Skip to Content Skip to Search Go to Top Navigation Go to Side Menu


WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY


Sunday, December 10, 2017

 

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

Our clothes are probably some of the most tactile and flexible objects surrounding us – touching our bodies at all times. This is probably also why it has been such a hard job for designers and researchers to combine it with the stiff mechanics of technology. The term used when these fields are combined is Wearable Technology. Something that fashion designer Pauline van Dongen has been known internationally for exploring. But while Pauline van Dongens works primarily exist in the span of the human body interacting with its physical surroundings, I find it more interesting to research how technology can elevate our identity through clothing.

 

We use technology to perform our identities online.

We use fashion to perform our identities through garments.

Why not try to physically combine technology with clothes as a way of enhancing how we showcase our individuality and uniqueness.

 

“For wearable technologies to become truly integrated with fashion we have to bridge the divide between aesthetics and how we understand technology’s usefulness.” – Pauline van Dongen

 

 

FASHIONABLE TECHNOLOGY

It is obvious that clothes functions as a protective extension of the skin, but it is just as important that they help us form our individual identities. Our identities are ‘wearable’ and changeable through fashion, and have been so for a long time now. The new aspect of adding technology to this equation will hopefully be able to offer alternative and new ways of transforming our identities.

At the moment, there is already a lot of researching going on and a lot of solutions being proposed as to how wearable technology can change our current view of fashion. This research does not only include experiments like Pauline van Dongen’s, regarding the practical usefulness of technology in fashion, but can also have a more conceptual or aesthetic focus point. These projects become interesting since this is where a lot of the ‘identity-making’ in fashion occurs.

Ying Gao is another fashion designer dealing with the concept of technology intertwining with her designs. But in comparison to Pauline van Dongen she uses technology primarily for conceptual and aesthetic reasons. However, this still works in-between the human body and its surroundings, and doesn’t allow the wearer itself to manipulate his/her clothing. Something I think would be a logical next step with wearable technology.

Other research exemplifies how this self-initiated interaction might become possible. Several companies are working on inventions involving textile – such as touch-screen fabric. I find this study interesting because it is the steppingstone for making fashion truly customizable at any time. And not only by the external domain of a phone or computer, but by actual interaction with the textiles you put on your body. This idea of technology leading to a more tactile and touchable communication with your clothes – instead of it being dematerialized in a device – also takes technology in a totally new direction.

 

 

INDIVIDUAL TECHNOLOGY

Of course there is plenty of ways to approach linking the gap between aesthetics and the function of technology. Personally, I would find it interesting to see a solution where the link would manifest in news ways of projecting my personal identity. Combining the idea of a, supposedly soon-to-be, future where textiles can act as touch-screens, I have tried to conceptualize how technology can have an effect on fashion and its personal value.

 

DESIGNTHEORY2

Here I have made a video that visualizes this: Min film 7

 

 

There is no doubt that technological innovations will have a deep impact on the meaning and communication of fashion and thereby identity.

“[…] we have now entered an age in which technology is not only a bodily extension, but also a physical improvement, enhancement and expression.”

Throughout your life your identity is constantly changing, so it seems only logical to design new types of clothing that can follow your personal development. As my video suggests, this would be possible if clothing became truly obedient to your personal wishes and could be customized with your own hands. You could then at any given moment change the appearance of your clothing – and your identity. Although my experiment is limited to colors and patterns, you could imagine that even shape or texture could be transformable too, with the rate technology is developing.

Indeed, this way of customizing your style is already possible, but at the expense of a fast, unsustainable and trend-driven industry. If my (suggestive) model of wearable technology is realized, I believe that this would establish an intimate dialogue between body, mind and fabric – making fashion more valuable to the wearer. It is the relationship you have with your clothes and how it mirrors your personality and emotions, I find interesting to develop further with technology.

Pauline van Dongen’s vision is based on the belief that technology can add new value and meaning to fashion. She does this while focusing on the human body and an interactive relation to its surroundings. I believe, that it is just as important how wearable technology can add an interactive level to our projection of ourselves, and change our relationship with fashion on a very personal level.

 

 

What is Vetements doing to the fashion industry?


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Vetements: pronounced vet-MAHN is French and simply translated as “clothes.”

Unquestionably there is something fundamentally wrong with the fashion industry and it appears that Vetements is challenging these tiresome conventions. The Design collective brings to light the lack of imagination and consciousness, utter egoism and instant gratification present in the fashion industry today. I have a deeply rooted love hate relationship for this industry and this is why I wanted to understand is Vetements really is challenging these problems.

Since its debut in 2014 Vetements has harshly divided opinions and been at the centre of controversy. Everything Demna Gvasalia has done with Vetements has been provocative in a high-fashion sense — rejecting the traditional fashion calendar, casting people on the street, letting them style themselves. The Parisian design collective was founded by eight designers seven of whom remain anonymous, except head designer and public face 34-year-old Demma Gvasalia. Gvasalia’s professional background includes senior design roles at Louis Vuitton and Maison Margiela and now also works as creative director of Balenciaga.

Fashion is no longer driven by creativity but instead by corporate leaders. It’s stale, we repeatedly see the same garments paraded on the catwalks each season, altered by their colour or fabric choice.To many, particularly to those connected to the industry, Vetements represents a refreshing turning point – yet I remain sceptical. It is hard for the brand to have conviction when its leading figure is also involved with one of the longest standing fashion houses – Balenciaga.

Vetement’s low-brow aesthetic and extravagant price point make it an easy target for skeptics. Whilst it is intended to look so incredibly blasé, so effortlessly cool, I believe it can be regarded as the exact opposite. Most famously they’ve used brands such as DHL to create T-shirt which retailed at a price tag of £185 whilst an identical T-shirt for £4.50 could be bought directly from the DHL Website. These T-shirts resemble something your dad was given as a freebie but now might only wear around the house. It is clear that they haven’t picked brand at random, instead they’ve carefully thought about something to evoke a feeling of ironic indifference.

It would appear the logo mania trend of the naughties is back. Yet whilst the earlier exclusive trend became a mechanism to denote prosperity and statues, it soon became an aesthetic trope in itself. It appears Vetements is redefining luxury with its attention-grabbing visual statement. Unlike the ostentatious symbolism used by brands before Vetements injects humour- a relatively unknown concept to fashion.

DHL’s bold yellow and red branding is recognised globally and has the grit of a working uniform. They have subverted something incredibly ordinary and given it and extraordinary twist. But Perhaps the ultimate irony is that there is almost no twist at all. The brand has done little to differentiate the original T-shirt from their own. I see it as a validation where the price tag seemingly justifies the garment. These garments are embraced and accepted which affirms the brands ideas of individuality and inclusivity. This raises an important issue for me that we depend on the industry elite to dictate to us what is ‘in.’

Vetements appears to opt for forced ugliness Gvasalia Has also said: “It’s ugly, that’s why we like it.” This aesthetic is very anti-fashion and seemingly sets itself apart from the crowd. It relies on repulsing mainstream tastes to create a feeling of exclusivity, an illusion that ordinary people “don’t get it.” I don’t believe it can be rewarded with the hype surrounding it. It’s not avant-garde, because it reactionary and contrarian and ultimately defined by the mainstream.
It is nothing out of the ordinary for fashion to not conform to conventional ideals of what clothing should look like yet with Vetements it raises interesting questions about their intent as they evoke a feeling of inclusivity representing the broad spectrum of sub-cultures appropriating their style yet selling it for astronomical prices. This is nothing new to fashion Vetements can be seemingly challenging and rejecting traditional standards of beauty.

