Mirroring the Everyday in the Contemporary Dutch Architecture, Photography, and Design
Text by Linda Vlassenrood, Aaron Betsky.
Provocative, experimental, conceptual, fresh, dry, minimalist, brazen, and even crass: these were just some of the words used to describe the work of young Dutch designers and artists in the 1990s. Their work was such a tremendous hit at home and abroad that there was even talk of "hype"--not a concept that immediately comes to mind when thinking of Holland, land of windmills and all things regulated. Proving that it isn't just hype, Reality Machines investigates the artistic stance of the best contributors to the contemporary Dutch aesthetic. Check out work by architects West 8, MVRDV, NL Architects, One Architecture, and Crimson; industrial designers Hella Jongerius, Arnout Visser, Jurgen Bey, Marcel Wanders, and Richard Hutten; fashion designers Alexander van Slobbe, Saskia van Drimmelen, Pascale Gatzen, Aziz Bekkaoui, and Niels Klavers; graphic designers Jop van Bennekom, Dani'l van der Velden & Maureen Mooren, Thonik, and 75B; and photographers Anuschka Blommers & Niels Schumm, Vivianne Sassen, and many more. Reacting against their comprehensively man-made (read: designed) environment, these Dutch designers deliberately work at transforming and distorting reality. In Reality Machines, their work is broken down into six thematic groupings--"PhotoShop Reality," "Come Back Effect," "Back to Basics," "Datamining," "No Original," and "Are You Serious?"--framed by an introductory essay that sketches the current state of play in their individual disciplines and seeks an answer to the question of how young Dutch designers, given the new economic and political situation, will manifest themselves in the future.