Green & Fair Food: Mission (im)possible? page 20
“We believe 2015 there BALANCING is always GREEN & enough” FAIR FOOD page 16
The table is set. Now what? OUR curious Shifting engagement reflexes with global from challenges disposal We are to reuse what Capitalising we ate on ‘radical imagination’ page 8
Age of Wonderland 2015
Exhibiting Green and Fair Food Age of Wonderland sent out an open call to creative thinkers, doers, inventors, artists and designers, to reflect on the processes of food production, consumption, and distribution. Six creatives were selected from Africa, Asia and Latin America to take on the issues at hand, and to share their perspectives on our global food systems. They’ve been invited to further their research in Eindhoven with other creative professionals and the local community by way of playful interactions at Dutch Design Week; from presentations, discussions, workshops and pop up (food) labs and other displays. The research processes are to be shared openly and dynamically, so that peers, professionals and other curious minds can easily tap into the ever deepening pool of ideas.
The main exhibition will fulfil the role of a working office where
Age of Wonderland performs its work as change agent for transcultural thinking and doing; it will feature the explorations made by the selected international artists, as well as that of local artists and designers who are investigating similar themes and areas. During Dutch Design Week, Age of Wonderland’s main physical hub is Baltan Laboratories and its curator is Arne Hendriks, researcher and artist. The theme ‘Balancing Green and Fair Food’ is developed in close collaboration with the Food Non Food department of Design Academy Eindhoven. The project is financially supported by Creative Industries Fund NL, The Art of Impact and BKKC Impulsgelden. Age of Wonderland is a collaboration between Baltan Laboratories, Dutch Design Week and Hivos.
Baltan Laboratories Natlab Kastanjelaan 500 5616 LZ Eindhoven The Netherlands
Olga Mink and Ellen Zoete
Co-ordinating editor: Jane Hardjono Graphic design: HeyHeydeHaas.com Illustrations:
Ivo van der Bent (p18) Mike Roelofs
The Art of Impact BKKC Impulsgelden Creative Industries Fund NL Gemeente Eindhoven Hivos
In collaboration with: Design Academy Eindhoven Thanks to: Arjanne Bode, Nicole de Boer, Marlou van der Cruijsen, Henk Folkerts, Lorenzo Gerbi, Arne Hendriks, Marnix van Holland, Janno Lanjouw, Koert van Mensvoort, Tracy Metz, Koen Snoeckx, Harry Starren, Christine Wagner, Bärbel Welligmann, all artists and volunteers. Special thanks to: DSM, Museum of Arte Útil, Rijnconsult Eindhoven, 2015 baltanlaboratories.org email@example.com ageofwonderland.nl
Welcome to the Age of Wonderland By 2050 the global population is predicted to be nine billion, half of which will be living in cities. This will have a major impact on our economic, ecological and social structures. Now is the time to face the obstacles that may lie ahead. The Age of Wonderland programme approaches these issues of the 21st century. We believe it’s absolutely vital that designers and other creatives, who have perhaps grown up in circumstances different to ours, are involved in dealing with these global challenges.
This year’s topic ‘Balancing Green and Fair food’ invites creative thinkers and do-ers from parts of the world beyond Europe to deal with issues around challenges we face concerning our global food systems. Can the production of local food be relevant on a global level? What are the challenges facing the agriculture-food sector within today’s society? How do we deal with the increasing role of technology related to this topic? Together with the six Age of Wonderland guests we will share their ideas and perspectives by collaborating with Dutch designers, creatives, organisations and researchers and stage their processes during the Dutch Design Week in workshops, seminars and exhibition. This publication gives an insight into the backgrounds of the creatives connected to this year’s program; curator Arne Hendriks shares his views and elaborates on the ideas on such collaborations; we’ll also hear experts in the field, such as Janno Lanjouw – co-founder and programme director of Food Film Festival, Harry Starren – ambassador of Age of Wonderland, Tracy Metz – author of the acclaimed book on water entitled ‘Zoet en
Zout’ (Sweet&Salt), Marnix van Holland from Hivos, Koert van Mensvoort – artist and philosopher, Henk Folkerts – food chain expert from Rijnconsult, and more, reflecting on the topic of food and have them sharing their thoughts here. We are thankful for the response and support from people and organisations in the city of Eindhoven, and the Netherlands at large. We value the intensity of enthusiasm because it makes this collaboration even more exciting. For this year’s Food topic, we’re partnering with students from the Design Academy’s Food Nonfood Department. Led by artist and curator Arne Hendriks, the students will conduct research related to topics in the programme, like rice, water, clay, abundance, farming, and resilience. We’re also very pleased to have the Museum of Arte Útil involved this year. They will exchange knowledge between the research projects staged aat Age of Wonderland and their own archives. The (bio)chemical company DSM has responded with great enthusiasm to our programme, partaking in vivid discussions with us on how the
ideas developed at Age of Wonderland potentially inform new strategies for their company’s policies. Rijnconsult is very generously supporting the programme with sharing their food chain knowledge, too. All this would not have been possible without the partnership with Dutch Design Week, and the generous support of The Art of Impact, BKKC Impulsgelden and Creative Industries Fund NL. Their backing makes a world of difference in making this research programme a success. Last but not least, nothing would have happened at all without the amazing dedication of the Age of Wonderland team. Now all that’s left is to take part and interact with us! You have an incredibly important part to play in the global discussion on Food. Welcome to the Age of Wonderland, we’d love to hear what you want to share – and do – too.
Olga Mink (Baltan Laboratories) and Christine Wagner (Hivos) 3
Innovate for your life By Janno Lanjouw
‘Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.’ That famous saying does not apply just to individuals. By taking on the perspective of food you can explain whole societies and put them in an historical context. And if you do that as a sensible Dutchie in 2015, you’ll be sure to count your blessings. Even though we are faced with unprecedented challenges, never in human history has a society eaten as well as we do today.
If you have the slightest doubt about this, then please consult this investigation conducted by Oxfam in 2014. The research question was simple: where in the world can you eat the best? And it was answered by posing four key questions:
plough and an improved yoke so that oxen and horses could be set to do the heftier work. These were later surpassed by steam-machines, and later still by tractors driven by combustion engines. To name a few.
1. Do people have enough to eat?
2. Can people afford to eat?
3. Is the food of good quality?
What does this say about us? First of all, it tells us that we are at the pinnacle of human development. The history of agriculture is one of humankind’s unbridled innovation.
Trade in edible crops and the creation of new varieties through the propogation of plants had an even greater impact. The imported New World potato simply thrived as a crop in Europe. Its high nutritional value offered solace to the poor – one can survive surprisingly well on a diet of milk and potatoes. So well, in fact, that it was the staple diet of pretty much the entire Irish lower classes. In 1845, the hitherto unknown potato blight, phytophthora, destroyed practically the entire crop. The famine that ensued left its devastating mark – the population of Ireland is, to this day, lower than it was in 1800. Something which is unique within Europe.
When the first Neolithic tribes began to replace their hunter-gatherer existence with primitive agriculture a good ten thousand years ago, they set in motion a revolution that has literally shaped our society.
The thing is, you can spray against phytophthora. That’s an innovation. If you don’t want a sore back, use a tractor. Another innovation. And with heated greenhouses you can even grow tomatoes in our cold little country…
Agriculture fed more mouths, but it was also vulnerable. Natural disasters and human hostilities could undo months of hard work in an instant. Thankfully, the surplus food that agriculture produced could also be devoted to its very protection. People went off to work in administrative centres, in armies and for governments. These organisations made sure that agriculture was protected. In this sense, agriculture was the foundation of what we refer to as ‘civilisation’ today.
Thanks to the agricultural innovations built up over centuries, we have enough, cheap, good quality food in 2015. And despite a steady increase of obesity, an understanding of healthy eating habits is generally so widespread that we are relatively healthy.
4. To what extent does the food lead to unhealthy consequences? The Netherlands came first, ahead of Switzerland and France. Chad came last.
But it was drudgery. For thousands of years farmers worldwide led an extremely hard life. Long days, heavy physical labour, low yields, a frugal diet and an early death. That misery was an important factor in encouraging the innovation with which the history of agriculture is richly interlaced. Inventions such as the heavy 4
So, the Netherlands came first in Oxfam’s research. Things have never been so good… But the world we have created based on these innovations has major drawbacks, which are becoming more painfully apparent. The fuel we need to run the tractor pollutes the environment, leading to climate change, and…it is running out. The same goes for artificial fertiliser – the easily mined soil layers are have now been mined out. It’s terrifying to see how dependent we are on
these things. On top of all this, artificial fertiliser, the panacea of yesteryear, is increasingly no longer effective: the ground is exhausted. And the accumulation of pesticides used to protect our crops against phytophthora (and many other plagues) has had disastrous effects on biodiversity. The stakes have never been so high. Aside from the problems of climate change, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, unequal distribution, and the perverse effects of unrestrained capitalist muscle on small farmers and people in developing nations, the simple fact that we are dependent on fossil fuel, pesticides and artificial fertilisers for our food is a disconcerting revelation. Although we know our current system to be unsustainable, we continue to fail in implementing radical reforms. We remain mired in the suffocating velvet grip of luxury, surplus and ease. But the recent surge in public interest in food, in sustainability issues, the impact of agriculture on the environment, and in other social issues, provides a glimmer of hope. That interest is fuelled by the realisation that we need to do things differently, better, more simply. And as we have already observed, that notion leads to that driving force in agriculture: innovation. So, what should we eat, and who should we aspire to be? Modest, conscious eaters, who are both progressive and innovative. Not only for ourselves, but also for the generations to come. And also for the people in Chad – the worst place to eat in 2015.
