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This year the Dutch design collective has delved with all its usual success into the theme of value.  Two of the projects presented relied on computer coding.

By Gabrielle Kennedy /asdf 23-10-2013

It’s always a DDW highlight – Invertuals.  Curator and initiator Wendy Plomp gives her close circle of designers a theme to work with.  This year the show was called REVALUATE and was about it value and how we depend on value as a way to stay stable.

This year the Invertuals designers appear to have done more research leading to results with a more social core.  In the Netherlands it has been a year of awkward and unsettling occurrences that have created a feeling of instability.  Things that we take for granted – that a steak comes from a cow (not a horse) and that our bank accounts remain private (not hacked) have been turned upside down.  The value we put in these sorts of expectations has diminished.

Raw Color put together a fascinating project that starts as a critical view of the media and ends as a sort of vision of how one day we might receive and absorb our news.

“We were interested in trying to add both value and time to traditional media,” says Daniera ter Haar.  “At every moment money is going up and down but time is steady.  In our minds time is generally connected to moments and memories.”

News overload is rampant – factories explode, bush fires ravage, bombs detonate, economies collapse and athletes soar, but weeks later it all becomes a blur.  The value falls.

To present the world around us in a different way Raw Colour worked together with programmers to divide a 24 hour newsfeed into positive and negative stories.

“We put together lists of literally thousands of words,” Ter Haar says.  “The programme searches for the words then filters and allocates the stories accordingly.”

It works brilliantly – news feeds come together to create a different type of story.
The news rolls down the screen in a different dimension.  Headlines roll in blue or red – red for bad news and blue for good and the key words – the ones picked up by the computer programme - flash.

“This was all about collaborating with programmers,” Ter Haar says.  “And it puts into question the future of books.  It made us think a lot about how digital information can be presented using a more graphical approach.

But perhaps the real star of this show was the project presented by EDHV.  As with most of their work, the start point or inspiration was nature - this time fungus and how it grows.  The team experimented with computer language coding to see if they could find an overlap between the natural and the virtual.

This lead them to working out a programme that shows how roots grow to create support networks, often against the odds.  “It is about dispersing weight through the roots,” Remco van de Craats says.  

With this they generated digitally printed 2D patterns and then 3D print outs that look fragile and intricate but which are remarkably strong.

They also worked out how various objects weighing up to 20kg could theoretically be supported with roots.  “Everything looks completely natural, but actually it is all generated by a computer programme,” says Van de Craats.  “I like how it combines the virtual and material world as I really think eventually such boundaries will fade away.”
Images - the poster for this year's Invertuals exhibition titled REVALUATE.  Small from top Raw Color's media presentation, EDHV's research in both 2D and 3D form.

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