• The NWO funded research project ‘Bridging art, design and technology through Critical Making’ aims to interrogate Critical Making by experimentally applying it to a broad range of artistic practices. The project will investigate to what extent Critical Making can serve as a comprehensive concept for design, technology, education and activism intersecting with critical contemporary art practices and artistic research.

  • Critical by Design: conference presentation in Basel

    Researchers: Anja Groten, Janneke Wesseling

    Anja Groten and Janneke Wesseling will give a presentation at the conference Critical By Design?, on 17-18 May 2018 at the Academy of Art and Design FHNW in Basel. This two-day international research conference on the capacity of design as a mode of critique offers a unique platform for the interdisciplinary discussion of critical theories and practices from a design perspective. Renowned experts from design theory, history and practice, the philosophy of technology, the art, cultural and media studies as well as the field of human-computer interaction come together to reconsider historical trajectories, advance contemporary understandings and propose future developments of design as a materialized form of critique.

  • 19 April 2018

    Rigged Gardens: Critical Making workshop at HNI

    Prototyping Ecologies of Non-Violent Dissent

    Researcher: Shailoh Phillips

    In the workshop Prototyping Ecologies of Non-Violent Dissent, we will start by exploring a collection of historical organic and technological tools for action in peaceful protest movements, from barricades, blimps, potato protests to graffiti bots. Using simple circuit boards, small inflatables and organic conductive materials, we will prototype feedback loops and interventions in concrete situations of imbalanced power. What seems to be the ‘natural’ state of affairs can be transformed into an interface using the conductive properties of organic materials.

  • 16 February 2018

    Smart Contracts: Critical Making session at HNI

    Researchers: Anja Groten, Shailoh Phillips

    In the legal field, automation is rife. Some lawyers claim that by 2030 99% of legal procedure can be automated. During Bot Club: Legal Bots we looked at different attempts to fuse the law and programming language together. To what extent can we translate the spirit of the law into the letter of computer code? On Thursday Night 15 February 2018, Matthias Dobbelaere-Welvaert and Max Hamsphire talked about the rise of automatic legal code at Het Nieuwe Instituut. The day after, during the Smart Contracts Critical Making session, a group of around 25 coders, designers, artists and thinkers followed up on the questions addressed in the Bot Club with a practice-based approach to speculating on the possibilities of smart contracts.

    Max Hampshire of terra0 introduced participants to the basics of distributed autonomous organisation (DAO) and of smart contracts. Those inclined to coding were introduced to Solidity, the javascript-like code language used to write smart contracts. In small groups participants developed speculative, critical ideas for prototypes of smart contract applications. Jaya Klara Brekke, a UK based artist conducting doctoral research into the politics of blockchain applications, gave an introduction to the political construction of the Ethereum smart contract. Input from a critical making perspective was delivered by Anja Groten of Hackers & Designers and Shailoh Phillips of Studio Babel, both researchers in the Critical Making research project.

    See Shailoh Philips’ blog about the underlying issues from this session.

  • 17 May 2018

    Critical by Design: conference presentation in Basel

    Researchers: Anja Groten, Janneke Wesseling

    Anja Groten and Janneke Wesseling will give a presentation at the conference Critical By Design?, on 17-18 May 2018 at the Academy of Art and Design FHNW in Basel. This two-day international research conference on the capacity of design as a mode of critique offers a unique platform for the interdisciplinary discussion of critical theories and practices from a design perspective. Renowned experts from design theory, history and practice, the philosophy of technology, the art, cultural and media studies as well as the field of human-computer interaction come together to reconsider historical trajectories, advance contemporary understandings and propose future developments of design as a materialized form of critique.

  • 11 April 2018

    Workshop at international SAR conference in Plymouth

    Researcher: Anja Groten

    Anja Groten will host a workshop during the 9th SAR – International Conference on Artistic Research, on 11-13 April 2018 at University of Plymouth. From the perspective of design practice this workshop introduces methods of critical making as a strategy to force quit (ctrl+c) persuasive technological processes such as algorithmic search–more specifically by putting forward the prototype of the Feminist Search Tool developed by Amsterdam-based collective Hackers & Designers and Utrecht-based collective Read-in. The Feminist Search Tool is a digital interface that invites users to explore different ways of engaging with a library catalog, putting forth the question: Why are the books I read so white so male so Eurocentric?

    Participants of the workshop are invited to explore the possibilities and limitations of the Feminist Search Tool pursuing hands-on exercises in querying, applying and enacting solvable and unsolvable search inquiries, working on alternative, imaginative, practical and impractical (paper)prototypes, all the while discussing pressing questions related to processes of algorithmic decision making: Who is taking the responsibility for which part of the search process: we, the users, the (re)searcher, the designer of the interface, the library, the algorithm? And how do these decision influence our search result and eventually the choice of books we read?

  • Critical Making Position Paper

    As a result of globalization, social and technological developments, we increasingly witness practices that cross the disciplinary boundaries of art, design, engineering and technological making and (artistic) social intervention. Sometimes these practices unfold within established contexts of art spaces, design culture, technology labs and activist projects. [Explain the urgency of contemporary socio-/technological/cultural/political developments that makes artists/activists redefine their practice/leave the confines of their traditional disciplines.] Increasingly, however, they leave their respective boundaries; for example, when contemporary art spaces are used for political assemblies and Internet anonymization services, when social design and community art becomes neighborhood activism, when a media design grows into a technological development project for empowering contemporary artists. Often, the positioning of these projects as “art”, “design”,“technology”,“activism” is merely tactical (or even opportunistic), tailored to the now-existing institutions and discourses which are still acting within the categories of the Western 19th and 20th century arts.

