Expansive Bodies: Contesting Design At Het Nieuwe Instituut
Contesting Design At Het Nieuwe Instituut
Today, design occupies an increasingly expansive field. Promoters argue that almost anything can be design. But by expanding its definition, design is no longer just about solutions and innovation, but often the root cause of problems and conflict. For museums that engage with the design world, such shifting ground poses an existential challenge. It is no longer enough to simply champion design professions, designers and designed objects. One must instead deeply interrogate how design acts, to what end, and for whom.
‘Expansive Bodies’ is an account of the past eight years of institutional practice at Het Nieuwe Institute in Rotterdam, and its own attempts to come to terms with this shifting ground, which has produced a unique approach to framing, challenging and probing design. The book comprises an oral history of the institute as recounted by 15 practitioners, an illustrated account of the institute’s exhibition history, and 16 essays commissioned by the institute, each exploring different ideas about cultural practice and the expanded ways in which design operates and has impact today.