We are happy to announce the new KABK Deep Futures Research Group 2023-24. From more than 20 compelling proposals submitted to an open call, the following have been selected: Marlot Meyer (tutor, BA Interactive/Media/Design), Cocky Eek (tutor, BA ArtScience), Marthe Prins (tutor, BA Graphic Design), Georgie Brinkman (coordinator, MA Artistic Research) and belit sağ (tutor, MA Non Linear Narrative). We are also pleased to welcome Boudewijn Buitenhek (instructor, 3D Lab) as Designer-Researcher-in-Residence.

The 20 + proposals were reviewed by: Alice Twemlow (Design Lector), Martha Jager (Design Lectorate Coordinator), Katrin Korfmann (BA Graphic Design and MA Non Linear Narrative), Jasper Coppes (MA Artistic Research), and Liza Swaving (Academy wide Education).

Over the course of an academic year, the members of this group each produce an individual research project and contribute to collectively generated research that responds to the central question, What is the Role of Practice-Based Research in the context of Climate Catastrophe?

In monthly day-long meetings, group members visit and immerse in one another’s sites of research, conduct close readings of key texts, experiment with writing about and documenting practice-based research, receive feedback from visiting guests as well as in dialogue with students and other peers, present research at Fault Lines, the annual KABK Research Forum, and contribute to a publication that facilitates research-informed teaching at KABK and beyond.

Each member has 0,2 fte added to their contracts. The Designer-Researcher-in-Residence has 0,1 fte added to their contract.

Overview of the participants and their research projects:

Sensitive Systems

How can we teach artificial intelligent systems to recognise and safeguard
imperceptible, more-than-human entanglements and interactions?

How can the practice of ‘open-runtime’ (vs. open source) and supervised learning in a human-machine collaboration act as methods for sensitising intelligent systems to resonate closer to a sensuous body in a fluid environment?

Keywords: AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), Sensing Systems, Artificial Awareness, Care, Radical Observation, Open Runtime, Thermodynamics, Morphic Resonance, Life-Worlds (“Umwelt”), Human-Machine Collaboration.

The alarming pace of developments in artificial intelligence is revolutionising our world, and it is naive of us to think that the infiltration of intelligent systems into human and natural ecologies will slow down, or that anything we care about will be preserved, unless we are able to teach these systems how to be sensitive to the world around them.

This project is not about making a machine that can "love" something but, rather, an exploration into how we can safeguard the core essence of human experience and our deeper connection with the animate world around us.

Through this research I plan to explore the byproducts of less quantifiable experiences and meanings, and determine if a myriad of these together could act as signifiers for a sensing machine. This includes exploring what technologies exist or could be designed in order to create the sensing capabilities / "life-worlds" of these machines that would be able to relate better to the human experience.

In order to be able to understand what aspects are important to record, I’d like to borrow methodology from Het Nieuwe Instituut’s "Zoöp" Model, which uses Radical Observation methodology “that teaches natural world awareness towards ecosystem stewardship”. Using this framework I’d like to apply similar techniques to understand what agents are present in a collective experience of human-system/technology-environment. I hope my research will raise general awareness for the threats of advanced AI, and emphasise that technology itself is not the issue, but rather the fact that it was built for capitalistic, violent purposes that had no connection or sensitivity to the harmony of the natural world.


What is the impact on our bodies/sensitivities/practices when we radically expose ourselves to a shifting landscape, in all its temporalities and scales? How do these shifts form us, inform us and how can the world speak to us more fully?

Keywords: Embodied Research, Quick-and-Dirty, Radical Exposure, Multi-sensorial, Fieldwork, Sense of Place.

American poet Ruth Stone describes the creation of a poem as something she feels and hears emanating from the landscape. A poem is like a thundering train of air coming towards her, shaking the earth beneath her feet. In that moment, there is only one thing left for her to do, and that is "run like hell". She then runs for home, chased by this poem, with the sole purpose of getting to a piece of paper and a pencil as quickly as possible, so that when the poem crashes through her, she can capture it.

