating foamy pith. For his graduation project, he processed this pitrus into twelve different materials: from textile-like fibers that you can use to create yarns, to paper and cardboard, to foam blocks and a lightweight sheet material.

A goal for this year is to see if he can further develop any of those materials commercially. This is generally a lengthy and at times frustrating process which can take anywhere from five to ten years. One of the challenges is that the pith cannot yet be removed from the stem mechanically, only by hand. Also, when scaling up, the pitrus that he is able to buy from the Forestry Commission, which is trying to control the lushly growing plant, is not enough. Cultivation will then be required, a whole different story.

In addition to this search, this year Kwaning is also exploring how he wants to shape his practice in the future. What makes him happy is showing the potential of plant-based materials, as an artisan in materials development. But what would be the best way to do this? By developing a discovery into a semi-finished product, which others can then use? Or by turning it into a ready-made interior design? Or more autonomously and conceptually to show the power of a material in a more abstract form? And how does one put their personal stamp on such an experiment?

These are questions Kwaning tries to answer through trial and error, conversations with others and, above all, a lot of thought. 'I think that this grant has ensured that my mind is now fully committed to this struggle. I don't mean that in a negative sense because it is actually positive. The fact that I have been given this space, is incredibly valuable to me.'


Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Fana Richters

Fana Richters

'We from the African Diaspora finally realize that we are our own priority. We take the future in our own hands, with own solutions and visions guided by the spirits of our ancestors. We are constructing new worlds and realities that anticipate possible futures, coinciding with the present and reclaiming the past.' This statement is prominent on the website of fashion designer and interdisciplinary artist Fana Richters.

That she speaks in the we-form is telling: Richters' work is part of a larger movement. For a reason it was included in last year's exhibition Voices of Fashion at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, and it is currently on display in the exhibition De Gouden Koets at Amsterdam Museum, which shows not only the restored golden coach – formerly used by the Dutch royal family – but also the discussions that have been held in the past and present about this iconic vehicle.

Richters created an international furor with her afrofuturistic Planet AiRich. The world she creates here is focused on rediscovering and redefining black identity. The characters in her work therefore do not comply with Western ideals of beauty. 'In my work, the power of black identity is a recurring theme. For this I mix elements of contemporary (pop) culture with those of from African histories. Fashion, music and spiritual mythology come together in my work.'

The past year Richters has been working on The Walking Exhibition, in which she builds a bridge between the artistic world and the fashion industry. Surrounded by experts and advisers in various fields, including fashion and textiles, she developed a series of suits. A central role is played by her own photography handwriting, which is characterized by collage techniques. According to Richters, sustainability is an indispensable element and she certainly wants to demonstrate this in the design by using the natural plant hemp, among other things. The final product will be presented during a fashion show where Richters wants to become acquainted with a commercial manner of presentation.
Frances Rompas

Frances Rompas

Frances Rompas studied biology at the University of Utrecht and obtained her Master's in Environmental Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her practice combines her academic background as a biologist with moving images and installations, and looks for ways to poetically and visually translate nature's power, balance and dynamics. Her presentations aim to connect the audience through watching, reflecting and experiencing together. These values are also strongly reflected in her activities as a DJ and event organiser in Utrecht.

Rompas's practice includes video portraits that document personal stories told not through words but the intervening moments of intimate glances and silences. She employs a broad visual language, meticulously focusing on composition and the subject's movement therein. Rompas has recently been making a very personal and autobiographical project about her origins. 'I carry out historical research into the landscape where my ancestors lived in Minahasa, also known as Manado, in the Indonesian province of North Sulawesi. I zoom in on the inland villages at the foot of the Soputan volcano. The focus is on Manado's landscape.' Her approach is distinctive compared to other Indonesian diaspora stories that usually emphasize historical elements such as colonial rule and war. 'I approach the project from historical accounts and descriptions of the environment. Feeling and emotion are central to this. I want to have a thorough understanding of my ancestors' landscape.'

Rompas recently presented the first outcome of her autobiographical project in the form of a public sculpture comprising eight-metre-long bamboo sticks anchored in the ground and various audio fragments. Long silk flags, hand-dyed in red, purple and emerald green, dance in the wind on the bamboo. 'Flags are usually a symbol of a country and the mark of a specific place. However, my flags represent a sense of displacement and longing to be somewhere else.' Rompas wants to travel to Indonesia to complete her project with a film tracing the history of her father and ancestors, in order to discover her own story.


Text: Manique Hendricks
Fransje Gimbrere

Fransje Gimbrere

The human body has always fascinated designer-artist Fransje Gimbrère. How it works, how it behaves and how it relates to its surroundings. She is especially intrigued by the unconscious processes; the things our senses almost imperceptibly register but however still influence our behaviour. 'I think that's a huge part of design. If you want to get something done with your design and bring about a certain experience, you have to know why you give something a certain colour, shape or materiality.'

Gimbrère has used the Talent Development year to delve deeper into these mechanisms. She studied scientific articles on environmental psychology, neuropsychology, the more controversial neuroaesthetics (biological explanations for how we experience beauty), and also biophilic design (design that seeks connection with nature).

In addition, Gimbrère wants to broaden her range of skills, materials and techniques. 'I always start by asking how a technique works. I'm fascinated by a certain look. The material isn't the priority, but I often use materials in an unusual way.' For example, she uses soft textiles for rigid structures or hard metal for drapery. Her designs are often abstract; the application can be completed by others. She also demonstrates alternative ways of how a material can be used. 'Since what I do is so conceptual, for many people it remains difficult to imagine what purpose my designs serve. I feel as if I'm on the boundary of art and design.'

Whereas she used to make her work by hand, she is now forging links with the industry and collaborates with producers in weaving, knitting and braiding. She wants to get a deeper understanding of these industrial processes so that she can better serve her clients. She also wants to think about the possibilities of these techniques and how she can apply them in a different way. The ultimate goal of this year of in-depth development for her is to translate all the acquired knowledge into a design where the scientific background coalesces with an artistic approach.


Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Funs Janssen

Funs Janssen

To whom does the city belong? This question returns in different guises in the work of Funs Janssen, alias Funzig, the 2021 Rotterdam City Illustrator. His recent work takes on gentrification and continues from his graduation work regarding public urban space. Originally from Limburg, Funzig has lived in the south of Rotterdam for the past ten years, where the recently announced demolition of 524 affordable rental homes has reignited the debate about gentrification's social consequences. 'It's not just in Rotterdam South,' Funzig points out, 'the same thing happens in the city's northerly neighbourhoods, such as Overschie, Krooswijk and Spangen, and also in cities like Amsterdam, London and New York.' Original residents, aided by municipal and government policy, are being pushed out by investors and wealthier new residents.

Funzig decided to archive blocks and neighbourhoods earmarked for demolition or redevelopment, which he does in his own unique way. First he photographs the street and then converts the photographs into a 3D model from which he creates illustrations – his artistic interpretation. Funzigs cityscapes are always nocturnal. 'This allows the lamp posts and car headlights to illuminate things in the city you might possibly miss, making them easier to see.' The images will eventually be collected in a publication alongside recounted experiences of ex-residents and essays by commentators and researchers. Funzig works closely with researcher Hasret Emine who is active in the Amsterdam branch of the political party Bij1. 'I want to give people at least a reminder of the place they had to leave,' Funzig says. At the same time, the publication is also for new residents and policymakers, allowing them to see the effect of gentrification on a city and its residents. 'I'd love to expand this project and see what I can do in other cities where this is happening. I can also imagine that virtual reality will be a way of viewing the 3D models I've made.' To a certain extent, this would allow the city and its history to become available again to people denied access to the city.


Text: Manique Hendricks
ILLM

ILLM

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


Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Inez Naomi

Inez Naomi

Eleven bad-ass women on a bright pink soccer field. Cool, self-confident and proud of their bodies, dressed only in a fashionable bikini made of second-hand soccer shirts. These are the first campaign photos with which Inez Naomi Correa Alves launched her brand Versatile Forever. A year ago, in addition to her design and styling work for established retail and fashion brands, she decided to start her own fashion label from a completely different perspective: Versatile Forever stays well away from fast fashion.

'I became annoyed with practices in the fashion industry', says Correa Alves, who opts for a more social approach. 'I was also keen to combine my strengths as a stylist and designer, to see how I could grow in that role myself.' By transforming second-hand clothes into new collections, she is now raising a counterpoint. In doing so, she took a different approach: instead of working from a pre-developed design, she started at the other end; with the production process. By allowing this to be the guiding principle, creative surprises emerge. For the first release, she thought of tops, which turned into dresses on the mannequin, but ultimately the leftover pieces became the ingredients for the summer premiere. She describes the unconventional making process as 'learning by doing', in which she especially learned how important it is to just start: 'A matter of acting and trusting your own feelings.'

The starting point was a sorting company for second-hand clothing. Correa Alves left there with bags full of old soccer shirts and scarves which she used to make a series with the theme 'team spirit'. In this concept, the benchwarmers – the players who always sit on the bench or are chosen last – are the real winners. The first campaign, Not Your Soccer Wife, presents a diverse team of super babes. The price is kept deliberately accessible to a wide audience, but it is far from a standard collection: 'For retail, every jersey has to be exactly the same, but at Versatile every garment is unique, a celebration of diversity. They are one-of-a-kind pieces, but they are still a part of a series.'

The biggest challenge now is scaling up: 'We made these bikinis ourselves and it's still quite difficult as a small start-up brand to get a collection into production.' She is now engaging with several social institutions with sewing workshops. The football bikinis can still be ordered this summer through the Versatile Forever website. And the drop for when autumn approaches is ready to go; dresses made from the same scarves and shirts.


Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Irakli Sabekia

Irakli Sabekia

Artist Irakli Sabekia was born in a Georgian city that now lies in occupied territory. At a young age, he moved to Tbilisi and went on to study medicine. After the 2008 war in South Ossetia, he focused on graphic design, communication and art direction. In 2015, he started studying Man and Leisure (now Studio Urgencies) at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. He graduated with distinction in 2019 with a project regarding the Russian occupation of Georgia. 'My practice invites the viewer to reflect and encourages discussion of the issues my work addresses. Its central theme is the friction between man and system.' Having witnessed the consequences of the occupation of Georgia in the early 1990s, he translates his experiences into methods for tackling subjects. 'The stories of small and large communities subjected to different power systems need to be told. I do this through multimedia installations and interventions. I create artistic interruptions in the functionality of existing systems. In doing so, I use my scientific background to question the instruments of the established power. At its core is the connecting of people through ideas.'

With his interactive installation Voicing Borders Sabekia exposes the reality hidden behind the barbed-wire border of Russian-occupied Georgia. Sabekia uses old and new satellite images and a short message in Morse code to map the destruction of 16 villages. An earlier project, the playful public intervention Ministry of Reasonable Chaos, comments on the Dutch governance system and the abundance of social control which leaves little room for spontaneity. Together, people can use brightly coloured bricks to build new structures which disrupt the monotonous and sometimes sterile public space.

Sabekia is currently developing The Archive of Spatial Knowledge. 'It is an experimental, open-source digital platform, a spatial intervention formed by a collection of censored narratives that are prohibited from being displayed in public space. They're comparable to the stories from the occupied territories of Georgia that are present in the memories of the locals but have been erased from the area.' In the future, Sabekia wants to further develop his artistic practice at the intersection of science and visual arts.


Text: Manique Hendricks
Jean-Francois Gauthier

Jean-Francois Gauthier

'Trees first' is Jean-François Gauthier's motto when it comes to urban planning. It was also the title of his graduation thesis at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture, which was awarded the KuiperCompagnons Afstudeerprijs. Instead of trees being the final element in the design of public space, he argues that they should be the starting point. Not just individual trees however, but more in terms of forests. He drew inspiration from the research of forest ecologist Suzanne Simard, who discovered that trees form a community. 'We used to think they were competing with each other, but it turns out they actually work together', says Gauthier. 'Their roots seek contact with each other, one takes care of the other. There is a whole system of mature mother trees that look after the younger growth.' Good news for the life expectancy of urban trees: while single specimens often live only 20 years, that number can increase tenfold if you place them closer together.

'There's a lot of talk about planting more trees in the city, but the crazy thing is that no one really knows how best to do it', says Gauthier. With a grant from Creative Industries Fund NL, he succeeded in giving his graduation research a follow-up with a pilot project on the Slachthuisplein in The Hague. Residents had submitted a request to the municipality for more trees on the square and they needed a specialist to assist them. 'But there aren't really any', says Gauthier: 'You have landscape architects and arborists, but they're not used to communicating with each other.' He saw the project as an opportunity to become a specialist himself; in early 2021, his first layered urban forest began to grow, with birch and rowan trees as the front line, oaks and maples as their slow-growing successors, followed by a protective, nourishing bed of shrubs and herbs.