This idea of incorporating logos into their work is nothing new. Pop Artists such as Andy Warhol used pop culture symbols in his paintings. Vetements is not doing anything radically new. The use of brand usually has a strong anti-corporate rebellion but DHL seems far too ordinary. Yet perhaps this is the statement they are trying to make, the ultimate portrayal of the ordinary challenges the unattainable glamour imposed by the traditional haute couture houses. I think the hype surrounding Vetements speaks more about how dull the industry is right now than the brand itself. But I think it’s such a cheap-and-easy grab for attention with grotesquely over the top clothing. It seems that they’re all novelty no substance.

Ultimately what makes the collective both interesting and infuriating is that it says something we already know— that the most exciting fashion is created by everyday people, on the street, being themselves. And then it takes that sentiment and distorts it with eccentric colours, crazy poses and absurd shapes, which makes it high-fashion again and this is nothing new to high-fashion. Yet I do think it communicates something very crucial about social identity and excepting everyone in society.

One thing that is overlooked at Vetements is the technical complexity that goes into their garments. Many of their garments are up cycled vintage garments which I think should earn them a lot more praise. For example their reconstructed Levi Jeans were made with two separate pairs which have been offset at the hem to give the illusion that they are sliding away. Other garments like the shirts that have been stitched together back-to-back are equally as impressive.

To conclude it is hard to see that Vetements are challenging the transient faddishness – the fixation of disposable novelty. Is it changing the game or is it just the latest fad? There is a relentless desire for the new and next and I believe this is fundamental what’s wrong with fashion. It’s infuriating and ultimately fashion industry really needs to slow down.

Community to change the system


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dave Hakkens creates machines to recycle plastic. The concept Precious Plastic is that everywhere, everybody can build themselves these machines and recycle their plastics. For me, the most interesting point in this concept is the community around it. He says

“To start up an idea is a powerful tool to use these days. A designer is able to bring people together by just sharing an idea or a potential solution.”

 

Dave Hakkens and his projects are accessible in two points.

Most of his design projects are often provides with open-source instruction videos and blueprints, so it is presenting as a do it yourself project. You can inform yourself, make your own machine or your design object, share on social network, and use it. Make and use these projects is to be active to change the system, and be a designer as well.

Furthermore, he is very active on social networks. On Youtube (with 122 000 followers), he often published videos to clearly explain his projects, how to make it etc. But also he has a certain way of life that you can clearly see in his videos called Story Hopper. Some links: here and

here.

If I had the opportunity to talk to Dave, I will ask him if he thinks that in addition to this solution to reduce plastics wastes we also must have to adopt a minimalist and zero waste attitude. And the answer is manifestly yes. These videos fit perfectly with the sharing of opinions and go further in the ideas that he wants to give. He offers more than just designer content while playing with the border of social network influencers.

Also on his website, you can find the forum where you can talk with people around the world. It’s nice to see all these people who said « I want to recycle plastics but I don’t know where to start » Finally I understood that in this big community, some other little communities are created to make projects easier. On the topic, someone answer: « try to find people, and build an association or something with many people to reduce costs!»

 

bojimansV3 Exhibition during the Dutch Design Week 

 

I am wondering how this concept can grow and evolve in the rest of the world. Are social media enough to share his ideas? The definition of the word community by the Oxford dictionary is: “the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common“. Dave Hakkens and his projects are accessible for those who know him and who share the same interests. Plastic machines were at first introduced in a museum as an exhibition. So a certain public is interested to see it and in this kind of place, it doesn’t have the same purpose. It is difficult to apply something that you just saw in a museum. You can maybe just except to have a discussion but not really a revolution. What effect would he have if he presents his project in a hardware store? 

I knew Dave Hakkens thanks to my sculpture class at the Rietveld Academie. Indeed, some students were able to create one of the plastic machine, the injection machine. I spoke with one of these students and she gave me an interesting reflection: « He says that everyone can build those machines, it works for us because we are in art school, so we have all the materials needed and we always can find a way to be creative with the plastic machine, but not sure it’s the same in poorer countries, because it has a cost and maybe they did not hear about the Precious Plastic project»

 

PLASTIC MACHINEInjection machine in the Rietveld

 

Dave Hakkens went in 2015 to Ganah for research. Also just a few weeks ago, he shipped a big container to the Maldives, to clean ocean. It is important because “the risk” of this way of building plastic machines is to build them for a personal use or very restrained, as the weekend handyman in his garage. But create this container, place of many workshops to recycle plastics can expand the utilization. Indeed, it can not be an activity in its own right, but it should really be part of our way of life and as we can not spend our time recycling plastic, we may wonder if this community of active people is enough? What about the big industries? In fact, there is a start-up called The Plastik Bank which collaborates with the big industries. Plastic waste that invades the poorer regions of the world is collected by local people and then sold to companies that recycle it. But finally, Dave Hakkens gives the opportunity to communities to create something with plastic, be autonomous in the research and then win money (if they decide to). It is really like build something new, maybe a new society.

 

To say goodbye: very interesting article on other people who tried to find solutions for plastic wastes. 

Results of day-to-day technology and modern media.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

An introduction to: Forensic Architecture. 

Forensic Architecture (FA) is a research based agency located at Goldsmith’s university, London. It undertakes advanced architectural and media research on behalf on international prosecutors, human rights organisations and political and environmental justice groups. It refers to the production and presentation of architectural evidence – buildings and larger environments and their media representations.

As contemporary conflicts increasingly occur in dense urbanised areas, homes and neighbourhoods become targets. Casualties come to be in cities, buildings and the ‘safety’ of their own home. Nowadays, thanks to this multimedia era, urban battlegrounds are overflowing with information and data shared to social media platforms. Many violations, undertaken within cities and buildings, are now caught on camera and are made available almost instantly.  The premise of FA is that analysing IHL and HR violations must involve modelling dynamic events as they unfold in space and time and creating navigable 3D models of environments undergoing conflict, as well as the creation of filmic animations, and interactive cartographies on the urban or architectural scale.

 These techniques allow FA to create precise, convincing and accessible information that could be crucial for the pursuit of accountability. Architectural analysis is also important because it enables new insights in context of urban conflicts.

The widespread possession of cheap digital recording equipment, the development of satellite communication, the public availability of remote sensing technology and the ability to communicate and diffuse information instantaneously through the internet have made urban conflict more complex, but also generate enormous amounts of data that can be used as potential resources for monitoring. But these transformations also lead to secondary conflict about interpretation that takes place on news and social media websites. The establishment of new forums of international jurisdiction mean that also contemporary forums themselves become dense media environments. In them screen-to-screen interaction replaces face-to-face deliberation. The combined process of the urbanisation and mediatisation of war makes FA an urgent and indispensible practice for human rights investigations. FA seeks to respond to these challenges by developing new modes of media research and new modes of media presentation for urban and architectural environments.

FA1-6.5-Photo-montage-TO-BE-CROPPED-TO-IMAGE

 

 

Results of day-to-day technology and modern media. 

Nowadays our lives are filled and dependent on electronic devices, and with that `I don’t mean the ones that keep you breathing in the hospital. It is the smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart watches and what not that makes that we can function in modern society, because of it we can keep up with the ever-changing world on a speed that we have never seen before. Now it is a very contemporary debate if this is a positive development, many pointing out the negative. From a subjective and personal point of view I would have to place myself on that end of the spectrum as well, seeing the unfavourable short and long term effects. Finding out about FA was because of that very thought-provoking.
I will open up a research project that compares positive and negative aspects of modern media and technology use in the present-day.
I will introduce this research through a series of set examples.

