WTD "What's the deal?" – A Transnational Project on Young Urban Cultures …


4. November 2015

What’s the deal? at the Mag het Licht Aan Festival in Amsterdam

by Hertha    Filed under: Amsterdam,DesignComments Off on What’s the deal? at the Mag het Licht Aan Festival in Amsterdam

The ‘Mag het Licht Aan Festival’ is a festival for idealists and those who want to make the world a better place. With a program full of inspiring philosophical in-depth talks, exhibitions of art and photography, theatre as well as new forms of music. Among many contributors to the program such as Het Filosofisch Kwintet, Marli Huijer, Henk Oosterling, was also Coolpolitics as the Dutch project partner of “What’s the deal?” with a talk about ‘A More Sustainable Me’ led by Dutch Radio and Television presenter Pieter van der Wielen. The guests participating in the talk were Willa Stoutenbeek (Sustainable Fashion Industry), Tom van de Beek (sustainable entrepreneur) and Nynke Schaaf (sustainable economist, entrepreneur and program maker at the Dutch Television). The talk resulted in a lively interactive debate between guests and visitors about three subjects: sustainable life, sustainability with regard to family and friends and sustainability with regard to work and education.About one hundred people participated actively in the talk while even more people followed the discussion from the outside of the discussion arena. The talk attracted a very mixed group of visitors: from young to old, from very idealistic to very practical, makers as well as consumers, men and women.

During and after the debate, the Art Intervention booklet “How to change the world as a designer” was distributed amongst the audience. The booklet presents the designers who had participated in the Art Intervention activities of What’s the deal? as well as their work shown in a 10 day long exhibition at the festival “what’s the deal? – moving urban cultures” in Munich in Junie.

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20. May 2015

New.Design.Culture, June 19 // What’s the deal? – moving urban cultures

by Hertha    Filed under: Amsterdam,Design,Events,Munich,What's The Deal? generalComments Off on New.Design.Culture, June 19 // What’s the deal? – moving urban cultures

Design and sustainability is the motto of Friday, June 19. A group of international designers and artists from various backgrounds have approached the idea of sustainability – the practical as well as the conceptual side and will represent their ideas and works during this interesting and exciting day.

Starting with a workshop about Design & Compassion with Sasa Kerkos and Sebastian Cavazza you will gain insights from socio-political movements, global economy and the idea of creating from your personal ideals for a better world.

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What would the world look like without a manual? This is the topic of the following discussion of Denis Oudendijk, who calls himself a Waste architect, and will surely give some mind-blowing impulses.

The day continues with another highlight: The exhibition of the Art Intervention Amsterdam who is dedicated to the main topic “How to change the world as a designer”. Fashion performances about Fair Fashion Food, a Dinner Happening and a Live-Concert of Gurdan Thomas as well as a DJ Set of YAYOILOUISE from Ljubljana are the perfect end of a productive and interesting day.

18. May 2015

From Space to Place to Utopia, June 12 // What’s the deal? – moving urban cultures

by Hertha    Filed under: Amsterdam,FSPU,Hallein,Ljubljana,Munich,What's The Deal? generalComments Off on From Space to Place to Utopia, June 12 // What’s the deal? – moving urban cultures

Have you ever passed a deserted public space or a big dirty wall in your city and imagined it to be transformed in something fun, exciting, and beautiful for everyone, instead of being abandoned and unused? On June 12, many artists and persons engaged in the cultural sector will be discussing exactly this topic.


Beginning at 6pm, the first talk will be about spaces that are currently occupied by companies for their advertisements. Do they really need to promote their products in every possible corner? Isn’t it more desirable to be exposed to art, instead of commercial billboards? How can we reclaim walls to create an artistic and creative surrounding to live in? This surely will be fertile ground for a heated and productive debate about our urban landscapes and visions of their possible futures.


With this gained momentum the discussion goes into the second round and proposes further ideas from Ljubljana, Bordeaux and Munich. Both talks will be held in english!

To let off some steam or simply to relax a bit after that serious plotting to change the world (or at least some cities) you may want to come around for DJ Discoteca Salsoul and the DJs Watusi and Milton Flores!

28. April 2015

Reflection on the Art Intervention by Ralf Josef and Philipp Weber

by Hertha    Filed under: Amsterdam,DesignComments Off on Reflection on the Art Intervention by Ralf Josef and Philipp Weber

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.