Janno Lanjouw (1983) is freelance journalist specialised in food. He is co-founder and programme director of the Food Film Festival in Amsterdam. He is a guest speaker at the Age of Wonderland Future Food Seminar at Dutch Design Week 2015. www.foodfilmfestival.nl
Our curious engagement with global challenges By Olga Mink, Director Baltan Laboratories
North, South, East and West – global challenges affect us all. Be it the economic crisis, the imbalance of our ecological systems or the threat of military and fundamental power games or the violation of human rights. In a globalised world we need to act together to successfully pursue the process of change by connecting people, knowledge and networks. Raising awareness about the asymmetry of our systems - often caused by power struggles and money - should not just be addressed, but must be replaced by new paradigms. Age of Wonderland embraces these challenges by creating an open dialogue based on empathy and curiosity.
Although global issues are at the core of this knowledge exchange, it does not propose a onesize-fits-all approach to social or technological innovation. In many cases, off-the-shelf solutions simply do not exist. Instead, we are charged with re-inventing strategies to deal with the wicked problems of today through trial and error. As much as the programme stimulates a desire for change in which design and technology are important tools, it also encourages a reflective attitude towards developments in our complex society. Hivos and Baltan join forces for the development of Age of Wonderland by sharing their networks, resources and expertise. Hivos is an international organisation that seeks new solutions to persistent global issues. With smart projects in the right places, Hivos opposes discrimination, inequality, abuse of power and the unsustainable use of our planet’s resources. Baltan Laboratories operates internationally as a collaborative platform for future thinking that places art and design research at the core of its activities. By approaching creative, interdisciplinary practices as crucial ingredients for social innovation, Age of Wonderland addresses wicked problems in unconventional ways. Age of Wonderland facilitates an on-going exchange between creative practitioners from
the Hivos networks in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and creative communities in the Netherlands, and Eindhoven in particular. Each year six participants are selected based on an open call. They are invited for a six-week residency at Baltan Laboratories in Eindhoven. This allows them to connect with local professionals as well as companies in Eindhoven to further their research. Their trajectories will gradually evolve towards a more intense momentum over time, accumulating into a collective presentation during the Dutch Design Week. Staging the research projects allows for an open dialogue and making new connections with a broad international audience. Also, new business models may possibly develop as start-up investors are connected to the program. During the pilot edition in 2014, Age of Wonderland presented creative strategies for the outdated systems of today; from alternative currencies such as bitcoin, to the re-invention of a public transport system, and re-using plastic waste in Africa. This year, the theme is about what we eat, our current and future food systems and their impact on our lives, our health, and our surroundings. Food connects us no matter who we are or where we’re from. This makes it an ideal topic to start a global dialogue between people, cultures, and peers. Next year the politics of big data and privacy will be placed under the
magnifying glass. We’ll be touching upon the shifting boundaries of privacy and the notion of power and responsibility. We’ll work with artists interested in developing different scenarios to investigate how data is informing the ‘nudging’ economy in the future, and what this means on a global scale. Looking even further into the future we plan to stage the highlights from the previous Age of Wonderland editions (2014 – 2016) at the World Design Expo in 2017, to be held in Eindhoven. By sharing the processes developed during the research trajectories in both the Netherlands and the artists’ different home countries, the platform will stage how the various projects have matured over the three years. We’ll explore how they made an impact within their local contexts and we’ll share how this global exchange inspired both Dutch and international practitioners. The impact of global urban developments will also be addressed. Our ambition is to generate enthusiasm for alternative roadmaps and sustainable ideas for a better future. We want to create social impact by stimulating cross-pollination of ideas between people with different backgrounds: artists, researchers, companies, education, NGOs, cultural organisations, governments and citizens. We invite everyone to take responsibility, to feel ownership, and to contribute to a vital transition for a sustainable society in the future. 5
Shifting reflexes from disposal to reuse Achmad Fadillah (1981, Indonesia) has extensive experience and training in industrial and product design, R&D and ICT with a host of qualifications collected from his homeland, Indonesia, and as far afield as Italy. His current practice is based in Bandung, Indonesia. Words by Lorenzo Gerbi
Your artistic, social, creative practice:
It all began when I saw with my own eyes in the media how our environment is suffering from plastic bottle waste, and then I started reflecting on it. I found that what causes the problem is a simple thing. We dispose our used plastic bottles, contaminating the ground and water. We send our used plastic bottles to incinerators, contaminating the air. The question is, instead of throwing away used plastic bottles, why don’t we just reuse them for other things for as long as possible? It just doesn’t make sense buying an object made of a material that lasts for hundreds of years and use it for only hours. After doing some surveys to know why most people don’t reuse their plastic bottles, I found that most bottled product consumers don’t have any motivation to do it, and they don’t have enough information about what they can do with their used plastic bottles - apart from throwing them away or sending them to be incinerated. I also did some research on the design of existing plastic bottles in the market and I didn’t find any plastic bottle that is easy to reuse. Then I came up with a solution. Why don’t I design a plastic bottle that can instantly motivate people to reuse it, in an easy, simple and fun way for as long as possible? How your idea effects social, political or ecological change:
Design influences behaviour. What happens to our environment regarding this plastic issue is 6
related to the behaviour of users. I’m designing an object that can shift people’s behaviour from throwing away, to reusing their plastic bottles. Your experience of collaboration with
a little more effort into thinking about not just single-function objects, but the ‘after-functions’ of the objects they design, so users can be motivated to reuse objects – especially objects made of materials that can harm the environment.
local artists and designers:
The spirit of collaboration is extraordinary. All the appreciation, responses, ideas, suggestions, relationships make me believe that there is always hope to make the world a better place. And the only way to do that is by sharing and doing it together.
Your most important message for the Dutch Design Week visitor:
It’s not always what we do that is wrong, sometimes it is all about how we do it.
What you hope to achieve during your residency period:
I hope there is a way for me to do this research together with and funded by a company related to plastic bottles. I hope this residency period opens the door for many other collaborative projects in the future.
Achmad is partnering with: How you will know that your project is a success:
Hopefully soon there will be no more plastic bottles taking up space in our soil, so that our soil becomes healthier. Hopefully soon people can shift their behaviour from disposing to reusing. Hopefully soon this project can let the earth breathe better a little bit longer, until scientists find eco-friendly plastic incinerators that won’t release toxins into the air. Hopefully soon people realise that there are more benefits they can get from reusing plastic bottles. I also hope that designers, especially product designers, can put
Bennie Meek After studying traditional carpentry, Bennie Meek
went on to continue his training at Design Academy Eindhoven, graduating in 2012 from the master
department Social Design with the research project Living Pavement, a New Application For Urban
Green. Meek is specialised in developing concepts,
conducting empirical research and practically organising the execution of design projects. He combines critical analysis with intuitive design methods.
Playing “We must approach these problems from unexpected and unimagined angles. Outsiders are of great importance. In the big wide world, we are one another’s outsiders, and it is wise to invite outsiders to come in at times when you are at a loss.” - Harry Starren
Together By Harry Starren
The difference between being smart and being smarter is, I am told, not to do with the size or weight of our brains, but is in fact to do with the ‘wiring’ – the number of connections made within the brain. This can differ enormously, and is a difference that is not related to capacity but rather, to use.
problems in Europe’s water sector are largely due to the damming and channelling of our rivers. This solution is problem-riddled. Intended to prevent flooding and ensure water supply, these man-made controls have contributed to the unmanageability of water currents which, because of the dykes, simply have nowhere to go.
One could perceive the world as if it were a skull. In Vittorio Busato’s recently published novel, Impact, the main character has developed a theory in which he sees people as the brain cells of a global brain. Not such a bad comparison if you envisage the world as a network. The more connections, the smarter it is.
Consequently, we must approach these problems from unexpected and unimagined angles. Outsiders are of great importance. In the big wide world, we are one another’s outsiders, and it is wise to invite outsiders to come in at times when you are at a loss.