The lessons learned – such as the importance of this three-layer approach and a method to sustainably enrich the soil – he keeps track of in his journal. He also emphasizes the need for research into 'natural' conditions: 'These vary from location to location. Sometimes the soil, wind and sun are similar to a mountain landscape, sometimes to a canyon, and in the case of the Slachthuisplein to a dune landscape. The chance of success increases significantly if you choose vegetation that thrives in the dunes.' The various scenarios are visualized in artistic collages; these could give municipalities just that little push to join forces with Sylva, Gauthier's company founded this year, towards a city full of green giants.


Text: Willemijn de Jonge
JeanPaul Paula

JeanPaul Paula

In general, there's a fairly strict line between art and fashion. However, for JeanPaul Paula, there's no distinction between the various things he does. Whether he's a photographer, stylist, or art director, it all stems from the same creative impulse – and constantly results in different forms of expression. He's been developing his practice for nearly 20 years, and has worked with some of the world's biggest brands and artists, but his opportunities in the Netherlands have always been quite limited. 'In the past year, I've explicitly decided to take responsibility for my artistry and focused on sustainability. As part of this process, I'm working more with my family,' he says. Following a drastic and dramatic split with them in his late teens – because he is gay – they have recently reconnected. Repairing the relationship is an emotional and in-depth process that requires getting to know each other again. It includes having conversations about their culture and the personal convictions that led to the split and eventual reconciliation.

These conversations form the basis for new types of expression and are related to the experiences and problematic treatment of LGBTQIA+ people in the Curaçaoan and wider Caribbean community. He explains: 'Here, LGBTQIA+ people of colour are continuously murdered by people from their own communities. Many of them – myself included – were kicked out of the house and have no social safety net.' According to Paula, these consequences come from learned behaviour that is passed on and normalised. 'I mainly focus on the Caribbean context, where the aftermath of colonialism, religion and masculinity creates a toxic cocktail of factors that contribute to these deadly excesses.' Along those same lines, Paula questions what it means to be a gay and/or black person in this world, and how it's possible to survive here.

In addition to photographs, his current research has led to a movie that deals with Paula's personal story and his relationship with his family. It is embedded in an environment that addresses broader cultural considerations. He wants to generate awareness for psychology and mental health within the black community. At the same time, there are other factors at play – for example, people of colour have been made largely invisible within the queer community, and commercial interests can overshadow long-term contributions and representation that have the ability to set an example for future generations. That's why he wants to maximise the visibility of this project and reach the widest possible audience.


Text: Vincent van Velsen
Johanna Seelemann

Johanna Seelemann

'Disaster Studios' may sound like a design agency you'd rather avoid. However, in these times of climate emergency, accompanying extreme weather events and a global pandemic, perhaps we should move closer to the disaster and investigate how we can deal with it. This is exactly what Johanna Seelemann has been doing recently, together with the Icelandic risk management expert Uta Reichardt with the Disaster Studios project. It is wrong to assume designing for – and after – the disaster invites extreme functionality and rationality. 'Aesthetics in particular and the irrational offer significant inputs,' says Seelemann. 'Rationality offers no comfort during or after the disaster. And the effectiveness of infographics – frequently used during the corona pandemic – partly depends on their aesthetic quality.' The outcomes of Reichardts and Seelemanns interdisciplinary project are an online compass that runs on its own solar-powered server and a publication outlining what value art and design has in the context of a crisis.

Seelemann has long been fascinated by adaptability, resilience and change, particularly concerning aesthetics. In her previous work, Terra Incognita, she used industrial clay to examine how irrationality and outmodedness affect consumer behaviour. Like the fashion world, the car industry employs deliberate obsolescence to encourage consumption, a process that takes shape first and foremost in clay. 'It is fascinating that a now hyper-technological product, the car, still starts as a clay sculpture!' Seelemann explains. Terra Incognita resulted in a series of stable but endlessly adaptable objects made from industrial clay. As the same material is always reused, this playground of aesthetics is suddenly compatible with sustainability.

Seelemann wants to explore further sustainability and changeability within the project Perpetual Change (working title), which investigates local material streams and production techniques. 'I want to focus once again on the material as a narrator. Hopefully, this will lead to some thought-provoking collaborations!'


Text: Merel Kamp
Josse Pyl

Josse Pyl

'How we communicate, make agreements, record things and make the absent present using language fascinates me,' says Josse Pyl. By language, Pyl means visual, not necessarily spoken language. Depending on your philosophical position on language, one could say that language always translates: the relationship between language and reality is not one-to-one. Language is not reality, nor is it a literal copy of it. However, a copy is a translation of a piece of reality. And it is precisely this translation that preoccupies Pyl.

His most recent project includes a translation and reinterpretation of his own work. Pyl made frottages of details and installation images of that work. 'When making a frottage, you create a sort of copy of an original with a relief, you put a sheet of paper over a coin, for example, and then you go over it with a piece of chalk.' Pyl has collected these frottages, alongside new work, in a publication scheduled to be released in September by Roma Publications. 'It is not a catalogue of my work', says Pyl, 'but really a work in itself, an object with nothing but images. I have never spent so much time on one thing before.'

Pyl always wanted to make a book as that is an excellent medium for visual language. But in addition to the book, there are now also video works. In the stop-motion video Inner World Outer World, as a viewer, you are locked in a mouth. You see a set of teeth from the back in which engravings – reverse relief – slowly emerge. Some details from earlier work and swirling text on molars and incisors. 'A word begins in the stomach. This then breathes it through to the chest and neck, which forms its timbre. Through the vocal cords, where the pitch is determined, it goes into the mouth, where the tongue and teeth provide the final structure, before the word is pushed into the air,' according to Pyl. Video is a new medium in his work, which he views as an enhancement to his practice. 'I can envision this in the future, more frottages and more video which will then hopefully translate back into the next.'


