January 27, 2017 - Het Nieuwe Instituut - Designing the Surface / Sleep Mode. The Art of the Screensaver / Architecture of Appropriation
e-flux Architecture
January 27, 2017
January 27, 2017

Het Nieuwe Instituut

Photo: Johannes Schwartz.

Designing the Surface
Sleep Mode. The Art of the Screensaver
Architecture of Appropriation
January 27–June 25, 2017

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam
The Netherlands

T +31 10 440 1200

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On January 26, 2017, Het Nieuwe Instituut opened its new exhibition programme in the Museum for Architecture, Design and Digital Culture. Looking beyond the classic notions of authorship and signature in the production of spaces, objects, and virtual media, Het Nieuwe Instituut has directed its focus towards the informal, the unseen and the ephemeral. The exhibitions Architecture of Appropriation, Designing the Surface and Sleep Mode. The Art of the Screensaver identify and explore new territories for design in multiple scales, sites, and dimensions, where ideas and experiments emerge at the intersection between different disciplines, media, and practitioners.

Architecture of Appropriation
What opportunities arise when the city is transformed by the right to affordable living, rather than the right to property? Since the 1960s, particularly in the Netherlands, squatters have reshaped the city through subversive spatial tactics instead of master plans and top-down design strategies. Architecture of Appropriation was initiated by Het Nieuwe Instituut's R&D department as a long-term research platform on the influence of squatting on the development of the Dutch city. Part of the institute's Landscape and Interior programme line, the exhibition investigates the way squatters address issues such as vacancy, property, alternative living arrangements and housing policy. An archive has been developed with the contributions of collaborating architects and photographers, whose perspectives document evolutions in the improvised architecture of squatted buildings. The exhibition is accessed via an installation by ZUS that opens a new entrance to the building.

Designing the Surface
The surface has traditionally been viewed as a superficial matter of aesthetics. Yet in the design of contemporary objects, it is increasingly the surface that determines their appeal, function, and identity. Form, one could say, no longer functions. Today, designers use finishes not only to beautify products, but also to strengthen, preserve or disguise them. The last layer can simulate ageing, form an impenetrable shell, or function as a convincing imitation of craftsmanship. Designing the Surface is an exhibition immersed in the topcoat, investigating a compendium of artefacts in five chapters: lustre, patina, faux, teflon, and agency. Surfaces are full of contradictions, declarations of falsehood and denials. Chairs lie. Dashboards deceive. In the transformation of products trying to survive in the design world, nothing is what it seems. Part of the Things and Materials programme line, Designing the Surface was conceived by product designer Chris Kabel during his research fellowship at Het Nieuwe Instituut, and developed into an exhibition by designers and exhibition makers Jannetje in ’t Veld and Toon Koehorst.

Sleep Mode. The Art of the Screensaver
Visual artist Rafaël Rozendaal draws our attention to an obsolete and easily ignored phenomenon of the digital era: the screensaver. In the exhibition Sleep Mode, Rozendaal questions the forgotten authorship and ephemerality of the screensaver and plays with its subversive ubiquity. He generates an immersive space for the visitor that captures the extraordinary visual language of this virtual anachronism. Rozendaal primarily uses examples from the early days of computer screens, when moving digital images did not yet contain the realism of the later screensavers. He highlights the unpolished abstraction of this first generation of screensavers, when their practical role outweighed their appearance. The installation includes more recent and complex editions developed by Microsoft and Apple.

Gallery 1: Designing the Surface
Curator & concept: Chris Kabel, Koehorst in 't Veld
Exhibition design: Monadnock
Graphic design: OK-RM
Photography: Taisuke Koyama
Artists: Thomas Trum, Lex Pott, Maxime Guyon

Gallery 2: Sleep Mode. The Art of the Screensaver
Curator: Rafaël Rozendaal
Exhibition design: Eric Roelen
Graphic design: Nerijus Rimkus

Gallery 3: Architecture of Appropriation
Initiator: Marina Otero Verzier
Research: René Boer (Failed Architecture), Marten Kuijpers, Katía Truijen, Roos van Strien, Maria Duarte (Het Nieuwe Instituut)
Concept & exhibition design: ZUS
Graphic design: Jakub Straka
Photography: Johannes Schwartz

Het Nieuwe Instituut
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