The problems that confront our present world are of a global nature. They pay no attention to the dotted lines we use to denote boundaries between nations. Climate change, pollution of the earth and the oceans, migrating populations, the finite nature of conventional energy resources, the quality of life in the cities, access to education and to healthcare – these challenges literally have no boundaries. The irony of these problems and challenges is that they have emerged from former solutions. The solutions have a shadowy downside that begs illumination. Problems in fact propel us forward. We couldn’t progress without them. Thus, the 8
This is what Age of Wonderland does. Based on the knowledge provided by nature, we know that diversity is a vital principle, and that looking for differences and combining perspectives can make all the difference. That is what Age of Wonderland does.
the business community can see that something good may well come out of it, as can the government and the various funds dealing with art and innovation. We use our brains, and together we are a supercomputer: by listening to one another, by making new combinations, by, at times, reaching back to the knowledge we imagined had been lost. It’s quite clear to me that this is all very useful, but it is more than that: it is a source of joy – I like to call it love. It is eating together, laughing together, making music together and looking at one another. It’s playing together and seeing what comes out of it. Harry Starren (1955) is Chairman of the Federation of Dutch Creative Industries (FDCI), Dean of the ‘Nederlandse School’ and Director of Ithaca International. Starren studied History
Age of Wonderland has asked six socially inspired artists and designers to share their thoughts with us, in a reciprocal exchange – born of a sincere curiosity about one another. It’s the exchange that does the trick.
and Political Science in Utrecht and Amsterdam and was researcher and consultant before he became Director of the Postgraduate Institute for business and policy studies in Utrecht. He then took on the role of CEO of Baak, a leading leadership and management Institute. In 2012 he founded Ithaca International. Starren is a chairman and member of
It should not come as a surprise that this simple idea has garnered much support, for its importance is easy to comprehend. This means that
several non-executive boards. He divides his time between Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Nice, France. www.harrystarren.nl
“You might expect the Dutch to be intensely ‘water aware’. Not at all. The responsibility for keeping the water at bay has for so long now been relegated to the experts ... that the Dutch blithely assume that it has all been taken care of and that the ‘enemy’ has been conquered.”
Wonderland Water By Tracy Metz
Some people have a way with words, the Dutch have a way with water. They have to – for the Low Countries water management is a matter of sheer survival. It will always remain a mystery what possessed the very earliest Dutchmen to settle in this soggy delta (the fishing must have been very good indeed), but whatever it was, it forced them to work together to find a way to keep their feet dry. A good third of the Netherlands lies below sea level, and about half of the country’s current 16 million inhabitants live there. Some 70 percent of the GDP is earned below sea level. This fight against the water was the foundation, some say, of Dutch collective thinking – even of Dutch democracy – and of the awareness that collaborating and investing in order to prevent disaster is a better strategy than repair after the fact. (A lesson that the US, even after hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, is still struggling to learn). After a major flood in 1953 the Netherlands invested heavily in the Delta Works, a series of dams and storm surge barriers that shortened the coastline to better protect the land behind it. You might expect the Dutch to be intensely ‘water aware’. Not at all. The responsibility for keeping the water at bay has for so long now been relegated to the experts – to government, to the engineers, to the men in rubber boots who inspect the dykes – that the Dutch blithely assume that it has all been taken care of and that the ‘enemy’ has been conquered. Global warming, however, is reigniting Dutch awareness of the role water plays in their lives, their landscape, their economy – their survival. It is also becoming apparent that centuries of human intervention in the natural water system
has caused an ecological backlash. The Lowlands are now inventing a new water strategy in which they are trying to work with the natural forces of water rather than overruling them. This new approach – the subject of my book ‘Sweet&Salt: Water and the Dutch’ – infuses both urban and landscape design and is opening up a whole new wave of technical and spatial innovation. Water management has once again become an exciting new field for collaboration, now between scientists, engineers and designers. Two examples.
One is the ‘sand engine’, a bulge of 21 million cubic yards of sand at the North Sea coast near The Hague. The idea is that the tides and currents will take this sand and distribute it along the coast, letting nature do the work of reinforcing the beaches rather than us getting out the bulldozers each year and destroying the delicate beach ecology. The ‘sand engine’ is to be an experiment for twenty years, in the course of which the bulge will gradually disappear. As extreme weather becomes more frequent and rainshowers become cloudbursts, cities are searching for space to store rainwater until it can seep back into the watertable or into the sewer without flooding the streets. Rotterdam has new ‘water squares’ designed by the young studio De Urbanisten, which serve as handsomely designed public space when they are dry, and as catchment areas after heavy rain. The water squares truly embody the new thinking; that is, that water safety can be deployed as a tool for making cities cooler and more attractive. Now that water is no longer the exclusive domain of engineers, the new necessity + opportunity of designing with water have sparked off all sorts
of utopian projects – some visionary, some just eccentric, but all bursting with the sense of new possibilities. One of them is the initiative Blue21 by engineer Rutger de Graaf, who wants to build the world’s first floating city to have a positive impact on nature. The claim is not modest: “This way we can solve the biggest challenges of the 21st century: land scarcity, climate change, urban growth and deforestation.” Another is the Dutch Windwheel, intended to be a new icon for the harbour of Rotterdam and a spectacular landmark in the water made of two intertwined rings. The outer ring is a rollercoaster with forty seats, the inner ring houses a restaurant with a panoramic view, a hotel and several apartments. It was the techno-artist, Daan Roosegaarde, who captured the renewed interest and sense of wonderment about water in his new work, ‘Waterlight’. Across the large open space of the Museum Square in Amsterdam, he projected an ethereal blue ‘ceiling’ above our heads. Enchantingly beautiful but also chilling: this is how high the water would be without the elaborate system of protection that the Netherlands has developed over the centuries. Now it is time to bring that system into the 21st century.
Tracy Metz is a journalist, author and presenter. She writes about architecture, urbanism, nature and landscape - in brief, our relationship to our built and natural environment. Sweet&Salt: Water and the Dutch, by Tracy Metz and Maartje van den Heuvel, Nai010 Publishers. www.urbanisten.nl, www.blue21.nl, dutchwindwheel.com 9
“Go back to science, go back to nature; that’s it.” Ahadi Katera (1992, Tanzania) is an industrial engineering student and co-founder of Guavay, a start-up enterprise in the business of converting bio-waste into organic fertiliser. While he is busy introducing a Western concept – rubbish separation – into his native Tanzania, we can learn a great deal from him. Words by Arne Hendriks
What do you think makes your business unique?
Our business is all about people. The way we involve a wide range of individuals – be it the local government, municipalities, incubators, research institutions, NGOs and mostly unprivileged citizens – has delivered tremendous results. The citizens on the ground are the most powerful and practical resource. We have learn to listen, to leverage their ideas and elevate their thoughts. We see this as a holistic approach to innovation that allows for new perspectives without generating preconceptions, creating a more inclusive world.
means a lot to me. Age of Wonderland tries to uplift your thoughts to create your own unique form of expression. It brings a completely new and different angle of looking at things, and what is more important is the global context of your work.
incredible diversity will have a huge contribution in shaping and seeing what my project will look like in another part of the world, and in the future. What can we learn from you?
Students from the Design Academy bring a multicultural experience into what I am doing. Each student has a unique way of seeing things. Others want to rename waste to a new word that portrays value, while others are looking at other valuable products that can be made out of organic waste, and more. Learning from their
Go back to science, go back to nature; that’s it. I think most solutions to the problems we have created are still found within ourselves, or within what already surrounds us. The fact that we are spending time to understand organic waste, working with it, trying to use plant science to fertilise the soils in Tanzania, we are inspired to embrace nature. It’s the most important thing we tend to forget. It’s this instinctive curiosity that we need to regain, to connect back with nature. I call it organic innovation.
Marnix van Holland
Kor Zwart’s background is in microbiology but he
Marnix van Holland’s role at Hivos concerns
Super Local is a design studio based in Helmond, the
company, Alterra, is the research institute for the
(renewable) energy, sustainable food production and
and cultural problems on a global scale. They are
How does participation in Age of Wonderland fit into the development of your ideas?
The chance to work with people from a wide range of cultures, passions and who are full of life
You’ve worked with students of the Design Academy Eindhoven. What could their involvement bring to your project?
Ahadi is partnering with:
has been working as a soil scientist since 1986. His green living environment connected to Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR). Zwart is involved in projects regarding the effect of the
biobased economy on soil properties. The Biorefine
Cluster Europe that he is connected to aims to stimulate interaction between the member projects, their partners, and all their people by bridging multiple
projects in the domain of nutrient and energy cycling.
sustainable development issues related to ‘green’
food consumption in developing countries, and the world. Hivos is an international organisation that
seeks new solutions to persistent global issues. With smart projects in the right places, Hivos opposes
discrimination, inequality, abuse of power and the unsustainable use of our planet’s resources.
Netherlands, seeking sustainable solutions for social self-described passionate problem-solvers who find themselves mostly in non-western countries. Their project, Holy Crap, is their response to the social, environmental and health problems of unsorted
waste in Kathmandu, Nepal. Holy Crap introduced an incentive-based concept to encourage households to separate their waste at home, in a simple and
fun way using coloured waste bags. The more and the better a family separates their waste, the more credits they can earn.
Second planet, in as good as or better condition/ resources as Earth 12
By Marnix van Holland
I mean, you’ve definitely never seen a dodo before, and I’m pretty sure you don’t feel that this has reduced your quality of life. So why wouldn’t you eat, say, the last panda if it were to increase your social status and it didn’t negatively affect the lives of future generations?