 

Generation Selfie

First of all, a negative side to the rise of social media is the deteriorating self image and esteem of essentially Generation Z and the Millennials.  Quoting scientist Clarissa Silva:

“Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social skills. As a Behavioural Scientist, I wonder what causes this paradox? The narratives we share and portray on social media are all positive and celebratory. It’s a hybridized digital version of “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Meaning for some, sometimes it appears everyone you know are in great relationships, taking 5-star vacations and living your dream life. However, what is shared across our social networks only broadcasts the positive aspects of our lives-the highlight reels.”

The idea of saving and sharing the highlights of our lives has been a long past introduced concept, think about the photography albums your parents made of you and themselves. But in this new form of doing so, we are constantly bombarded with other’s excitements and achievements in life as well. From the envy and hate- love relationships we hold with our online society grows a competition with a non-existent finish line. Seeing photos and videos of your ‘friend’s’ beautiful holiday destinations, their new set of clothing and perfect life is just a start. The image we have our own appearance decreases drastically, not only as an indirect result of the examples shown above, but also the obsessive behaviour around beauty.

It has been part of mankind that the vision on beauty evolves over time and differs from culture to culture, but the coming of social networks has changed the game thoroughly. We can change our DNA online to look like what we see as perfect. Setting impossible goals for ourselves in real life, which makes it less interesting to ‘live’ there.

Animated GIFAnimated GIF

Here is a link to an ongoing social media based project using Instagram as publishing base and inspiration input. 

Is there anything to rely on?


Thursday, November 30, 2017

 It is quite common to notice that we have been focusing on automatizing, and motorising any of our work related physical efforts. As for example, the number of workers in a factory has nothing to do with what it was 30 years ago, and also nothing to do with what it was 100 years ago, and it hasn’t increased for sure. As a paradoxical consequence (that can have also other different causes), it is also amusing to observe that in order to stay healthy, more and more people start to work out, going at the gym. The gym has even become a social environment, where people share their tips and advice, and help one another reaching his goal of physical performance.

 This is what Melle Smets points out in his project: the human power plant. The thing is that according to this “gym” trend, the energy that we produce with our physical efforts nowadays is completely wasted, as we only see it as muscle training; we don’t run on the treadmill to make cold water hot but to get a nice ass. It seems unnecessary to develop how a nice butt is useful to sustain life.  Anyway, all of these machines that are handling so much effort could actually stock the energy to use it afterwards. The human power plant project is a proposal of the use of human physical effort to create the energy that we require in our daily life. In their first case study, they planned a conversion of one building of the Utrecht University into a 100% human-powered student house. On the other hand, in its concrete realisation, the project is still quite utopic or futuristic, as the prototypes are for the moment only to charge a phone or a laptop, and the latest to heat a Jacuzzi…

Designblog

 Going back to human attitude towards effort optimisation, we can also to a certain qualify this quest of automatizing and motorising any work related effort as the natural egocentric human condition of wanting to do what we want, and not being a machine, or not being a clone. And it can also be directly linked with artistic activity, in a way that it commonly comes from us wanting to get something out of what we think is our singular identity or thoughts. Or the link could also be that art is commonly/traditionally seen as completely useless, when artists are the most passionate about their job. Wouldn’t it mean that we just want to make ourselves useless? We could argue in this way to conclude that we obviously live to die. But then, why not act as a mere gear in this gigantic mechanic world? We can observe to confirm what was said before a relentless research to motorise the perpetual motion we live in, with very contrasted fields of research like Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, or more recently Theo Jansen. Of course, their views on this topic are all very different, and even how they consider or see this topic varies. For example, Theo Jansen’s approach absolutely didn’t think of the “perpetual motion motor” side of his creation, he just wanted to create life. And even if the approach has to be understood sometimes in a metaphorical way so it doesn’t become contradictory, these enormous solitary creatures wandering on the beach are tightly close to have the possibility of being independent and to continue living eating wind to make their hundred legs move. So here we see that the difference is about what could be qualified as the artistic approach, that the function of the energy is not necessarily to use for us humans but just to contemplate. In a way, the only energy a perpetual motion motor/generator distributes is to itself, and we can only watch the wheel turn.

 Switching back to Melle Smets, the goal here is not to make a wheel turn on its own. The social and cultural context is privileged, and the aim is to make people self-sufficient in what they require concerning energy; we are the perpetual motion machines. It’s interesting to see, that most of the creators, to find a solution to how to produce energy, will try to find or invent something that is not there or that is not known. And they often argue that the world is your oyster, there are so many things outside that we can take advantage from. What is interesting and funny is to see that after thousands of years of trying to widen the distance between our own self and energy production, there is an actual proposal of an alternative where it is ourselves that we can the most directly take advantage from.

The concept is not even this innovative, in a way that we have always been producing energy with our efforts. Actually we don’t even have a choice not to and it’s all we’ll be doing in our whole life. Following this alternative perspective’s idea is tending to not only make us self-sufficient but also self-reliable and as a consequence disciplined. Just like a child to who we don’t learn to become autonomous by providing anything that he would need or want to not think about how he could do it himself. We can notice that nowadays, energy like electricity is so much a part of our daily life norm that having lamps in any room of a house is completely natural whereas a house without any would be linked to a spooky fictional movie. We don’t show to the children what electricity is and can do, we just tell them to not put their fingers in the plug. The point is that what we have to do to start, is to make ourselves reconnect to what do we essentially need in our life, where does it come from, and how can we get it, (energy wise of course, I wasn’t talking about love).

designblog2

A waste of fashion


Thursday, November 30, 2017

It was probably about a year ago that I passed by my friend while she was making a rug out of old clothes, when I asked her why, she explained to me that there is an overabundance of textiles in the world. She told me about how this is actually starting to become a problem, so she was trying to find a new purpose for left over textiles or old clothes. It was an issue that never really occurred to me before but immediately caught my attention because it’s so obvious if you think about it. 

The attitude that people have towards clothing has changed, fashion trends move quick, every year there are new collections from every brand, stores filled monthly, or even weekly. And we all buy into it. The average person buys 60% more garments that last half a year compared to fifteen years ago. The way of production has changed as well, the materials are cheaper and made not to last very long. Next to that the production has inflated massively, according to Greenpeace the production has doubled from the year 2000 to 2014 and the number of garments exceeded 100 billion by 2014. A lot of clothes that are being made don’t even make it to the shops, they were made to have enough in stock even though the shops are often overstocked already. The clothes that don’t sell fast go into sale, but 4,2% stays behind after the sale. That doesn’t sound like much but we’re talking about 21,5 million new pieces of clothing, from which 1,23 million pieces get destroyed. They get burned in ovens or shredded because they don’t want these clothes to be used or resold. 

Next to the overproduction of the fashion industry, we have our fair share of throwing away textiles as well, the average person throws away about thirty kilos of clothing per year, this is roughly eight trash bags a year, even though 95% of the clothes we chug away is still reusable. Not only the clothes that get thrown away cause problems but donation in some cases as well. The clothes that are donated to charity and can’t get sold in charity shops are shipped off to third world countries. In some of those countries, here it gets sold for so cheap that the local tailors can’t compete anymore and have to go out of business

The waste that the left over and thrown away textile produce is polluting the environment and is practically toxic waste. Since the clothes are produced so cheaply the fabrics are often synthetic and the dyes are toxic. The clothes that get burned release a lot of chemicals in the air. The clothes that get thrown away  often end up in landfills. Since they’re not biodegradable they just keep staggering up, causing an environmental hazard. The textiles chemicals and toxins get absorbed by the soil, polluting both the surface and the ground water. It also releases methane into the air which contributes to global warming.