We call this a moment of inspiration, when a revelation or new perception comes to us from the world of ideas. Inspiration — to breathe life into something — is intimately tied to respiration, the atmosphere, to the body of air in which we all live, and which lives in us. This life giving force, that carries sound, scent, seeds, birds and other organisms across the planet is at the centre of my work. The atmosphere is pervasive and all connecting, moved by the energy of celestial bodies, like sun and moon, its connections extend even beyond the planet. To work with the atmosphere and in landscape — beyond the controlled lab, classroom or studio space — challenges us to let go of preconceived ideas. This is crucial to working in a fast-changing world, where the familiar is left behind, and we are hurled headlong into unknown territory. Deep Futures are deeply unknown futures.

About five years ago I pretty much left the classroom behind, to conduct classes outdoors, where students face a lack of facilities (no power-outlets, no tables, no storage) and to engage with our entire being in our practice (all senses, all organs, all backgrounds). Fieldwork has become a method of profound exposure to the deep complexity of different territories, like the Zandmotor (2015-2016), Damen Shipyard (2018), and Almere Beach (2020 - 2023). The radical pedagogy of fieldwork, in which guidance can take many forms, and often your guide turns out to not even be human. Connecting to storms, geological processes, wild populations of organisms, and deep environmental patterns, to extend our practice beyond the edges of our perception, from minute ripples, to intercontinental flows. It has been interesting to tie these fieldwork classes to public outcomes.

Inspired by Dark Ecologies explorations of toxicity and contamination with Sonic Acts in the Arctic mines (2014/2015) with fellow participants like Timothy Morton, the trajectory of my classes leaving the classroom went from the relatively familiar setting of the Zandmotor, to extremely challenging spaces like a shipyard or a mine to engage physically with the falling apart of our worlds, human structures, timelines and narratives. At this moment my fieldwork focus is moving further away still from the KABK classroom.

I am settling in a village on the Wadden Sea coast, called St Jacobiparochie. I am establishing new networks there, connecting to the muddy coastal climate imaginaries of the Wadden Sea. Its remarkable aggregate biome of entangled cycles and glitchy patterns of biodiversity, matter and materials, which are so untypically Dutch in their fluidity, adhering to non-human timescales, which makes it an amazing space for Deep Futures, to bring my classes, my methods of field research to a new level. I am already working on a network of local partners including het Lage Noorden, Into the Great Wide Open, University of Franeker, Wadden Academie and others.

Precursors like Eise Eisinga, constructing his famous and amazing planetarium in his 17th century kitchen ceiling in Franeker can inspire us to explore the ancestral cosmologies and our celestial relations to the darkest nighttime skies in the Netherlands. I’d like to dive deeper into our connections to the celestial, environmental and bodily rhythms, to add to the geo-political and destabilizing realities that wash up on the Wadden Sea shores along with whales and cargo. How to tap into the myriad of flows? Beachcombing the fragments that end up stranded on the floodlines of our complex realities. Exploring edges and aggregate debris of the present. Developing new methodologies for sensing the liminal space between unreconciled histories and unsettled futures.

I Mine My Own Business

How do contemporary notions of optimised performance, both human and non-human, contribute to (planetary) exploitation and vice versa; in what ways can performative (theatrical) strategies help us reveal and rethink the exploitative, wasteful and destructive forces of productivity in a manner that doesn’t leave us exhausted?

Exploitative Productivity, Anti-Work, Exhaustion, Performance, AgitProp, Serious Satire.

Over the last years we can see a discourse emerging that problematises work. The anti-work movement, the Great Resignation and the “quiet quitting” movement, each in their own way, argue that perhaps the most pressing task in fighting planetary destruction and exhaustion, is to radically rethink the most normalised of ideologies under neoliberal capitalism, namely: the totalisation of work. Or, our constant drive towards productivity. Within this discourse, arguments are made for understanding "work" not as a site of value production, but rather as a site of destruction.

This discourse allows me to carefully start situating my practice within a contemporary framework that is finally very much alive. I realise now that my work has always concerned work: work and its performance. I have written performances that address the (false) promise of labour-saving technologies, the devaluation of women’s work, mining of women’s bodies and reproduction of the workforce, the absurdity of (self)optimisation in professional climates, refusal of work, work as waste and on the theatrics of the CV.

"I Mine My Own Business" aims to build upon this body of work as well as strengthen its theoretical and practical foundation, with the particular aim of further developing what I call the theatrical genre of the “serious satire” into a solid performative method, with which sustainable and pleasurable resistance can be practiced and collectivised.

