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What about FREESPACE - Reporting from the Biennale
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What about FREESPACE - Reporting from the Biennale

19 July 2018

On Thursday July 5th, Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Creative Industries Fund NL presented an evening of contributions to the Venice Biennale of 2018. The evening completed a nearly year-long series of lectures, debates, open calls and discussions on the Biennale and its theme FREESPACE. The cycle of events opened with lectures on the Fund’s open call ‘Work, Body, Leisure’ during the Dutch Design Week in October 2017. In the end, the wide range of lectures, workshops, publications and contributions to the Venice Biennale encouraged an ongoing conversation on the societal impact of architecture, design and the creative industries.
Text by Lara Schrijver

sensory experiences
This year’s Biennale presented a broad palette of sensory experiences, from imagery that draws in the spectator to installations with a highly material articulation. Most of the objects triggered an immediate visceral response, more direct and compelling than the intellectual framework for each installation. Notwithstanding the thorough and clearly delineated intentions of the curators, the sensory took primacy over all other approaches. Engaging and provocative, it could be tempting to approach this Biennale as a purely aesthetic experience, which therefore disengages from societal and political challenges currently facing the world. After all, if it is aimed at the senses, how could it possibly provide a critical view to society?

Yet nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the proposition of Grafton Architects in FREESPACE seeks to connect people to their environment in a more coherent way. It suggests that the challenges are more easily faced if the environment is amenable to fostering observational skills, connections and a sense of generosity. More than that, though, it allows its observers to seek their own questions and draw their own conclusions. These spaces give rise to an affinity that draws in observers, provokes them to explore further, and thus allows new perspectives to appear.

multiple perspectives on FREESPACE
This undercurrent is what drew the evening’s participants together. Each contribution provided its own distinctive approach to the material, performative, and social interpretation of FREESPACE, from a film registration of a dance performance to a study of Irish marketplaces as a model for understanding social cohesion. The multiple perspectives provided a springboard for addressing the issues put forward in the curatorial statements on FREESPACE, shaping the conversation throughout the evening. While the discussion remained necessarily brief after six presentations, shared questions for the future could be traced through the program: how might architecture and design help to address or even reposition societal challenges? How may design proposals reveal hidden social mechanisms? How may our built environment challenge our preconceptions, or indeed foster unforeseen connections?

‘What is it that brings us together, what are the connections that run throughout people, places, and cities?’


After a brief introduction highlighting the collaborative efforts of the Fund and Het Nieuwe Instituut, the main program began with a 10-minute film by Make Move Think, which compiled the ideas and registration of a dance event held during opening weekend: a dancer on a quay, shards of poetry in the background and the occasional voice explaining the qualities of Venice. During the film, the audience was notably silent – the quiet and steady rhythm of the film seemed to be mirrored by the audience. As unusual as it might be to include this performance in the notes of the Biennale, it also goes to the core of FREESPACE. What is it that brings us together, what are the connections that run throughout people, places, and cities? The body in space is one of these shared elements between architecture and dance, fully justified as a starting point. Moreover, this film directly questioned the assumption that a direct and fundamental exploration of the material, the performative, and the artistic, may be seen as escaping traditional forms of academic reflection and thereby circumventing critical discourse.

All of the evening’s presentations – four pavilions, one installation in the central pavilion, and one registration of a dance performance – in fact provided space to rethink the divide between the material and the intellectual. Even with the wide range of topics – how much does a dance performance have in common with a manifesto on nation-building or the documentation of rural marketplaces? – the underlying commonalities became increasingly apparent as the evening progressed. Most projects explored (urban) spaces from more than one perspective, and highlighted both their social and their formal characteristics.

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What about FREESPACE in Het Nieuwe Instituut. Photo: Maarten Nauw

After the film, Traumnovelle presented their installation for the Belgian pavilion, an EU-blue circular tribune that transformed the interior of the pavilion based on their question of how architecture can become part of a political project. Situated somewhere between utopia and a future fiction, their installation even triggered one visitor to post a dance on Instagram. The Dutch pavilion, curated by Marina Otero Verzier, was a bright orange locker room with hidden doors and cabinets showing various interpretations of the pavilion’s theme of ‘work, body, leisure’. The rigorous structure of the lockers reflects the highly regulated contemporary landscape, questioning where we can still find FREESPACE in today’s world.