    Position Paper Critical Making[1]

    Florian Cramer, Lucas Evers, Akiem Helmling, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Marie-José Sondeijker, Janneke Wesseling with comments by Roland van Dierendonck, Shailoh Phillips, Ana María Gómez López, Shirley Niemans, Loes Bogers, mthom057, Yuri Westplat

    1. Why “Critical Making[a]”?

    As a result of globalization, social and technological developments, we increasingly witness practices that cross the disciplinary boundaries of art, design, engineering and technological making[b][c] and (artistic) social intervention. Sometimes these practices unfold within established contexts of art spaces, design culture, technology labs and activist projects. [Explain the urgency of contemporary socio-/​technological/​cultural/​political developments that makes artists/activists redefine their practice/​​leave the confines of their traditional disciplines.] Increasingly, however, they leave their respective boundaries[d][e]; for example, when contemporary art spaces are used for political assemblies[f][g][2] and Internet anonymization services,[3] when social design and community art becomes neighborhood activism[h][i],[4] when a media design grows into a technological development project for empowering contemporary artists[j][k].[5] Often, the positioning of these projects as “art”, “design”, “technology”, “activism” is merely tactical (or even opportunistic), tailored to the now-existing institutions and discourses[l][m] [n]which are still acting within the categories of the Western 19th and 20th century arts. ‘Critical Making[o][p]‘ has the potential[q][r] of giving these practices a common name. [s]Originally coined in the context of design culture and do-it-yourself technology,[6] it gathers (a) practices that are defined by a common characteristic of criticality[t][u][v][w] rather than a common disciplinary and institutional context[7] and (b) work approaches and attitudes of thinking-through-practice.[8]

    Through the latter, Critical Making does not only cut through the disciplinary divides of art, design, activism and technology.[9] In Critical Making, there is no longer a divide between critical theory and artistic practice, but the practice itself is critical and philosophical.[x][y] In this regard, Critical Making corresponds with contemporary philosophies that question the divide between idea and matter[z][aa].[10] But where this thinking still manifests itself in the classical format of written theory, Critical Making negates the dichotomy between making and thinking[ab][ac].

    2. Where does Critical Making take place?

    To date, Critical Making – as coined by Matt Ratto and Garnet Hertz – refers to design practices that critically engage with technology.[ad][ae] Open Source cultural production therefore is a general characteristic of Critical Making. This may entail alternative forms of authorship and copyright, as well as a reconfiguration of traditional linear design workflows of conceptualization, construction and distribution. [af][ag]Distribution, in this context, includes multiplication and archiving. In networked Critical Making processes, all these efforts can take place simultaneously and anywhere[ah][ai].

    Critical Making in this sense is not confined [aj][ak][al]to particular sites. While Critical Making, in Ratto’s and Hertz’ original perspective, had the Maker[am][an] movement and its Maker spaces (i.e. FabLabs, hacklabs[ao][ap] and other public workshop facilities for distributed, personal digital fabrication) as its points of departure, their concept has become highly inclusive and therefore emancipated itself from this specific context[aq][ar].

    In our project, we experimentally take the concept of Critical Making outside the Maker movement and Maker spaces into the larger, general field of contemporary art and design practices. The question is: Can Critical Making reinvigorate the concept of criticality[as][at] in art and design theory and practice, in a technologically informed cultural field? Can existing art and design practices conversely radicalize the criticality of Critical Making? And how can this be made constructive?[au][av][aw][ax]

    3. Why an arts perspective on Critical Making?

    The notion of Critical Making is not specific to art and design, but potentially encompasses any practice that combines making with criticality. This inclusivity – which many art and design movements fought for in the previous century[ay][az] – is without doubt an asset of Critical Making. Still, we think that a more specific arts perspective might not constrain, but will enrich the Critical Making discourse with two specific qualities: artistic research and criticality of discourse.

    The liaison between thinking and making characterizes Critical Making as well as artistic research as it was established as a new academic discipline at the end of the 20th century. Artistic research typically involves practices in which textual and artistic approaches are closely interrelated. In artistic research, the researcher produces writing that critically reflects on the making, while conversely the practice informs and feeds into the writing.[ba][bb] How artistic research may expand the vocabulary of Critical Making will be subject of further investigation.

    Traditionally, contemporary art has had an edge over design in regards to the rigor of its critical discourse. Drawing on critical theory, conceptual art and institutional critique have radically addressed issues of gender, class, ethnicity and even questioned art as such, in its aesthetics, ethics, economics and politics. There needs to be research on the extent to which this radicality can inform expanded notions of Critical Making.

    Conversely, the Open Source and DIY practices of Critical Making can be constructively used to question under-reflected and under-criticized modes of production and distribution in contemporary art: authorship, intellectual property, ownership, privileges of participation. [bc][bd]

    4. Where our project aims to make a difference

    In our research project, we will address the following new questions[be][bf]:

    • How can art, design and technology fulfill a critical and reflexive role in society[bg], including “the possibility of revealing and challenging power relations” (Mouffe, Agonistics, Thinking the World Politically, 2013, 81)?[bh]
    • How can aesthetics still play a role[bi][bj], other than as surface aesthetics of consumer culture and of commodification based on advertisement?
    • We observe that the 21st century creative industries[bk][bl] as a hybrid of art, design and technology have largely subsumed 20th century art and culture under economic terms. Critical Making offers an alternative logic of including creative disciplines into an overarching concept that is not economically, but socially and artistically driven. [bm][bn] Can Critical Making be truly critical by overcoming the industry logic[bo][bp] of techno-optimistic makeability?

