What if humans could learn to think, observe and design led by the interests and possibilities of animals, plants, robots and microbes? With Neuhaus, Het Nieuwe Instituut is opening a temporary, trans-disciplinary academy of more-than-human knowledge. In the spirit of Bauhaus – which strove through radical innovations in design and teaching to teach the world to see and shape anew amidst the devastation wrought by World War I – Neuhaus will respond with a multifaceted curriculum to the planetary burn-out we are experiencing in our own age.
12 April — 15 September, 2019
Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25, Rotterdam
The questions raised by Neuhaus intersect with current issues that have led, both in the Netherlands and abroad, to both broadly supported protest campaigns and inspirational cultural phenomena. The question of how (design) education can or should respond to the exhaustion of the earth has been tackled recently, for example at the 4th Istanbul Design Biennale: a School of Schools, as well as being one of the jump-off points for the XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival.
Neuhaus is rooted in extensive preparatory research carried out by Het Nieuwe Instituut’s Research department, which was supported for the occasion by external researcher and curator Angela Rui.
Neuhaus will be put together for, by and with active participants from outside of Het Nieuwe Instituut: these are known as the ‘Neuhäusler’. An initial intake of these academies, designers, artists, theatre-makers, machines, chefs, inventors, researchers, algorithms, activists and neighbours was made through a Call for Auditions.
Neuhaus will kick off with an experimental symposium that on 18 May 2019 will sketch out the challenges to which the project is responding, present the central themes and questions and in so doing form the introduction to the curriculum. Participants in the symposium will include: Annika Kappner; Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe); Elaine Gan; Elisa Yvelin; Erinma Ochu; Federico Campagna; Grâce Ndjako; Menno Schilthuizen; The Otolith Group (Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun); Patricia MacCormack; Tabita Rezaire.
The curriculum is constructed around the following seven learning trajectories: Collective Bodies, Extended Senses, Multispecies Urbanism, Time Worlds, Meeting Matter, Other Subjectivities and More-than-human Languages. The Neuhäusler involved in supervising these trajectories as tutors are Amenti Collective, Heleen Klopper, June Yu, Nadine Botha, Research for the Botanical, Night of Philosophy, Mona Lisa’s, Esther Polak & Ivar van Bekkum, Eric Kluitenberg, Ines Péborde, Rianne Makkink and many others.
The permanent Neuhaus set-up, which can be visited and experienced throughout the entire Neuhaus period on the ground floor of Het Nieuwe Instituut, consists of a number of ‘classrooms’ and interactive workspaces on location that correspond to specific spaces within an academy building and refer to particular learning trajectories within the curriculum. The classrooms will be realised by the most diverse Neuhäusler: artists (collectives), designers, researchers, synthetic fibres, mythical beings, populations of algae, monitors and artificial intelligence. Committed makers, thinkers and organisations including: Het Nieuwe Instituut’s Heritage department, Z33/Studio Time, Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand, Edwin Driessens & Maria Verstappen, the Willem de Kooning Academie (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences), Hackers & Designers, Conny Groenewegen and Officina Corpuscoli.
The Neuhaus curriculum is expressed in part through ongoing research and almost daily lectures, workshops, performances, presentations, meetings, temporary exhibitions, walks, meditations, massages, animations, trans-species dinners, philosophical conversations, ‘monkey cage’ sessions, treasure hunts and virtual reality. Throughout the duration of Neuhaus, a daily, weekly and monthly ‘timetable’ will be disseminated by various methods. Lisette Smits and students from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, the Design Academy Eindhoven and the Willem de Kooning Academie (Rotterdam Academy of Applied Sciences), among others, were involved in drawing up the curriculum.
Within the context of Neuhaus, Studio Moniker developed an interactive video clip for Het Nieuwe Instituut to accompany the single ‘Lake of Pavement’ by Rotterdam artist Jo Goes Hunting. The video is also an online ‘world’ that is constantly in development, as it is constantly being refreshed with new visitors’ photos. The evolving result will also land in the physical installation in Rotterdam and form the jump-off point for the campaign to be launched by Het Nieuwe Instituut for Neuhaus.