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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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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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Open Call Talent Development in an International Context 2018

4 October 2018

Creative Industries Fund NL is inviting architects, designers, makers, critics and/or curators who are trailblazers in the creative industries to submit a proposal for an international project. A stipulation for support is that the project involves a collaboration and/or presentation with an international institution, organization or enterprise with an excellent reputation. With the Open Call: Talent Development in an International Context, the Fund is enriching the artistic and professional development of creatives who are undertaking an exceptional collaboration with a foreign partner. This is the first open call in a series of three that will be announced each autumn through to 2020.
the brief
This series of open calls has been made possible thanks to the supplementary budget (announcement in Dutch) that Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven made available to the Fund in 2018 to give an extra boost to internationalization & talent development in the creative industries. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) is keen to help leading talents to position themselves internationally with this supplementary support.
For this 2018 open call, Creative Industries NL is setting aside €125,000. The maximum grant per project is €25,000.

Depending on the project, the collaborations can take a diversity of forms, such as a research project, presentation or residency.

The stipulations for a project being eligible for a grant are:
the designer/creative/architect must rank among the leading talents in the creative industries;
the designer/creative/architect has Dutch nationality or has a practice that is registered in the Netherlands;
the foreign partner boasts an excellent reputation;
at least 50% of the total project costs are covered by co-funding, of which a substantial proportion will be contributed by the foreign partner;
a form of presentation that is relevant for the project is included as the conclusion of the process;
there is no question of a commissioner/client relationship between the two parties.

applications
The application can be submitted up to and including Wednesday, 31 October 2018 via Creative Industries Fund NL’s online application environment.

more information?
Find here more information about the open call.
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22 oct: International Clinic | Grant Programme for Internationalization

28 September 2018
Where can I find partners for my international project? What funding possibilities are there? What do I need to know about the artist-in-residency I am interested in? Do you have plans to give your working practice an international restart? And are you in need of advice on these themes? Visit the International Clinic of Het Nieuwe Instituut, DutchCulture and the Creative Industries Fund NL during the Dutch Design Week 2018.

During this clinic, our advisors will be happy to talk to you about the global possibilities and the practical aspects of working and doing business internationally. Maxime Zeef from DutchCulture will be present for questions about the European subsidy programme for the cultural sector, Lotte Geeven will tell you all about the artist-in-residency you are interested in and Roxanne Minten from the Creative Industries Fund NL will help you find your way around the Grant Programme for Internationalization. Willemijn Brakenhoff from Het Nieuwe Instituut will also be present for questions. A consultation is free and lasts a maximum of half an hour.

schedule an appointment
Just curious? Or would you like to speak with one of our experts about your plans? Visit us at the Dutch Design Week on Monday, October 22nd. For a personal consultation with one of our experts a registration is required. Subscribe via this link.

In order to be able to give you the best advice possible, we would like to know the broad outlines of your question and which theme you are interested in. Based on the availability of our advisors, we will schedule an appointment with you. We inform everyone personally about the time at which you will be scheduled.

Please note: your registration for the International Clinic does not give you access to the Dutch Design Week. You must be in possession of a valid admission ticket.

Date: 22 October 2018
Time: 1:30pm - 6pm
Location: Dutch Design Week, het Veem, Floor 3
Language: Dutch and English

Image: Moniker
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Selection Open Call Van Doesburg Studio-House Paris #2

25 September 2018

In July 2018 a second open call was issued by the public cultural funds – the Mondriaan Fund, Creative Industries Fund NL, Performing Arts Fund NL, the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Netherlands Film Fund – for a residency at the Van Doesburg studio-house in Meudon-Val-Fleury. The residency is intended for artists who are working in the many fields in which Theo van Doesburg and Nelly were active: architecture, visual art, literature, poetry, music, design and performing arts.
The open call attracted a total of 29 applications spread across the creative industries, performing arts and film disciplines. From these applications a committee selected screenwriter Helena van der Meulen (film), Jason Hansma (digital culture), and a duo application for an interdisciplinary project by Rozalie Hirs (composer) and Machiel Spaan (architecture). All these creatives will develop their artistic practice in the Van Doesburg studio-house over a four-month period.

Helena van der Meulen (film)
Helena van der Meulen will use her residency at the Van Doesburg studio-house for the last developmental phase of Human Beasts, a feature film about the emergence, blossoming and demise of the CoBrA movement with a crucial role for Paris. During her sojourn she will undertake the final stages of (field) research with the support of a French co-producer, write the script for the film, and develop a storyboard for the project in partnership with the prospective director.

Jason Hansma (digital culture)
During his residency, Jason Hendrik Hansma will be investigating the interdisciplinary work of Theo van Doesburg and filmmaker Jean Painlevé. Hansma will incorporate the outcomes in new work that uses algorithms to transpose the work of these two artists to the present day. The working period will result in an exhibition where the work will be presented.

Rozalie Hirs (music) and Machiel Spaan (architecture)
During their joint residency, Rozalie Hirs and Machiel Spaan will be working on their interdisciplinary installation Ways of Space, an investigation into the significance of sound within a space. Hirs and Spaan will be taking the characteristic sounds of the Van Doesburg studio-house as a source of inspiration – an instrument, as it were – to develop an interactive music composition that is not only inspired by their personal sojourn in the studio-house but also elaborates on Theo van Doesburg’s ideas about a new architecture of exploded space. The residency in the studio-house will result in a concert and an exhibition.

evaluation of the proposals
In its evaluation, the interdisciplinary advisory committee’s prime consideration was the artistic quality of the selected residents, secondly the strength of the proposal in relation to the residency’s location.

contribution
The residents receive a contribution of €1,000 per month for travel, materials, transportation and living expenses. The funds cover the rental of the studio and living space, as well as support, settling these expenses with the Van Doesburg studio-house directly.

first open call
From the first open call, an interdisciplinary committee selected visual artist Antonis Pittas and architect Marcel Moonen.

third and final open call
For the third and final open call in 2019, creatives and intermediaries can submit a proposal in the fields of visual arts & heritage and the performing arts. Keep an eye on the websites of the Mondriaan Fund and Performing Arts Fund NL for further information.
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Open Call Turkey, Russia, Egypt, Morocco #2

19 September 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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