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(Archive) The space between us

Shifting focus from objects to relationships

This project was part of DDW 2023
Finnegan Shannon, Do you want us here or not — © Courtesy MMK, Photo: Diana Pfammatter

Who or what determines the function of an object? Is a chair still a chair if it is exhibited in a museum? Maker, place and context: they determine the meaning of an object. The space between us questions the function of design and the role of the museum.

Relational Design

The space between us stretches across ten rooms of the Van Abbemuseum's historical building. Works by artists and designers from the museum's collection coincide with works on loan, including a number of works by Design Academy Eindhoven alumni. The starting point of the exhibition is relational design. This form of design explores the influence of objects and their design processes. For example, Finnegan Shannon questions the accessibility of museums. This maker places wooden benches in the exhibition, with texts on them such as 'This exhibition has asked me to stand for too long. Sit if you agree'. The benches are meant for visitors who, for whatever reason, want to take a rest.

Don't just watch, participate

The space between us challenges you not only to look, but also to participate. Start interacting with the works you see, the spaces in which they are located and the visitors you encounter. For example, play a game of table football on the FeetBall Rietveld Table by Surasi Kusolwong. In his work you see Dutch clogs and a Gerrit Rietveld table; two internationally renowned examples of Dutch design. With his design, the artist makes you think about the nationalistic character of the sport.

Embassy of Inclusive Society

The space between us was created in collaboration with the Embassy of Inclusive Society. Embassy of Inclusive Society is part of World Design Embassies, a programme of the Dutch Design Foundation. Embassy of Inclusive Society sees inclusion as a continuous process of learning and unlearning. What skills and habits should we keep or let go of in order to live together in a good way? And what role do designers and design have in this? With installations, activities and experiments you can practice your inclusivity muscle.

The exhibition features work by: Afonso de Matos / Aydan Murtezaoğlu / Alice Watel / Can Altay / Carl Andre / Comfort Ball / Community Couture & Snootie Studios / El Lissitzky / Enzo Mari / Finnegan Shannon / Gabriel Fontana / Gerrit Rietveld / Joe Scanlan / Koki Tanaka / Lana Čmajčanin / Li Mu / Luna Maurer / Piero Gilardi / Radha D'Souza & Jonas Staal / Robert Glas / Sarah Ross / Studio Corvers / SUPERFLEX / Surasi Kusolwong / Tadhg Read / Tania Bruguera / Tord Boontje / Umbrella Movement / Yassine Ben Abdallah.