The Amsterdam Experience – Reflections by the two designers Ralf Josef and Philipp Weber
On behalf of ‘What’s the deal?’, a handful of young creative thinkers and makers gathered in Amsterdam at the end of February 2015 to save the world. Invited by Dutch Art Intervention programme, the group got a crash course in sustainability. Obviously, that topic has become a buzzword in the last couple of years.
But the organisers of the Art Intervention, Susanne Eskens-Vinck and Jeske de Vries did not fall for general lectures about climate change, environmental issues and moral responsibilities. The master classes built on that knowledge and went much further, introducing philosophical views of Floris van den Berg, the concept of active empathy in design by Saša Kerkoš and the work of ‘waste-architect’ Denis Oudendijk. Together with specific design background information provided by Alexandra Weigand these lectures gave the participants from the Netherlands, Germany and Slovenia a much fuller picture of their possible fields of action. Rather than narrowing the creatives’ minds with a close-mesh briefing, the master classes seemed to promote a much broader way of thinking about the problems and their possible solutions – which corresponds to the high level of diversity of the participating designers and artists. Thus, cinematic views on social inequality are in the range of possible outcomes as well as manifestos, speculative designs or material experiments.
The group of about 15 filmmakers, fashion designers, product designers, brand developers, painters and writers will have the chance to create unique responses, combining their skills with important input from that week in Amsterdam. But more important: bonds were made, contacts exchanged, links build. It is this kind of event that really does help to take the ever present topic of sustainability to the next level, out of its comfort zone, back to the people. Because, after all, it’s them who will save the world.
Thanks once again for the input and the folks,