Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdamannelys
Results Jordan workshop exhibited in Nieuwe Instituut Rotterdam
The Nieuwe Insituut in Rotterdam is an institute for architecture, design and digital culture. The contemporary era is characterized by radical technological, economic, cultural and social shifts. Het Nieuwe Instituut aims to illuminate and map a rapidly changing world while at the same time fostering discussion of topics related to the vast field of design. All the institute’s activities are grounded in the principles of design and innovation – two concepts bound up with changing value systems and conflict.
They invited Disarming Design for a pop-in exhibition at their main entrance. From 21 November to 4 December the results of the workshop in Jordan are exhibited. Initiated by Amman Design Week and hosted by Darat al Funun 9 moving items were developed in co-creation with the artisans of Gaza Camp in Jerash. Video’s of the production proces and an intimate testimony of participation by Dutch Designer Tessa Meeus are accompanying the display.
On the 30th of November the participating Dutch Designers presented their designs during ‘Thursday Night Live’
Annelys de Vet started explaining the context of the Gaza Refugee Camp and the difficult life situation of their residents and how design and this collaboration are important to reflect upon the function of creative practices in situations of conflict and restricted conditions of living.
Designer Tessa Meeus, explains us how it was to develop the travel pouch “Carrying Home” with Mohammad Ishtay (PS). The idea started in a conversation with Hadeel Abu Amrah, one of the artisans that shared with them the will of wanting to leave the camp.
Designer Asja Keeman describes the work developed with Rand Abu al-Sha’r, a jordanian architect. The whole concept behind the product Zatar w Zeit was a result from their conversations with the woman in the centre that kept referring to the olive trees outside of the refugee camp, she says that “the olive tree symbolizes their resilence and their ability to adjust to certain situations inside of the camp and also stands for this longing and dream to once going back. There is a palestinian saying about that olive oil and the spice thyme are the foundation of the society”.
Followed by a reflection on the other products by Annelys de Vet, Jonas Staal joins the conversation and responded to the objects that were presented.
Jonas asks the designers, that had to learn and quickly adapt to this politicised environment, what does this experience means for their future engagement and how this workshop reflects in their practice. Tessa Meeus stated that she cannot “un-see it” so there is a very good reason to go back, “we learn so much about the fact that we can learn in general(…) there is still so much more to learn or to work on.”
It is interesting to reflect on the fact that is not just about creating something there, is that you take yourself with you with all your negative connotations and misconceptions and during the time that you are there you need to grasp what is happening around you, culturally, politically, socially.
Jonas Staal finalises reinforcing that the affect of a good artwork is that you cannot un-see it but the affect of a truly political engagement it also begins with not being able to un-see something, that once you become part of it it’s no longer a choice, it’s an embodied engagement, that really connects the political and artistic dimension that is always part of the Disarming Design.