This Happens When You Put Creative Minds Into A Pressure Cooker
On Friday September 27, during the HOT100 Days, hosted by The New Institute, the former building of the Dutch Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations was transformed into a pressure cooker for the young creatives. The newest generation of Dutch new media graduates were asked to crack several societal issues in a series of workshops. What kind of ideas did they come up with?
There is no better way to get a grasp of where the creative world is heading than to have young creative minds come together to sketch new concepts for themes like urbanism, culture, journalism and education. Based on the graduation work and workshop ideas of the HOT100, three important values seem to be playing a role in the minds of a new generation of creative talents and their ways of solution-oriented thinking: universal access, the creation of personalized and authentic experiences, and the implementation of game principles to change human behavior — so-called gamification.
In one of the workshops, The New Institute asked some creatives to come up with an idea for their new Museum Studio, a platform for museums to share knowledge about digital innovation. Based on principles of openness, the group’s idea was to employ amateurs who are yet highly skilled in a certain field of interest. For instance, they imagined a housewife to function as a curator. Or an astronaut. Or a local chef. Each person brings in a personal take on current museum exhibitions that allow for more authentic and multiple narratives. The idea of universal access also came back in a workshop led by broadcasting organization AVRO, which has purchased a vacant building in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark and are looking into ways to reactivate it. The HOT10o workshop thought of turning the building into a Bank of Common Goods, where people could contribute personal stories on a specific topic, all recorded and published for everyone to see.
Gamification is gaining popularity among a range of creative disciplines for its assumed power to change human behavior. The so-called Stichting Toekomstbeeld der Techniek asked the talents to propose an innovative education model for the undergraduate level and upwards. This workshop’s group came up with a life-long learning system in which students would become education seekers, teachers become influencers, diplomas would no longer exist and, instead, a number of micro certificates would have to be collected in order to graduate. Different to the current system, the micro-certificates do not necessarily have to stem from the same field of one’s main studies, but can derive from whatever the interests may be. The micro-certificates would serve as game levels — you are required to collect a series of them in order to proceed to the next program.
Google’s efforts to make using the Web a personalized experience are received with both praise and criticism. However, it could be worth the effort to see if these principles can play a role in improving the use of urban environments. Will public space become better if it presents you a personalized experience? That idea was central in a workshop organized by the Amsterdam Hackable Metropolis platform. The organization asked for ideas to make the HOT100 Days venue, the former Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations, into a public domain through the use of digital media. The outcome can be described as a Museum of Right Now that transforms the abandoned building into a public domain by infusing current events and personal data into several outlets built into the building’s interior. Data is visualized by selected artists and while the visitor walks through the Museum of Right Now, it turns into a Museum of You as data is adapting to the visitor. The building, following its former function, gives insight into the interior of its country, the Netherlands.
In the fifth workshop, V2 Institute for the Unstable Media, one of the organizers of DEAF (Dutch Electronic Art Festival) wanted to explore new ways of artistic practice. They asked for a new model for the World Art Forum in 2020, which will be the theme of DEAF 2014. What could it alternatively look like? Among other things, it was suggested that ‘staying put’ would be the ‘new traveling’ as the artists would no longer come to the forum in person but only digitally, via Skype for example. In this manner, each artists would report from his or her home base and would, therefore, become a specialist and cultural ambassador of the respective region, eventually creating new cultures of non-movement.
With tackling issues on a grassroots level the HOT100 Days applied and revealed some of the major on-going trends in urban developments: universal access, gamification and personalized experiences. Keep an eye on these phenomena because you are sure to see more of it in the not-so-far future.
This article belongs to a series of posts on The New Institute’s HOT100 2013, this year’s selection of the most talented graduates in the fields of media, art and technology. In a special series of articles The Pop-Up City highlights the best what the Dutch creative scene has in store for the upcoming years.