So now what do we do? What can we do about this? There might be a few options. One of them is instead of throwing away the old clothes that we’re sick of, or never wear anymore, remake them into something new. This is what for example Viktor and Rolf did for the Boulevard of Broken Dreams collection of 2017. They used pieces and materials of left over material, pieces and damaged items of previous collections.

 

 

design theory waste 3  design theory waste 2  design theory waste 1

 

And Italian company Marchi & Fildi turns old fabrics, in this case pre-dyed cotton textile scraps that are left over in the fashion companies to make a new recycled yarn, Ecotech. But also the company Evrnu found a way to turn cotton waste into a new fiber, by first turning it into a pulp. With these approaches cotton waste is being saved and a new durable material is created for fashion designers to work with.

 

It makes me happy to see that there are several initiatives that try to find small solutions to this problem, but I think this is an issue that deserves way more attention. What I talked about here is just a small part, the textile industry is after the oil industry the most wasteful industry. The damage is unbelievable, on environmental but also on a social level. Andrew Morgan made an incredible documentary about this subject called ‘The True Cost’ that I would definitely recommend. I hope we can find a way to stop this problem before it’s too late. I think awareness of the problem is the first step and I hope that now people are becoming aware, we can take the next one. To help you start I will leave you with some tips from the Oxford City Council to make your clothes last longer.

 

construction work or art?


Thursday, November 30, 2017

listen to me while you read

“You need to create possibilities to store the water when there is a lot of rain and release it when there isn’t enough of it. “So why not incorporate this idea in our habitat in a visually attractive way?” Jolan van der Wiel

Jolan van der Wiel made a bench that looks fragile, pretty, put on display in the museum a meter above the ground. Took me a while even to understand that this is meant for sitting. It’s far from practical, storing only a very small amount of water, has no cooling system and probably breaks/bends under pressure. This bench is not made for sitting OR storing water.

If Jolan wants to bring people ‘closer’ to useful resource management systems via introducing them in a visually attractive way, he should start from the other end of the process. Start with what is already there in our daily urban lives but we never notice it as anything else but practically necessary objects or systems.

What if we could bring people closer to resource management systems. Rather than starting from the aesthetic point of view, we should start from the practical side, start from acknowledging these technical solutions that are very well-thought through, and show them a something aesthetic, show them as something that people can appreciate. As for now, our goal in building and city management is to hide all the arrangements that make our life comfortable, easier, cleaner. All the pipes are hidden underneath the streets or in our walls. We are almost always reaching to hide everything that is evidence of how things work. It’s almost as if we didn’t really want to understand how the water gets into the tap, how come I have light in my room even when it’s dark outside, or how I don’t freeze to death in the winter. It’s kind of a taboo, but I think it should be more approachable. We don’t have to be engineers to understand or realise that there is so much effort put into everything we take advantage from in our daily lives.

What is hidden in our houses, underneath and between the walls? Construction workers might seem the opposite of artists, but they have something surprising to offer. Just look at these cord routing systems. They could easily be contemporary sculptures, worth a substantial amount of money. It could also be done in different ways, allowing the system engineer to be creative.

I would propose us to no longer hide these actually kind of beautiful construction systems. They are visually pleasing. We could allow an engineer to get closer to the regular user/person, to make them appreciate both art and construction work. I would love to see what’s in my walls or underneath my feet. I don’t think it’s ugly, or that it should be hidden.

 

this is not a modern art sculpture. this is a circuit breaker panel for water, meant for managing the plumbing system in your house.

This is not a modern art sculpture. this is a circuit breaker panel for water, meant for managing the plumbing system in your house.

772829-873909

This is a floor heating system.

Ayse Erkmen, Plan B, Turkish Pavilion, Venice 2011

Here’s a work from Ayse Erkmen, who made an installation from water purification units with extended pipes and cables. Her project transforms a room into a complex water purification unit where machines perform as sculptures, encompassing the audience inside of the filtration process which eventually provides clean, drinkable water back to the canal.

 

Since Berlin was founded in a very swampy area the ground-water level is actually quite high in Berlin, in the city center it often starts very close to the surface. Which means that whenever there is a new building being constructed in the center, the foundations reach into the water and the construction site is constantly flooded by the ground-water. Of course this water has to be pumped away constantly, which is done via those pink pipes! If you follow the pipes to one end you will always get to a construction site like this one here on Leipziger Platz. If you follow them to other end you will always get to a canal, the river or they’ll disappear into the canalisation.

These pink funky pipes are not an art piece, but used to pump water away from a building construction site. They can be found all over Berlin. If you follow the pipes to one end you will always get to a construction site. If you follow them to other end you will always get to a canal, the river or they’ll disappear into the canalisation.

Change the system – Tjeerd Veenhoven


Thursday, November 30, 2017

200.000 jaar geleden ontstond ‘de moderne mens’ (Homo Sapien). In de voorbije jaren zijn we geëvolueerd tot een rechtoplopend, rationeel, gemoderniseerd wezen. Goed? Slecht? Voor allebei valt iets te zeggen. Maar een feit is dat we, met name de laatste paar eeuwen, een extreme focus hebben op ‘groei’, ‘verder gaan’, ‘slimmer worden’ en veelal ‘rijker worden’. Allen op zich niet per definitie ‘slecht’, echter wel wanneer je dit bekijkt vanuit het oogpunt van het heden en de omgang met en staat van de aarde en het milieu. En daarbij zit de mens en zijn welzijn automatisch inbegrepen.

Duurzaamheid, circulariteit, systeemverandering, het is nodig dat we daar bewust van worden en meer nog dat we er ook gehoor aan geven; het systeem drastisch veranderen.

Hoe? Ja, een vraag waar nog geen eenduidig antwoord op is, en waarschijnlijk ook niet op komen gaat. Wel is het mogelijk dat we het systeem als geheel in onze manier van denken veranderen, waarbij vooruitgang en groei automatisch geassocieerd wordt met duurzaamheid, circulariteit en ‘onderdeel zijn van de natuur, de aarde en het universum’.

Deze volledige omwenteling van patronen in het denken en doen ontstaat enkel door simpelweg ‘te beginnen’. En wel bij jezelf. Zodat van hieruit langzaam maar zeker door de tijd heen deze olievlek uitvloeit en uiteindelijk ‘de totale mensheid’ heeft overgenomen.

Nu is deze olievlek de laatste jaren al langzaam iet wat aan het uitvloeien, wat een onwijs goed begin is; het bewustzijn wordt groter, meer mensen starten hun projecten, acties en groeperingen om dit bewustzijn om te zetten in handelen en inmiddels komen meer en meer ideeën en kennis de wereld in om het systeem te veranderen.

Tjeerd Veenhoven, hij is zo’n druppel olie die gelooft in dit uitvloeien en is begonnen met projecten waarin circulariteit van natuur-materiaal, behoud van natuur, duurzaamheid, tegengaan van verspilling, het welzijn van de mens en het terugdringen van milieuvervuiling en de opwarming van de aarde centraal staan. Middels kunst, design en mode brengt hij zijn gedachtegoed én toepassing de wereld in, wat een directe verbinding legt tussen de mensen en deze ‘systeemverandering’. Ik geloof erin dat dit de beste manier is om bewustzijn over deze onderwerpen (en daarbinnen te laten zien dat deze idealen en dromen omgezet kunnen worden in realiteit) te creëren en op die manier de snelste weg zullen zijn naar het ook daadwerkelijk handelen en toepassen van deze idealen en dus naar totale systeemverandering.

thinking small through The Incredible Shrinking (Wo)Man


Thursday, November 30, 2017
 
please device-zoom in order to simulate the viewing experience of a shrunken person

Humans have been evolving, growing ever larger with no popular trends in the reverse. This movement is fueled by vast amounts of resources that the human being demands as it grows – things like energy, space, dairy and other consumer goods and the immense cost it inflicts on the environment and fellow human beings to get such produce on the shelves. This inherited idea that being taller is generally better is widespread in many societies and those in power tends to be taller than average as well.