Many will agree that the status quo of our food and energy systems – as well as our current patterns of consumption – are highly unsustainable. Chances are, you think so too. And you know for a fact that our destructive consumption pattern and unstoppable urge to (over-)procreate have something to do with why sea levels are rising and our planet’s resources are rapidly depleting. We won’t fully experience the adverse affects of our doings right away, but, if we continue at our current rate, we will require the resources of two planets to meet our demands by the early 2030s. So what now? What can – or should – we do to slow the rot?
The thing is, we should really start to worry about how over-population will directly affect the quality of life on this one little planet. Let’s take a step back. If we consider classic utilitarianism, continued over-population will only result in a world in which everybody lives a life just barely worth living. Is that what we want? The only alternative is a situation whereby there will be haves and have-nots (something like the present day, I’m afraid) - yes, I’m talking elitism. Our moral principles are irked by this outlook, so what to do?
How about starting to think about whether we should even give a damn about the future of our (one) planet, and its future generations. To find the answer to this basic question we should probably review our moral beliefs to determine how much of an obligation we think we have to future generations, and then ponder what this means in terms of action. Not solely because of our individual (over?-)consumption, but especially because of our influence on the identities and number of future people. I mean, you’ve definitely never seen a dodo before, and I’m pretty sure you don’t feel that this has reduced your quality of life. So why wouldn’t you eat, say, the last panda if it were to increase your social status and it didn’t negatively affect the lives of future generations? Who knows, perhaps there will come a time where we have no choice but to consume our dear pandas in order to feed the global population. And is eating a bear all that different from eating the almost extinct tuna or our (not so extinct) friends, the cow and sheep?
A traditional view on human life is that there is no real limit to the positive value of quantity. Meaning, it is always better if an extra life is lived - let me qualify that with my personal view: if that extra life is one worth living. But such a concept would definitely have an impact on all the other people’s quality of life once we become over-populated. A solution may be in contending that both quality and quantity contain value: let’s argue for a ‘threshold level’. You know, a point where any extra lives lived maintain a certain minimum level of quality. Think about it. ‘We the people’ of today could write a universal rulebook on ‘quality of living’. This would be a list of all relevant capabilities, principles and needs. Aside from Maslow’s pyramid of needs, this would also include basic capabilities such as practical reasoning, imagination and affiliation. Additionally, it would contain input on sustainable living around the use of renewable energy and inclusiveness. We’d
call it the “Standard for Sustaining Life” - they’d be commandments for life itself. A standard which takes all of today’s lives and cultures into account. We would then campaign to get those extra lives to meet or surpass the ‘quality of life threshold level’. That would mean that a life lacking any one of these capabilities, principles or basic needs would fall short of being deemed a good human life. So to put things back into balance, people living at or below subsistence levels might increase their consumption levels, while more affluent people would cut down their footprint quite heavily. We’d list all the prerequisites of our 2015-standards for sustaining life in our rulebook to set the bar for future generations. This would not be some elitarian concept, but what we - as the human race - value, regarding life on this planet. However, judging by the direction we’re heading and the apparent lack of commitment and action at all levels of today’s society, we’ll soon be out of time to ‘worry’ much about these sorts of questions. After all, the 2030s are not much more than a decade away, and where will we get a second planet from anyway?
Marnix van Holland is a member of the Hivos team, and is specialised in the field of renewable energy for human development and climate change reduction. www.hivos.org 13
The happy origins of the Jatiwangi/ Eindhoven Declaration of Claynialism 14
Arie Syarifuddin (1985, Indonesia) is cross-disciplinary artist, graphic designer and independent curator from Jatiwangi, a small village in Majalengka Regency, West Java, Indonesia. His aim is to encourage people to mine earth exploration with more dignity, and make them smile along the way. Words by Christine Wagner
How does your work relate to social, political and ecological issues?
The most important thing for me is to create collective happiness. Our Jatiwangi Art Factory (JAF) team is good at making connections. We have many friends and colleagues outside of JAF and our focus is on spreading happiness through all our activities. We see JAF as a sort of laboratory and we see all the creative practices we have been working on over the last decade like tests, for how art can influence social development in Jatiwangi, and how art can promote and explore the identity of our village. Could you describe your project during Age of Wonderland?
My project is exploring edible clay as an identity to support a regional development strategy; it is a design and culture co-operation. Can you tell us something about the artist(s)/ designers you are collaborating with?
We are collaborating with independent artist, Masha Ru, and ceramist, Lonny van Ryswyck, from Atelier NL. The core of our collaboration starts with clay, which is related to issues linking to the earth, soil, dirt, land, and ground. I call this movement ‘Claynialism’. This is an effort to re-design ‘clay’ with all its particularities as a ‘cool yet humble identity’, especially for youth. This project is not an effort to occupy land or region; rather, it is a collaborative effort between districts and countries.
work, we held a bodybuilding championship – the Jatiwangi cup! We wanted to boost the profile of the roof-tile industry externally, and raise the confidence of roof-tile makers, internally. It really made them happy. What is your specific project during DDW and how does this involve social change?
This year, in Jatiwangi, we have ‘the earth year’ theme . Our last project during the exhibition Art Jog 2015 in Jogjakarta  told the story about the issue of the colossal construction taking place on Jatiwangi land; Kertajati international airport, Cipali toll-road highway, the garment factory in Majalengka, Jatiwangi shopping mall area and the Jatigede big dam project. By order of the Indonesian government and various multi- nationals, local people must sell their land. The projects of JAF aim to persuade people not to sell their land. Because land in Jatiwangi is not only a question of territory, it is about our identity. We should protect our ground and not sell it!
ecological innovation or change on both locally and
Do you believe designers/artists can contribute to
What is your experience so far with the Eindhoven
current world issues? If so, in what way do you think
creative talent can contribute to social change?
During my research in Eindhoven, I gained several ideas on how to look at the potential of a city and how to use this potential in order to re-design that city’s identity. I can simplify the identity of Eindhoven with ‘lights’, and that of Jatiwangi with ‘clay’. We can make a mutual agreement by setting a ‘keyword’ to start a common vision for our own regional development.
What’s the most important message for the visitor?
 Jatiwangi Art Factory & Samboh, G. Tahun Tanah 2015. [Tumblr post] Retrieved from: http://cmf2015.tumblr.com/  Jatiwangi Art Factory & Samboh, G. Museum Genteng Jatiwangi at Art Jog 8, 201. [Tumblr post] Retrieved from: http://cmf2015.tumblr.com/post/127053756068/ museum-genteng-jatiwangi-at-art-jog-8-2015
Arie is partnering with:
Food is the language of unity. And respect your land.
The keywords for my work are: food > clay > identity > design > regional development.
References  Jatiwangi Art Factory. (2015, August 25). Jatiwangi Cup – Longa Binaraga Antar Jebor (video file). Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY4YlaGymZo
How can your idea potentially affect social, political,
Clay, soil, land, earth do not only refer to issues around territories and governmental policies unique to a certain region. Here in Jatiwangi, issues around clay, soil, land and earth are sensitive issues concerning our identity. Through our work at JAF we want to connect the inhabitants of the city and restore their dignity. With our work and projects over the last ten years, we want to re-design this identity and tradition as a new culture to prepare residents for, and guard against, the massive development in Jatiwangi, such as the construction of a new highway and international airport to transport the sports clothing manufactured in the new Nike and Adidas factories.
What is the core of your work?
and a workshop. But we also want to make a ‘Declaration of Claynialism’; that is, a bilateral agreement between Majalengka (Jatiwangi) and Eindhoven, referring to a mutual co-operation to support and promote the identity of each city in both regions and countries. And I want to invite the Eindhoven’s Alderman of Culture, and the director of Jatiwangi Art Factory, to sign this declaration!
Atelier NL / Lonny van Ryswyck Lonny van Ryswyck is one half of the duo called
Atelier NL. By the time she graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2006 she had already em-
barked on the Atelier NL partnership with fellow stu-
dent, Nadine Sterk. The work of Atelier NL translates the convergence of environment, history, and human experience into objects and systems that enrich
everyday life. Atelier NL uses design as a method to
reveal hidden informational patterns and stories that lie beneath the mundane. By researching and rearranging what already exists, Atelier NL touches on
what it means to be human in an ever-evolving world.
Yes I believe so; our art projects and work at JAF aim to make people happy and give them more confidence. Then, they can think clearly about what is actually happening in their environment and gain the confidence of solving problems in a more creative way. Our latest project is a good example. Here in Jatiwangi we have very good soil, which is why we became the centre of roof-tile manufacturing in Java in the first place. Unfortunately, many people in Jatiwangi are choosing to work in the new sports clothing factory, rather than the roof-tile factory that has so much local significance. To restore the roof-tilers’ pride in their very important line of
Masha Ru (1984, Moscow) is an artist whose projects combine mathematics, scientific research, anthro-
pology, culture, and esoteric and spiritual elements. After graduating from Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2007 she moved to the Netherlands
where she obtained a PhD in mathematics, with a
specialisation in image analysis, from TU/e in 2011. She is also an honours graduate from the Photo
Academy, Amsterdam. In 2013-2014 Ru conducted
research as artist-in-residence at Rijksakademie van What are you trying to develop while you are here, and what do you want to exhibit and do at Dutch Design Week 2015?