In the following presentation, Jeffrey Bolhuis showed how the Irish pavilion recreated the marketplace typical of rural Irish towns. The installation will be shipped to Ireland after the Biennale and continue raising awareness on the nature and the necessity of social cohesion, here materialized in the marketplace. The Turkish curatorial team approached its pavilion as a ‘global masterclass’, inviting students and professionals to contribute to the pavilion through workshops in situ. Finally, Michelle Provoost presented Crimson Architectural Historian’s installation on The City of Comings and Goings. In various media, this installation presented the topical issue of migration in all its facets: not just refugees, but expats, temporary labor forces, different types of travelers, showing the impact on our cities of these regularly moving groups of people. The installation included an image of this fictional city in the style of Saul Steinberg, a Nolli-plan of the public spaces related to migration, and six theses on migrations (harking back to the original positions nailed to the church door by Luther).

‘nation-buildig’ and the role of architecture
Notably, a number of the questions during the discussion underlined the continuing discomfort with the issue of ‘nation-building’ and the role of architecture in relation to political and institutional structures. The discussion showed how Europe is still struggling to transcend national identities, also visible in the project ‘Europa’ by Central Office for Architecture and Urbanism. This lighthearted installation placed on the three neighboring pavilions of Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands spells out ‘Europa’ in neon letters with the colors of each nation’s flag, overwriting the names of the individual countries. In the debate, both the need for more collective action was underscored, as well as a general resistance to the very idea of nation building. One member of the audience questioned whether adding new (even if more neutral) structures such as the ‘metanation’ suggested by Traumnovelle was the answer to Europe’s identity crisis. Léone Drapeaud responded that their proposal was less about traditional ‘nation-building’ and more about a platform that emphasizes common aims and actions.

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What about FREESPACE in Het Nieuwe Instituut. Photo: Maarten Nauw

a different approach to the socio-political
At the same time, alongside the pressing political concerns voiced in the debate, there is an undercurrent of social concern that cuts across political lines and national boundaries. Drawing the contributions together is an open-ended demonstration of the contemporary conditions each of these groups observe in today’s city – not documented in numbers or shown in data collections, but rather encapsulated in symbols, in materials, in spaces and even in dance. The tangible, individual experience, the subjective observation and the manner in which these objects, images and performances provoke the observer to reflect and draw their own conclusions, delineates a different approach to engaging with the socio-political sphere. It is a departure from clinical, scientific observation, yet it does not retreat into the purely individual sphere. Instead, it encourages debate, and dialogue.

Strikingly, all the contributions presented this evening were by some type of multidisciplinary, collaborative group. This seems to draw new contours for the future of the architect, replacing the mythical male genius with a network of reflective practitioners. The contributions were diverse, yet held together through shared concerns. Three pairings in the overall program show these distinct but common interests. The two pavilions most easily captured in a single image, a blue tribune (Belgium) and an orange locker room (The Netherlands), pointedly encouraged unforeseen interventions by their visitors. The two pavilions that explicitly engaged with the Biennale as a process in time (Turkey and Ireland) show how the actual building and exhibiting of architecture is but one moment in a trajectory of social and spatial configurations. And finally, the assemblage of symbolic and performative gestures that come together in the dance performance and the multiple media of the City of Comings and Goings show how the material and even ephemeral crystallization of collective ideas can have a lasting impact upon our cities and our imaginations.

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Open Call Space for Talent

30 October 2018

The Creative Industries Fund NL invites architects, designers and makers to submit a proposal for research, an experiment or development of new knowledge within a practical environment, such as a lab, development site or workplace. With this call, the Fund aims to enable designers to create an environment together with a partner, where joint experimentation, the establishment of new relationships and the sharing of knowledge are central.
set-up of the call
The Creative Industries Fund NL is making € 200,000 available for this open call. The maximum contribution per project is € 25,000. The conditions for support are that there is a new collaboration between a maker and a partner that is able to facilitate a practical environment. Depending on the project, the collaborations can vary in form. Examples are research (including material research) within a lab, a residency programme at a knowledge institute, a special collaboration with a development site or experimental research with a partner from the business community.