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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,

Philipp Weber
Ralf Josef

12. March 2015

An Art Intervention in Amsterdam

by Susanne    Filed under: Amsterdam,Creative Lab,Design,EventsComments Off on An Art Intervention in Amsterdam

This February, we started our Art Intervention series in Amsterdam with a masterclass program. For four days, a group of fourteen designers and artists came together in an Amsterdam canal house to learn and discuss about sustainability and design (check all the cultural players here). Our generous host – the Natural Capital Coalition – provided us with a meeting space in the Groene Bocht, which is an office space for sustainable companies varying from architects and a law firm, to a salad bar franchise and a magazine about green and conscious living. A great place to start our journey!

For the Art Intervention week, we created a program bringing together themes such as economy, design, compassion, biomimicry, reuse, toxicology and philosophy to approach the idea of sustainability from very different angles. We wanted to inform, inspire and provoke the status quo.
The main question we posed at the beginning of the week to everyone was to think about ‘How can you, as an artist or designer, change the world (in a sustainable way)?’ This is of course a big question, with as many possible answers as you can actually think of. It has been (and will be) a very personal journey for everyone. But exiting things are already happening.
For the coming weeks we will be collecting all the ideas and answers of the group and start framing an exhibition for the Munich event coming June (more info soon!). We will, of course, keep you updated, but firstsome pictures of the event to give you some impression.

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We kicked the Art Intervention off with a lecture from Pieter van der Gaag, Executive Director of the Natural Capital Coalition. He talked to us about the big trends in global sustainability and explained how the NCC is working with multinationals to value their use of the commons and incorporate it in their pricing models so they can give back for what they take from the earth.

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For the afternoon session, designer and founder of Studio Sattelit Alexandra Weigand, provides us with insight into her research and discussed her visions for design and sustainability for the 21st century. Alexandra presented current design trends and showed us how the latest research, new technologies and production methods can be used for designing a sustainable future.

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When your design is your responsibility, how do you then makes choices in your life and work? And what is the role of (self-) compassion? The second day, we had to get to work immediately! In her workshop ‘Compassion in Design’ Saša Kerkoš challenged us to get to know each other (and ourselves) with a series of exercises.

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Self-proclaimed garbage architect Denis Oudendijk presented his work with Refunc and we discussed how you can work with discarded materials en products to create site-specific interventions. “Wherever you can find garbage, we do research and workshops on creative re-use, as recycling is not the answer to the questions of life, the universe and everything”.

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The third day we started with a workshop about toxicology to open everyone’s eyes when it comes to the materials and productions processes we all work with. For the afternoon we invited Willa Stoutenbeek of W.Green, Tom van de Beek from a.o. I Love Beeing and Ludo Hekman from Butch and Sundance for an inspiring discussion. They combine entrepreneurship with social issues, sustainability and all want to contribute to creating a better world. We discussed ethics & aesthetics, providing the better alternative, and the shortcuts and long processes of behavioural change towards awareness and sustainable living.

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On day four, we invited the inspiring textile designer Aniela Hoitink from Neffa (http://neffa.nl/) to discuss her work and the concepts from which she works. She uses biomimicry, new technologies and natural processes in her research and works towards products that create more awareness or even smart solutions to wicked problems.

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And of course, we left the biggest challenge to create a grand finale of the week. Environmental philosopher Floris van den Berg challenged our thinking about the world, our identity, our moral circle, identity, eating meat, and our personal choices in his philosophical journey through his concept of universal subjectivism. It takes into consideration the universal capacity for suffering and, through raising awareness, seeks to diminish that suffering and increase happiness. With consistent and compelling moral reasoning, Van den Berg showed us that the world can be organized to ensure more pleasure, beauty, justice, happiness, health, freedom, animal welfare, and sustainability. We are still discussing this one!

6. February 2015

Art Intervention Zine

by Susanne    Filed under: Amsterdam,Design,Research ReportsComments Off on Art Intervention Zine

A while back we published our research on the trends, developments and needs from designers around sustainability (in the Netherlands). Now, following our first Art Intervention in Amsterdam, we are releasing our first Zine combining the research with our videoreports from Dutch designers.

For all to read, enjoy and share!