We are working on food made from clay in the shape of a font, based on research of the shape of the city, and we will hold a clay ceremony
Beeldende Kunst, Amsterdam, where she present-
ed cups made of a special, edible clay. Although in
some cultures eating clay is normal, it is considered a psychological disturbance and possible health issue
in the West, which prompted Ru to conduct chemical analysis of her edible cups in the laboratory.
“We believe there is always enough” Interview with Yoyo Yogasmana (1970, Indonesia), artist and member of the remote Ciptagelar Kasepuhan commuinity in West Java. Words by Christine Wagner
You are a performing artist but you are also a personal advisor of the king and queen of Ciptagelar. Could you describe your work as an artist and how you came to the court of Ciptagelar?
I am an artist. I never seek and I have no plan. My feeling led me to Ciptagelar in 2008 and then I decided to stay. Shortly after settling, our king, Abah Ugi, and the elders assessed me physically and spiritually. They revealed that my duty is to connect the community of Kasepuhan Ciptagelar with the outside world. However, my career as an artist has never been interrupted. I’ve been invited several times to other countries, for example to China last year. But I only accept an invitation as long my farming duties at Kasepuhan Ciptagelar are being fulfilled.
Abah Ugi, our king, decreed we would explore the Pranat Mangsa system and present our ancestral tradition in food production so that more people will benefit by learning from it. The project is to recall and disseminate the ancient wisdom and technology related to rice plantation, which is guided by certain star clusters. This knowledge has an impact on our culture, social behaviour and on nature. By sharing this rice culture, including our consumption pattern, we expect to raise social awareness: when people follow the stars as signs for the planting season, they become more deeply aware that they have limited time and limited growth. All the preparation and work around our food production is always done together, and with the least impact on the natural order.
Could you explain the role and value of rice/food in the community of Ciptagelar, where rice is consid-
Can you describe how your idea could potentially af-
ered to be a holy good?
fect social, political, ecological innovation or change
‘Paddy’, or rice, is life. Therefore our tradition prohibits the selling of rice and its seed. Rice and human beings have a symbiotic relationship. We need each other. In our language we have the term ‘seri’ which means ‘balance’ or ‘equal’. We also have a rice goddess called ‘Sri’, who maintains a ‘balanced connection’ with nature. The treatment of rice should be similar to the way we treat ourselves.
at a local level but also on a global scale?
What’s the most important message you want to bring from Ciptagelar to the visitor of the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven?
We would like to invite everyone to return to seeing the value of nature and being sensitive to its balance. To live in harmony, follow the cycles of nature, to protect it, and respect the rights of all living creatures; for nature gives us life and life depends on nature. We have always believed that every single living thing has a specific purpose. We in Ciptagelar believe there is always enough. Could you please describe your own specific project during Dutch Design Week and how this involves social change? 16
We must simply not exploit natural resources. We should produce just enough to meet our needs and not for economic reasons. If we follow the instructions of nature, our ecological impact will just be the maintenance of the balance of the ecosystem. Ciptagelar’s planting system means zero chemical pesticides – our soil, water, and air stay healthy. We want to share this ecological intelligence, which we have maintained from ancient times to the present day. People will see concrete evidence of how our method continues to work, and view it in a positive light. We hope the policy-makers dare to apply our thinking in the wider environment, to influence social behaviour at large.
symbolically represent, respectively, the beginning and end of the Kasepuhan Ciptagelar farming cycle. We will also invite visitors to cook and eat with us, while we share our traditions with them. During the artists’ residency, what was your experience of the rare opportunity to work in a relatively small, vibrant creative community, like Eindhoven?
I met many people trying to develop solutions to the food problems we face. On the one hand there is the Philips City Farming program, which I got to know about during the Hivos Food Seminar – that is about developing food production technology in a very modern and sophisticated way. On the other hand there are those who still maintain the old ordinances and cultures in food cultivation. Those two approaches are extremely different but wouldn’t it be interesting to investigate where collaboration might be possible? Translated by Gustaff H. Iskandar, Common Room
Yoyo is partnering with:
Arthur Roeloffzen Arthur Roeloffzen is an Amsterdam-based graphic
How will your results/ findings be displayed during Dutch Design Week?
The display in the exhibition will represent a kitchen atmosphere. There will be visualisations of the Kerti and Kidang star constellations that we use to determine the planting season. We will also show some photos of the every day objects and tools that we use. These two visual elements
designer whose focus is mainly book design. He
graduated from ArtEZ Academy of Arts in Arnhem in 2007 and then went on to work at Studio Joost Grootens. Roeloffzen completed his research
master Artistic Research (MA) at the University of Amsterdam in 2011 and is currently mentoring at
Design Academy Eindhoven, in the masters department of Information Design.
“What worries me is that people who are not poor, who have access to food but only lowgrade quality, processed food, do not realise that this mediocre food that they’re eating is becoming part of them, and their lives, and their future.” – Koert van Mensvoort
We are what we atE Jane Hardjono spoke to Koert van Mensvoort – artist, philosopher and technologist – and asked him about future food in relation to some of his well-touted views. He believes we have a responsibility for what we put in our mouths, because food choices can change nature, and the future. “The things we design end up designing us” – Koert van Mensvoort
When Koert was living in LA, he had the chance to observe the middle-class in their true habitat. Then, he considered the world’s poor – people in China and Africa, for example – and found the quality of their food often to be superior to that of the American diet. (He makes a distinction between people who are so poor they are hungry, of course). “Middle-class groups in the West have a quite poor food culture. I don’t know how it’s possible. There you see the shift, and the naïveté, that certain people don’t know that what they put in their bodies is part of them. They have a poor life – despite having a large bank account and a nice car and a big television.” His view is that we hold on too tight to the concept that if we design our environment around us, it will then allow us to do whatever we wish. We are in denial that our environments have an effect on us, on our very selves. He warns us: “Basically we design ourselves. In the realm of food, it’s so apparent. Food is something you put inside your body; it becomes part of you when you eat it. What worries me is that people who are not poor – who have access to food but only low-grade quality, processed food – do not realise that this mediocre food that they’re eating is becoming part of them, and their lives, and their future.”
“New technologies may trigger ancient impulses” – Koert van Mensvoort
Koert values the work of artists like Yoyo Yogasmana who share their ancient methods, and are ingrained with wisdom in ‘ecological intelligence’ (a notion now so vague in the collective Western memory). “In order to innovate we need to look at the past, and at existing traditions, intuitions that people have. And some of them
we might have even forgotten about. If we learn about those again, that knowledge can help us to find a better future.” We also talk about the work around mineral analysis and soil as food by Ari Syarifuddin and locals such as Masha Ru and Atelier NL, and whether people are losing their connection to the land or if we can revive it. “I’ve tasted some of the raw material myself. Later it was explained to me that this is still being developed into something more … palatable. (laughs) Let’s not forget, soil is so important for all our food. These artists are short-cutting: ‘I’m not using the soil to grow vegetables or graze animals on it; I’m going to turn it into cookies!’. As an artwork it’s quite effective and profound; they are offering people this experience of directly consuming the soil.”
“Nature changes along with us” – Koert van Mensvoort
Humans love bottled water. Even if you personally don’t drink it from a plastic bottle, somebody sure is. A lot of somebodies. And while our waters are under threat, Koert predicts that plastic will become a resource. On Achmad Fadillah’s work, Koert says: “It’s interesting to look at plastic as a building block and as a resource. We think of it as a left over – as pollution – and it’s quite fascinating that it’s only existed for a little over a century and yet has become a new material in the earth’s geology. I’m sure that at a certain point it’ll be a resource for some species. I think it’s best if we start reusing plastic – I mean, we’re the ones who put in the environment.”
presence that existed before humans “came along and spoiled everything”. He asks us to be conscious about the role we play and what we do in the world, as humans. “Nature in itself is dynamic and we are intervening in it, but also transforming it. Our activities are also causing the rise of a next nature - which might be as wild and as unpredictable as ever. And future generations will have to live with that. We have to realise that we are doing that. Back to the example of using plastic as a resource; I don’t want to be cynical about it. It’s what needs to be done.” Koert fears we may have lost our way, in particular with food. He cites the good but misguided intentions of post WWII food engineers: “They thought: no one should go hungry anymore, everyone must have access to food. But they didn’t look at its quality, or the culture.” It isn’t hopeless though, not if we apply adaptive reuse to what all these cultures – east / west, past / present – can actually teach us. “We must not go back or copy them. We have to transform what we learn into a future model. I’m not against technology-food, but I am if it only limits us. If we explore the culture around what is actually possible with food technology, then it will be much more interesting. … I’m really confident that we are now approaching a time where more culturally-oriented people – be they artists, or chefs – will go and work with food engineers and make something different which will be technological, but cultural as well. In the end what we design, designs us.”