Text: Merel Kamp
Khalid Amakran

Khalid Amakran

Photographer Khalid Amakran researches the Moroccan-Dutch identity. Millennials are central to his work, he does, however include other generations. 'Dutch society often portrays people with a Moroccan background negatively. Their stories are usually told in a reactive context: after an incident, we are called to account, and we have to defend who “we” are before a talk show audience, so to speak. There seems to be no room for the small, nuanced and everyday narratives.' This negative positioning and perception have gained momentum since the turn of the century. News about Moroccan youths and stigmatising statements by politicians have played a role in this. Amakran wants to take this image and, as a spoken word artist, use language to set a different example. 'I want to find a way to address what this politicisation does to people.'

After several years of commissioned work, including a weekly column in NRC Handelsblad, he now seeks a more autonomous position. Previously, he mainly focused on people and their environment. Now he wants to consider these elements separately, thus examining an individual's situation while simultaneously paying attention to the influence of one's surroundings. The environment and context in which someone grows up profoundly influences their personal development. 'I am dealing with interpreting sociological systems and giving space to emotional motives.' In this process Amakran does not see photography itself as an end, but as a means to capture the world, analyse it and tell a story. 'I'm not interested in just pretty pictures. The messages and stories you convey should reach the world as effectively as possible.'

He focuses on three generations. Firstly, he concentrates on the parents who mainly came to the Netherlands as 'migrant workers'. There has been little opportunity for them to share their experiences publicly. Amakran also looks at their children, who had to choose between their Moroccan and Dutch cultures. This choice, in which the two are mutually exclusive, plays a vital role in shaping the identity of Moroccan-Dutch millennials. 'It is often said they cannot be completely free and have to hide a part of themselves wherever they are, so they always walk around with a secret.' Amakran wants to shed light on this hidden facet. 'I want to show that there is a shared experience, that there is a group with similar experiences that are therefore also legitimate. In this way I show the third generation that they have a future.'


Text: Vincent van Velsen
Lesia Topolnyk

Lesia Topolnyk

Lesia Topolnyk is an architect who focuses on a broader interpretation of her field. She is interested in the potential of her profession within our constructed reality – not necessarily in building things. 'It's about ideas that take shape during the research and design process which generate new typologies,' she says. For her, it's not enough to shape the world reactively, or in line with what already exists. She explains: 'Although architects are seen as people who design spaces, we also design relationships. Especially in these turbulent political times, it's necessary to look at how the world is designed to understand the larger context in which a project is taking place. I sometimes reflect on major problems at a global level, while other times I focus on the space inside someone's mind.'

Topolnyk grew up in Ukraine, and addressed the situation in Crimea with her final project at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. She created a proposal for a building that consisted primarily of corridors – places where discussions and interactions occur that ultimately have the greatest influence on the decisions being made. Continuous mediation of the situation was central to this concept. The architecture symbolised and supported the mental capacity of those involved. In this endless network of hallways, which reference the agora, visitors could have endless discussions which allowed for a continuous debate; politics is an ongoing conversation. Similarly, her own vision of architecture and her process of research and design focuses on conversation, contributions from different positions, and the involvement of people with a wide range of expertise. She therefore frequently collaborates with people who work in different fields. Because 'you can learn from others and they bring valuable insights and viewpoints...'

Her current research is focused on the various crises humanity is currently facing, with a special interest in political systems and the significance of democracy, including its Greek foundations. She is exploring how this form of government was historically designed and how architecture supported and portrayed it. 'It's about how we can shape change and how we can manage the world better together,' she concludes. Architecture can play a role in that by offering design solutions that support the decision-making process.


Text: Vincent van Velsen
Louis Braddock Clarke

Louis Braddock Clarke

Listening is at the heart of designer/researcher Louis Braddock Clarke's work: listening to others and the landscape. He builds instruments that read, index and feel the landscape. Changes in the landscape, such as shifting magnetic values, are converted into sound, making these processes perceptible to humans. 'Much of my work focuses on narratives that lie between art and science, which are usually invisible and quite complex. I try to find creative ways to reveal them, using new technologies.'

Braddock Clarke always returns to the same material: iron ore, the metal that creates magnetic changes in the space around us. For his latest project, he is investigating a location in Greenland where a meteorite landed ten thousand years ago. In addition to a significant magnetic change, it was an event that set in motion many stories among the local population and later colonial rulers (Greenland only regained self-governance in 2008.) Due to the melting of the ice and the land's mineral wealth, enormous geopolitical interests are at play around these coordinates, which, in turn, generate new narratives.

Braddock Clarke has collected small parts of the meteorite sold and distributed around the world through internet auctions. He intends to return these fragments to their exact landing spot. By heating the pieces to a high temperature in situ, the magnetic values, which solidified at the moment the meteor struck, are reset, and they take on the new proportions of that moment and place. All history contained in the stone, especially the colonial, is erased, as it were. The material gets a fresh start from the 'earthly' spot it originates from (though, of course, it originally comes from space) and remains there.

The meteorite's return is in stark contrast to everything else that was taken from this place. This resonates with the locals Braddock Clarke works with, in addition to scientists, engineers, and natural history museums, among others. Since his practice focuses on collaboration, he is uncomfortable that only his name is associated with the Talent Development grant he received. As he explains, 'I'm obsessed with collaboration. For me, the future is about operating within these intensively collaborative dialogue spaces.'


Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Luuc Sonke

Luuc Sonke

'I am searching for an answer to what I consider the spatial issue of the 21st century,' says architect Luuc Sonke. And that is: how can we design spaces that challenge users to use them in a more flexible way, analogous to contemporary life? Life has become more and more 'fluid' as a result of ongoing digitalization. Boundaries between the public and private, between work and leisure, are blurring. Zoom brings the outside world into the home, the kitchen table becomes a desk. And at the same time, people sit with laptops in a café where they used to go to meet their friends and intimate conversations are held without embarrassment on buses and trains.

While the world is increasingly escaping from the fixed structures of work, church and relationships, the physical context however is lagging behind. Society is much more flexible than the architecture with which we surround ourselves. Sonke investigates this discrepancy and seeks to close the gap. 'Buildings are still designed with predetermined functions. Okay, we have open kitchens nowadays, but architects still draw bedrooms and a living room in a floor plan. Do we still need those definitions?'