    Concluding questions to be addressed, partly taken from visitor feedback:

    • How do we position making?
    • How do we understand criticality? (See related text in full project description)
    • Can Critical Making be a pedagogy?
    • To which degree are our points descriptive or prescriptive?
    • Who needs a new concept?
    • Which difference do we make to existing concepts of Critical Making?
    • How far can histories of Critical Making be extended into the past?

    • [1] http://pad.riseup.net/p/critical_making
    • [2] Jonas Staal, New World Summit (2012-2017), Occupy movement presence at Berlin Biennial 2014
    • [3] Trevor Paglen/Jacob Appelbaum, Autonomy Cube, 2014; !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Random Darknet Shopper (2014-2016)
    • [4] Jeanne van Heeswijk, Freehouse (1998-2017); Black Quantum Futurism, Community Futures Lab (2015-2017)
    • [5] Danja Vasiliev/Gottfried Haider/WORM, Hotglue & Superglue (2009-2017)
    • [6] Matt Ratto, DIY Citizenship, MIT Press, 2014
    • [7] Garnet Hertz, Critical Making zines (2012)
    • [8] Matt Ratto in We Make Things, documentary by Ryan Varga, 2011 (9:30-10:53). In a paper, he defines Critical Making as ”a mode of materially productive engagement that is intended to bridge the gap between creative physical and conceptual exploration” (Ratto, Matt, Critical Making: Conceptual and Material Studies in Technology and Social Life, in: The Information Society, vol. 27, issue 5, 2011, 252).
    • [9] But also through the divide between practice as the “base” and theory as the “superstructure” that has shaped Western thinking and culture from Platonism to Marxism
    • [10] including pragmatism, actor-network theory, object-oriented ontology and New Materialism
    • [a]Anon: How do we position ‘making’? What is motivating people to act critically?
      Genealogy of Critical Making.
      Moments of intersection between art and science, pre-net collectives, anonymous collectives.
    • [b]Roland van Dierendonck: No, SCIENCE. It’s more about CONTEXTUALISING  that what is MADE in terms of criticality/within feasibility, the scientific knowledge.
    • [c]legitimate concern, but outside the scope of our particular project. This question is, with a focus on technology, addressed in the original Critical Making research of Matt Ratto and Garnet Hertz.
    • [d]Shailoh Phillips: What’s the scope? What’s the problem?
    • [e]Explain the urgency of contemporary socio-/technological/cultural/political developments that makes artists/activists redefine their practice/leave the confines of their traditional disciplines.
    • [f]Ana María Gómez López:
      – Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, Forex, for different takes on activism
      – Think Tania Bruguera, for ex. if you want other examples of working with immigrant communities in the United States and elsewhere
      – Again, for even earlier examples of artistic forms of activisim using technology and design, think of collective initiatives such as Peter Fend and others in Ocean Earth, or even Group Materialś actions around AIDS (including critiques of government funding and pharmaceutical industry.)
    • [g]Great examples, will be included in final version of the document. We will leave them out for now to keep the discource of the project more open for applicants to the researcher positions.
    • [h]Ana María Gómez López: Again, Group Material is an excellent example pre-Internet.
    • [i]Will be included in the final version.
    • [j]Roland van Dierendonck: You don’t mention the Critical Engineering Manifesto.
    • [k]Will be included in the final version.
    • [l]Shirley Niemans: This is quite problematic even when “critical making: in some form is part of the curriculum of – let’s say – a design school – hard to change the existing paradigm, and existing or ‘selected'(?) boundaries between disciplines (design vs. art, applied vs. autonomous).
    • [m]It is true that these boundaries exist and will not go away in the four years of our research project. However, the task of this research project is to look forward and develop radical visions that others may implement in curricula and institutions.
    • [n]Shailoh Phillips: This is the context, the launch point.
    • [o]Loes Bogers: The interpretation of “critical” isn’t specified, maybe clarify the tradition [of] Frankfurter Schule?
    • [p]Excellent remark. – We covered this in the original project description and may include this text here again. In the project description, we refer to Frankfurter Schule as well as to specific practices of critical art and design. The ambition of this research project is to treat both “criticality” and “making” as practices to be researched and potentially given new meanings.
    • [q]Shailoh Phillips: Why? What is the urgency?
    • [r]Will be answered above with the clarification of the social/political/technological developments that motivate Critical Making practices.
    • [s][Waag artist-in-residence]: If you are in the critical position you aim for.
    • [t]Ana María Gómez López: Against what? Take note of your own criticism towards creative industries.
    • [u]Indeed, this criticality chiefly marks an opposition towards creative industries and, by implication, neoliberalism at large. [We will add this in a later version of the paper.]
    • [v]Shailoh Phillips: Is criticality something that is conjunctive, connecting, umbrella? Also divisive!
    • [w]see remark above.
    • [x]mthom057: only?
    • [y]Not only, but this is an important observation to make.
    • [z]Shailoh Phillips: How does this relate to the rise of new materialism, imment philosophy (Barad, Deleuze, Haraway, Braidotti)?
    • [aa]Good point, these authors will be included as references.
    • [ab]Shailoh Phillips: Why was it installed in the first place? Why is it pervasive?
    • [ac]Complex question that concerns the whole history of Western thinking since Parmenidis (via Platon, the enlightenment etc.) Excellent question, we need to find a way of how to address it within the limited space of this paper.
    • [ad]Loes Bogers: For Ratto, it’s also a lot about learning, as a pedagogy of sorts. Is that a concern in the project?