“Our technological environment is a nature of its own”
Koert van Mensvoort is an artist and philosopher best known
– Koert van Mensvoort
technology has developed to a point that it has a nature
for his work on the concept of Next Nature; the notion that of its own. He is guest speaker at the Age of Wonderland
Koert explains we ought not see nature and technology as opposites. Nature is not an unchanging
Future Food Seminar at Dutch Design Week 2015. www.vanmensvoort.com 19
Green & Fair Food: Mission (im)possible? Most citizens, businesses and organisations all over the world agree the need to transform the global food system, both from a quality and a quantity aspect. There are still more than one billion people who are starving or are undernourished, while there is an increase of food-related diseases and a fast growing obesity problem in both the West and East. Due to the fast growing world population, urbanisation, climate change, erosion and restricted resources, this situation is becoming even more urgent. We ask Henk Folkerts, Partner at Rijnconsult, to what extent is transformation even (im)possible.
Why we need to change and what to do is mostly understood. What’s so difficult is how to realise this, but fortunately there are many initiatives to discover this currently underway. Governments have started waste reduction programmes. Research institutes have increased their research on biodiversity, resource efficiency, soil and crop management. Food companies – both big and small – have introduced new strategies for sustainable food. The cooperation between the agrifood sector and the healthcare sector is increasing. And last but not least citizens, artists and designers have become more involved and active in speeding up the transformation to a sustainable food system. However, transformation will not be easy. Some countries still focus on an extractive policy rather than an inclusive one (Acemoglu and Robinson, 2012). Civil wars lead to disorder and asylum seekers. Natural disasters and erosion destroy land, water and soil. And finally, increased protectionism frustrates free flow of goods, knowledge, people and money. 20
Nevertheless, we are moving step by step in the direction of a more sustainable food system. But is this going fast and effectively enough? To help us go faster and further, we need an increased dialogue on, and the introduction of sustainable business models; the improvement of value chain cooperation; and, the development of regional public private clusters.
that is connected to and part of our bodies, society and culture. Discussing the essentials of this natural food system between citizens, politicians, business people, scientists, designers, artists etc., can contribute to a movement in which these principles are more incorporated in business models, policy measures and consumer behaviour. Value chain
Sustainable business models
The current ‘industrial’ food system is based on profit, monoculture, economies of scale and productivity maximisation. In a sustainable (‘natural’) food system it would not only be about competition but also about co-operation, co-creation, communication and above all, culture. It would focus (fig. 1) not only on tangible assets such as machinery, buildings and labour, but also on intangible assets like knowledge and passion and on ‘memorable’ assets like history, tradition, hospitality and experiences. (Folkerts and Bosman 2007). It would not only be about food quality but also food security, food safety, food experience and food ethics (fig. 2). Food is not an industrial product. It is a natural, living product
A second possibility is improved co-operation between the different linkages in the food chain ( fig. 3). This can help in tuning demand and supply, reducing waste and in improving logistics. And, it can speed up the introduction of new business models like full cost pricing, whereby added costs for keeping the soil clean, animal health, farmer labour and the conversion to sustainable energy sources are translated in added-value and yield for the farmer and the other links in the chain. In the last twenty years many food companies all over the world started with value chain co-operation. It can significantly contribute to a sustainable food system – but it is a long way off and asks leadership and perseverance.
– Equipment – Cash
– Skills – Knowledge
– History – Culture
– Land – Labour
– Brands – Competences
– Hospitality – Stories
Figure 1: Different assets as part of a sustainable food system.
A third possibility is the development of regional (local) public private (agro food) clusters or networks all over the world. Hawken (2008) describes this as the largest social movement in history, where coherent, organic, self-organised movements work together with just one goal: ecological sustainability and social justice. In these clusters different stakeholders – from politicians to business people, citizens to researchers – work together to improve aspects such as the food system, infrastructure, legislation and quality of life in the region. The key developments that will speed up regional clusters are: miniaturisation (technology, social media), decentralised energy production, more attention of quality of life for citizens, the circular economy (local for local) and the need for authenticity. Optimal conditions for transformation
Sustainable business models, value-chain cooperation and regional cluster forming can – in addition to other initiatives – speed up the transformation to a sustainable food system. How? Consider the notion that innovation does not just invent new things or new knowledge, but it combines existing knowledge, technologies, competences and ideas. Also, the importance of physical meetings of the people involved increase mutual trust, understanding and enthusiasm. Then there is patience, timing and cadence. And finally, the adoption of an attitude of hope instead of fear. Yes, sometimes things fail. But failing is also learning and sometimes even an opening for new directions and solutions.
Food Ethics Food Experience Food Quality Food Safety Food Security
Possible or impossible?
So, is sustainable food a mission possible … or impossible? In my view it is certainly a mission possible as long as we cross borders (literally and figuratively) co-operate, co-create and communicate. That is exactly what the Age of Wonderland project is practising. That is why it is so worthwhile to support, and above all, to participate.
Figure 2: Five elements of sustainable food
Figure 3: Cooperation in the value chain.
References Acemoglu, D. and J. Robinson (2012). Why Nations Fail. Crown Business. Hawken. P. (2008). Blessed unrest. Penguin Books. Folkerts H. and B. Bosman (2007). Reconnecting food with people. IAMA congress Parma. Lang, T. and M. Heasman (2004). Food wars. Earthscan.
Henk Folkerts has been a consultant at Rijnconsult since 1998, advising companies and organisations in vision and strategy development. www.rijnconsult.nl 21
An investigation into celebrating more with less Interview with Symbat Satybaldieva (1989, Kyrgyzstan), an artist- researcher, Economics and Strategy graduate, and Montessori educator. Words by Olga Mink
I start by asking Symbat how she would describe her artistic and social practice.
I’m a non-typical artist. I started as a performer in the ‘Art Group 705’, an experimental performance art group. Eventually I started writing my own fairy-tales and mobile poems. And finally when I obtained my Economics and Strategy management degree, I found the time to help out my creative friends in the arts with their management and finance questions. My ‘Students in Free Enterprise’ background helped me to be able to make a difference in our community. It empowered me to act, and to become a more socially responsible human being on this planet. They say: “If you do not deal with politics, politics will get you anyway”. I think, that’s why I try to be socially active in my public life. I believe that art nowadays can be a very powerful tool to speak, reflect, and discuss the issues related to the mundane. In my case, I want to discuss the issues concerning life in my country. I use art as a tool to enable us to make decisions together. She explains how her work is related to social, political, ecological issues.
I’m currently doing research on the representation of the phenomenon of the Sumptuous Feast, also known as ‘Toi’ all over Central Asia. As Toi is held on occasions of weddings, funerals, and anniversaries in purpose-designed restaurants for more than 800 people, Toi regularly drives people into (financial) ruin in low-income countries. Another phenomenon unique to Toi is sending guests home with food in special left-overs bags (known sometimes in the West as ‘doggie bags’) – a reflection of the abundance of dishes. Later you can eat them for a whole week long, and 22
re-live the happy/special moments with your family in your own surroundings. The projects that Symbat plans to show during Age
people everywhere gets higher to take care of our home. Not enough decisions have been made on how to do this, so let’s get to know each other better and collaborate on innovations!
of Wonderland /Dutch Design Week are many and varied and cross several themes.
Symbat’s hopes for when she reaches the end
During the Dutch Design Week we plan to have several events; the first event is a Toi Dinner Hack in which we try to explain the Toi rituals through experimental performativity and representation. In the second event, we’re mapping the past and present of Abundance. This will give an historical overview on how food shapes our life. The third event is the workshop in which we’re cooking national dishes from Kyrgyzstan’s nomadic culture.
of her residency…
I want to reflect upon what’s happening today, what position different people take on these issues, and what our roles are in this changing process. Above anything else, I want to challenge myself: Can I innovate something to shift the culture of Tois … or, how can we celebrate less?
Symbat reveals how her work as an educator affects her artistic practice.
Art has always been tightly connected to philosophy, history. It’s always on the look out for new paradigm shifts. That’s why becoming a Montessori educator helps me to gain knowledge and to teach myself. Of course, it influences my approach in how learning processes develop. I think it helps me to reflect, to discuss. To not get stuck and to move on: to innovate, create!
Symbat is partnering with:
GardenMania Collective city garden, GardenMania, was established at Strijp-S in Eindhoven, in 2013. Aside from
In Symbat’s opinion, collaboration and exchange are the most important messages for the Dutch Design Week visitor.
During Dutch Design Week, I want to open new doors and share how the nomadic culture of ‘Kyrgyz people’ live and think. I want to exchange ideas between us and the audience of the DDW. As soon as globalisation washes away the boundaries of the world, the responsibility of
being a community garden, GardenMania regularly
organises activities around art, music and food and acts as a hub or meeting place for people in the
area. Nature is an important element when it comes to quality of life and connections between people.
Through this garden at Strijp- S, an oasis has emer-
ged within its urban enrivonment – a natural biotope that contributes to the area’s liveability and sense of cohesion.