His research is an extension of his graduation project at the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam. It is called Liquid Life, after a book by sociologist Zygmunt Baumann concerning how life constantly changes. Sonke visited fifteen households to map out how users deal with their private space. He interviewed residents, drew floor plans, noted his observations, using this as a basis to create new models. These models play with a 'free format'; you don't know exactly where one space ends and another begins, their function is not yet determined. Instead of walls with doors, pony walls and height differences in the ceiling and floor, challenge users to embrace a more flexible approach.

Over the past year, Sonke has added more and more layers to his research. For example, he now makes 3D scans of indoor and outdoor locations to experiment with. Pieces of our living space that he separates from their context by removing them in the virtual world. A kind of diorama that he makes intuitively which gradually acquires a place in the research. 'I use a 3D scanner to design a carpet with the textures and colors of a public place, yet another way of bringing the public domain into the private sphere.' Notable finds during the process are documented on Sonke's website. Here you won't find a portfolio as you might expect on an architect's site, but a record of a voyage of discovery through liquid space.


Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Marlou Breuls

Marlou Breuls

Objectification of the body, the most recent work by Marlou Breuls, is an ongoing investigation into the boundaries and possibilities of fashion and her own view on the fashion designer/autonomous artist axis. 'I don't feel the need to make clothes,' says Breuls. 'I want to stretch things, search for boundaries. In contemporary fashion, every element of surprise has disappeared. With my work, I want to bring that back.'

Breuls would rather approach fashion as 'a culture of fabric' than as (the making of) something wearable, hence she started experimenting with extensions of the human body made from a variety of materials. There are also garments dipped in porcelain, a cuddly chair made of furry silicone and a tufted carpet with the 3D silhouette of a woman fused into it. The works can be read as thought experiments: up to what point is something still wearable? When is something still fashion? What actually constitutes fashion? But also: what am I: a fashion designer or an autonomous artist?

To answer these questions and to gain experience in working with different materials and techniques, Breuls realised a number of collaborations with, among others, David Altmeyd, Katie Stout, Branko Popovic & Ronald Schinkelshoek. Some of these have not (yet) taken place (physically) due to covid-19, causing the project to be somewhat delayed.
'I would have liked to have made more progress in formulating an answer.' At the same time, Breuls admits that the questions she poses with her work may never be conclusively answered. 'It is important to me to keep rediscovering myself. That's why I also like to enter unusual collaborations, both with theaters and large companies.' Constantly reinventing yourself is not always easy: 'As soon as I step outside of fashion, it becomes exciting. What am I doing? Why am I not sticking to what I am capable of? But I also know that I need this tension to be able to take the next step. I don't want to be on autopilot.'


Text: Merel Kamp
Mirjam Debets

Mirjam Debets

As an animator, VJ and illustrator, Mirjam Debets works at the intersection of moving image, 2D and live performance. She studied animation at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU), and was the only student of the 2017 graduating class to complete the degree with live visuals, shown at a concert at De Helling in Utrecht. 'Since then, I've been looking for new, multidisciplinary ways to translate illustrations and animations into physical experiences for an audience. My ideas originate from music or collaborations with musicians, designers and different clients, and result in visuals that are much more free and abstract than what you can achieve with the narrative of an animated film for example.'

'My work is inspired by the convergence of and relationship between people and nature.' From mythical legends, philosophical stories and biological phenomena, fantastical figures and organic shapes come to life in eclectic patterns. Her illustrated world is bursting with unique creatures and meandering plants in bright colours. With a playful approach, Debets shines a poetic light on the history of the world and the way in which humans have been connected to their natural surroundings for centuries. 'The projects I've completed since graduating are extremely varied: from video clips and textile design to animated films, gifs, and a monumental on-site video installation.' Her commissions include an animated trailer to promote the book of the month for television show De Wereld Draait Door, animations for a VPRO documentary about the Earth, an opening film for Klik Amsterdam Animation Festival, and the introductory film and educational material for Bes, Small god in ancient Egypt – an exhibition at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam.

'In the future, I want to explore new paths within my practice by researching different forms of presentation and their impact on the audience. My primary focus will be immersive experiences and viewer interaction.' For that reason, her upcoming projects will be produced entirely by Debets in collaboration with professionals from other disciplines – from the initial concept to the final product.


Text: Manique Hendricks
Moriz Oberberger

Moriz Oberberger

Graphic designer and illustrator Moriz Oberberger describes the past year as 'artistically fruitful'. As he likes to work by imposing 'poetic challenges' on himself, he took the time to focus, discover a new working rhythm, and take on a new challenge. 'I try to come up with small, absurd systems for my working method that are labour-intensive, but are humorous and playful at the same time.'

His latest project sits somewhere between a meditative diary and a long animation process. Every day he works on an animation, frame by frame, making at least fifty drawings at a time, the next day picking up where he left off. There is no storyboard; the story develops spontaneously and intuitively, as if you were going for a walk without destination nor goal. As the 20th-century painter Paul Klee put it: 'To draw is to take a line for a walk.' This approach takes drawing itself as its starting point. Sometimes Oberberger follows a line that interests him but there are also defined figures from which small scenes develop; one flows into the other in a potentially infinite manner.

He collates the drawings for the animations (frames) into workbooks, each of which covers two months and is meticulously dated and time stamped. He also consecutively numbers the now thousands of frames.These workbooks make it possible to follow the drawing series in different rhythms. The reader determines the tempo and how the images connect. Oberberger makes these workbooks in small editions and draws on the blank covers, both challenging and questioning the idea of a finished book. He also began writing stories based on the figures and lines that develop in the animations and making stand-alone drawings in coloured pencil. He will exhibit the outcomes, translating various project elements into a multimedia installation featuring sound, drawings and animations.

The Talent Development year also afforded Oberberger time to think about developing, communicating, and distributing his practice more broadly. He is working on a new website and a publication platform. Simply spending more time interacting on social media leads to new contacts and assignments. 'This funding allowed me to be more convincing in what I do and create smoother transitions between assignments and self-initiated projects.'


Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Philipp Kolmann

Philipp Kolmann

Philipp Kolmann is a designer, chef and farmer with a fascination for fermentation. He describes bacteria and fungi as an invisible link between humans, other species, and the land we inhabit. He also sees opportunities to harness them – through food – for a healthier balance on earth. Kolmann is currently working on finding plant-based alternatives to animal products, such as plant-based cheese. This requires more than just finding the right combination of bacteria in a lab, he explains: 'That has everything to do with the connection between product, man and land.' His research into how the dairy industry is woven into the capillaries of our culture is the first step towards an environmentally friendly alternative.

