Epilogue – Subjective atlas of Hungary


At a quick, unsuspecting glance, the line between nationalism and talking about cultural identity looks hair-fine. As we were putting together the Subjective atlas of Hungary, this conflict was a constant subject of discussion. The atlas is meant to show cultural diversity and emphasize personal experience as part of the collective. It thereby underlines that culture is not static but in constant motion and different for everyone. This certainly does not mean we cannot talk about shared values or a national spirit. But how we talk about them is always a delicate matter that demands awareness, especially in the present period.

Temporary Museum Amsterdam: Public debate based on sound bites


The Temporary Museum Amsterdam programme runs parallel to Art Amsterdam and links the various contemporary art institutions. This year, the project is connected to My Name Is Spinoza and has been designed by the Sandberg Institute’s master’s students in design. The students have turned their attention to the political side of art. Baruch de Spinoza is said to have been the modern era’s first political thinker; he called himself a democrat and openly expressed his preference for the democratic state. According to him, the true state is one that offers liberty to everyone, even – or perhaps especially – those who think differently, practice other religions or express conflicting ideas. Some call Spinoza the founder of our democracy. But is that democracy still stable today?

Designing against populism or redefining design approaches


Nearly a year ago, I started my job as head of the design department at the Sandberg Institute. The students sat around a table and took turns introducing themselves. Strikingly, most of them began with some variation of “I am not a graphic designer,” followed by a summary of all the things they did do. The term ‘graphic design’ seems to be attached to a definition that is stuck in the last century. This conversation illustrates that the profession is changing significantly. Design today forms a discourse and doesn’t so much exist as a book, poster or stamp; as a medium – it exists first of all ín the media. The meaning doesn’t lie anymore in the design itself but mainly in its relationship with its environment – in the context. In this lecture I’ll illustrate what this notion has meant for my own design practice.

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.

The Public Desire

Visual contributions showcasing various aspects of public culture »

New symbols for the Netherlands

Contribution to exhibition that reflects on the national longing for new symbols »

Rifle, 21st Century



Mood Ballot for the election of the members of the House of Parliament

Small differences