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The Object is Absent

Optimistic manifesto for less materialistic design

Wed 23 oct at MU | Strijp-S

The Object is Absent is a radical experiment. It is a theatre, a concert, a cinema, a gym and an exhibition in one. It is a playful gathering to learn and do, by designers and everyone. The Object is Absent is a manifesto to dematerialize design by optimizing optimistic human behaviour.

The world is changing rapidly. Powers are shifting and we have to develop new relations and values between people; people as objects, players and spectators. With The Object is Absent MU takes a radical step in that direction.

The Object is Absent is a transmedia project constructed as an ever-evolving play, an action against the Action, a designers statement against materialist cheap abundance by creating value out of nothing.
And so The Object is Absent, but the designers are present and so are their attitudes, their ideas, their bodies and minds. Especially in the context of Dutch Design Week The Object is Absent strives to avoid the physicality of the square meter stand, to give space back to people.

By pushing this to the max The Object is Absent will be all about acting design, singing design, dancing design, while the objects themselves will only look in from the outside. It will be a leap towards an alternative and all inclusive sense of being, producing zero waste and a healthy and interesting lifestyle.

Concept, curation and realisation is in the hands of Alexandre Humbert, Tom Loois, Lucas Maassen and Angelique Spaninks

Andreas Refsgaard

Poems About Things
Not things but an app that makes poetry about things. Point your camera at an object around you and receive words in return. Sentences, poems, an additional layer of meaning that stimulates free association and lets you experience things in a different way.

Alexandre Humbert

Object Interviews
Object Interviews is a collection of nineteen one-minute videos featuring design objects in conversation. The series investigates how objects exist on their own, giving us humans an entrance to the rich interior life of the non-human world around us.

Alvin Arthur

We Link In Motion
To dance forever, together. To Alvin Arthur the moving figure, the dancing body, is the essence of everything. It is pure form. It is the connecting link, the relation that makes us human among humans.

Rawad Baaklini

I Found A Recorder in My Fridge
If all the objects have to stay outside, while there are only people inside, what do we see? How do you talk about it, what do you tell and how do you know if your story is correct? Maybe you will never know, maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it actually opens up the space we need in order to leave behind the things we have. This audio tour guide might help.

Louis De Belle

Disappearing objects
For years he collected secret instruments used by illusionists, resulting in a collection of tools for making objects disappear. Small mysterious artefacts – always fitting in a magician’s hand – that often have features of something familiar to us: our own body. Recognisable and anthropomorphic, but fitted with clever functional springs and hinges.

Alexandre Humbert & Noud Sleumer

The Object is Absent
A Rietveld chair in a space, remembering how it got there and how it slowly disappears, while in the meantime we learn to see it for what it really is.

Lucas Maassen, Alvin Arthur, Marie Caye, Dorota Gazy

Auto Sêgo
Pronounced as [auto sejo] it sounds like Italian for taking a seat. A bit of training is all it takes for you to engage with the things around you in a different way, to create a healthy and interesting new lifestyle. Look at it as a sport with no boundaries, a form of self-sufficiency. Without waste or use of materials; only your muscles count.

Lucas Maassen & Vivien Tauchmann + DAE masters social design

Body Architecture
How can we build spaces, not with stones or building materials but with our bodies? And how do we shape meaningful social spaces this way? Spaces we like to be in, or spaces we want to break out of. And how do they differ in experience and feeling from the spaces that we know and that surround us every day?

Govert Flint

Motion Study: Sweat
Energy is elementary for physical movement. Movement demands effort and produces sweat. How this works exactly and what it looks like, is being investigated by Govert Flint in one the Motion Studies he developed especially for The Object is Absent.

Dorota Gazy

Dance Dialogues
With Dance Dialogues, Dorota Gazy and Peter Rombouts make complex organisational and societal questions tangible and visible by using movement. Because thinking alone is not enough. What happens in a court of justice, in a school full of very different students and a in family home where where it is no longer safe?

Elise t Hart & Nils Davidse

Keuken
Words help us come to terms with the world around us. Saying the word ‘kitchen’ immediately calls forth an image – no matter how different this image might be for each of us, the essence of what a kitchen is, or could be, is clear. For The Object is Absent, Elise ‘t Hart and Nils Davidse created a kitchen in words and sounds. What thoughts and associations, what smells and desires would they evoke?

Mark Henning

Normaal space
A handshake is more than a greeting. It says so much, if not everything, about who we are and where we stand – literally too; about how we see ourselves and the other, about social relations and feelings, about power and physicality. Mark Henning has been investigating the social expectations of the handshake for years, and during The Object is Absent, he will be conducting an experimental research; at the entrance, every day.

Thom van Rijckevorsel

What I need to know
Two hands holding something. A hollow space, something green, each other… They are moving, kneading, turning around each other, endlessly.

Noud Sleumer

De-Design Demos
Is it possible to de-design design? Of course it is! Very practically, by taking things apart. But any deconstruction also has material implications and philosophical layers. At all of these levels, Noud Sleumer is a de-maker. He leads us into the systematic de-design of everyday things, unfolding his knowledge of this issue along the way.

Giulia Soldati

Contatto Experience
Contatto Experience is a culinary approach that emphasises the sensorial experience of food preparation and consumption. Contatto Experience removes all unnecessary objects that create a distance between food and the body, such as cutlery, plates and some kitchen utensils. Focus is on the hand instead, extending taste to the realm of touch.

Vivien Tauchmann

Self as Other Trainings
Vivien Tauchmann engages critically with mind-numbing production lines mainly operated by low-wage labourers, often in distant lands. Starting from instructions that demonstrate in detail the endless repetitive movements from five such production lines (in retail, cocoa production, textile industry, phone making and work in a greenhouse), she tries to stimulate empathy for the often unseen other.

Woody Veneman

The Anthem
Eindhoven vocalist and songwriter Woody Veneman created the official anthem for The Object is Absent. The song is called ‘Goodbye Things’ and it's a true singalong. During Dutch Design Week he will be recording this track with an exquisite selection of well known designers in a custom built sound booth. The track will be released under the name Designers United.

Ivi van Keulen

Sanding Time
How to let an iconic item like a wooden chair disappear slowly and seemingly without purpose by sanding it down completely by hand.

MU

MU is an adventurous and inquisitive guide in an international network of creatives investigating together what art can be. To MU art and design are core in daily life. We always seek to link art to contemporary developments in society, from digital culture to urban transformations, without ever losing sight of the capacity to radically change thinking by artists and designers.