Creativity is not about industry


A couple of years ago I flew to Australia to work as a designer in residence. Although it was my first time out of Europe, arriving in Australia was quite disappointing. Flying to the other side of the world, I had expected a different society. People, cars, buildings, interiors and houses looked similar to what I’d seen before. But the moment I started to live in Melbourne, I was confronted with the many small differences. It was a totally different society. Don’t ask me why, but I started to collect small differences: – The sky is bigger – City’s are build for cars –Orange Juice is called ‘daily juice’ –‘Hi, how are you?’ is the first thing to say to anybody, also in supermarkets – The voice of people is softer (less loud) – In general, people are so polite. I find it hard to be the same – If you leave the door open, people ask you if you’re born in a tent. – In the Netherlands you would be asked whether you’re born in a church – On nameplates for artworks in museums, not only the year of birth and death of the artist is mentioned, also the year of arrival in Australia – Everything older then 100 years is considered ancient – I’ve never before been aware of how Dutch I actually am – For the first time in my life I feel that I am (a) ‘European’



“Rules serve the people, and we cannot allow the people to serve the rules,” argued the Dutch MP Femke Halsema during the debate over ex-MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s naturalisation. She couldn’t have summed up the problem any more succinctly. The creative sector is crying out for a similar argument. It is becoming a pet of politicians, but there is a risk hanging in the air – one which has everything to do with the zeitgeist – that the creative industries will become an extension of political economic policy. After the industrial and digital revolutions, a creative revolution has evidently now dawned. The swing, however, must be and stay creative. The creative industries, as part of the field of the arts, must not be restrained. On the contrary, they need confidence, depth, experimentation, brainpower, and, especially, space. These things must come first, and rules only later.

Temporary Museum Amsterdam ’06

The parallel programme to the annual art fair Art Amsterdam »

The Public Desire

Visual contributions showcasing various aspects of public culture »

The public role of the graphic designer

Publication questioning the public cause of graphic designers »

A Station Called Desire

Temporary artwork with light boxes in public space »