    • [ae]Excellent question – learning processes are intrinsic to Critical Making processes (as we are experiencing right now in the open process of writing this paper). But since the focus of our research process is not on pedagogy, we cannot predict yet to which degree these learning processes will remain implicit or become more explicit (in the sense of a comprehensive meta reflection of the learning processes encountered in this project).
    • [af]Ana María Gómez López: There are examples of artistic production that offer new modes of intellectual production/authorship where artworks are made accessible by being instruction-based, circulate freely, and demystify artistic production. – Look at N55, a Danish group that exclusively produces manuals. – Also, it is worth noting that there is a DIY history already in the arts pre-maker culture which is diverse, be it in 60s conceptual art, activist subcultural zine production, (based on older technologies of Xerox reproduction), or even blue-chip recognition inititatives such as Hans Ulrich Obrist’s Do-It-Yourself Manual. (Applies also to page 1/bibliography in the beginning).
    • [ag]Excellent examples again that will be included in the footnotes and citation references of the final document. However, we do have discussions about the inclusion of Obrist as a Critical Maker (which for example concerns his method of text production where it is not clear to which degree a staff of editorial assistants is involved).
    • [ah]mthom057: What might a networked critical making process entail? i.e. in time, space, notions of community/public?
    • [ai]We will delete the sentence you refer to because it is too unspecific.
    • [aj]Shailoh Phillips: prescriptive? descriptive? Who needs a new concept?
    • [ak][needs longer thought process on our behalf.]
    • [al]There is a clear need for a new concept of criticality in contemporary art (if we just take the current Venice Biennial and Documenta as examples). The same is true for design and technology development.
    • [am]Shailoh Phillips: Overcoming schizophrenia: “makers” (Dutch, HBO) versus “thinkers” (university). Critical making as a way out of the pillarization of disciplines.
    • [an]Agreed. The position paper still needs to explicate the particular Dutch cultural context and connotation of making-vs-thinking.
    • [ao]Roland van Dierendonck: open bio labs
    • [ap](for us: included in the notion of the hacklabs)
    • [aq]Shailoh Phillips: By whom? How? Why?
    • [ar]Critical Making Zines by Garnet Hertz – will ad them as a footnote.
    • [as]Shailoh Phillips: What do you mean by criticality? [Irit] Rogoff?
    • [at]See the first question by Loes Bogers.
    • [au]mthom057: How does this differ from participatory art?
    • [av]Participatory art is neither critical by definition, nor in much of its practice.
    • [aw]Shirley Niemans: To what end?
    • [ax]”productive” has been replaced with “constructive” (following the suggestion of Shailoh Phillips)
    • [ay]Loes Bogers: Where are they in this paper? Should they be mentioned? (Situationism, Fluxus, [cyber]feminist art practices?) Which do you align with?
    • [az]Not included in this paper because it is meant to be a discussion paper, not a historically complete coverage of its subject. Related to the comments by Ana Maria.
    • [ba]Ana María Gómez López: This is the point where I would have the strongest criticism regarding the need to include more on art + science collaborative examples. Happy to share more if you find it relevant.
    • [bb]We refer to the specific concept of artistic research as an academic discipline (see the changed first sentence in the paragraph), not generally to research done by artists by themselves or in collaboration with scientists.
    • [bc]mthom057: Are there any thematic examples?
    • [bd]examples in footnotes (Situationist International, Telekommunisten, Assembly and others)
    • [be]Roland van Dierendonck: [Add bullet point] New history of art in context of ‘Critical Making’.
    • [bf]not the scope of this position paper.
    • [bg]Roland van Dierendonck: then also about how art is presented, for example outside of institutions altogether, check Norman White.
    • [bh]Shirley Niemans: “HOW can [….]?” – It seems a bit rhetorical. What is the kind of answer we/you want? Still a confirmation.
    • [bi]Shirley Niemans: Idem – “HOW can […]”?
    • [bj]agree
    • [bk]Shailoh Phillips: Creative industries is a neoliberal notion: one virtue – it doesn’t discriminate between disciplines. -> reclaiming CREATIVITY.
    • [bl]agree
    • [bm]mthom057: What activates members of society to engage in critical making?
    • [bn]Question is beyond the scope of this position paper.
    • [bo]Yuri Westplat: What if the answer is YES?
      (a) How do we take this further? Is it a METHOD we can LEARN and APPLY? And so change the industry?
      (b) How do “we” break out of the “art bubble” movement? [and into] -> business -> government -> science
    • [bp]Indeed this is not the right question with which to conclude this paper.
    • [bq]Ana María Gómez López: My main comment is first to offer praise to you for citing artworks bibliographically. – I find this to be quite positive. However, this is also where I would encourage you to look at much earlier examples of critical making in the arts, which would give this new concept deeper roots. Think of examples such as E.A.T. developed with Bell Labs (interestingly a corporate-sponsored program that encouraged collaboration between artists, scientists, and technology experts with no interest to prototype a product for the market, but only for unique art projects and events).
      I would also encourage other examples of artworks that make this bibliography more robust, which I have noted throughout this paper (in no particular order of importance and woefully incomplete).
      In general, contextualizing these project in braoder art-historical contexts that be broader than the artas of making you cite explicitly (Net Art, Land Art, Environmental Art, Bio Art).
    • [br]Roland van Dierendonck: Also add Paolo Cirio’s “Loophole 4 All” or Norman White.
  • What is Critical Making?