Although cheese currently has an artisanal, honest image, most of the cheese we consume has long since become disconnected from the natural relationship between man and land, according to Kolmann. He therefore wants to stay far away from industrially produced cheese and recently immersed himself in the traditional manual production of raw-milk cheeses. To make cheese at the source, to learn about the process of fermentation and to study the microbes responsible for it, Kolmann left for Switzerland. He not only looked at the microbes in cheese, but he also investigated various fermentation techniques that are used worldwide for products such as yogurt, kefir, miso, soy and butter. He investigated how taste and smell come into existence, how they are determined by local conditions and thus reinforce the identity of a place. Kolmann: 'With this project I want to restore the symbiotic relationship between man and his immediate environment.'

The next step is to remove dairy products altogether. Vegan cheese is already being made, but it often uses ingredients from Asia, such as coconut milk and cashew nuts from Indonesia. Kolmann wants to discover what locally sourced plant-based ingredients can be used to produce cheese that doesn't involve cow's milk. In September, he will start analyzing local microbiomes in the microbiology lab of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and then create a starter culture from them. He will work with different types of grass, beans and lentils, seeds and nuts. 'I'm trying to convert hundreds of years of dairy culture into something else, to which the same value can be attached. The challenge is to create a plant-based substitute that becomes just as entrenched in our culture.'


Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Renee Mes

Renee Mes

Renee Mes is a multidisciplinary designer who studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven, where she focused on a critical analysis of the way in which our living environment is designed. 'Our designed living environment sets conditions, directs movement and offers possibilities for use which are established based on how an object is presented. The considerations that ultimately determine the potential of an object and what it represents in terms of use are rooted in design questions. They relate to our society and what it requires, but also what it rejects,' she explains.

Mes points out that most design is focused on able-bodied heteronormativity. Because of this, part of the population, and their way of being, moving and living is not adequately supported. With her designs, Mes makes us aware of the prevailing status quo, while at the same time going against the norm and normalisation of this approach. She does this in a playful way, often supported by colourful designs. This makes her work inviting, allowing people to become acquainted with the issues she is raising.

'By playing with a familiar visual language and using it in new ways, new stories and possibilities are created'. Mes also questions the significance of objects with her project 'Chosen Family'. It doesn't revolve around a nuclear family made up of a father, mother, son and daughter, but rather families composed of people who are not related by blood. 'They choose to live together and might have different types of connections and relationships, and live logically in a way that deviates from the heteronormative.' For this project, Mes worked with queer trans people of colour (QTPOC) and people with a bicultural background. It centers on the question of how they can shape their own story. Because of covid-19, Mes decided that instead of a variety of chosen families, she would focus on her own. In five videos, using objects that represent them, the subjects are asked what their surroundings could look like and are invited to actually design a space where they can tell their story to viewers, on their own terms. By breaking down stereotypes and focusing on visibility and social acceptance, Mes is committed to making our living environment more accessible, particularly for racialised and queer bodies, free from heteronormative expectations.


Text: Vincent van Velsen
Seok-hyeon Yoon

Seok-hyeon Yoon

Sustainability is paramount in the work of Seok-hyeon Yoon. Mankind must take care of his environment, but unfortunately, many industrial production processes and products do not follow this credo. Even if a product is natural by origin, it is often not circular, due to later processing in the production process. Ceramics are manufactured from a natural material (clay) and are therefore in principle reusable – fired clay can be incorporated into new clay as a chamotte. Ceramics however are glazed: 'Because the two components, glaze and clay, fuse together in the kiln, it is impossible to separate them anymore and reuse the materials,' says Yoon. He went in search of an alternative to glaze and found it in his own cultural heritage. Traditionally, in countries such as Korea, Japan and China, people use a resin from the lacquer tree to finish materials ranging from wood and metal to even paper. The resinous lacquer does not need to be fired at a high temperature, it adheres extremely well to a variety of surfaces and is heat and water resistant. In his materials research, Yoon discovered that this lacquer evaporates at very high temperatures. Only the earthenware surface then remains and is therefore recyclable. However, it is not yet a real alternative to glaze because of the labor-intensive process of harvesting and processing the resin and the high cost of this finishing technique. 'I do find that frustrating sometimes,' says Yoon. 'As a designer, I try to show possibilities, but more often than not the business model becomes a challenge.' At the same time, Yoon is aware that perhaps it is of great value to show the possibilities of thinking about materials and their use in a different, less conventional way.

'Exploring the potential of materials,' says Yoon, 'that's what's most important to me.' He is now also working on other alternatives to glazing – based on food waste, for example. Moreover, by having intensively studied ceramic production, Yoon now knows that porcelain actually does not need a glaze at all: 'It is watertight by itself'. Such an insight opens up new avenues of thought. Yoon's extensive research into ceramics and alternative finishing techniques will eventually be presented in a solo exhibition at Keramiekmuseum Prinsessenhof.

Text: Merel Kamp
Sherida Kuffour

Sherida Kuffour

'(…) Indians and half-breeds. Absolute savages (…) no communication whatsoever with the civilized world. Still preserve their repulsive habits and customs.' This is how the 'Savages' are described in the dystopian classic Brave New World (1932) by the English author Aldous Huxley. For Sherida Kuffour, this work was the inspiration for her project Brave New Lit.

Kuffour moved to the United Kingdom from the Netherlands at a young age and learned the language by reading English literature. In her current practice as a graphic designer and writer, she is concerned with the question of what is the best way to deal with literature? Kuffour approaches this question not only as a reader but also as a designer and writer of text. 'The first time I read Huxley, I didn't like it one bit. I was struck by the stereotypical and colonial description of the Savages and, moreover, I had trouble with his literary style.' On a recent rereading of Brave New World and the accompanying foreword by Canadian author Margaret Atwood (known to most as the author of The Handmaid's Tale),

Kuffour noticed the influence of the paratext – the context of a text in the broadest sense – on the reception of the text. 'When I learned more about the time in which the work was written and the events in the author's personal life, my perception of the text changed', says Kuffour. This inspired her to design a literary playground; an online environment which should enable the most complete reading possible of a text. Text and paratext are present simultaneously and are enriched with images and audio, resulting in a multi-sensory reading experience. The reader is invited to continuously interact with the text, which is no longer a static entity to which one relates individually, but an organic meeting place. With her work, Kuffour raises crucial questions such as: what is reading? To whom is reading accessible? How can reading change from an individual and elitist activity – books are expensive! – into an inclusive, communal and multi-sensory experience?


