Neuhaus and the Neuhaus curriculum depend on the input of so-called 'Neuhäusler' The submission period has now expired, but you can read all about the auditions here.
From Bauhaus to Neuhaus
In the spring of 2019, exactly 100 years after the foundation of Bauhaus, Het Nieuwe Instituut will become Neuhaus: a hybrid institute somewhere between a museum, an academy and an archive institution. Just as Bauhaus teachers and students responded to the challenges of their time with a revolutionary, comprehensive design practice, Neuhaus tries to formulate a possible repsonse to ours.
The First World War had caused total destruction, there was great socio-political uncertainty and because of the war and the overwhelming industrialisation it was clear that technology brought not only progress but devastation as well. We see many parallels in the current accumulation of ecological, political and economic crises with the problems of a century ago. It is clear that technological progress does not have a liberating effect for everyone, and that a one-sided approach obstructs many forms of emancipation. The question is, how we can turn the tide, or even start with a clean slate?
In the spirit of the innovators of (especially the early) Bauhaus, we investigate what role design and design education could play in a necessary behavioural change. In doing so, we would like to call on your ingenuity. We must try to think, act and design outside the confines the dominant system. But how?
More than Human Knowledge
We are looking for design that contributes to a truly 21st-century society, in which it is no longer enough to only consider human interests and needs. This exclusive focus on humans, where everything is subjugated to productivity and efficiency, is one of the main causes of the detrimental conditions of the present day.
Neuhaus therefore sees the need to work on developing more-than-human knowledge. A type of knowledge that is not part of traditional design education, knowledge that is suppressed, knowledge that is produced and shared by animals, plants and machines, and knowledge that we can experience with all our senses and our entire body – and therefore not only with our mind. Using metaphors, different interpretations of the concept of ‘learning’ and by critically reflecting on the environments in which we learn, we research how ‘time,’ ‘matter’ and ‘collective bodies and intelligence’, is experienced by both people and non-human beings.
In collaboration with academies, designers, artists, theatre makers, machines, chefs, inventors, researchers, algorithms, activists and neighbours, Neuhaus is currently developing a curriculum that revolves around the question of what people – when they actively ignore only their own values and needs – could learn from (and with) more-than-human actors and in what ways they can arrive at these alternative forms of knowledge.
Why should you join in?
You have an idea with which you think that the other, more-than-human knowledge that is needed now, can be invoked, stimulated, produced, researched, presented and experienced. Think of blindfolded cooking lessons, spiritual walks, algorithmic retreats, free running, reading clubs about ‘forgotten’ philosophers, strategic installations, guided meditations, or....If you become a Neuhausler you'll receive professional support and a modest budget to execute your proposal, and also connect with a larger community of open-minded, curious creatives from a wide range of disciplines.
Who can respond?
Activists, chefs, researchers, inventors, amateurs, digital makers, collectors, designers, musicians, curators, craftsmen, architects, neighbours, people... and you!Partners who are interested in helping to implement other proposals are also welcome.
What are the criteria?
We are looking for proposals that are based on more-than-human knowledge, plans that stimulate and challenge people, but also manage to bring them together, and unconventional and exciting ideas. Please colour outside the lines! Neuhaus prefers proposals that
- are a feast for the senses
- mobilise more Neuhäusler
- use the facilities of Neuhaus, ranging from the exhibition spaces to the garden, the café and the archive
- add new facilities to this repertoire
- can be realised with a modest Neuhaus contribution
- respond to the fact that Neuhaus is located in Rotterdam and is able to involve the neighbourhood in the project with innovative hospitality
What are the themes?
Neuhaus’ curriculum is roughly arranged according to the three themes of ‘time’, ‘matter’ and ‘collective bodies’. The themes can be seen as guidelines for possible proposals.
In a way, our current crises can be seen as a conflict between different time regimes. The pace at which we experience the world as human beings collides on the one hand with the inertia and enormous momentum of geological processes, and on the other hand with the inability of evolutionary processes to keep up or fit in. Processes in the digital infosphere, for their part, occur so rapidly that they completely fail to meet our non-machined perception. Humans should aim to learn to move at all these speeds simultaneously, but how can we do that?
From a human-centred, production-oriented point of view, matter is almost always seen as potential ‘material’ that somehow passively waits to be cast in a temporary form with a design concept. But matter exists long before it becomes material and will continue to exist even after it has been material. If we fail to take this into account, we miss an important aspect of constituting realities. Circularity remains a dream. Matter always ‘behaves’ in a certain way, for example in a chemical or kinetic sense, or simply responds to gravity. At a time when human truth seems to be in jeopardy, we may be able to learn to see the alternative reality of the behaviour of matter.
Collective bodies and intelligence
All bodies are collectives, all entities are part of collective bodies and intelligence is a collective process. Cities, for example, have always been ‘smart’, even before the introduction of ‘smart cities’. We must escape the limiting idea that meaning is pre-eminently created on an individual level. At the same time, we must (continue to) resist the rule of the masses, which currently seems to be eroding democratic mechanisms. How can we create a ‘we-feeling’ that transcends family, class, nation and even species? What organisational forms will facilitate alliances that benefit people, (eco)systems and machines?
The submission period has now expired (details below)
- Register before 11 February 2019 for one of the audition days and send us an outline of your ideas in no more than 200 words. The auditions are scheduled for the end of February and the beginning of March.
- Prepare a story, pitch, dance, drawing, poem or presentation of maximum 10 minutes, with which you introduce your proposal.
- A jury of Neuhäusler will select as many projects as possible for auditions and may invite you to perform ‘live on stage’ at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.
- If your project is chosen, it will be worked out in greater detail and developed in close consultation with the Neuhaus team, so that it can be included in Neuhaus between 18 May and 15 September 2019.
For additional information about Neuhaus please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.