  • Anja Groten

    Designer and PhD researcher.

    Investigating the possibilities of frictional encounters as part of design practice, Anja Groten designs collective moments of critical making, aimed at discussion, confrontation and contingency. Her design practice evolves around the cross-section of digital and physical media, design and art education and community organization. Groten works on (self-)commissions and besides tutors at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, and the Design Academy Eindhoven. In 2013 she co-founded the initiative Hackers & Designers, attempting to break down the barriers between the two fields by enforcing a common vocabulary through education, hacks and collaboration.



    • since 2016: Tutor, Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, Master of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie
    • 2017-2018: Tutor, Design Academy Eindhoven
    • 2013-2017: Tutor, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam
    • since 2013: Founding member of Hackers & Designers


    • since 2017: Doctoral studies, PhDArts, Leiden University Academy of Creative and Performing Arts and the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague
    • 2011: MDes, Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, Master of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie
    • 2008: Diplom Kommunikationsdesign, Niederrhein University of Applied Science, Krefeld

    Workshops (selection)

    • 2017: “Emoji Babble. Coding with Emojis,” Hunan Normal University Changsha and CAFA Beijing (China)
    • 2017: “We/Me,” MAKE!, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam (Netherlands)
    • 2016: “The Momentary Zine,” FORMS Festival, Toronto (Canada)
    • 2016: “Encounters & Publishing,” cross-disciplinary workshop, Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, De Punt, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
    • 2016: “Publish & Destroy,” Sandberg Instituut, De Punt, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
    • 2015: “The Momentary Zine,” Libre Graphics Meeting, University of Westminster, London (UK)
    • 2013: “Our Autonomous Life?,” with Casco Office for Art Design and Theory, City of Women Festival, Ljubljana (Slovenia)

    Scholarships & residencies

    • 2018: if then / what now? Interdisciplinary artist in Residence. Lava Lab,  Twins Ink, Amsterdam
    • 2017: Visiting artist, FREE. Design educators conference, Otis College of Arts and Design, Los Angeles
    • 2016: Travel scholarship, Traveling Dialogue, Creative Industries Funds NL
    • 2013: Artist in residence, MilesKm, Rood Noot, Utrecht
    • 2010: Designer in residence, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles
    • 2010-2011: DAAD Stipendium, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst
  • Janneke Wesseling

    Prof. Dr. Art historian, art theorist, art critic. Main applicant of Critical Making Project, chair of consortium. Main task: supervision of two Critical Making PhD projects.


    • 2016 – present: Professor in Practice and Theory of Research in the Visual Arts, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University, The Netherlands
    • 2008 – present: Director of PhDArts, international doctorate programme in visual art and design, Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University, The Netherlands
    • 2007 – present: Reader and Head of the Lectorate Art Theory & Practice at the University of the Arts, The Hague, The Netherlands
    • 1982 – present: Art critic at the Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad


    • 2013 Dr.Phil in Art History, Leiden University, Leiden.
    • 1982 M.A. in Art History, Leiden University, Leiden
    • 1973-1982 studied Art History, Free University Amsterdam (B.A. 1977) and Leiden University, Leiden

    Recent Publications (selection)

    • The Perfect Spectator. The experience of the art work and reception-aesthetics. Thesis: 2017, Valiz, Amsterdam
    • Of Sponge, Stone and the Intertwinement with the Here and Now. Inaugural Lecture. 2016, Valiz, Amsterdam
    • See it Again, Say it Again. The Artist as Researcher. Ed. Janneke Wesseling. 2011, Valiz, Amsterdam.

    Recent lectures (selection)

    • Inaugural Lecture ‘Of sponge, stone and the intertwinement with the here and now. A methodology of artistic research.’ 19 September 2016, Leiden University
    • ‘Interdisciplinarity and artistic research: where is the “inter” located?’. At international expert meeting ‘Practising interdisciplinarity? States of the Art’, Swiss Institute. Rome, 10 and 1 ocotber 2016
    • ‘Art criticisim and reception esthetics’, in lecture series Art Now, Witte de With, Rotterdam 11 november 2015, De Appel, Amsterdam, 12 november 2015
    • 2012 – ‘Artistic Research: Research and Performativity’, lecture in “Real World” session of Artquest, Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, October 18.
    • 2012 – ‘The Artist as Researcher’, Ruby Tuesday Lecture in Schunck, Heerlen, January 17
    • 2011 – ‘The artist as researcher’, International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York, November 5
    • 2011 – ‘Towards a reception aesthetics of contemporary art’, Dutch Association of Aesthetics Annual Conference, Ghent, Belgium, May 27/28
    • 2011 – ‘How do artists think?’ , at the conference Beauty and Science, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, March 11
  • Klaas Kuitenbrouwer

    Researcher and program maker in digital culture at Het Nieuwe Instituut.

    • Since 2012 Researcher and program manager at Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam.
    • Since 2006 Teacher Media and interaction theory at DOGTime department Gerrit Rietveld Academy.
    • 2011 – 2012 Headmaster Games and Interaction Design, HKU, Utrecht.
    • 2009 – 2012 Program manager at Virtueel Platform
    • 1999 – 2008 Manager workshop program Mediamatic
    • 1989 – 1999 Art practice in radio, interactive media, -games, -performance, development of independent cultural projects and programs


    • 1984 – 1989 Study Contemporary History, University of Utrecht

    Advisory boards

    • Since 2017 member editorial board of ROBOT LOVE
    • Since 2014 board member Stichting PIPs:Lab, Amsterdam
    • Since 2013 board member Stichting Kulter, Amsterdam
    • 2004 – 2008 board member Bodies Anonymous
    • Various jury memberships

    Selection of recent projects

    • Garden of Machines
    • Fellowship program at Het Nieuwe Instituut
    • 51 Sprints
    • DATAstudio Eindhoven
    • Bot Club and other Thursday Night Live series at Het Nieuwe Instituut


    • Felix Hess, Witteveen & Bos publicatie
    • E-volver on Driessen & Verstappen
    • Social RFID, Open!
    • Open Culture and various other Virtueel Platform publications
    • Architecture of Interaction, with Yvonne Dröger, Lino Hellings
    • SDFWP with Tabo Goudzwaard, André Schaminee
  • Marie-José Sondeijker

    Co-founder and artistic director West Den Haag

    West presents contemporary art in the historic environment of a city palace in the heart of The Hague museum district and in a seventeenth century townhouse. The art centre focuses on the most relevant international developments in the field of visual arts. West offers artists space and opportunities to develop new work, and places it through a broad dialogue, in a social context. West is researching new critical practices spanning design and technology from within the arts.