Text: Merel Kamp
Sophia Bulgakova

Sophia Bulgakova

Sophia Bulgakova studied sculpture in Kyiv, Ukraine, before studying photography and time-based media at the University of the Arts in London, followed by a BA in ArtScience at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. In 2019 she graduated with the participatory performance Inevitably Blue, in which the viewer sits masked on a swing in the middle of space and is pushed back and forth by a performer. This approach to challenging the senses of perception and observation allows participants to experience the space based solely on colour and their thoughts. They temporarily feel what it is like to float through an environment that consists only of colour and space.

'Personalised perception and the way in which specific memories define individuals are central to my practice.' Her immersive works combine sensory deprivation and the stimuli of sensory experience. She investigates how you can understand yourself by relating to a particular environment and the corresponding impact of colour. During a residency in the summer of 2020, Bulgakova developed MINDSCAPES, an augmented reality filter for Instagram that depicts memories of places that are no longer accessible, such as the occupied zone in Kyiv. 'For this, I organised workshops with people from the area who shared their memories of different places.'

Bulgakova is currently researching paganism, magical ancient traditions and rituals from different cultures, and their relationship with contemporary technology. 'Being aware of the climate and nature underscores this research that investigates how technology connects to the natural world.' Through a combination of virtual reality, spoken word storytelling and performance, Bulgakova will create an interactive experience which explores the local traditions and rituals of the location where she exhibits the work. She will also work on the German coastline in collaboration with schools and scientists. This art project aims to raise awareness of climate conservation, bird migration and marine life in this area. 'My ambition is to continue this emphasis on collaboration through large-scale projects and productions with hybrid media. I will focus on both anthropological research and perceptive psychology. My origins and motivations keep pushing me to build bridges between Eastern Europe and the Netherlands.'


Text: Manique Hendricks
Stefano Murgia

Stefano Murgia

From a young age, sound artist Stefano Murgia enjoyed attending concerts. Due to his height however, he spent most of his time looking at the backs of the audience. 'That's one of the reasons why I started thinking about how music is presented and perceived,' says Stefano. After studying engineering, Murgia went on to pursue an ArtScience bachelor's at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague. He graduated in 2017 with an experimental research project titled Acoustics Based on Volume: Aluminium, a sound installation consisting of a cube, a sphere and a tetrahedron made of aluminium. Together, the objects form a new type of instrument – each with its own sound. With the help of electronics, the three shapes can be transformed into acoustic reverb chambers. After he graduated, the performative installation was exhibited throughout Europe at exhibitions and festivals such as the Amsterdam Dance Event, Prototyp Festival in Brno and Spektrum in Berlin.

Recently, Murgia has reflected on his way of working and, inspired by acoustics (the science of sound) has come up with a method for starting future projects. 'I use the order in which the sound arises from its source via the medium/route to the receiver as my starting point, and I repeatedly ask myself these questions: where and in what kind of space is this sound art located? And how does the audience perceive it?' After graduating, Murgia has continued to investigate acoustics and spatial compositions, using (among other things) homemade instruments and synthesizers.

Murgia is currently researching street canyons and sonic architecture, and the role that sound can play in them. Street canyons, also known as urban canyons, are places in a city where the wind is amplified by tall buildings in the surrounding area. Together with two scientists from TU Delft who specialise in architecture and aerodynamics, he is developing a new sculpture intended for a public space that focuses on the difference between wind and sound. 'The goal of this project is to make an unpleasant location with strong wind more pleasant by installing sound sculptures. Sound and wind are both movements of air; sound vibrates air, whereas wind relocates air.' This concept makes Murgia wonder how he can transform sound and wind into each other without losing energy. 'In the future, I dream of setting up a record label focused on sound art, as well as creating a physical place where people who are interested in sound can come together and experiment – from artists and philosophers to scientists.'


Text: Manique Hendricks
Sydney Rahimtoola

Sydney Rahimtoola

Sydney Rahimtoola is interested in ways in which we can work on (greater) social equality and a complete, continuous visual representation of marginalised groups. She approaches this topic using her background in photography and with the understanding that throughout history, this medium has had a problematic relationship with the politics of representation. She explains: 'As a medium, photography is complicit in constructing the image of 'the other'. There is little room for the personal history of communities of colour. It's precisely these personal histories however, folklore and personal mythologies that inform and provide representation that people of colour can relate to, and gives them a sense of history in which they can determine their own place.'

Using her personal experience, Rahimtoola investigates how structures within society influence her (living) environment and immediate family. She bases her research mainly on informal and unofficial knowledge that isn't available to everyone. It's a situation that's familiar to communities of colour – you have to know the right people to access information. She says: 'That's also an important reason why friends and family play a prominent role in my work. I make my work with and about them. This time, once again, my starting point is a personal narrative: my uncle's struggles with his mental health.'

Currently, she is specifically focusing on the psychedelic renaissance, i.e the use of psychedelics for personal well-being – including microdosing and cleansing rituals. 'The knowledge regarding the use of psychedelics often comes from indigenous or other communities of colour. However, it's now mainly being used for the well-being of white people and enriching the western world – the colonial, imperial and capitalist structures. That includes self-improvement and self-care to make life more pleasant; but the communities where this expertise originates often don't have the opportunity to benefit themselves. In fact, they barely have access to basic healthcare or other services that many people take for granted.' Rahimtoola is now working to find a suitable way to visualise the significance and far-reaching implications the psychedelic renaissance can have on society, its structures and her own family. It will include a film loosely inspired by her uncle's story.


Text: Vincent van Velsen
Thom Bindels

Thom Bindels

'With one foot on the dredging boat and the other in the world of design', that's how research designer Thom Bindels describes his practice. After graduating, he put his energy into a foundation that aims to facilitate locally produced anti-erosion structures made of cardboard for developing countries. An enjoyable, but also rational and practical process. Now it's time for something new in addition to that ongoing project. 'I want to finally start playing again like I did in the academy. Is that possible? Can I earn money in this way? Would I be able to do a similar project that also adds value for myself?'

