9 BELLY BUTTONS & 18 CHEEKS is a series of texts interpreting the 2019 Sandberg Graduation Exhibitions and Events. Various writings, from personal reports to reviews and essays, add context to the work and address related topics and phenomena as perceived by a new generation of artists, designers and (interior) architects.
9 BELLY BUTTONS & 18 CHEEKS is compiled by curator Jules van den Langenberg and includes contributions by writer Adrian Madlener (BE/USA), designer & performer Yuri Veerman (NL), writer & researcher Tamar Shafrir (IL/USA), urban and architectural geographer Mark Minkjan (NL), critic Laurens Otto (BE), second year student Architectural Design at Gerrit Rietveld Academie Herman Hjorth Berge (NO), curator Jules van den Langenberg (NL), journalist Thomas van Huut (NL), writer & curator Sumaya Kassim (UK).
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in contributing an editorial to next year’s publication.
This text seeks to speculate on the conditions of geography and its contemporary portrayal, a theme perused as a running thread through numerous theses from various departments of the Sandberg Instituut’s 2019 graduating class. However, this assessment was taken from a distance, based on gathered information from the school’s online catalogue and other sources. This unconventional format made for a discursive prompt to compose this (rambling) editorial musing.
Throughout the night of November 8th, 2016, an estimated 71-million T.V. viewers watched as Donald Trump gained the necessary amount of electoral college votes to become president of the United States. As they helmed various networks, top newscasters like CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer employed the latest integrated-technology to precisely map-out the results. As tallies ‘poured in,’ different states were periodically coloured-in as either blue or red. These sudden ‘projections’ and ‘too-close-to-call’ instances confirmed the aspirations of some and dashed the hopes of others.
I saw this rusty old motorcycle the other day. It was standing at the side of the road next to a lawn, and some long blades of grass had found their way through the spokes of the front wheel. This lovely retired vehicle had a beautiful, clear display: it bore two big green dials, one for speed and one for rpm. Below these two green plates was a small black rectangle with four hexagonal lights in four different colours: orange, red, green and blue, respectively indicating turn, oil, neutral and beam. I found this piece of old machinery extremely attractive, the display in particular, as it almost read like a little poem on simplicity: you are either turning or you are not; you either have enough oil or you are running out.
Evita Eva-maria Bianca Rigert
Valerie Van Zuilen
The Milanese writer Nanni Balestrini, who died on 20 May 2019, could be considered the inventor of the algorithmic love story. Every copy of his novel Tristano is a unique sequence of 300 paragraphs, one of 109,027,350,432,000 possible narrative unfoldings. While the prototype was made in 1966, the first print run became technically feasible only in 2007 (the same year that launched both the iPhone and the global financial crisis). How might we interpret Tristano given its simultaneous endurance and contingency of meaning? On one hand, it suggests that love is different for every reader; on the other, it reveals the creative act as little more than a set of combinatorial coincidences.
“I believe in a scaled world,” said Jurgen Bey as he welcomed people to the 2019 Sandberg Institute graduation exhibition and events. He was probably talking about extrapolation from the incidental to the cultural, and about the lightness of things in the model world where things have an equal weight. But it made me think of Brats, the 1930 short comedy starring Laurel and Hardy in which they play not only themselves but also their two sons, Stan Jr and Ollie Jr. A simple scenographic illusion did it: the entire set, including the furniture, was built twice, with the second twice the dimensions of the first. All it then required was for the two actors to dress up in oversized children’s clothing (and for Hardy to remove his moustache) and the illusion was complete.
Miquel Hervás Gómez
David Haack Monberg
Luke George Hardy Rideout
With work in general becoming more and more “creative”, artists – conversely – are turning to the mundane. Focusing upon bureaucracy, datafication, supply chains and the factory (a prepost- Fordist place), the terms and conditions of technology, media and economics have become the object of artistic practice. I get that. But how do these interests materialise artistically, as artworks?
A black Renault Clio II drives into frame and stops with a screech of tyres as the front wheels lock. The driver steps out of the vehicle, attaches a cargo strap to the tow hook and starts pulling the vehicle with pure muscular power. The video is entitled Man Pulling Tugboat, but suggests a different relationship between the macho man and the machine: one in which they are working together or against each other with excellent choreography. Radical Cut-Up graduate Fabian Reichle is reversing the car – dragging it back to where it came from in a painful, slow and tedious process compared with its gracious entry into frame. As an automotive enthusiast, I look for cars in the works of this year’s graduates and hope to find parallels with a motor show.
Miquel Hervás Gómez
Juan Arturo García González
We are now in the office of Orin Scrivello, D. D. S.
Seymour nervously enters stage L holding a paper bag
which reads “Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists”.
(emerging through “door” UC)
I guess that’s me, Dr Scrivello.
Do you have an appointment?
We met yesterday. Seymour Krelborn.
Eden was no forest growing wild. It was a garden that mankind was to tend – “to dress and keep” – which presupposes an ordered disposition of plants in beds and terraces. Among the rows of trees and beds of flowers there must have been places to walk, to sit and to talk. A hoe, rake or spade might have been there as well, in order to maintain the garden. If the fruit of the trees was made into anything like wine, this would also suggest the presence of jars and cups; and these in turn stores and sideboards, and so on to rooms, ladders and all that. A house, in fact. And yet historic documentation, so specific about the onyx found near Paradise, says nothing about this implied house.
Unfortunately, it did not rain. During a holiday in Italy this June, my girlfriend and I were able to try out our new tent for the first time. It is a spacious one, with several compartments. You can stand upright in it. But no matter how good the tent was, I was still dreaming of heavy rain shower. The best way to experience the greatness of a home is when the conditions outside are a little less pleasant.
Responsibility is put on those who are most vulnerable to find the answers. To provide design solutions to problems presented by the faceless power of bureaucratic processes and institutional procedure. To feel. The artist is valuable in their dependency upon those systems; some might say that there is an inverse relationship between powerlessness and the ability to speak. When one is positioned as powerless and dependent, one can speak loudly but not be heard. But perhaps, if one turns to relationality – love and compassion and togetherness – one might find ways to be there for each other in nonextractive ways; in ways not wholly dominated by the market, productivity, the logic of the nation state.