Going against this widely held belief in the preferability of more height, Arne Hendriks proposes an reverse trend – to shrink. The Incredible Shrinking Man had, for the past eight years been proposing alternative possibilities diligently curated from all over the world and many specializations. The ultimate “theoretical” goal is to shrink the human average height to 50 centimeters, and greatly reduce the material demands that society consume. The endless litany of social observances and projects featured there offers wondrous though perhaps hard to implement promises to redesign human beings.

This is a good opportunity to examine the role of a change maker – if it is indeed possible, and if so how can anyone bring about such a leviathan and un-instinctive changes to the world. Perhaps someone have a brilliant idea, but how then should they show and communicateit to the rest of the world. With this project, Hendriks chose to continue contributing to the development and contribution of this project for the past eight years. Through this sustained timeline, examples have emerged across time, culture and region to show that this thought has perhaps been something lurking in the back of our mind. From this unique body of research Hendriks, often referred to as an artist establish short term, pop up studios in art establishments such as Stroom Den Haag and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and ‘invite’ visitor to fish through the considerable body of research including a wall of postcards each illustrating a small info.

body of research including a wall of postcards each illustrating a small info.

shrinking-man32

Design and Solution


Thursday, November 30, 2017

 s_massoud-hassani-3

 

Before visiting the exhibition, I already knew about Mine Kafon (Kafon means “explode” in Dari), designed by Massoud Hassani. I was glad to see his work again and that made me curious about the background of this work. There were three impressive things about his design. The design is so simple that even children can assemble pieces of the ball. It contributes to global issues and the starting point of this design is connected to the personal story. Inspired by the homemade wind-powered toys which he made during his childhood in Afghanistan, Massoud created the Mine Kafon, a wind-powered landmine detector for his 2011 graduation project. The project rapidly gained interest in the media and in 2012, Massoud and his brother Mahmud organized a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the development of the Mine Kafon as a prominent piece of landmine clearing technology. I’d like to start with the general information about the designer and his work and introduce how design can develop for applying in a real life.

 

 

“We are looking forward to a landmine-free world.”

s_p00s12nl

s_p00s12nv

 Mine Kafon Video

 

 

The global statistics on landmines and their effects make sobering reading. According to the United Nations, up to 110 million mines have been laid across more than 70 countries since the 1960s and that between 15,000 and 20,000 people die each year because of them. Many of the victims are civilians – children, women and the elderly – not soldiers. Thousands more are maimed. Moreover, laying landmines is 50 times cheaper than removing them. And the removal is not without human cost either. The UN says that one mine clearance specialist is killed, and two injured, for every 5,000 mines cleared.

 

One of the worst affected countries is Afghanistan, with an estimated 10 million landmines contaminating more than 200 square miles of land. It is something that Massoud Hassani, who grew up in the northern part of Kabul, knows that all too well. “We lived out by the airport, and there’s a big desert out there where all different militaries trained. It was a real war zone. They left a lot of explosives, including landmines. But, it was our playground,”

 

Hassani has designed and built, by hand, a wind-powered ball that is heavy enough to trip mines as it rolls across the ground. The idea is that it is light enough to be pushed by a wind but heavy enough to trip mines. Hassani thinks that humanitarian organizations could take Kafons with them into areas suspected of being mined, and then let the wind do the dangerous work.

 

a549050306c58b3a8006041f2e2be372_original

 

The Hassanis spent the next two years developing a tool they hope will have a real-world impact: a mine-hunting drone. The autonomous copter performs a three-step process: It maps an area, detects mines, and then destroys them. The brothers claim Mine Kafon Drones will clear mines 20 times faster than existing technologies. Removing a single mine by hand can cost $300 to $1,000; one Kafon costs about $1,100 and can cover a full minefield. The Hassanis hope to deploy thousands, potentially ridding the world of landmines within 10 years. Fitted with a 3-D mapping system, the drone locates mines with a metal detector. Using a robotic arm, it places a small detonator on top of them before setting off the device remotely.

 

Following Massoud’s first successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, the Mine Kafon Foundation was founded. The Mine Kafon Foundation is an R&D organization based in the Netherlands. In the past three years, Massoud and Mahmud have been raising awareness by giving lectures around the world and developing new approaches on how to fight landmines in different environments. In this way, they have crowdsourced many engineers and designers from all over the world and invited them to collaborate and volunteer on this humanitarian project.

 

 

“Mine Kafon is not only an anti-landmine device;

it opens a discussion of global awareness”

 

 

There’s a hidden problem in the world. A landmine can be overlooked and forgotten because it’s out of sight. Although the developed world seems to have been mostly cleared of this problem, its deadly effects are constantly experienced by civilians in over 60 nations. With a collective and humanitarian effort, we can defuse this hazard, which will enable the land to become useful again. There are landmines where farms ought to be; there are land mines where sports fields and parks ought to be;

 

 maxresdefault

 

Before researching Massoud Hassani and his work, I didn’t realize the seriousness of landmines. Hassani’s design played a role as an entrance for paying attention to a forgotten global issue. I didn’t put all information that I found while I’m researching in this one essay, but it was a good chance for me to learn the whole progress of his design. He knows the pain of having landmines near home. That’s why he constantly develops his design, tries to apply his design in a real world and answers one question. Can design invent solutions to problems that we have put in place? The answer is yes. These are the most touching thing that I’ve got from him.

 

 

Exactitudes


Thursday, November 30, 2017

I chose this project because I find really interesting how every human in the world even the most peculiar looking ones can be catalogued in a group. It always intrigued me how much you can express with clothing and where are the borders between being unique or just following fashion. The photographer Ari Verluis and the stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek have been working in the project Exactitudes for more than twenty years, the name of this project is a fusion of “exact” and “attitudes”.

01--Gabbers-Rotterdam-1994

Vetements which was also in the exhibition Change Makers used Ari and Elli’s work as an inspiration for the autumn/winter 2017 collection. This underscores the critique of the fashion world. After the collection was online big chains started copying it. This open really important questions about actual fashion.

The presentation of the photos they take are always the same, a grid of three by four, making it almost a catalogue of types of persons where you could find your urban tribe.

Exactitudes started in Rotterdam but actually they work all over the world. It analyses how depending on your surroundings your style will be different. They say sense of style is something you’re born with, using as an example the kids who use school uniform, the ones that even wearing the same exact thing make a little difference like wearing a chain or rolling up his sleeves.

This project is not that much about fashion but more about people and it really has an anthropological quality that it’s admirable because slowly it’s documenting the changes in society thru the years and how some factors like social media.

 

To understand better and interpret my subject I decided to recreate Exactitudes but with a twist: doing it on Tinder. Tinder is a dating app where you swipe left or right if you like the profile of the person or not.

cat owners

cat owners

 

In the profile you create, you are able to post four photos where you have to sell yourself. You can also write about you, (but no one reads that). This dating app works visually. The pictures you post will make you have a match or a sad love life with no matches at all.

In the interview for the catalogue, Ari talks about the process of finding/collecting people and how they just sit in the street and wait for the right person to pass by. For me that process was more active, I first had to find which group I wanted to categorize. As soon as you start using the app similitudes between the users pop up, and even though you can’t take photos of them with a white background and the same pose, when I arranged the screenshots in grids it was impressive to see how similar the photos were.