    Projects/productions (selection)


    • Gustav Metzger: Ethics Into Aesthetics
    • Feedback #1: Marshall Mcluhan and The Arts


    • Ulf Aminde: The School Of No Return
    • Douglas Park: Post-Terminal & Ex-Ultimate
    • Without Firm Ground: Vilém Flusser And The Arts


    • Patrick Bernatchez: Lost In Time
    • Encounters
    • Et Al.: For The Common Good


    • Autonomy Exchange Archive: Paul Branca and Lisa Hayes Williams,
    • This is not Africa
    • This is Us


    • Volkspaleis
    • Reynold Reynolds
    • Club Null
    • Volkspaleis: Julian Rosenfeldt
    • Public Access & Let Us Keep Our Own Noon: David Horvitz
    • Sound Spill 2011 Let’s Make Sense: Arin Rungjang 2010 Uitburgeren
    • Baby!: Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost.
  • Shailoh Phillips

    Shailoh Phillips (USA, 1979) polymash media artist | researcher | activist | educator

    Originally trained in Cultural Anthropology, Philosophy and Cultural Analysis (University of Amsterdam, Humboldt University), she has spent the past 10 years working in the field of digital media and media arts education, as well as cultivating a studio practice of collaborative projects, including interactive installations, animation, game design, creative writing and culture hacking interventions. Her practice revolves around fostering critical forms of resistance to the pervasive forces of social inequality and impending ecological disaster.

    In 2017, Shailoh Phillips graduated from the MA Education in Arts and Design (Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam). From November 2017-2019 she is part of this Critical Making consortium, investigating the limits and potential of criticality through pedagogical experiments in the Fabulous School of Octopy. In her practice she works along the interstices between digital/analogue, making/thinking, art/engineering, theory/practice, art/activism, building interdisciplinary bridges between (non)human actors. She is currently a research tutor in Hacking and Digital Crafts at Willem de Kooning Academy, and teaching at the Design, Curating and Writing Master at the Design Academy Eindhoven.

    Junior artistic researcher in the Critical Making consortium, responsible for the sub-project “the limits and potential of criticality” (November 2017-October 2019, 0,4 FTE-).

    PhD-Arts candidate, Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA), Leiden University

    The Fabulous School of Octopy: Tentacular Tactics for Pushing the Boundaries of Criticality

    Under the shapeshifting guise of the Fabulous School of Octopy, this research trajectory operates within, between, and alongside a network of institutions, materializing as a tentacular nomadic school. With a meshwork and suction cups to stake critical commons, the Fabulous School of Octopy attaches to a specific context, while staying connected a dynamic interconnected field of ecological, political and social issues. This is a quest for an expanded repertoire of critical modes and tools, exploring ‘criticality’ as a more-than-human phenomenon. How to operate critically, when we are stuck inside the systems of exploitation and exclusion we are trying to critique? Can we even really say that we ‘make’ things, when we are all made of the same stuff — moles, stars, 3D printers, humans, bots, storms — circulating in ‘hybrid ecologies’ (Marenko, Morton)? Let us start by recognizing: there has never been such a thing as ‘DIY’ —only ever doing-together, co-creating with forces already at play both within and surrounding us. Connecting, disconnecting, transforming: we are investigating different modalities of criticality that open up possibility for action, that is, supporting alternative infrastructures, changing the conditions of production, dismantling toxic colonial legacies and reconfiguring fields of power and modes of exchange. The activities in this school include stress tests with materials, interspecies pedagogy, developing and testing critical tools, circuit hacking, curriculum bending, power mapping, rapidly melting prototyping, and (inflatable) interactive public interventions. Ideas for collaboration and participation in critical making sessions with the Fabulous School of Octopy are most welcome.

    Contact: shailoh@studiobabel.nl

    • 8 January – Mapping Making, Het Nieuwe Instituut
    • 8-18 January, Critical Tools, Elective Willem de Kooning Academy
    • 21 June Leiden – PhD Arts Critical Exercises


    Previous jobs (selection)

    • 2016-2017: embedded researcher and trainer at Bouwkeet Makerspace (Rotterdam)
    • 2012-2014: coordinator of the Media Lab, Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)
    • 2011-2012: manager game development at Vrede van Utrecht, with Fourcelabs)
    • 2010-2012: project manager new media and innovation at Kunstgebouw
    • 2008-present: digital media, research and education Studio Babel (Amsterdam)
    • 2004-2010: researcher, game designer and screenwriter, VPRO (Hilversum) and Submarine Channel (Amsterdam)


    • 2015-2017: Master of Education in Arts and Design (cum laude), Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy (Rotterdam). Thesis: Some Troubles with Making | Tentacular Pedagogy in the Age of Entanglement.
    • 2008-present :workshops in creative coding, electronics and instrument building (STEIM, Freakdays oF platform Amsterdam, Mediamatic, WORM, Media Technology Leiden)
    • 2008-present: PhD Theory Seminars Media and Performance Studies (Utrecht University); LUCAS Theory Seminars (Leiden University); Data Drive Research Seminars (University of Amsterdam)
    • 2001-2009: studied Philosophy, Cultural Analysis, Conflict Studies, Arabic Language and Culture (minor), Gender Studies, Physics, New Media at University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, Humboldt Universität and
    • Freie Universität Berlin
    • 2004-2005: Media Academy VPRO Jong Talent training in Cross-Media production (Hilversum)
    • 2001: Conflict Mediation Masterclass, SCI Peace Corps, Baku, Azerbaijan
    • 2000-2004: BA Cultural Anthropology and Sociology of Non-Western societies (cum laude), University of Amsterdam


