Technology matters

19 June 2018

The Netherlands

The world is changing, it is shaped by data and technology and is increasingly complex. Autonomous transportation has become reality. With additive printing processes new forms and complex structures can be created. A virtually enhanced world is becoming more and more of a parallel reality. In the age of „Cyberspace“ and „Augmented Reality“ creativity is becoming reproducible. „Artificial Intelligence“ seems to have replaced imagination.

Do these new technologies also create new possibilities? This is the central question at the „Technology Matters“ conference which will be held on June 19, 2018 in Amsterdam. On the one hand „Technology Matters“ will illuminate the opportunities that these technologies provide to artists and designers and, on the other hand, it will explore the manner in which we deal with these possibilities. In the foreground of these lectures, presentations and discussions is the question, how designers and artists deal with this complex and constantly changing world. How does the great variety of present day technology effect their creativity and ideas? What makes people understand the present and brings the future closer? Assuming that attitude is an important element for navigation, what makes this attitude visible to the world. Architects, artists, curators and entrepreneurs will meet in Amsterdam to talk about their experiences and how technology has influenced and changed their design and creation process. They will try to formulate answers to the question how technical opportunities and innovations can influence a creative process. They will discuss what influence the use of modern technology has on their creative intuition.



Artist and Co-Founder Studio Drift, solo show at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam from 25.04 to 26-08
Technology and Intuition

Designer and Innovation Broker, Etcetera Design InnovationThe Exquisite Reality of Prototypes

Curator and Writer Low tech and the shadowside of technology in the work of Atelier van Lieshout

Architect, Researcher Form follows attitude: Technology Matters


Ferrotopia | NDSM/Atelier Van Lieshout
NDSM-werf / Tt. Neveritaweg / NL-1033 RG Amsterdam



sculpture network successfully started a new discussion series; The Sculpture Network Lab - the space for new ideas sheds light on the social-political relevance of architecture, art and design and is lively, courageous and innovative.

The platform for artistic utopia and design vision focuses on the connections between architecture and art in daily life and, in 2018, has the title Form Follows Attitude. In the framework of the opening event Technology Matters in May in Amsterdam Anne Berk, Lonneke Gordjin, Eva Wolf and Robert Henderson discuss, together with approximately 30 architects, designers, artists and art historians, the possible realms of influence contemporary technology has on design processes, creativity and intuition.

The complicated tangle of relationships between man, nature and technology is the focus of the futuristic sculptures and installations of the Amsterdam designers Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta. Studio Drift tries to reconcile nature and technology, this according to Lonneke Gordijn as she describes the work of the design studio she co-founded with Ralph Nauta in 2007. Their projects often begin with the question, “What would happen if I could...?” Similar considerations are also explored by architect Eva Wolf, curator of the Lab. In an introductory speech she considers the question of how new technologies influence the design process of architects and artists. Designers – or people in general – should, according to Wolf, view the inevitable digitization with a positive attitude and competently integrate the possibilities that these developments offer into their creative work and their lives while critically scrutinizing them.


For Eva Wolf and Lonneke Gordijn technology is a helpful tool. Using technology visionary ideas which appear to be impossible at the time can be depicted. “Sometimes”, says Lonneke Gordijn, “ideas are only utopian at first glance”. Similar to Robert Henderson, Director of Development at the architecture and design company Etcetera Design Innovation, Gordijn would like to work on technical solutions which make the improbable possible, feasible and visible.

As a designer Lonneke Gordijn wants people to realize their dreams. She and her partner hope to unite apparent opposites: technology and nature, science and fiction, lawfulness and intuition. For Lonneke Gordijn artistic interventions, in particular, can inspire people to have a positive image of their future. New technologies help her and her partner to bring creative ideas to life and to initiate design processes. However, Lonneke Gordijn admits, people are often too very busy with the technology visible in the foreground. They are in danger of forgetting the real world that is hidden behind the digital one. Curator and art critic Anne Berk views the accumulation of data in the context of digitalization even more critically. Berk forcefully describes a “smart dictatorship” of digital imperialism. Progressive digitalization and the unregulated collection of data manipulate people’s behavior. Using examples from projects from the van Lieshout studio, an interdisciplinary Dutch artists’ collective, Berk hopes to demonstrate that the uncontrolled use of technology makes people oversensitive. According to Berk, in the end so many people are lacking the ability to control, realize or start things themselves. In a digitized world many people are also lacking close proximity to nature. This is a connection that art, especially, could re-establish according to Lonneke Gordijn: “We want to increase people’s awareness of the present, to open their eyes to what is possible and to take away their fear of technological advances”. Studio Drift hopes to get people to stop for a moment, to be at peace and to consider their freedom – even if only for a few minutes.

However, freedom is a difficult thing. With Franchise Freedom, the title of an installation presented during the Art Basel Miami Beach 2017, Studio Drift reflects on this yearning. It shows 300 drones dancing and fluttering in the air – they are all equipped with LEDs, sensors and computer-aided swarm intelligence – seemingly bring nature and technology into balance. “Being released from gravity and all other conventions to rise up into the sky and disappear – for many people that represents total independence”, gushes Lonneke Gordijn. But if you look closer, then you see that the individual “drone birds” don’t really move freely in the flock. They are in constant communication with each other and have to follow certain rules in order to prevent crashes or even chaos. For Lonneke Gordijn this is similar for people. Anyone who is striving for absolute freedom cannot really experience it because people are part of a community.

Absolute freedom is an illusion. This fact was clearly illustrated at the Sculpture Network Lab event in Amsterdam. There is no natural state of freedom, people everywhere always have to fight for freedom – in art, just like in real life. Art or architecture which embody a certain attitude can give them strength and encourage them to do so.