 

dog filter

dog filter

 

The research I made wasn’t that much about clothing, but there’s something in common with clothing and the images you post on Tinder to introduce yourself. They both are talking about you without words. You want to reflect your personality with them, it’s like a mute introduction of yourself.

 

soccer players

soccer players

 

Probably the people I put together in some of the grids won’t think they belong to the same urban tribe. I focused more on the attitudes they reflect on their profiles more than on what they wear. For example the soccer players, by making the choice of introducing themselves with a photo of  them playing this sport place them in an idea of the kind of person they can be. The same exact thing would happen if someone shaved his head and wore a bomber, these decisions reflect a statement of who they are or how they want to be seen.

 

world saviors

world saviors

 

World saviors is another example of how with a single image you can make a strong statement. They try to sell their person and reflect how merciful and helpful they are with the most needed ones. This could not be shown with clothing,

 

Now that Tinder and other social media platforms are opening opportunities for people to give the image they want to show of themselves is time for a new Exactitudes, but now on the virtual world.

 

barbies

barbies

Social Design and Relational Art


Thursday, November 30, 2017

  • “L’art est un état de rencontre” “Art is a meeting state” – Nicolas Bourriaud

 

When visiting the exhibition « Change the system » in the Boijmans, I wondered how art and design were differently defined when they both answer one and only  same question . At the very end of the show, I discovered the work of Manon van Hoeckel called ‘the laundry’. Manon is a designer, a social and critical one; she « designs context ». That was the very first time that I saw this term used , regarding a design work that had as a result a social cohabitation and that was human-centered in this way. Wasn’t it an art experience, such as Tino Seghal’s work or Marina Abramovitch’s one? How do design and art meet in social/relational situations to create a better understanding of our modern and future world?

momo5

In the last decades, through many art movements that arised, two specific ones in art and design have emerged. In art, the relational aesthetic defined by  Nicolas Bourriaud as “a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space. » In design, a social thinking approach has emerged in the same way, materializing into performances, contexts, tests,  always in the finality to contribute to improve human well-being and livelihood. Although these two subjects do not have quite the same purposes, they coincide around the same problems and use the same tools with the purpose of better understanding/changing our world and human behaviour.


In current art practices, it is not unusual to visit literally empty exhibitions which display works that turn away from the visual and the visible. Facing these constituent invisibilities, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the invisible artwork from its exhibition. But let’s say it’s acceptable, because it is art. But what if this happens with design? What’s the result of it? Nothing specific, just an experience. How is it created? What happens? Let’s first have a look at Manon’s work.

As a social designer, Manon creates event, spaces for people to discuss, she creates interaction between humans. In her project for The Boijman’s Museum , Manon actually creates a space where people can come for other reasons than visiting a museum, and also a space to discuss the exhibition itself. As an answer to « change the system », she proposes discussion. But how is her work different from Tino Seghal’s, how is it different from relation aesthetic?  Tino Seghal also bases his work on people’s experience of meeting and sharing, the interaction being the piece of art itself, working against the production of an object. Regarding what is relational art, let’s give an other relevant example. Rirkrit Tiravanija is perhaps the most iconic artist of this movement. He moved all the contents of an art gallery storeroom and office into the exhibition space and staged his work in the back rooms; the art consisted of cooking Thai cuisine for his audience. The viewers became active par­ticipants, first locating the backrooms, then consuming the food and engaging in con­versations with the artist and one another, instead of quietly looking at objects in an exhibition space.

So, what’s different from Manon Van Hoecken’s work ? We can nowadays suppose that there exists a correlation between what art and design produce in the way that now they are both no longer results driven, and either of them do not have a specific function/utility (to a certain extent). Regarding both disciplines, the term ‘relational’ offers a more complex understanding than the simple oppositional binary of both art and design – as either socially active or not.

How come design and art became so abstract, looking similar and tending to focus on the human matter so much?

If we had to make distinctions, we might say that regarding social design, as Manon Van Hoecken produces, it is an experience of sociology that enables the designer and the users themselves to better understand how does interaction and human contact work nowadays. Designers then became « expert citizens » and it is more about designing WITH, but not for users. This could be called « Human centered Design », and is definitely very close to relational art.

Regarding relational aesthetic, it is more about taking as its subject the entirety of life as it is lived, or the dynamic social environment (rather than attempting mimetic representation of object removed from daily life, as would be the case in a Dutch Baroque still life). Also, it is important to emphasize that the main purpose of relational aesthetics is not simply to produce social relationships and interactions but also reflect upon society and critique it through the approach of disruption by creating non-produced exhibition and art. Also, participatory and relational art raise important questions about the meaning and purpose of art in society, about the role of the artist and the experience of the audience as participants.

But, if we look at it from a historical point of view, relational aesthetic are older than social design. Relational art, as we said before, is a term that was created by Nicolas Bourriaud in 1995 in his book « Relational Aesthetic », from his experiences of his artist colleagues in the 90’s. Social design and human centered design are younger, they appear a bit later in time and have become a real subject of interest nowadays. Is then art what inspired design to go into the more performative experience of customers? How does art influence design? This supposition brings us to an other problematic, but from what we’ve seen so far we can confirm two things:

If social design and relational art have the similarity of experience, design tends more to derive analysis and create problematics from it, otherwise art offers another way to experience and create, in contradiction to what is known and defined. Very similar in their forms, nowadays it can be seen how design and art can be closely related. Social design such as human centered design also gives a much more open minded idea of what design is and can be, far from any industrial or concrete problematics.

momo5
Here a project I made myself where I created a fake statue with the words “If you ever wanted to talk to someone, do it here whitestranger@outlook.fr” and waited for people to react by sending me/or not mails.
This project can be seen either
-as an art piece, bringing strangers and public spectators to help create the work itself.
-a design, social experiment, about loneliness but also about uses of internet communication.
>> White stranger (click here to see the project)

Change the system, a consequence or a cause?


Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Change the System show left a feeling of good-willingness. A presentation of their good-willingness towards the world, and how they want to change the system with the use of their work. With this the show can be placed on a long list of strongly socially-engaged exhibitions. Going with the hype is one thing, but using your work as a tool to change things is another. This has everything to do with the relationship between the work and the maker, in relation to the work itself. When I came to discover that Martin Margiela is known for, besides of course his designs, his strong opinion on the importance of the separation between creation and creator, I knew that this would be a subject that I would like to address in relation to the show in the Boijmans.

In the changemaker show was a strongly visible parting between the participants; those who want to use their work to change the system and those who change the system as a consequence of their work. This was something I could immediately feel when seeing the work.

By giving a work a certain expectation, a goal, the central point, as it were, drifts towards a purpose and away from the work itself. You will always end up with following the ethic, the moral. Because of that the end result is always limited, it will be something you already know, something everybody already knows. In a way propaganda. For me, the function of an artwork can be connected to the function of a dream. This raises the question: what do you get from a morally correct dream?

That is the reason why it is so tricky to use art or design, if you want to make that distinction, to reach a certain goal. Reaching for a certain goal, apart from the work itself, is like starting from the opposite direction: first the shape is made, where later is made an attempted to insert a tenor. But in the end it feels like only a shell remains, which never had a content. Richard Serra made a clear comment about this issue when he was told that his work was not socially engaged enough; “art doesn’t need justification from outside”. To go a step further, you will kill the power of an artwork by making it justificational.

The motivation of doing this can be multiple things; with a lot of these kind of socially-engaged artists their own ego plays a big role, in the sense of: yes, also I am concerned about global warming and the extinction of all kind of animals. And others have financial motivations; one way to have a lot of shows these days is by presenting yourself as the engaged artist. This became clear when doing some general research into the participants, an image-search on the participants, no works came up, just the nice promotion pictures of their faces. Is it for creator about making a good chair, or is it more about other things and is the chair just a tool/consequence of those things? And how important is your work to you if you put you self in front of it?