    • Co-founder and secretary of Stichting Studio Yalla, Amsterdam
    • Member of the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis (NICA) and Research School for Media Studies (RMeS)
    • Member of Kostgewonnen autonomous collective
    • Book club coordinator at Feminist Club Amsterdam (FCA)
    • Working group sexual orientation and gender diversity, COC Amsterdam
    • Tools for Action: civil disobedience interventions with inflatable objects (Berlin)

    Awards and nominations

    • 2017: nominated for the Willem de Kooning Research Award for Graduation Project ‘Some Troubles with Making’
    • 2011: ‘Collapsus’ (Submarine Channel/VPRO) Dutch Spin award, Interactive Award (SWSX), nominated for Digital Emmy ‘Best Digital Fiction’

    Activities (selection)

    • 2017-2018: Open Set (St. Joost, Netherlands, moderator, workshop)
    • 2017: Radical pedagogy in technology education, HackOn (ADM, Amsterdam)
    • 2017: keynote lecture : Onderwijsspecial FabCity, Rotterdam
    • 2017: Shared Senses for Haptic Commons, with Lancel/Maat (CASCO, Utrecht)
    • 2017: Decolonizing the museum workshop at (MuseumNext, Rotterdam) with Imara Limon and Lina Issa
    • 2017: Impact workshops for community theater production ‘Eerst Zien, dan geloven’ (Nationaal Theater, Den Haag)
    • 2017: Rest In War – photography and the afterlife of images of war (workshop and moderator (Nacht van de Filosofie, Den Haag)
    • 2017: Some Troubles with Making: Critical Tools for Futurecrafting in the Age of Entanglement, Act Otherwise Graduation presentation (MEiA, V2, Rotterdam)
    • 2017: Symposium Agents in the Anthropocene (Netherlands, moderator)
    • 2016-2017: Het Vijfde Seizoen, art workshops for psychiatric professionals
    • 2014-2016: Hacking Healthcare co-teaching (UvA, Rietveld Academy)
    • 2014-2015: Amsterdam Coordinator of 3D printing curriculum at schools, ZB45 Makerspace
    • 2013 Research Project Augmenting Masterpieces. Rijksmuseum, CIRCA (Creative Industries Research Centre Amsterdam), ASCA (Institute for Cultural Analysis). With Johanna Barnbeck (embedded researcher) & Jan
    • Hein Hoogstad (ass. Prof Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis)
    • 2013: Presentation Rijksstudio and Media Lab – Open collection and the creative commons (with Linda Volkers), Automne Numérique, French Ministry of Culture and Communication (Paris)
    • 2013-2014 Waanzien MOTI museum (Breda), war photography and image manipulation. Group exhibition.
    • 2010-2013: Interactive educational projects for Kunstgebouw, including SoundSpheres, MonsterMedia, Splatsj, Codex KIT, Hartslag (3D video mapping), Met andere ogen (UAR app).
    • 2011-2012: Cross-Media and Film workshops, Rio Content Market (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
    • Survival Kit Film and Philosophy (Arminius, Rotterdam)
    • 2009-2017: Q&A’s, IDFA, Movies that Matter Festival
    • 2009-2013: Go van Gogh, web-platform and symposium with Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam)
    • 2009: ‘Freezeframe’: video installation with live Studio 1826 soundtrack at Damoclash Festival and Helmsdale/Glasgow, with Chris Dooks.
    • 2008 – 2010 Troublemakers.nl, online platform and series of workshops and debates on feminism and art
    • 2008-2010: Writer, translator for Chronicles, Crossing Border Festival (Den Haag)
    • 2008-2009: Film, media and technology reviews, Radio Nederland Wereldomroep (Hilversum)
    • 2007: Ervaring en Armoede: Walter Benjamin kritisch herlezen (Perdu, Amsterdam)
    • 2007: Filosofie in Tijden van Oorlog, with Joost de Bloois and Tammy Castelein. (Drift Festival, Amsterdam)
    • 2004 – 2010: VPRO, Hilversum: Tegenlicht ‘Energy Risk’ (2010), ‘Wraak! ‘(2009), Tegenlicht ‘Insjallah’ (2008), ‘Het geluk van Nederland’ (2005), ‘De Kunst van Niemand’ (radio play, 17 min 2004).


    • Phillips, Shailoh “Tools and Technology for Museum Learning” pp. 223-242. King, Brad, and Barry Lord, eds. The Manual of Museum Learning. Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.
    • Phillips, Shailoh “Cyberkurds and Cyberkinetics: Pilgrimage in the Age of Virtual Mobility” In: Etnofoor. Vol. 20, No.1, Pilgramage pp. 7-29, 2007
    • Phillips, Shailoh “Overal Vincent: Van Gogh en massareproductie”, p.196-200, “Echt nep: 8 historische schandalen uit de oorlogsfotografie” p. 76-82. DUF Jongerentijdschrift, ‘Waanwijs’
    • Phillips, Shailoh “Nieuwe richtingen voor nieuwe media” p. 16-17, Kunstgebouw magazine oktober #1Nieuwe Media,2011
  • Florian Cramer

    Florian Cramer is a reader (Dutch: lector) in 21st Century Visual Culture/Autonomous Practices at Willem de Kooning Academy and Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands.


