Design Column #2 The Human Index

Atelier Van Lieshout, Smelter, 2012, courtesy: the artist Dadara, Zero biljet, 2011, photo: Dadara


Design Column #2 The Human Index
until 16 December 2012

The second presentation in the new Design Column series by Museum Boijmans Van
Beuningen focuses on the hopelessness of the prevailing economic situation. The
crisis that simply won’t go away gives artists and designers inspiration for projects
and works of art that make people the central concern again.

The inspiration that artists and designers have drawn from this theme has led to a whole
diversity of results. The projects and works of art in Design Column #2 The Human Index
make it clear that the financial system is totally alienated from society. With original
initiatives and ideas this offers a fresh perspective on the existing economic system.

One of the works in the presentation is ‘Smelter’, a foundry which can be operated single-
handedly, devised by Atelier Van Lieshout. This ‘Smelter’ is the building block of a new
society, where alternative lifestyles and ways of working evolve in response to the scarcity of
raw materials. The presentation also features the ‘Exchanghibition Bank’ project by the artist
Dadara. In 2010 he was forced to establish this bank in order to finance his own projects, but
it evolved into an ongoing investigation into the value of money. The bank issues notes with
values such as zero, one million and infinity. The bank has previously spread its wings to
Amsterdam’s Central Station and the Stedelijk Museum. Another work on show is ‘Coloured
Vases’ by Ai Weiwei. Created by dipping old Chinese pots into enamel paint, Ai Weiwei
wants to indicate that sometimes it is necessary to clear out the old in order to make way for
the new.

The Design Column series
The Design Column addresses a new topical theme every three months. Five to ten designs
– including films, appliances and prototypes – encourage the public to think about topical
themes from a different perspective, thus serving as a platform for presenting innovative
ideas. The basic premise of each presentation is that smart designers and designs can
change the world.

In conversation with
The Design Column is not intended as a presentation pure and simple; it also demands a
reaction and a discussion. In November, Dadara will be joining a round-table discussion to
explain his ‘Exchanghibition Bank’, and the presentation’s visitors are invited to take part.

Design in Boijmans
This presentation is part of the ‘Design in Boijmans’ programme, by which Museum Boijmans
Van Beuningen is keeping design in the spotlight this autumn. With a revamped
arrangement of the museum’s design collection and various design presentations, in 2012
the museum is devoting plenty of attention to design.

This project has been generously supported by the Netherlands Architecture Fund.