4f04f311c7c7ecacff7489cc899caffb--deconstruction-fashion-maison-martin-margiela c1339e911984d60cc21cd776fc644dbc--moda-fashion-fashion-week

Martin Margiela also saw this; at a certain point in his career he decided not to talk to the press anymore and not to appear in public again. For some the statement was simply seen as an advertising stunt, but Margiela did not care about that, it was the content of the interviews that bothered him. For him, interviews had to be about the collection, not about Margiela the person. Only what he created was of importance, only that, not the man or goal behind it, the work stands on his own.

Margiela did things that were never done before, but not because he wanted to be a changemaker. Margiela’s works are ground-breaking, because of the steps he took he found necessary for his work. With this Margiela belongs to the other kind of participants in this show. The contribution of these artists and designers made the exhibition interesting as a whole. With the changemaker show, the Boijmans van Beuningen makes, consciously or unconsciously, a clarifying distinction in a long tradition of border-seeking artists.

Discover and Question about Identity. Now it’s time.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

After we entered the new time of globalization, culture from all over this planet has tightly connected stronger than ever before. Now, flying to the most far away place where you can imagine may only take you a day’s time so the frequent moving from places to places has provided the global society with countless chances of mixing and sharing cultures, identities and perspectives. New things never came alone. The gap area is the wonderland of creating new ideas but it’s also a mist forest where we may get lost about where we come from, where we are going to and even who we truly are. So as young artists of this young generation, what kind of attitude should we have towards the contrast, the sparks and the mixing should be questioned.
He Jing, whose education mixed both Chinese traditional culture and Dutch modern design education, came up with one tough question about defining herself— What is Chinese designer and what is Identity?

He Jing grow up in China and studied fundamental education there as well, moved to the Netherlands and being educated for years( Gerrit Rietveld academie and Design Academy of Eindhoven). So, how to define her works? Chinese work or Dutch work? Which is the more important influence when we define about identity? After she did many research about culture influences she found one point which interests her most that is Copying, a commonly seen phenomenon among cultures.

The Tulip Pyramid is a 17th-century Dutch invention. However, its form, its motifs and its material imitate Chinese porcelain and pagoda.
‘I began this project to continue the process of replicating and transforming which is the history of Tulip Pyramid. I wanted to explore the question of ‘creativity in copying’ and the question of identity.
If a Tulip Pyramid were to be imitated in nowadays China – a country which is a mixture of common and private ownership, of collectivism and individualism, troubled by the issue of counterfeiting and appropriating intellectual property – what would result be? I invited five young Chinese designers from different design disciplines, to reflect the culture and the history of imitation and innovation. They each designed two layers of the pyramid. I claim ownership of the final product together with these five designers, to further explore the intellectual property of this object.
I see myself as a Tulip Pyramid. My origins are in China and I’ve been transformed in the Netherlands. What does that make me?
The education in the Netherlands gave me another perspective of design. I found a flexible area outside the practice of design for mass-production, using my personal experience to ask questions about mass-production in a design discourse. For a second pyramid, I imitated and mixed up famous Dutch designers’ iconic works with my former works, to question their influence and the institution that formed me.’,he jing said.

Nowadays, as the World Factory, China is providing the world with countless quick factories and products. When industry requires the chain to run fast, the details or the identity of design will be weakened or even ignored. She did many research about the Copy Culture in China nowadays to see where it come from and where it leads to. But at the same time, copying is not only exist in China, it’s a humanity thing so it exist in all cultures. She took one step back and look at the dutch culture as well. In the ancient society, as the one of the strongest empires for thousand of years, China influenced the whole world in many deep ways. The Netherlands was influenced and introduced by China with ceramics, teas and silk. Delft Blue is one of the most representable example of copying Chinese china. When she realized this, the movements of copying is no longer an issue only exists in one land or in one culture, it has became one art topic.

Does original things really exist?It’s hard to say one thing developed and improved all by itself and only existed in one certain closed world without touching and being influenced by other cultures. Does copying really mean some negative influences? What we may benefit from the copying culture if this is one phenomenon we can never truly avoid?

Maybe there will never be an end of the two tulip towers as the new results of Copy Culture will never ends, but when we facing the question about how to define identity, we are question ourselves about how to abandon the selfish perspective and embrace the sparks when different cultures meet each other.hejing1hejing2

The Aesthetic Green


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Facing the future access to resources and the wish to preserve today’s climate, changes need to be made.
Looking at the world of design there has always been a tendency to broaden the horizon of consumers, buyers and users. Designers found ways to deal with daily life difficulties, which weren’t considered as a problem until there was a solution, but also ways to process innovative materials into aesthetic products and ways to deal with social and psychological issues.
In the last years the concept of sustainable design raised and increased, showing it’s today’s presence in plenty of remarkable projects with approaches diffusing across various disciplines as fashion, architecture, product design and even fiction.

grün3 grün4 grün5 grün7  

This is to be seen at exhibitions such as ‘Change The System’ in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, where many projects were dedicated to sustainability.
So Eric Klarenbeek, called the designer of the unusual, who developed a 3D printing material based straw, water and mycelium, the threadlike vegetative part of fungus. Printed into a thin layer of bioplastic the material can gain stability through drying and – in Klarenbeek’s case – become a chair. He went even further and created possibilities to 3D print with only local materials as algae, potato etc.
Remarkable is the aesthetic presence of the final products. Cups, vases, bowls, which you cannot but simply want to hold in your hand.
And this might be what makes a researcher become a designer: Using the power of aesthetics to create a bridge leading from innovative development to the manifestation of the product in daily life.

Unfortunately many green designers are seen as criminals when it comes to aesthetics. Next to the pursuing of sustainability as something of moral value, aesthetics are sometimes seen as luxury and therefore unnecessary. The aim to save the planet appears to justify the ugly.
But here people seriously underestimate the value of beauty and the power of emotion.
Experiments in interaction design even reveal that people consider objects they emotionally bond to as more functional – and use them more likely.

In the end we conserve only what we love.”
Baba Dioum

Thus objects which don’t attract us on an emotional level, will simply not be used and kept.
If it’s not beautiful, it’s not sustainable. Aesthetic attraction is not a superficial concern – it’s an environmental imperative.” wrote Lance Horsey in his book The Shape of Green.
He is the first to write and examine the relationship of sustainability and beauty. According to him “beauty could save the planet” as in the end people consume and use what they love.
Horsey here uses the example of wolves and dogs to enhance his theory:

The fate of many things depends on whether they please people. Wolves might seem heartier than dogs, but there are 50 million dogs in the world and only ten thousand wolves. Which has adapted better? This view of nature may give you pause—should other species exist just to please us? But as a principle for design, it is essential. If you want something to last, make it as lovable as a Labrador.

grün7 grün4 grün5 grün3

We personalize things we use – and we use things which are personal.
Based on this theses, Jonathan Chapman helps to create an alternative consumer’s philosophy, than our present ‘throw away’ society has. He developed a new design strategy, called Emotionally Durable Design.
Through the conscious shaping and strengthening of the emotional bonding between consumer and object, one can endure the using period and thus reduce waste.
According to him this can be achieved through the consideration of the following five elements:


How users share a unique personal history with the product: Narrative
How the product is perceived as autonomous and in possession of its own free will: Consciousness
Can a user be made to feel a strong emotional connection to a product? Attachment
The product inspires interactions and connections beyond just the physical relationship: Fiction
How the product ages and develops character through time and use: Surface

This results in products such as the Stain tea cup of Bethan Laura Wood – an object which gains character through being used. It builds up an individual pattern of tea stains, according to the personal ways of drinking tea.
To establish this design approach further, Lance Horsey asks the question:
What if we created a different approach to aesthetics, one based on intelligence and not intuition? Can we be as smart about how things look as we are about how they work?

