Take a journey from knowledge to wisdom!
In 2017 Age of Wonderland is proud partner of World Design Event, 20-29 October in Eindhoven! During this global event (which parallels Dutch Design Week), Age of Wonderland will host 20 Days of Learning, especially in the People’s Pavilion - the heart of WDE - built by the people of Eindhoven using borrowed materials. It’s a venue, a forum, the voice of the community, a platform, a source of inspiration and a meeting point, all rolled into one. More information will follow the coming months.
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The previous Age of Wonderland editions the program has shown how the intercultural and interdisciplinary exchange of views has opened-up new insights and surprising ideas. During the last edition of the Dutch Design Week (DDW) the public was involved in the societal challenges, omnipresent in the theme Big DATA. Big DADA?
The theme Big Data is urgent because we must think about the creation and ownership of personal data. At times when this data is determining policies it is important to understand who has access to data, how it comes into being and who decides what it means. How do different cultures deal with this issue? It is precisely this dialogue that Age of Wonderland aims to ignite, by facilitating multiple vantage points from different cultures from different parts of the planet. Prior to and during the Dutch Design Week 2016 six creatives from Indonesia, Chile, Tanzania and Iran visited Eindhoven to investigate the potential and the pitfalls of big and open data. While doing so they present themselves and their work in an exposition, seminar and multiple workshops. Please see below for more detailed information.
During the Dutch Design Week a professional pop-up Age of Wonderland radio station was set up in the Natlab. Each day we would broadcast conversations, interviews, guest speakers and musical interventions, while touching upon topics closely related to big data. Age of Wonderland Radio was a collaboration between JaJaJaNeeNeeNee (Michiel van Iersel and Arif Kornweitz) and DJ 1984 (Niek LeBeat).
The seminar ‘Big Data / Dada Dialogues’, moderated by Lennart Booij, was an inspiring evening in which big data was viewed upon from different cultural perspectives and critical distances. The guest speakers that evening were Arne Hendriks (curator Age of Wonderland), Julia Hoffmann (Program Development Manager Transparency and Accountability at Hivos) and Nishant Shah (dean research at Artez and professor at the Institute of Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media, Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany). Furthermore, the fellows (six creatives from Africa, Latin-America and Asia) formed the center of attention during the whole week.
As a part of the incubation week in May 2016, a report on the provocative seminar about the political and cultural implications of big and open data took place in Natlab on May 23. Guest speakers of that night were Fieke Janssen (Tactical Tech), Jan Willem Huisman (IJsfontein), Ine Gevers (Hacking Habitat), Kersti Wissenbach (DatActive). The evening was moderated by Danielle Arets.
Ali Eslami (1991, Iran) gave us with his DeathTolls project a virtual experience of the tragic death tolls with which we are confronted on a daily base through the media. He has raised awareness among the visitors of the stories and the emotions behind these ‘hard’ data. Eslami wrote the death tolls on the wall and asked the visitor whether we could envision such amounts. The larger the amount, the more abstract it gets and therefore they become more difficult to relate to. In an enthralling Virtual Reality experience, the public becomes an eyewitness of conflicts of war and the victims in Syria, Paris, Brussels, etc.
DeathTolls was a research into the impact of data on the emotional experience and perception of the viewer. While doing so, Eslami showed us a critical approach towards the established forms in the media. During the DDW Ali organized two workshops on VR.
Ali Eslami did win the IDFA Doc Lab Scenic Immersive Non-Fiction Award with his DeathTolls., which was also selected for SXSW in Houston, Texas. Martijn Van Boven, from Artez, invited Eslami for a two-days masterclass.
Paz Bernaldo (1982, Chile) is building a living lab on a hill in Melipilla, a city south of Santiago. She investigated if open data could be used as a tool for social innovation, while doing so she ignited the critical dialogue around the question who determines which data is being collected? A public park only has a sustainable foundation if the responsibility is being carried communally. This form of ownership can only come into existence when the park is designed collectively with the community. Bernaldo invited the public to think about the use of big and thick data for pushing social innovation. Which new forms of policy are enabled by this innovation and how can technology play part in this? Together with the public, Bernaldo investigated if open data could be a way to own public space physically and digitally. One of the goals to do so was to close the gap between rich and poor, young and old as well as digital and physical. Possibilities were investigated for community projects and data driven innovation for political and public development in Melipilla.
Budi Prakosa (1985, Indonesia) wants to develop user friendly software, called MightyBits, which could be used by anyone to create their own database to share information with one another. Prakosa shared his expertise in software and databases to make knowledge and information accessible for everyone, especially for the ones without any programming skills. The goal of his workshop was to teach the basic skills to participants without any knowledge of web development to make their own user friendly database. He has shown the value and the relevance of working with data within the social and the cultural realm. Prakosa has displayed “best practices” to show the possibilities for cultural organizations and artists who want to work with databases for their own practice. Prakosa is an active member of LifePatch which Age of Wonderland has collaborated with in 2014.
Iman Abdrurrahman 1977, Indonesia) designed a Backpack Radio Station which functioned as a small database, collecting and sharing data to predict upcoming natural disasters such as tsunami’s and volcano eruptions. During his workshop, he taught the participants to create their own survival kit and mini radio. Iman Abdurrahman introduced his workshop with a short presentation about his experience with disaster management. Furthermore, he got his visitors acquainted with the technical aspects to wireless radio transmissions. Abdurrahman wanted to investigate the possibility to render access to data and communication in remote white spots (remote places without internet). For his project Abdurrahman collaborated with the Dutch designer Joris de Groot. The project was sponsored by Ten Cate, a company specialized in lightweight and fireproof material. The project got world-wide attention and was to be seen in AXIS Magazine (Japan) and Designboom.