Capitalising on ‘radical imagination’ Interview with Sari Dennise (1986, Mexico), design graduate and eco-social design activist. Words by Ellen Zoete
“In early 2012, green capitalism flooded our lives. I realised that if eco-social responsibility is not approached appropriately and if it obeys the same logic as global markets, it becomes a green cover up for capitalism. This led me to leave design behind, and I found more holistic, integrated and radical perspectives and practices that would include social mobilisation, health and popular education.” Sari Dennise (1986, Mexico) is talking to me about her work, and about Cráter Invertido, the editorial cooperative she joined in 2015. “The collective is really open, and it’s a busy place. A friend from Columbia who lived in Cráter for a short while said that it was like living in the streets - I’m not sure if that was meant as a compliment! No really, we have a lot of events and there’re people around every day. Crater is related to many vibrant communities and networks”, Sari says. “We call our practice ‘radical imagination’, which means to exercise ideas, paradigms, scenarios; to build other realities in education, communication, health, justice, liberty, economies, relationships and ‘understandings’ about humanity and nature. It means to see situations in a different light. This is important if we want to to create something new. That’s the power of creative practice.” Pre-Cráter Invertido, Sari had participated in various projects in the field of design and alternative media and film, photography, radio and text writing. During her studies at the School of Design at the Fine Arts National Institute she explored new ways to develop products. She became interested in alternative systems. She believes that food is closely related to territory 24
and identity, and gives rise to alternative economies. The Chinamperos in Mexico City’s lacustrine zone are defending their territory against the growth of social problems in Mexico that are related to mega-projects, industrialisation, urbanisation, narcotics and violence related to corrupt governments. With Cráter Invertido Sari is, among other things, working to elevate the Chinamperos’ social status and their quality of life, with an anti-capitalist/anti-consumerism perspective. “I don’t like to say that my work springs from social responsibility,” Sari points out, “because that phrase doesn’t mean anything to anyone besides people in the government or in business. I would say that we are imagining other futures. Design and printed material are powerful media.” She explains how everyone at Cráter collectively draws almost every Friday ‘at after hours’. It’s an old process and they don’t judge the result. They believe such creative practices re-invent the world every day. Most activities of the cooperative find their way into printed material, even for short-lived events. Sari explains: “We translate them to fanzines, magazines, books and posters. It is a way to publish outside of the internet; less than 30% of Mexicans have access to internet, so publishing on the internet is not representative for the people we want to get in touch with.” Sari’s project in the Age of Wonderland programme is all about building bridges between the Chinamperos – the farmers in the rural zone of around Mexico city – and local producers, and food. “I began taking part in Cráter Invertido’s dialogues about our relation(ship) to food. The
eleven members of our assembly and many other people would meet for a weekly vegetarian eatery. Since we started, the discussion has moved on to the lifeline of food. We discuss consumption: What are we eating? What does it produce in our bodies? How and where do we eat? Then, distribution: How did our food get here? Who gains from its distribution? And, finally, production: by whom and how was the food generated? We are looking into expanding the eateries to preparing a food basket system, which transcends the limits of our sharing table.” During her residency she will explore Dutch examples of food basket-systems to try to understand how it works in a different context. “I expect to visit many people, to interview them and to learn a lot from those meetings. As with every project, it is very important to know people.”
Sari is partnering with:
Design Academy Eindhoven – Department Food Non Food students This new department, Food Non Food, is just two
years of age, and is focussed on innovation, clarification, questioning and the exposing of traditions, and
a more poetic or artistic approach to food. Graduates from the Food Non Food department can go on to work in the food industry, in hotel and restaurant
service, event design, in retail, the agricultural sector or in transport as brand and experience designers.
The table is set. Now what? Arne Hendriks, curator of the social design project, Age of Wonderland, muses upon the DDW 2015 Age of Wonderland Food exhibition. He is of course curious about what it will bring, but he’s just as excited about the not-knowing. Are you someone who wants to know exactly what’s on the menu, or are you open to try new things? As an artist and an exhibition maker I’ve always been drawn to food as a medium to tell stories. If we follow food and how it’s produced you always find interesting qualities: similarities, differences, inequalities. It’s one of these traceable things. It’s quite unintimidating as well. When you talk about food, you can talk to anybody about it. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, your level of education, your background – it doesn’t matter. Food connects us. And that’s a good start if you want to have a dialogue. Consciously or unconsciously every action, every product we buy, every single thing we eat or drink or prepare or sell, has an influence on how the world functions. It also affects the landscape we see. Say we all eat rice – well, then we need rice fields. Do we eat bread? We’ll need wheat fields. We shape the world with our actions. They matter. People are becoming increasingly aware of this. After DDW, even more people will be switched on to it. Okay, you might not see the difference immediately when you put a potato chip in your mouth. But … if we all start putting potato chips in our mouth there will be more potato fields. We are all constantly designing the world. Not just designers and farmers – everybody is. When I think about the Age of Wonderland exhibition, I like to think of it as a working office, an agency and not so much an exhibition per definition. The topics, which could be described as very large chapters, are where the specific approach of the (local or international or student) 26
artist falls within: compost, soil, rice, water, plastic, abundance, resilience, the farm. I’m interested in these topics, and other voices, and what the visitor will bring and the exchange of knowledge. The whole project is about listening to people from parts of the world who we don’t normally listen to. We have created a dynamic platform to allow a diverse group of people into the best possible working relationship during the time they are here, but also, beyond. I want when you come to the exhibition, that you have a sense that you can be a participant too. My hope is that the space will empower and inspire people to make better choices. And that they’ll also become more engaged in what’s going on around food, and with food around the world. It will be a work in progress that will be presented. If we are talking about global issues and challenges and that we need to solve them together, we face the practice of actually working together. But can we actually understand each other? The most important thing is that we start opening the doors towards each other. And we must do more than just look at each other. Let’s enter the room fully, sit at the table, prepare meals together and start to be more sensitive to the language and the qualities of the Other. It’s not easy. You can have such an ambition, but in reality it’s quite difficult to listen to things you’ve never heard before. That’s because often you don’t recognise them as being of any value. So you need to spend time. You need to be very open. You need to be patient. And then you
start growing roots together, and that’s when something happens. But when in the real world do people take this time? It rarely happens, especially in this really quick design-world where this type of deep connection doesn’t come so easily. And Age of Wonderland is not at all about this post-modern let’s appropriate some ancient technique … it’s about professionals working side by side, with different sensitivities, different qualities and different perspectives. Age of Wonderland is an exciting challenge in communication. We don’t know what we don’t know. Working together is about listening, being open, being aware of all these challenges, and then being able to do that in a public way at DDW with people from everywhere - it’s amazing. Masha is from Russia, is now based in Amsterdam, working with Arie from Indonesia, where she’ll be working with students from DAE from all over the world. It works both ways. Designers are people who send information, rather than entertain a conversation or start a dialogue. When you are only sending out information, there’s very little that you can do with it. People can agree with you. Or not agree with you. But Age of Wonderland is different. This year it will challenge the way we – as designers, artists, the man on the street – perceive food and it will change the way we want to set the table.
Age of Wonderland 2015
Balancing Green and Fair Food
TOPICS Saturday 17 October:
Compost As anybody who has ever tried to grow anything will tell you, good food starts with good soil. But soil is a limited resource. In times of increased need for food we are destroying and wasting more fertile soil than ever before. Our agricultural lands are yielding fewer crops; a direct outcome of the way in which we have treated our soils, and through continuous mono-cultural planting, Furthermore, the use of synthetic fertilisers over the years has left our agricultural lands all over the world with acidic soils that have reduced capacity to retain the nutrients that plants need to grow. More knowledge is coming forward about how to create less polluting composts, for instance by using organic waste, but this also creates a social problem: how do we collect enough waste to transform into compost?
Monday 19 October:
Provocative Food Seminar: From challenging to designing our future food system
Sunday 18 October:
Rice Rice is a ‘holy’ good in the self-sufficient community Kasepuhun Ciptagelar (Indonesia), formed by several villages located in the southern hillside of Halimun Mountain in Sukabumi. This (agro) advanced community in West Java cultivates more than 160 different sorts of local rice. The community believes strongly in the concept that “everything you need is already there”. The people pray for the rice and make music in the fields to improve its growth. The rice they harvest is only for consumption, and may not be used for trade purposes. The annual rice harvest in Ciptagelar is sufficient to feed the villagers, whereas in the rest of Indonesia rice must be harvested at least three times a year in order to meet the demand. Although Indonesia is the third-largest country in terms of global rice production, Indonesia is still a rice importer. In recent years Indonesia has had annual imports of around three million tons to safeguard the country’s rice reserves.
The provocative food seminar taking place during Dutch Design Week 2015 reflects on social innovation within the topic “From challenging to designing our future food system”. Invited speakers from different backgrounds share their ideas and insights. Policy-makers, designers, researchers, CSO’s, entrepreneurs and consumers from around the world will participate to discuss the issues at hand. The exchange of knowledge and solutions will provide input to design the future food system. Speakers: Marcel Beukeboom (Head Food & Nutrition Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Koert van Mensvoort (artist, philosopher and Ambassador of Dutch Design Week 2015), Nat Müller, (independent art critic, and curator of The Politics of Food project at Delfina foundation in London) and Janno Lanjouw (Co-founder and Programme Director of Food Film Festival). 27
Tuesday 20 October:
Water Water is quite literally the fountain of life, the food of all foods. The World Health Organisation estimates that human beings need 25 to 50 litres of water a day to maintain basic health and hygiene. This is called our ‘Basic Water Requirement’. Governments are expected to ensure adequate access to water, much more than 25 litres per person of course. Many people in the west and north of the world still take the availability of water for granted – but those days may soon be over. Even the water-rich Netherlands may face serious drinking water scarcity as soon as 2040, if they don’t change their water consumption. Pollution, population growth, privatisation of water resources and the irresponsible waste of water by industry, agriculture and individuals have created the unimaginable scenario that water is becoming a scarcity. What can we learn from the global east and south where awareness of the value of water is much more developed?
