Publication: Book, Royal Academy of Art The Hague, artist(s)/author(s): Alice Twemlow, Alessandro Celli, Emilie Monty, Liselot Cobelens, Ivor Borovecki, Igor Schiller,Violet Luu Bao Tran, Emily Huurdeman
A Design Archaeology of the Here and Now
Royal Academy of Art The Hague
Independent Study Track, Spring 2019
The damage being done to our planet by the products, processes, and values generated by design is increasingly visible and measurable.
This is particularly apparent when we look at a phenomenon like plastiglomerate, a new rock conglomerate made up of natural debris mixed in with molten plastic, found mainly on beaches in Hawaii where the plastic adrift at sea gets melted by underwater lava streams, or on beaches by the human intervention of campfires.
In this KABK IST course, a group of students spent a semester combing the increasingly blurred tidelines between the natural and manmade environment, archaeology and geology, fossils and relics, physical objects and digital data. Informed by key texts, guest lectures, and field trips, the working group conducted research and speculated through design, ceramics, writing, image-making, and curatorial strategy to imagine what are the mass-produced designed entities of our Anthropocenic era that will become signals in the earth’s geological strata for future generations to read us by — the fossils of the future.
We located our enquiries in the KABK and since the KABK building was completed 81 years ago, we decided to project 81 years into the future. Each student intuited the perspective of an archaeologist based in The Hague in the year 2100. Which designed, mass produced objects would they be likely to find on the site of the former KABK? How will the object have degraded in the intervening years, considering which types of soil and sand are below the KABK? What will The Hague be like in 2100? What would the archaeologist think their find was used for? What will be the values of 2100 and how will they shape the way the object is understood and interpreted?
The process and the outcomes of their enquiries are presented in this booklet.