Ng’winula ‘Unu’ Kingamkono (1989, Tanzania) aims to raise the quality of the mobility infrastructure in Dar es Salaam by collecting data in his project called RoadData. While doing so he addresses the local government and appeals upon their responsibility. Unu designs user experiences and is interested in increasing the standard of life by using technology. During the Dutch Design Week Kingamkono started his search for solutions for the local infrastructure in his hometown, Dar-es-Salaam. The launching of a traffic-counting-system which collected real time data of the visitors of Natlab was his first step towards understanding and mapping his city. The public was able to enter into dialogue with Kingamkono, and to share their ideas about urban development, the use of public space and the role of use of personal data. He has collaborated with Lorenzo Gerbi.
Branly López (1975, Guatemala) investigates the relationship between the indigenous knowledge of the Mayas and the contemporary knowledge, based on scientific paradigms. Because our perception of time and space changes, López wants to investigate whether both fields of knowledge could support each other. His main goal is to connect the scientific sphere with the spiritual and the artistic. During Age of Wonderland he investigated the Maya Cholq’ij calendar; an ancient system of science, art, philosophy and spirituality, which until today is being used to interpret the relationship between man and the cosmos. López collaborated for his Big Cosmic Data research together with Masha Ru and Tijtse Boersma. Participants got acquainted with an ancient system of cosmic awareness and learned about the mathematical matrix of the moon calendar of the Mayas: cyclic time and eternal present. Experimental investigation of the Mayan knowledge and culture in relation to the western technological thinking was conducted on the side in collaboration with Holst Centre on the high Tech Campus by which he made use of EEG scanners.
To see some impressions of this edition, view our online photo archive and the after movie. At the left side you will find the different articles, media coverage and visual impressions on 2016’s Age of Wonderland. Have a good read!
Age of Wonderland’s 2015 topic ‘Balancing Green and Fair Food’ challenged creative thinkers, doers, inventors, artists and designers, to reflect on the processes of food production, consumption, and distribution. The audience was also introduced to the topic in the context of the Dutch Design Week. The projects developed during the residency programme ranged from the nomadic tastes of Kyrgyzstan, to the ancient traditions of a remote self-sustainable village in Indonesia, passing by a waste facility that turn waste into organic compost in Tanzania.
Six fellows selected from Africa, Asia and Latin America did their research in Eindhoven with the local community as well as professionals. Together they explored relationships between food and environmental, technological, economic and social concerns. The interactions between the different topics stimulated an exchange of ideas, reflecting on food as a story of hope, a connection with others and a way to positively shape the issues in our society. The research processes were shared openly and dynamically during the Dutch Design Week in October, inviting peers, professionals and other curious minds to tap into the pool of ideas as staged in the main exhibition as well as presentations, discussions, workshops and pop up (food) labs. Each day featured a dedicated topic, connected to the undercurrents of this edition of Age of Wonderland.
Age of Wonderland’s ambition to connect ideas and people from all over the world with the local community in the Netherlands was successfully achieved through the many workshops, pop up labs and the guided tours. The exchange of ideas developed new insights and possibilities on how to develop a more sustainable approach to the (food) systems we have become part of. During the Dutch Design Week Yoyo Yogasmana from Indonesia received the first Ecocoin handed over by Koert van Mensvoort (Next Nature). The knowledge from often forgotten, remote cultures proves once again to be of great value and importance for the development of new perspectives on our future. According to Yoyo we should be in tune again with nature to become more resilient. 'Only then there will be enough resources for everyone.' Katera's start up in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania was successfully embraced by the audience as well as international companies like DSM and BAM. His idea to solve the waste problem in his hometown using low tech solutions in collaboration with the local community and the authorities brought him to create his own Start up 'Guavay'. This 2015 edition of Age of Wonderland was made possible by our fellows and their Dutch counterparts, the team, students from the Design Academy Eindhoven, DSM, Rijnconsult, BAM and last but not least our dedicated volunteers. Age of Wonderland is financially supported by Creative Industries Fund NL, Art of Impact and BKKC Impulsgelden.
With the slogan ‘The friendly invasion of a new world order’, the Age of Wonderland programme was launched in 2014. Finding our world at a turning point, we stated that the current financial system was (and is) no longer sustainable and has the downside of producing great social inequality. Furthermore, the question was not if technology is going to dominate our world, but how. These issues require other kinds of collaborations, including knowledge exchange between non-western and western countries.
In Latin America, Africa and Asia, a new generation of creative talents who have known for years how to deal with circumstances in which scarcity and ingenuity go hand in hand, is emerging. For the first edition of Age of Wonderland, these young talents joined forces with Eindhoven’s community of scientists, engineers, designers and artists to develop socially innovative ideas that eventually will boost sustainable social change. Age of Wonderland involved six international artists and over 20 organizations from The Netherlands and Flanders. During six weeks, they have been collaborating on subjects related to social innovation such as hacking, foreign policy, public transport, cultural genetics and music. All aimed towards reflection on how our Western and their society can learn from each other and posing the question: are we on the verge of a brutal or friendly invasion of a new world order?