The subsidy is divided into two parts: € 15,000 is reserved for the maker and € 10,000 for the partner’s facilities and knowledge. The amounts are granted under the conditions of a collaboration agreement that must be submitted no later than 4 weeks after the grant has been awarded. A format for the agreement follows after awarding.

Conditions for eligibility for a contribution are:
- the designer/maker/architect has Dutch nationality or a practice registered in the Netherlands;
- the partner is based in the Netherlands;
- a rationale from the designer that provides insight into the relationship between the partner and the maker, and the added value of the project for the maker’s development;
- motivation for the project, provided by the partner, that provides insight into the relationship between the partner and the maker and the added value of the project for the partner. It also describes the duration and nature of the working period, the facilities, the knowledge and working environment being offered by the partner, the method of collaboration and the intended result;
- there is no question of a regular commissioning relationship between the parties; and
- a form of knowledge-sharing relevant to the project is included at the end of the project.

submission
The application can be submitted until Wednesday 28 November 2018 at the latest.

Read more information to supply here.
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9 nov: Get a Grant Utrecht

26 October 2018

Want to know how to get your project or practice funded? The Creative Industries Fund NL and the Mondriaan Fund will jointly organize meetings about grant possibilities, aimed at creative professionals and graduates. Join the next Get a Grant Event on Friday 9 November at the HKU (Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht).
The Get a Grant Event gives you insight in what the Creative Industries Fund NL and the Mondriaan Fund as Dutch public funds have to offer. Learn the how to’s from a visual artist and a designer on how they got their grant. And join the informal get together with drinks afterwards where you can ask your specific questions at staff from the Creative Industries Fund NL and the Mondriaan Fund.

Creative Industries Fund NL is the cultural fund for architecture, design, digital culture and every imaginable crossover. In addition to project subsidies from the various grants such as Design and Digital culture, the fund also makes an annual scholarship available for around 25 talented young designers / creators for their artistic and professional development.

The Mondriaan Fund is the public fund for visual art and cultural heritage in the Netherlands. It enables plans, projects and programmes of artists, exhibition makers and critics, museums and other art and heritage institutions, and publishers and commissioners.

Moderator: Imke Ruigrok (freelance curator and programme manager)
Speakers: Guy Vording (artist), Daniel de Bruin (designer) and staff of both funds
Fund employees: Carmen Muskee (Mondriaan Fonds) en Joris van Ballegooijen (Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie)

Date: Friday 9 November 2018
Time: 1.30pm – 3.45pm (doors open at 1.30pm, programme 1.45pm – 3.15pm, afterwards possibilty to talk to speakers indivually)
Location: HKU, Rotsoord 3, Utrecht
Admission: free
RSVP: via this form
Main language: English
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Open Call Turkey, Russia, Egypt, Morocco #2

19 October 2018

Creative Industries Fund NL is calling on designers, makers, curators and cultural organizations in the Netherlands to submit a plan for a project that deploys design for sustainable and inclusive societies. The open call invites cultural parties to join forces with a local partner to turn their minds to a topical issue, observation or development in Turkey, Russia, Egypt or Morocco. The project should entail an egalitarian collaboration between the parties.
The rapid growth of cities is a topic that is relevant in the four countries that the open call is focusing on, resulting in new relationships between street culture, identity and public space, as well as between the city and the countryside. The appropriation of the city by various parties – grassroots and top-down, public and private, established and emerging – takes a diversity of forms, in the physical as well as the virtual domain. Designers are being asked to put topical themes that relate to the city, its surroundings and users on the agenda, to question them or propose solutions. This calls for cross-disciplinary and context-sensitive collaborations at the interface of culture, new media, technology, craft, society and the new economy.

collaboration
The project team (of Dutch and local partners) adopts a standpoint concerning sustainable and inclusive societies within the theme that the project focuses on. The plan provides insight into how and why various stakeholders will be involved with the project. Projects can take a diversity of forms, from artistic, speculative or design-based research to the implementation of a pilot, intervention or campaign. The perspective of Turkish, Russian, Egyptian or Moroccan parties is crucial and should be embedded in the project.

focus
This is a follow-up to the first series of Open Calls focused on these four countries that the Fund issued previously. As a result of findings concerning the first series of open calls, the Fund is more emphatically seeking for projects that relate to disciplines in the fields of design and digital culture, as well as every possible crossover.