Wednesday 21 October:
The Farm Farming is man’s earliest and most influential technological system. It is the steady stream of agricultural produce coming from the farm not only supported by, but created for the societies we live in. As we enter what could very well be man’s most challenging era, many look towards the farm as perhaps the most essential space for radical change. Over the last two centuries agriculture has transformed and evolved dramatically to support and enable the immense global changes in society. As we shift towards a post/ post-industrial era fundamental choices in the organisation of the farm will have a direct effect on its sustainability in environmental, social, economic, and political aspects. Since choices made on farms affect all of us, their organisation should be discussed and designed in an interdisciplinary and intercultural way. Today, examples will be shared from indigenous farming that will show us beneficial and innovative systems for a global near future.
Thursday 22 October:
Clay Clay is widely used in the production of pots and pans. One type of clay can differ greatly from the next, through its composition of minerals and plant residues. Such varieties can be extremely local-specific; differences in composition can vary in each square meter of soil. For centuries the wholesome qualities of clay have been recognised in some cultures – by consuming it or putting on the body, while other cultures place eating clay within the psychological disorders. Both as fertile agricultural land and as a basic material it means a lot to the village Chatiwangi in Indonesia since their land is being sold without their consent, creating the situation that the villagers cannot ‘access’ the clay. As the main producer of roof tiles of Indonesia, clay is their basic means of income. 28
Friday 23 October:
Plastic We are generating more plastic trash than ever, and very little of it gets recycled. This is causing a threat to the health of both humans and animals. If we cannot imagine a world without plastic, can we imagine a way to (re)use and (re)produce plastic for other purposes than packaging? How can the plastic bottle’s omnipresence inspire a new reality? Perhaps no other object in contemporary society is more abundantly present than the plastic bottle. Almost non-existent a few decades ago it has proceeded to ‘successfully inhabit’ even the most remote parts of our planet. Some areas around large cities are so polluted by plastification that both water and the earth have become all but invisible.
Saturday 24 October:
Abundance ‘Abundance for all is within our grasp’ according to techno-optimists in the near future. However, few of us live in wealth, in contrast to the vast majority. With the exponential speed of technological developments as a major force for meeting and exceeding the basics of everyone on this planet, many believe that we will have soon solved ‘one of the biggest problems’ of this era. Abundance establishes hard targets for change for governments, industry and entrepreneurs. Proposing alternatives to the rise of new technologies, Age of Wonderland’s aim is to hold up a mirror and to take into account our own desires; to find alternative roadmaps to change the current food system. By looking beyond the standardised modes of production and by re-inventing knowledge of the past we can learn to adapt our consumption patterns in which there’s enough food and resources for everyone.
Sunday 25 October:
Resilience At the dawn of a new epoch called the anthropocene – a period defined by humanity’s imprint on the planet – the notion of humanity’s role and responsibility for a better future is becoming a widespread concern. In a time of increased technological developments, will it be possible to get reconnected again with our surroundings? Can we learn from the agricultural traditions of a remote village in Indonesia? How can we implement ancient knowledge into contemporary society for a sustainable future? In Kasepuhan Ciptagelar (Indonesia) farming culture is still based on ancestral beliefs. Under the guidance of ancient values and tradition, the village has successfully preserved their natural resources, including riverbanks and forests in the region. Their culture is an example for developing ancient resilience for sustainable futures. Tap into the ideas and philosophies of resilience by learning to use the best of both worlds. 29
Provocative Seminar on Food: Report The Age of Wonderland is a social innovation program jointly developed by Hivos, Baltan Laboratories and Dutch Design Week. “Provocative Seminar on Food: Challenging our Current Food System” took place at the Natlab on 21 May, 2015. Different experts from around the world reflected on the issues at stake and gave their perspectives on the food system in 2020. Words by Lorenzo Gerbi
The seminar was opened by Carol Gribnau, director of Hivos Green Society Program, who defines the current food system is highly unequal, unhealthy and unsustainable. What is our responsibility? Combining both expert and everyman’s perspective could bridge the gap between theory and practice and lead to solutions. New movements, social enterprises and business models increasingly care about the food we eat. This is a story of hope because while we might have created the problems, we are also able to solve them. Arne Hendriks – artist and curator – presented a picture of a family cooking food on an improvised stove, right after the tsunami in 2004, demonstrating how food can reinstall culture and humanity. Food has a symbolic strength, in times of crises as well as abundance. Arne sees our individual food-related gestures as part of a piece of global performance art. We need to overcome our fear and disbelief that we can actually do something. Change starts by telling the positive stories. Moderator Koert van Mensvoort – artist, philosopher and father of the Next Nature concept and ambassador of Dutch Design Week 2015 – provided intermittent reflection on the various presentations. He brought up the intimacy of the act of eating as it involves introducing something from the outside world into our very bodies, 30
and named cooking as the first form of food and technology, leading to the consumption of more calories in less time, contributing to quicker brain development. Klaas de Vries, Advisor Food & Nutrition Security and Private Sector Development at Centre for Development Innovation in Wageningen, introduced the link between the concept of nutrition security and food security. Worldwide, 805 million people are chronically undernourished, most of whom are children. What if we link nutrition with agriculture, and invest in that link? Every €1 invested in nutrition would pay itself back 16 times. This is where we must look to the private sector - the largest food producer and a significant potential change-maker. Yoyo Yogasmana, one of the artists from Age of Wonderland, explained how agriculture is anchored in ancient wisdom in his small Indonesian village. “Revisiting the past can help us to see a glimpse of our future”. For example, villagers know when to plant or when the insects will come, by consulting their ancient seasonal calendar system, Pranata Mangsa. Their crops are pesticide free. Rice is synonymous with life. Life is not for sale, so neither is rice. Nature gives the people their food so it is their duty to nurture and protect all living creatures in the universe.
Gus van der Feltz, Global Director City Farming at Philips, presented the City Farming concept. Crops are cultivated with the use of LED lamps and a hydraulic system. Issues around population, urbanisation, availability of water, food safety and accessibility are all global. City farming uses space efficiently, reduces water use by 90%, is pesticide free, and being locally grown means low or no transport costs. The challenge of this technology is to make it less expensive and applicable to specific types of crops to make it useable all over the world. Maria Teresa Nogales, director of the NGO Alternativas, closed the seminar by talking about her work on sustainable approaches to food security in Bolivia. Bolivians were once great consumers of quinoa, but they now export it worldwide, at high prices. Their new diet consists of mostly imported pasta, rice, and bread – foods that sate, but lack the protein of quinoa. Another issue is the use of agricultural land for the production soy-based biofuel. Bolivia’s food security is at risk. Cross-disciplinary actors must become involved to cooperatively build a food movement. The playful facilitation of the seminar created a deep exchange of sometimes very contrasting point of views, but reflected the future of food with stories of hope, connection with others and a way to positively shape society.
Hivos: enough, nutritious and affordable food for everyone. Our food system is engineering its own downfall. Animals and plants are becoming extinct and we are exhausting natural resources. There is enough food on the planet for everyone, and yet 1 billion people are malnourished and 2 billion people are overweight. Hivos strongly believes in the counter movement and works globally with scientists, wholesalers, retailers and farmers – for example with Carolina (pictured above) – to produce food differently. To distribute it more fairly and equally. To stop the decline of animal and plant species. And to make sure the food system becomes healthy and resilient again.
Carolina is a young coffee farmer in Nahuala, Guatamala. She is managing the new asset and pride of the village: a bio-fermentation installation. It is no longer necessary to buy chemical fertilisers. She fills the installation with animal excrement and plant waste that is left over after peeling the coffee berries. The organic fertilisers produced by the installation are full of micronutrients feeding the soil. Because evidence shows that her plantation is no longer emitting greenhouse gases, but absorbing them, her village makes money on the international CO2 emissions market. Companies around the world can buy the right to emit greenhouse gases.
Hivos has supported the development of a scientific standard that measures the impact of organic farming on our climate, right from the beginning. Thanks to this certification, small coffee farms can gain access to the international emissions market. And this is how coffee farmers such as Carolina can now buy an environmentally- friendly bio-fermentation installation. Would you like to support Hivos and contribute to a future with enough, affordable and nutritious food for everyone? Please visit: hivos.nl/grow
Wonderland “Go back to Water science, go back to nature; Provocative that’s it.” Seminar on Food: Wanted: Report Second planet, in as good as Welcome or better to the condition/resources Age of as Earth Wonderland page 9
Innovate for your life
The happy origins of the An Jatiwangi/ investigation Eindhoven into Declaration celebrating of more Claynialism with less page 4