Research Group 2017-2018

Participants Research Group 2017-2018

The Research Group 2017-2018 was chaired by Alice Twemlow, head of Design Lectorate

Rachel Bacon, tutor in BA Fine Arts and guest tutor in MA Artistic Research, is exploring the relationship between the extractive activity of mining and the additive activity of drawing, and how an understanding of this relationship might contribute to the development of a non-exploitative and imaginative drawing practice capable of responding to ecological crisis.

Keywords: radical intimacy, geotrauma, ecofeminism, dark ecology, graphite, fault lines.

Rachel Bacon, UnBecoming no. 2, 2016, graphite on crumpled paper, 55 x 80 cm. © Andrew Youngson
Rachel Bacon, UnBecoming no. 2, 2016, graphite on crumpled paper, 55 x 80 cm. © Andrew Youngson
Rachel Bacon, How a Pencil Becomes a Diamond, 2016, graphite on crumpled paper, 66 x 63 cm. © Andrew Youngson.
Rachel Bacon, How a Pencil Becomes a Diamond, 2016, graphite on crumpled paper, 66 x 63 cm. © Andrew Youngson.
The "Friday of Victory" after Hosni Mubarak’s fall, Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt. Photo by Lara Baladi, February 18, 2011.
The "Friday of Victory" after Hosni Mubarak’s fall, Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt. Photo by Lara Baladi, February 18, 2011.

Eric Kluitenberg, tutor in BA ArtScience and MA ArtScience, wants to further develop his conceptual model of ‘affect space’, whereby large groups of people, organised by the use of mobile technology, experience affective intensity in the physical context of urban public space. He is conducting research into what kinds of designed interventions might help to distribute agency more equitably across the different actors (citizens, corporations, civic organisations, authorities etc.) operating in this space.

Keywords: affect theory, protest, flow, techno-sensuousness, somatic turn, public space

Candlelight vigil for the 26th anniversary of the June 4th incident in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2015. Foto Exploringlife (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Candlelight vigil for the 26th anniversary of the June 4th incident in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2015. Foto Exploringlife (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Niels Schrader, co-head of BA Graphic Design and MA Non-Linear Narrative, is researching the concept of ‘digital pollution’— and how we can understand more fully what happens when the resources needed to create, share and store our daily output of 2,5 quintillion bytes of so-called ‘virtual’ data encroach on the physical environment.

Keywords: e-waste, digital heritage, information overload, server farms, digital ecosystem.

Google data center. © Google/Connie Zhou.
Google data center. © Google/Connie Zhou.

Rosa te Velde, tutor in BA Interior Architecture and Furniture Design, is using post-colonial and decoloniality theories to examine the ways in which notions of the ‘local’ and the ‘global’ are imagined, represented and constructed in the marketing strategies and buying choices made by the budget Dutch retail chain Xenos, which promotes itself with the tagline ‘adventurous and worldly’.

Keywords: decoloniality, material culture, exotic authenticity, other, boutique multiculturalism.

Donald Weber, tutor in BA Photography and MA Photography and Society, seeks to understand how the photographic perspective of hyper-verticality is used as a means by which 21st century administrative power surveilles and shapes our perception of landscape and conflict, and how documentary photography might play a role in subverting this power dynamic.

Keywords: conflict photography, battlescape, radical verticality, perspective, information visualization, surveillance economy.

Donald Weber, Shrapnel Fragment (Diotom), O-FG-265-051913. From the series War Sand, published in 2018.
Donald Weber, Shrapnel Fragment (Diotom), O-FG-265-051913. From the series War Sand, published in 2018.
Donald Weber, Omaha Beach, Easy Green - October 23, 2015, 12:02pm. 13oC, 66% RELH, Wind SSW, 4 Knots. VIS: Good, Overcast Haze, Thunderstorms. From the series War Sand, published in 2018.
Donald Weber, Omaha Beach, Easy Green - October 23, 2015, 12:02pm. 13oC, 66% RELH, Wind SSW, 4 Knots. VIS: Good, Overcast Haze, Thunderstorms. From the series War Sand, published in 2018.
Donald Weber, Omaha Beach, Aerial Flight #01. From the series War Sand, published in 2018.
Donald Weber, Omaha Beach, Aerial Flight #01. From the series War Sand, published in 2018.

Researchers' contributions

Identifying and Contesting Sites and Spaces of Drone Surveillance, Colonial Knowledge Production, Digital Pollution, and Extraction through Art and Design Research by Alice Twemlow

Fault Lines Symposium

The concept of fault lines allowed us to map and interpret an array of pressing issues, including the convergence of airspace and dataspace, a colonial-modernist bias in design history, digital pollution, and climate change. How can we reveal and resist the expanding geographies of drone surveillance? What are some strategies for critiquing design history’s Eurocentric modes of knowledge production? What are the environmental and psychological impacts of our ever-accumulating data detritus? What is the role and position of the artist in a time of ecological crisis? Read more

Acid Clouds by Niels Schrader

 Equinix AM8 Datacenter, Rozenburg
Equinix AM8 Datacenter, Rozenburg. – Photo by Niels Schrader and Roel Backaert

To date, critiques of technology have been focused on the environmental harm caused by sourcing the raw materials for, and the manufacturing, shipping and disposing of, our hardware. There is an urgent need, however, to scrutinize the environmental and psychological impacts of our ever-accumulating software and data waste. Undertaken as part of the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (KABK) Research Group 2018, Niels Schrader uses online tools and published online media in combination with site immersion and visual analysis to understand more fully what happens when the resources needed to create, share and store our daily output of 2,5 quintillion bytes of so-called ‘virtual’ data encroach on the physical environment. Read more

Undermining Value by Rachel Bacon

Tagebau Hambach, Germany
Tagebau Hambach, Germany

In this research project, undertaken as part of the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (KABK) Research Group 2018, artist Rachel Bacon explores the relationship between mark-making in drawing and in mining, hoping to develop a drawing practice capable of responding to the ecological crisis. Cultural theorist T. J. Demos believes that environmentally engaged art has the potential to address and rethink the complexity of relations between economics, politics, technology, culture and law. An alternative to this activist position – a more emotive practice, of adjusting to and mourning the effects of the calamity – is posited in the work of Timothy Morton and Heather Davis among others. During the past year Bacon has been investigating where and how her drawing practice is situated along this spectrum between activism and grieving. Read more

A Message from the Future: An Interview with Dr Adelante Revoleis by Rosa te Velde

Design History publications

Last December, anthropologist Dr Adelante Revoleis presented their findings on Design History during the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (KABK) Fault Lines research symposium in The Hague. In this interview, we speak with them on their forthcoming book Advancements in the Study of the Peculiarities of the Rise and Fall of Design History in the Late 20th and Early 21st Century. Read the interview