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slowLab in Amsterdam

Our guest reporter this week is designer Judith van den Boom who tells about her work with slowLab and her participation in their presentation at the Oude Kerk Amsterdam last weekend as part of FreeDesigndom.

By Editor / 16-10-2008

Evolve, Engage, Reflect, Participate, Expand, Reveal.

As one of the main presenters at the Slow Loket as part of a slowLab event in Amsterdam last weekend at Sale #4, designer Judith van den Boom is this week's guest reporter. Judith's work strives for new possibilities to activate the audience to think beyond present design clichés. Judith received her Masters of design in London and currently works as partner in the design studio BoomWehmeyer. She is a network member of Slowlab and her work covers product development, teaching and social engagement projects in China, London and Netherlands.

On the weekend of 11-12 October 2008, New York-based organisation slowLab was part of a FreeDesigndom event in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam and unveiled the first Slow Loket to create a resource for Slow Design information and inspiration.

The Slow Loket let the audience explore new meanings of the term 'Slow,' which is not merely related to slow food, being 'green' or recycling, but rather explores an activism in how we can approach design beyond the set boundaries.

The Slow Loket provided an intimate space for personal interaction with the audience through workshops, films and live presentations. There was also a selection of project work of slowLab network members like Julia Mandle (USA) a performance artist who works with clothing, body and context to activate public awareness, and Marie Ilse Bourlanges (FR) who created the project ‘Decay’ to explore how traces of use can be embedded in textile.

During this weekend I contributed by facilitating a Slow Stream workshop and presenting a selection of my work in China. The combination of work, showing documentaries and having conversations with the audience created a good vibe to discuss design and its meaning. Visitors had the opportunity to explore their views on Slow in the rolling workshops and open microphone sessions.

At the heart of these activities and also the Slow Stream workshop are slowLab's principles to give a guideline to people to understand and explore Slow Design. These principles are set out in 6 different key words; Evolve, Engage, Reflect, Participate, Expand, Reveal. These are guidelines to inspire new ways of working both in- and outside design.

This weekend was a good moment to interact with a wide audience and let them have ownership of what Slow means. In the workshop people could respond to these 6 principles and reflect their words, combined with their age, sex and profession on a post-it note and place this on the wall between the principles where they felt it should belong. By activating the audience itself we can now work with the real thoughts that people have. A few of the reactions were " aandacht (attention) , 34, female, manager' , ' inner reflection first, for a fresh outlook into the world, 44, female, marketing' or "global community, 27, male, artist.'

Slow Design is not just a word blowing by as hype but a meaningful layer embedded in design & life and should be able to inspire our mentality in engagement with our world.

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