    • since 2008: Reader/research professor Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam University of Applied Science
    • 2011-2015: Director Research Center Creating 010, Rotterdam University of Applied Science
    • 2011-2015: public program developer at WORM, cultural venue in Rotterdam (part-time)
    • 2010-2011: Director Piet Zwart Institute
    • 2006-2010: Course Director of the Masters program Media Design and Communication, Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam University of Applied Science
    • 2005: Research fellow Piet Zwart Institute
    • 1999-2004 lecturer/junior faculty Comparative Literature, Peter Szondi Institut für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin


    • 2006 Dr. phil. Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin, thesis: Exe.cut[up]able Statements: Poetische Kalküle und Phantasmen des selbstausführenden Texts, 2011, Wilhelm Fink, München
    • 1998 M.A. Comparative Literature, Art History and German Philology, Freie Universität Berlin
    • 1989-1998 studied Comparative Literature, Art History, German Philology and Philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin, Universität Konstanz and University of Massachusetts at Amherst


    For a list of selected publications relevant to this research project, see here.

    advisory boards


    • 2017 HBOAward for achievements in Open Access publishing, Stichting SURF, Netherlands
    • 2007 media.art.research.award Ludwig Boltzmann-Institut & ars electronica, Austria
    • 2005 Junggesellenpreis für Netzliteratur, Literaturhaus Stuttgart, Germany
    • 2002 with Sebastian Luetgert: honorary mention software award transmediale.02, Berlin, Germany
    • 1998 Pegasus electronic literature award, IBM/Die Zeit/Radio Bremen, Germany
  • Lucas Evers

    Lucas Evers joined Waag in April 2007 and is currently leading Waag’s Wetlab. He is actively involved in several projects that concern the interactions between the arts and sciences, arts and ethics and the arts in a contemporary makers culture. The Wetlab is a laboratory where arts, design, sciences, engineering and the public meet to research biotechnologies and their impact on society and ecology.

    Lucas Evers is trained in fine arts and teaching at Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design and he studied politics at the University of Amsterdam. He worked De Balie Center for Culture and Politics and Melkweg in Amsterdam, programming cinema, new media and politics.

    He organized a retrospective of French cinematographer Chris Marker was involved in projects such as ‘net.congestion – international festival of streaming media’, Next 5 Minutes, e-culture fair, an Archeology of Imaginary Media and a number of programs related to the societal debate about the life sciences.

    From 2010 until 2013 he was advisor at DasArts, second phase theatre and performance education, mentoring students. He has been commission member at Mondriaan Foundation and is currently commission member at Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.

    At Waag he worked and works on projects such as Trust me I’m an Artist (ethics of art and science collaboration), Future Emerging Art and Technologies, Hack the Brain, Do It Not Yourself Biology, Critical Making and initiated Designers and Artists for Genomics Award (now Bio Art & Design Award).

    His interests lie in the way we can learn from the interactions, the differences and similarities, between artistic, scientific and other cultures of research.


  • The (im)possibilities of friction

    Researcher: Anja Groten

    The starting point of the research project The (Im)possibilities of friction is the question: can oppositional forces and encounters of resistance in the context of design and engineering processes be productive, and if so, what could be a possible outcome? Could the results of friction be used strategically, and be considered design?

    This research problematizes frictional co-creative processes by drawing parallels with cultural, philosophical and political theories of agonism, dissidence and disobedience. By means of hands-on cross-disciplinary workshops and by producing and highlighting frictional experiences – by breaking open and appropriating software, hardware, and networks, i.e. through actual encounters with the technologies proposed – this inquiry aims to reframe the discourse about what is often described by tech-optimists as innovation.

  • Het Nieuwe Instituut

    Through its activities Het Nieuwe Instituut aims to increase the appreciation of the cultural and social significance of architecture, design and digital culture and to strengthen the interaction between these disciplines. In a period characterised by radical change, Het Nieuwe Instituut wants to moderate, stimulate and facilitate debate about architecture, design and digital culture through research and a public programme. The broadening and deepening of the public’s appreciation is a fundamental starting point.


  • Waag

    For over twenty years, Waag has operated at the intersection of science, technology and the arts. Our work focuses on emergent technologies as instruments of social change, and is guided by the values of fairness, openness and inclusivity. Waag’s dedicated team of sixty thinkers and makers empowers people to become active citizens through technology.

    ‘Making technology & society more open, fair and inclusive.’

    Waag is a middle-ground organisation composed of research groups that work with both grassroots initiatives and institutional partners across Europe. The collective has a shared attitude of public concern and civic activism, which is manifested in our public research agenda. Working with emergent technologies, Waag conducts research in both imaginative and practical terms, addressing its fellow citizens from a position of equality and collaboration.

    Public Research consists of the following groups:

    • Make has a DIY attitude, researching societal and ecological questions through hardware, production processes and materials.
    • Code works to raise awareness of the consequences of new technology and develops concrete alternatives to make citizens more resilient and agile.
    • Learn focuses on contemporary education and heritage and explores experiential disciplines to help people meaningfully participate in society.
    • Care uses co-creation to work with users, designers, artists and developers to research and develop innovative concepts for the healthcare sector.
  • Creating 010

  • West

    West presents contemporary art in the historic environment of a city palace in the heart of The Hague museum district and in a seventeenth century townhouse. The art centre focuses on the most relevant international developments in the field of visual arts. West offers artists space and opportunities to develop new work, and places it through a broad dialogue, in a social context. West is researching new critical practices spanning design and technology from within the arts.

  • Leiden University