The research methods with which I will explore this question include, but are not limited to:

a) Literary research, as a way to explore exploitative productivity and anti-work, on the one hand, and emancipatory radical theatre, on the other, starting with AgitProp (agitation propaganda), workers choirs and Bertolt Brecht's “Lehrstücke”.

b) Performative experiments in which I will conduct fieldwork focussing on performance and language, looking at the production of language highly specific to the optimisation of performance and exploitative productivity. Starting with organising "expert meetings" with the Risk-Assessment Team of the NAM in Groningen, during my residency at Het Resort this summer. I also intend to experiment with the theatrical-psychological technique called "imaginary re-scripting" with locals living the consequences of the NAM’s gas mining, who cannot afford to take risk, innovate, and disrupt.

Later in the year I’ll repeat these experiments in collaboration with my students and explore how work has taken on the semblance of art. Today's ideal worker is in fact an artist: a flexible, adaptable, job-sculptor with go-getter potential that creatively transforms precarity into product, ideally from a place of love. Secondly, I’ll conduct a series of experiments on performance and movement, drawing from AgitProp and Brecht's "Lehrstücke", taking my body as a starting point for exploring the qualities of exploitative productivity: the body as a site that can be mined for energy, that can be exhausted, self-optimised, made hyper-flexible, hyper-focussed, mindful and burned-out. Essentially attempting to reclaim ownership over the body as a powerful resource. In order to carry out these experiments I will study gestures of productivity in different professional and educational environments as well as collaborate with a movement-specialist

In terms of making my findings public, the literary research and performative experiments will inform script-writing and the scripting of performative tests with, and for, the participants of the Research Group, its audiences as well as my students. Secondly, and parallel to all research activity, I will keep a public video-journal publishing, findings, reflections, sketches and experiments and lastly, I intend to write a conclusive essay.

Ansisters - II

With a non-linear, continuous, and cyclical understanding of time, how could we look at archives as formulations of history that need re-defining, re-articulating, re-designing, and

How could we re-articulate archives as spaces for imagination and embodied knowledge rather than spaces for solidified information, treating its documentation (and materiality) as proof?

Keywords: Collaborative Research, Embodied Research Methodologies, Gossip as Method, Contextualization as Method; Anarchiving.

While researching in the archives in the Netherlands, for "Ansisters I", I came across documentation two labour disputes in 1977-79, initiated by Turkish women who worked in an onion peeling company in Veghel and a chicken factory in Almelo. In seeking to contextualize the institutional archival materials I created two timelines and a series of videos with subjects of the Veghel labour dispute. Compiled from online newspaper archives, governmental, and legal documents, and institutional or personal archives, the two timelines contextualize the background of the specific dispute, as well as the social, economic, and political conditions of the labour migration between 1960 and 1980. They started as physical timelines and were later digitized as materials for further research.

Soon, I came to realize that my efforts to document and materialize these histories did not correspond to how their subjects were remembering or reimagining them. With "Ansisters II", I will look into the labour-intensive work of plucking chicken feathers in Almelo and peeling onions in Veghel which was lost in the architecture of the institutional archive.

Caring for future archives through contextualizing the archived is a methodology within the project. What shape does non-linear contextualization take? Is community building around and reconnecting with the archives a form of contextualization?

The project finds its siblings in black feminist thought and practices, from Uses of the Erotic by A. Lorde to Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown. In the Netherlands, the project hopes to find resonance with "Spectral Infrastructures", the long-term research trajectory convened by BAK in Utrecht, and its explorations into the unarchivable and the notions of the archive with its performed completeness, truthfulness, and eventually hauntedness by the past it carries (or fails to carry).

Not only is this about gender and class-based labour struggles, but through the research I aim to reveal non-linear ways of thinking while defying factual and informational containers, such as institutional archives. As a pedagog, I aim to include embodied methodologies proposed in this project in my curricula and seamlessly move between theory and practice in the classroom.

(Un)limited Energy: Embodying Energy Systems to turn Passive Climate Anxiety into Conscious Action

The first step for any problem we wish to address is to become aware of it, but what comes next?

How can we turn what we have been made aware of into action, or better yet, habit or ritual? How can we shape our environment to help us turn passive climate anxiety into conscious decision-making in our everyday life?

Keywords: Climate Crisis, Habitual Change, Hopeful Action, Climate Anxiety, Responsibility, Embodied Energy, Speculative Design.