Bindel still focuses on the same subject: researching the human relationship with its environment. 'What I have actually discovered is that my field of work is always related to farming, to the agricultural sector, nature conservation or area management. Why is that? Maybe a kind of stewardship? It's a kind of sense of responsibility for your environment and how you relate to it.'

This year Bindels' interests led to the development of a location-based podcast. He collects the stories of people who have a connection to a particular landscape: because something is going to happen in the future that they are excited about, or just because of the history of a place or its ecological uniqueness. By letting others listen to their stories on the spot, Bindels aims to make more people feel an affinity with the location as according to him that's where the solution lies.

In addition to the stories, Bindels will mark the starting point of the sound walks with a landscape intervention, which he makes himself using ingredients that are present on-site.
For example, a two-meter-high storage area for dredged-up silt in the shape of a beehive and constructed from reeds. For Bindels, this elevation in the landscape is also a welcome poetic interruption, a drop of variation in the monoculture of the flat polder. At the same time, it is a play on the typically Dutch engineering mentality: after all, everything around us is designed in the Netherlands, including nature.

This manufacturability is the core of his research. In which way can this be a force for good? What kind of impact are you able to make, and how do we learn to do this in symbiosis? These are big questions that he asks himself, but that is exactly what Bindels likes. If he knew the answer in advance, he wouldn't have to start.


Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Vera van de Seyp

Vera van de Seyp

As a creative coder and graphic designer, Vera van de Seyp moves between the digital domain and applied forms – from hacked knitting machines and generative artwork to modular fonts, homemade computers and playful websites. Openness, accessibility and knowledge sharing are important values in her practice. In 2016, Van de Seyp graduated from the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague with a degree in Graphic Design. Her passion for computer science and artificial intelligence ensured she continued her education at Leiden University, where she completed a master's in Media Technology in 2020.

'For my graduation product, I researched how a generative agnostic network – a model in which two neural networks compete against each other to create new output – could be used to design album covers. I used a training dataset based on 150,000 existing album covers from the open-source community of Discogs, a music website. The result was a massive selection of hypnotic generative designs for non-existent albums.'

Based on her own experience with open-source platforms and code, where developers share information to build on the work of others, Van de Seyp wants to bring about change in her chosen field. For example, she is part of the Freelance Female Developers network, and recently co-organised a hackathon in cooperation with Creative Coding Utrecht. 'In my opinion, the creative sector is still a male-dominated world, especially when it comes to creative coding. By organising free online workshops for female-identifying and gender-nonconforming artists, designers and other interested parties, I'm hopefully lowering the barrier to entry, and offering a stepping stone into this sector.'

Completely in line with the philosophy of open-source technology – free access to source code for everyone – Van der Seyp both enters into collaborations and encourages them with her initiatives. 'I will publish all of the code I have written myself, including the do-it-yourself tutorials, online. I hope to make it an accessible place for new designers.' In the future, Van de Seyp wants to continue organising workshops and become part of the international creative coder and developer communities by participating in a residency or fellowship outside the Netherlands.


Text: Manique Hendricks
Wesley Mapes

Wesley Mapes

Value and (re)evaluation play a central role in the practice of Wes Mapes. His visual language and use of materials have both a symbolic and metaphorical significance. With these materials, which often come from the construction sector, he references the fact that the entire world has been built by Black people. In the time of slavery, it was their work that provided Europe's wealth, they were the ones who built the New World, and in postcolonial times, their labor that was used to restart the economy. Recognition of this history falls dramatically short. It goes beyond just color – it also touches on contemporary class structures and socioeconomic status. Mapes explains: 'Consider how unequal work and working conditions are valued: blue-collar workers physically exerting themselves in uncomfortable conditions earn less than white-collar workers.'

Mapes transforms the aesthetics of these circumstances (such as scaffolding) into installations that provide space for himself and others. He frequently collaborates with fellow artists. For example, he's part of the Pillars of Autumn collective (together with Tobi Balogun, Walter Götsch and Dion Rosina) and hosts a radio program together with Marcel van den Berg. Nothing happens alone – everything requires input from others, and this is how communities of like-minded individuals arise who help and support each other. Here there's also a reference to Black life, where families and communities are essential for survival.

With the building materials he uses, Mapes also wants to demonstrate that you can create something of value out of the most basic materials. It's an idea that goes back to how people all over the world manage to live in the most desolate conditions with minimal resources. 'My work is raw, rugged and scrappy,' he says. 'It's like soul food. You don't use the fanciest ingredients, but the end result is delicious. From an artistic perspective, I draw parallels in the use of materials and the attitudes of people like David Hammons, Mark Bradford, Jean Michel Basquiat and Sam Gilleam.'

Mapes also applies his approach, expertise, and way of being to an educational context. He regularly teaches at different departments of the Rietveld Academie. For example, with his 'Deconstructivist Dumpster Dive' he introduced students to the value of reusing found materials and the inventiveness and creativity that requires. He also teaches them alternative interpretations of world history, taking a pan-African view that employs a different linearity and network of knowledge transfer. Origins and routes follow different paths, and there's so much more to know than what is taught at school. He concludes: 'You have to do it yourself, because ''the schools can't teach us shit.”'


Text: Vincent van Velsen
Alvin Arthur
Alvin Arthur

Alvin Arthur

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

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

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

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

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

Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Anna Fink
Anna Fink

Anna Fink

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

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

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


Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Arvand Pourabbasi
Arvand Pourabbasi

Arvand Pourabbasi

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

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

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

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

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Chiara Dorbolò
Chiara Dorbolò

Chiara Dorbolò

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

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

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

Cream on Chrome

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

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

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

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

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Gilles de Brock
Gilles de Brock

Gilles de Brock

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

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

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

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Giorgio Toppin
Giorgio Toppin

Giorgio Toppin

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

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

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

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Jing He
Jing He

Jing He

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

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

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

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

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

Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Juliette Lizotte
Juliette Lizotte

Juliette Lizotte

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

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

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

Kasia Nowak

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

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

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

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

Kuang-Yi Ku

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

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

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

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

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Lieselot Elzinga
Lieselot Elzinga

Lieselot Elzinga

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

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

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

Text: Willemijn de Jonge
Marco Federico Cagnoni
Marco Federico Cagnoni

Marco Federico Cagnoni

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

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

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

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

Text: Victoria Anastasyadis
Mark Henning
Mark Henning

Mark Henning

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

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

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

Text: Willemijn de Jonge