submissions
Projects can be submitted from 1 December 2018 to 21 January 2019 via Creative Industries Fund NL’s online application environment.

more information
Find more information about the Open Call here.
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Open Call Salone del Mobile 2019

17 October 2018

The Salone del Mobile in Milan is the place to be for product and furniture designers to present themselves internationally. The fair and all the surrounding presentations in the city attract many professionals from the international design world every year, in search of the latest developments in the field.
The Creative Industries Fund NL calls on Dutch designers to submit a proposal for a presentation in Milan during the ‘Salone del Mobile 2019’. This call is the only way to receive a grant from the Fund to participate in this event.
By issuing this call, the Fund aims to present the excellent quality of the Dutch design sector in Milan and to strengthen the international reputation of the Dutch creative industry. In addition, the purpose of the support is to share the knowledge and experience gained and to build and maintain relevant international relationships between parties. The Fund makes a selection of proposals where the presentation distinguishes itself in terms of artistic quality, presentation form and strategy.

It is possible to apply for an individual presentation, but preference in this open call is given to proposals where special forms of collaboration are entered into or which focus on a group presentation.

submission
The proposal can be submitted until Wednesday 21 November at the latest.

Read more information how to supply here.
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New! Talent Platform

15 October 2018

Looking for new design talent? During the Dutch Design Week, the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie presents the Talent Platform, a new online database for the best design talent of the moment. In 24 one-minute film portraits you will meet the new generation of designers and creators who were supported in 2018 by a Talent Development grant. The platform grows annually with the arrival of a new generation of designers.
With the Talent Platform, the Creative Industries Fund NL aims to provide an extra boost to the visibility of emerging design talent. The platform showcases the individual practices of all the talented creatives who have received support since 2013. This makes it a source of information for other makers and clients.

presentation Dutch Design Week
Meet the practice of these promising design talents in the Veem building and follow the developments online via stimuleringsfonds.nl/talentplatform after Dutch Design Week.

participating designers and makers Dutch Design Week
Alice Wong (information design/transmedia); Anne Geenen (architecture); Camiel Fortgens (fashion); Carlijn Kingma (architecture/ illustration); Chen Jhen (grafic design); Daniel de Bruin (digital culture/product design); Frank Kolkman (digital culture); Isabel Mager (digitale culture); Jason Hansma (digitale culture/transmedia); Joana Chicau (digitale culture/performance); Jos Klarenbeek (digitale culture); Julia Janssen (digitale culture); Karim Adduchi (fashion); Koos Breen (grafic design); Lilian van Daal (product design); Manon van Hoeckel (social design); Márk Redele (architecture/interdisciplinair); New State of Matter (Gaspard Bos) (digitale culture/industrial design); Studio Reus (Jonathan Reus) (digitale culture/sound); Suzanne Oude Hengel (productdesign/textile); Tenant of Culture (Hendrickje Schimmel) (fashion/interdisciplinair); TeYosh (Sofija Stanković & Teodora Stanković) (digitale culture); Willem van Doorn (product design); Yamuna Forzani (fashion)

Date: 20 - 28 October 2018
Time: daily from 11am until 6pm
Entrance: entrance with DDW passe partout
Location: Veemgebouw | Floor 2, Torenallee 36, 5554 CC, Eindhoven

Video: Studio Moniker
Design: Studio van Onna

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opencalltturkijeruslandegyptemarokkoen.png
Creative Industries Fund NL is calling on designers, makers, curators and cultural organizations in the Netherlands to submit a plan for a project that deploys design for sustainable and inclusive soc... more >
opencallsalone2019.png
The Salone del Mobile in Milan is the place to be for product and furniture designers to present themselves internationally. The fair and all the surrounding presentations in the city attract many pro... more >
opencallspacefortalent.png
The Creative Industries Fund NL invites architects, designers and makers to submit a proposal for research, an experiment or development of new knowledge within a practical environment, such as a lab,... more >
4197mongetagrantroze.gif
Want to know how to get your project or practice funded? The Creative Industries Fund NL and the Mondriaan Fund will jointly organize meetings about grant possibilities, aimed at creative professional... more >
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