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"Change The System" Tag


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).

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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

How deep can we go? – The conflicts about problematic issues


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Deepwater – A work created in collaboration between Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck in 2016. It immediately caught my attention while I was walking through the exhibition of ‘’Change the System’’ in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The work is simple, yet very impressive. It has a strong design in contrast to the other works presented in the same room. Deepwater represents a vase which is a collection of the design ‘’Still Waters’’. Thomas Eyck commissioned Studio Wieki Somers to design a series of objects with the theme “water”. These series are five glass vases and each form a poetic interpretation of the water cycle. The vases represent a topical theme regarding the problematic relationship between humans and nature.

 

LTVs_WiekiSomers_05_Deepwater, Labadie

 

The Deepwater vase is made out of glass filled with oil floating on water. In the centre of this vase a stem with leaves is represented. The oil refers to the disrupted human actions like the results of the ecocatastrophe ‘’Deepwater Horizon’’, this was an industrial disaster that began on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a big explosion of the drilling platform Deepwater Horizon. Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck wanted to show how conflicting the values are that ascribe our recourses.

But who are Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck? During this research I posed myself the question what the relationship is between them and why they want to make on the problematic issues of our world society. I also got so inspired by this specific work on the oil problem, that it motivated me to question and think of ideas on how to solve this problematic issue much further.

Back in 2000, Wieki Somers (Dutch designer, born in Sprang-Capelle, 1976) graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven. After her graduating she settled with Dylan van den Berg, with whom she studied together in Eindhoven. Together they started Studio Wieki Somers in Rotterdam. Wieki Somers and Dylan van den Berg focussing on providing an enlightened reading of the everyday movement. Focussing and making sensivity of materials, technological ingenuity and fantasy. They make objects that you as outstander at first have to guess what it is and what they are doing. That is the whole point of what they want, making an art piece with a functional state in it. ”Basically our work is one big quest, one big process. We look at things around us, what they can be and the associations people have. We study customs everyday situations, unleasing our own imagination on them. We make the uncommon common.’’ thus Wieki Somers

‘’As a designer it’s not my attention to make the world a better place, but I’m pleased if people look at the world differently because of my products.’’

People get ideas and inspirations from the work of Wieki Somers and that’s also how Thomas Eyck got involved. Thomas Eyck is a publisher and collector and he devide characteristic and exclusive design products from this time. He stimulate designers to come up with new objects for the daily life. Together they research for different kinds of materials and making new products out of it. This is how the Deepwater collection was made when Thomas Eyck asked Studio Wieki Somers to work together.

So how can you stimulate more people when you think about this collection? And in my case about the oil problem. Because using oil is something we should take very seriously if we think about our precious world. Our nature is capable of breaking down oil itself, but this is going very slowly. The quantities of oil that enter the environment through human intervention are so great that nature has difficulties with it. Of course the place plays a role, normally it is safely stored under the ground but when it comes into the water or on land it is just a strange substance. Just what happend to the Deep Water Horzion catastrophe. How can we clean up this mess if we constantly spill so much oil?

Thankfully there are many ways to clean the oil out of the water. I found materials and information and tried these out. Click in the video below where I used oil, sponge and cotton balls to clean out the oil:

 

REMOVE IT

oilimage

 

Of course this is not enough for an entire ocean, but it’s clearly that we could discover more with materials just like Wieki Somer and Thomas Eyck are presenting. We have to dig deeper and come up with much bigger ideas to solve the problem. There are machines or boats with different kinds of techniques by getting out the oil out of the ocean, but still there will be leftovers and we discover that years later by accident. Of course we think of other different ways to solve this for the future, for example; using electricity. The using of oil are mostly for machines and vehicles and these will run in the future with electricity.

So yes, just like Wieki Somers I would feel the same way by not making attention to make the world a better place, but to encourage and to let people think about these kinds of topics. I think we discovered already so much about materials, technologies and objects to improve our environment. Who knows what further will be discovered in the future.

 


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