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Design Column #1 - Micro Impact

from June 23 2012 until October 4 2012

Design Column #1 Micro Impact, Photo: Lotte Stekelenburg Suzanne Lee, Bio Material, Photo: © BioCouture, Courtesy: © BioCouture Matthijs Munnik, Microscopic Opera, 2011 Design Column #1 Micro Impact, Photo: Lotte Stekelenburg Iris van Herpen Couture, Collecion Escapism, Paris, 2011/01/25, Photo: Michel Zoeter Design Column #1 Micro Impact, Photo: Lotte Stekelenburg Design Column #1 Micro Impact, Photo: Lotte Stekelenburg

This summer, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will start Design Column: a series of presentations for which current affairs provide the inspiration for the theme. Every three months, a subject from the news will be singled out in Design Column.

Design Column # 1 is entitled Micro Impact; it was provoked by the discussion that broke out around the publication by the Erasmus Medical Centre of its study into avian influenza. The first in the series of Design Columns concentrates on microscopic life. Thanks to research it is possible to gain more knowledge of the smallest components of life, which in turn inspires designers to develop new applications and forms of expression. All the works in the exhibition are to do with microscopic life.

Boijmans@PICNIC: in discussion with...

Design Column is not only intended as a presentation, but also invites reaction and conversation. You are therefore welcome to participate in the discussion with Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg. September 18th, she will be giving some background to her study. She suggests that the biotechnological revolution is one of the most important changes of the twenty-first century. The lecture and discussion will take place at the PICNIC Festival in Amsterdam. More information is available at the PICNIC website.

Special offer Transnatural conference at Science Center NEMO in Amsterdam:

Next to the PICNIC festival a conference will be held as part of the Transnatural festival in Amsterdam at 17 and 18 September. Themes are related to the series of Design Columns at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Transnatural festival offers visitors of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen a special discount. These discount tickets are available at the Transnatural website (please choose 'student & kortingsactie bedrijven' tickets) .

The festival showcases future scenarios and recent innovation from the creative industry, science and the business community. This year the program consists of a month-long interdisciplinary exhibition, the conference, and an opening weekend with performances and music. Of course you can also visit the exhibition.

The projects included in Design Column # 1 Micro Impact are:

Policing Genes

Thomas Twaites, Policing Genes, Photo: Theo Cook

In the film Policing Genes, Thomas Thwaites talks about a fictitious tracking method for illegally manipulated plants. In it, bees bring pollen as evidence to their hive, and then the location of these plants can be deciphered from the movements the bee makes in the hive. Policemen on horseback and on bicycles are already a common sight; soon we will have policemen in beekeepers’ outfits. The video shown in this presentation can be viewed here. The designer’s website has more about this idea.

Collection Escapism

Iris van Herpen Couture, Collection Escapism, Paris, 2011/01/25, Photo: Michel Zoeter

This work by Iris van Herpen is inspired by the world of small organisms, which becomes visible under an electron microscope that is capable of magnifications up to a million times. For her collections, Van Herpen is often inspired by things whose presence goes unnoticed and yet influence our daily lives, such as micro-organisms or radiation from mobile communications. Iris van Herpen’s website has more about her collections.

Microscopic Opera

Matthijs Munnik, Microscopic Opera, 2011

Matthijs Munnik gained recognitions with his nomination for the Rotterdam Prize 2011, and here he presents his ‘Microscopic Opera’. In this installation, you can listen to how the specific rotational movements of five different mutations of the microscopic C. Elegans worm is transformed into music for an opera. In this film, Matthijs Munnik talks about his Microscopic Opera.

Growth Assembly

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg & Sascha Pohflepp, Growth Assembly, 2009, Illustrations: Sion Ap
Tomos, Photo: Hayeon Yoo

This work by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Sascha Pohflepp shows how utility items can be constructed from plants or living organisms. By rewriting the DNA or influencing the growth, nature could be able to grow ready-to-use parts for products. The long air roots of a plant become pipes and a misshapen squash functions as a handle. There is more to see about this work on the websites of Ginsberg and Pohflepp. This video of the work can be seen, together with the drawings, in the exhibition.


Suzanne Lee, Bio Denim Jacket, Foto: © BioCouture, Courtesy: © BioCouture

Suzanne Lee developed an alternative textile from a mixture of green tea, sugar and various micro-organisms. Under the influence of heat, a fermentation process is started during which the bacterium, nourished by the sugars, form thin threads of cellulose. The threads stick together to become a layer at the top of the mixture. After two to three weeks, the layer is thick enough to be harvested. The material can be dampened and shaped in a mould or can be processed in its dry state into a garment. For more about this project, please visit her website.


Pieke Bergmans, Crystal Virus, 2012

Pieke Bergmans was recently nominated for the Rotterdam Design Prize 2011. Her CRYSTAL VIRUS, which is on long-term loan to the museum ison showin the exhibition. It consists of a series of unique vases which are made by placing the hot glass in the glassworks directly on a piece of furniture. The glass spreads like a virus over the chairs and tables and leaves a black burnt stain behind. You can find out more about the work of Pieke Bergmans on her website. In this film, Pieke Bergmans talks about her Light Bulbs and the interior of the Llove Hotel, which gained her a nomination for the Rotterdam Design Prize 2011.

Visualization of genetically engineered bacteria

Nadine Bongaerts and Eva Brinkman try, with a variety of activities, to connect science with other fields, such as art and politics, by making it more accessible for different target groups. ‘Visualization of genetically engineered bacteria’ are prints that show how, with the help of genetic manipulation, bacterium can be deployed for such things as breaking down oil, purifying water or making invisible hazardous substances visible. View here the website of Biotecture.

Design in Boijmans

This exhibition is part of the ‘Design in Boijmans’ programme. This summer design has been spotlighted in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. With the renewed arrangement of the museum collection and several design exhibitions, in 2012 a lot of attention is paid to design in the museum.

Design in Boijmans

Design Column Series

Please find more information about the Design Column Series here.