In our ongoing search to find ways to reduce the severity of impending climate catastrophe, it has been made clear that we drastically need to reduce our rate of consumption (Europe’s Consumption Footprint, 2022). In the Netherlands we have a word for this: Consuminderen. When it comes to the consumption of tangible things it can be easier to see and interact with what we are consuming and to make active choices to reduce this consumption. But when it comes to energy consumption this task becomes a lot more vague. The use of energy in the form of electricity and gas can often be hard to comprehend. In our current system, we receive a bill at the end of every month stating how much energy we have consumed in that month in abstract terms of kilowatts and cubic meters of gas. Or in the form of how much it all costs, which fluctuates constantly. But how different appliances in a household add to this total and how our behaviour affects this number can be difficult to comprehend (Broms, 2011).

As a part of the Deep Futures research group, I want to further my research on energy habits and embodying energy in the local environment. Through conversations, experimentation, speculative product design, and script making, I want to explore our understanding of energy and the relationship we have with it. My research will mainly focus on my own environment, specifically local households in the Hague and working spaces at the KABK, where the supply of energy is nearly always abundant and uninterrupted. According to netbeheernederland.nl, Dutch households lose power for about 25 minutes on average per year making it one of the most reliable energy grids in the world. (Netbeheer Nederland, n.d.) Although a grid like this is a blessing, far from promoting the conservation of energy, it almost gives the impression that it provides an inexhaustible source of energy.

How can we design our environment to make the concept of energy more tangible and embodied in order to help us make conscious decisions regarding the use of this energy? And can we more consciously make use of the energy that is available in and around our environment and in what ways is it possible to re-organize our day, adjust our behaviour and or deadlines to conform to the limited available energy in our surroundings?

In this research, I want to focus less on the design of “new gadgets”. Rather the focus will be on hacking and modifying existing systems and appliances to experiment with, and to reconfigure existing habits and rituals. An important aspect of this research will be regarding the question of individual or societal responsibility. According to a study conducted in 2022, 72% of the Dutch population is worried about climate change, however, 62% of those people find that their own actions make no impact as long as the industry does not reduce their emissions. This number increased by a significant 50% since 2019. (I&O Research 2022)

While this work will be focused more on the individual aspects of climate action, I believe that a better understanding of our energy systems overall will also benefit the quality of those larger societal conversations and actions. However, this will be an ongoing discussion in my work and I will take into account the risk of placing excessive emphasis on individual responsibility thereby taking away attention from larger governmental and corporate structures.

Trickster in the Capitalocene

How can a contemporary revival of the mythological Trickster fgure help to tell stories of extinction that reconfigure perceptions of time?

My research asks how storytelling around anthropogenic species extinction can facilitate us to better understand and rethink our human perceptions of time. Te theoretical framework that I will employ to do this is creating a contemporary, feminist revision of the mythological trickster figure by casting extinct
animals as tricksters in their afterlife. The practice-based methodology that I would use is puppetry, the visual representation of trickery. Specifically, the continuation of my current project making puppets from extinct birds from a taxidermy collection in Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Leiden. These puppets will be characters in experiments with different forms of extinction storytelling ranging across filmmaking, writing or performance. These forms of storytelling will be guided by Saidiya Hartman’s notion of ‘critical fabulation’. My research question: How can a contemporary revival of the mythological trickster figure help to tell stories of extinction that reconfigure perceptions of time?

For the last six months, I have been supported by a grant from Den Haag Gemeente to learn a new skill: puppet-making. Specifically, making puppets of 62 species of extinct, taxidermy birds at Naturalis. Through this I have been researching the birds’ extinction stories. I have encountered small penguins beaten to death for fear of being witches, parrots’ nests trampled by the hooves of agricultural cows and enormous cormorants eaten by sailors. There is even one small bird from Borneo who escapes the clutches of extinction and reappears after almost 200 years since being last seen. Collectively, they form a microcosm of our global socio-political conditions that have led to the current climate catastrophe. All of the birds have, in some way, been driven to extinction through capitalist, patriarchal or colonial endeavours. Commonly: damaging agricultural practices, the introduction of invasive species, hunting or habitat loss due to capitalist industry. I hope to bring these stories to life through my puppets, guided not only by scientific and historical records but also informed by Saidiya Hartman’s notion of "critical fabulation". In her essay "Venus in Two Acts", she coins the term to describe a method of filling in the gaps of archives through storytelling.