Answers will lead to new aesthetics based on the complex connections of efficiency, sustainability, character, endurance, and the potential to develop with the users personal demand. An understanding of aesthetics which goes beyond an object’s physical presence.

Sand Is The New Oil


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

INTRODUCTION TO ATELIER NL

 

Atelier NL is run by two women Nadine Sterk and Lonny van Ryswyck. They’re Design Academy Eindhoven graduates whose design studio is also based in an old church in Eindhoven. This year they were selected as the official Dutch Design week ambassadors, alongside architect Winy Maas of MVRDV and Dezeen founder Marcus Fairs.

 

IMG_6569

Since 2010, the women have been running their ground based practice of collecting samples of sand from dunes, beaches, rivers, mountains and quarries to melt it into glass. One of the aims of the project To See a World in a Grain of Sand is to “reveal the unique colors and textures of the world and share the origins and stories of both sand and people from all corners of the globe”. This is made possible by the submission contributed by the public in response to the open call for sand samples.

 

The project also draws attention to the massively underestimated resource sand and the fact that the worldwide stocks of white sand are running out. Personally I haven’t really given much thought to this issue before which is why I wanted to look further into it, even though Atelier NL’s work and research that takes a part in the exhibition Change the System in museum Boijmans in Rotterdam seems to be highlighting more of the social aspect as it perhaps makes it more approachable and appealing to a larger audience.

 

In the future local supplies of sand might become an important source for the industry that, unlike the small Dutch design studio, is not yet able to process this natural sand. Besides glass, sand is also vital for many other industries including the manufacturing of computer chips and construction of buildings.

 

SAND – A FINITE RESOURCE

 

To put it simply sand is one of the main ingredients of modern life. Besides water and air, sand is the most used natural resource. We need concrete and asphalt to build cities roads, and sand is used for both of them. Not to forget windows, glasses, plates, cellphone screens and filtration systems in water treatment facilities, septic systems and swimming pools.

 

So cities are basically made out of sand, and since 1950 the number of people living in the cities has grown from 746 million to almost 4 billion making the demand of sand so high that we are now starting to run out of this natural resource.

 

IMG_6757

 

Both legal and illegal trade have economic and ecological backlash. It is estimated that 70% of the world’s beaches are disappearing due to these practices. Mining sand in rivers, beaches or offshore will inexorably lead to the disappearance of our beaches.

 

In Indonesia around two dozen small islands have vanished since 2005 because of sand mining. The coral reefs in Kenya, hundreds of acres of forest in Vietnam, and the ecosystem of India’s rivers have suffered the damages of sand trade as well. People working in the industry are getting hurt too, and some of the activists and government official confronting the black market sand mining gangs end up killed.

 

Stronger regulations are able to prevent some of the damages. The downside of this is that sand is heavy and expensive to transport which could cause the price go up in many developed countries where the sand mining gets banned for environmental reasons. If the sand needs to be trucked from further away, the price will go up as well. This would eventually hit the economy hard and cause more pollution and extra truck traffic.

 

Despite the effort, the attempts to stop the illegal mining don’t always work. An example of this are the satellite images released in 2012 by an environmental organization called Global Witness that showed how Singapore had expanded its land area by 22% over the past 50 years. The sand used in the process came mostly from surrounding countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, and had in some cases been extracted illegally.

 

These countries then responded by banning sand mining. After the ban in other countries, Singapore’s demand for sand continued fueling the industry in Cambodia, even though the government official claim to even have ban the mining in some cases.

 

In a way sand could be called the new oil. There are not yet good alternatives as the desert sand, shaped more by wind rather than water, and the local supplies of sand are not suitable for the needs of the industry. To find a solution for the shortage of sand won’t be an easy task but in the meantime more focus should be put on how we are using the still remaining resources.

The unimaginable is what keeps me exploring


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

IRIS VAN HERPEN

 

The first time I saw 3D Prints I was doing an internship at a design studio. I was fascinated by the complexity it allows to generate, where your imagination is the only limit to create any shape. I wondered what the future of the way we make things would look like and how would that affect our lives. What kind of products will we produce?

 

I was intrigued by the shapes of the dresses exhibited at “Change the System”, and found out that Iris made an entire collection using mainly umbrellas sticks, and that  she uses a lot of 3D Prints in her collections. She spends a lot of time experimenting and researching new materials before start making, combining craftsmanship with the use of new technologies. She also collaborates with many people from other disciplines and incorporates new inputs, which I think is essential to develop new ways of making.

I question to myself what are the possibilities of fashion and technology.Why can’t we wear machines, organic tissues, sculptures? Materiality is changing as we develop new tools and materials, and so is the way we appreciate what we produce.

FAST FASHION

 

Fast fashion allows people to buy fashionable outfits inspired by the latest trends  and get them for a very low price. Mainstream consumers are now able now to afford new things with a very short life span.

Consumption has clearly a very deep influence in our society, and buying clothes now responds to a wish more than a need: we no longer buy because we really need it, we consume because we wish for it. We are involved in a cycle where trends go faster than ever, and hard to keep up. The quality is not important any more, it’s rather how fast it gets to the shop what matters.

Most focused on what we desire  than what we need, fast fashion takes place as the opposite of creative and original pieces. In a way is about copying what is analysed as trendy, producing it as fast as possible to replace the previous trend.

The process of  obsolescence of the garments are already planned from the beginning: it’s meant to replace the old season and attract new purchases.

This process not only creates a massive amount of waste, but also an overconsumption of low quality products that are made under horrifying work conditions.

SWEATSHOPS

 

Retailers sell products that are being manufactured in undeveloped countries, where the labour cost is very low.

The globalization of the free trade world market enables “race to the bottom” situations. Sweatshops are the best example .Contemporary slavery is the most accurate definition I can imagine for the factories that host the poorest workers of the world.

The catastrophe in bangladesh, 2013 is the most horrible example: an eight floor garment factory building collapses killing massive amounts of peopl. It was the deadliest garment-factory incident in history.The conditions under which they were working were so immensely deplorable that it had to get to this catastrophic point to raise awareness.

It is no longer a secret that the large retailers are producing not only more waste than we have ever seen before, but they are competing for lower production costs in order to set low prices in stores. A large percentage of our waste are textiles that are unfashionable are being thrown away and replaced by new low quality ones each season.

3D PRINT

 

We are starting to become aware about where is what we are consuming coming from. Where, how and by whom was produced is becoming more and more relevant. I strongly believe that is of mayor importance to ask  that question and try to understand the mechanism of the chain production and global economy dynamics. I see an urge to create new, sustainable and better quality products.

 

I think 3D print and other technologies will disrupt the production chain in a positive way.This way the  consumer will be  more involved with the idea and the production process of the piece that what she/he wants to wear.

Changing the way people make their own garments and making accessible and easy to do,  will also change the way they relate to their clothing. There will be more appreciation and another type of value to our possessions. It will also allow us to express our own identity through original and valuable pieces. We won’t look for images to buy, it will come from our imagination and more honest desires.

 

Which materials and tools can we bring into fashion that would change the way we produce and consume? WHat will technology allow us? It is interesting to use it not only as a fashion accessory trendy for a season, but a useful, high quality and long lasting product.

 


Log in
subscribe