19. November 2014

If they won’t do it, who will? – Rickard Engstrom

by Susanne    Filed under: Amsterdam,Design,Research ReportsComments Off on If they won’t do it, who will? – Rickard Engstrom

In our seventh and last report about design in the Netherlands: Rickard Engstrom. Rickard just quit his job. And he’s overjoyed about it. Swedish Rickard Engstrom always tried to have an impact with whatever job he did. But his former jobs didn’t give him the satisfaction of improving anything, nor did his recent job in advertising. It was in pursuit of his advertisement career that he moved to Amsterdam, but to Rickard, advertising was still too much about “flogging the product, no matter how you do it”. He still didn’t feel like making any impact. That’s why he quit. Sustainability is getting bigger and bigger, according to Rickard, and more people are growing aware of it. But he wonders whether it has become more important for designers as well. After all, it’s up to designer and artists to take responsibility for finding new sustainable ways of doing things, Rickard says, “because if they don’t, who will?”

In the beginning of 2015 Coolpolitics/Lokaalmondiaal will be curating an extensive program on design and sustainability in Amsterdam.

If they won’t do it, who will? – Rickard Engstrom from What’s the deal? on Vimeo.

13. November 2014

Garden Mania – Desirée Hammen

by Susanne    Filed under: Amsterdam,Design,Research Reports,VIDEOSComments Off on Garden Mania – Desirée Hammen

Desirée Hammens creative community garden is the focus of our sixth report on Dutch design. When Strijp-S, a former industrial site in Eindhoven, was opened to the public, designer Desirée Hammen knew what she had to do: to garden. The new inhabitants of the industrial site didn’t have a garden and didn’t know each other, and that is exactly what Desirée wanted to change. So she built Garden Mania: a creative community garden project. With her garden she raises awareness about health issues, and about the question where food actually comes from. It’s a place where new projects can grow and develop, and where creativity and sustainability are the main focus. But most of all, it’s a place where people can meet each other. After all, sustainability means taking care of the earth and of each other.

In the beginning of 2015 Coolpolitics/Lokaalmondiaal will be curating an extensive program on design and sustainability in Amsterdam.

Garden Mania – Desirée Hammen from What’s the deal? on Vimeo.

5. November 2014

Designing for the other 90% – Luc van Hoeckel & Pim van Baarsen

by Susanne    Filed under: Amsterdam,Design,Research Reports,VIDEOSComments Off on Designing for the other 90% – Luc van Hoeckel & Pim van Baarsen

In our fifth video report: young social designers Luc van Hoeckel and Pim van Baarsen. Why work for the meager 10% who can afford to buy design, if you can also make a difference for the other 90%? That is what product designers Luc van Hoeckel and Pim van Baarsen are aiming for. Solving problems and making life easier is what makes work interesting for these designers. Since Europe is already awash with designers, they venture to developing countries to find creative solutions for local problems. Exchanging knowledge and cooperation are central in their style of work. According to them, sustainability is coming towards our current needs without harming future generations. Designers have the task to explain to consumers what the word ‘sustainability’ actually means, now that is has become such a popular word.

In the beginning of 2015 Coolpolitics/Lokaalmondiaal will be curating an extensive program on design and sustainability in Amsterdam.

Designing for the other 90% – Luc van Hoeckel & Pim van Baarsen from What’s the deal? on Vimeo.

29. October 2014

The new modernism – Willa Stoutenbeek

by Susanne    Filed under: Amsterdam,Design,Research ReportsComments Off on The new modernism – Willa Stoutenbeek

In the fourth part of our research about Dutch design: Willa Stoutenbeek. After ten years of working in the fashion industry, Willa Stoutenbeek was fed up with its superficiality and started focusing on sustainability. She founded W.Green: a creative communication agency for sustainable fashion and lifestyle. To her, it is important that the brands and products she works are driven to improve things. Relevance is her key word: if a product is useable, high quality and esthetical it’s relevant and therefore sustainable. Willa sees sustainability as the new modernism and relevance as its criteria. Since it is hard to make a product that is 100% sustainable, you need to focus on the steps where you can make a difference, she thinks. “After all, it is possible to make a difference if you reunite and collectively decide that you don’t accept the things as they happen.”

In the beginning of 2015 Coolpolitics/Lokaalmondiaal will be curating an extensive program on design and sustainability in Amsterdam. You can read more about the research in the Art Intervention designreport (ENG) by Amal Al Haag.

The new modernism – Willa Stoutenbeek from What’s the deal? on Vimeo.


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