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(Archive) What if Lab: Make rheumatism (in)visible

What if Lab in collaboration with ReumaNederland.

This project was part of DDW 2022

Rheumatism is a collective term for more than 100 different disorders of your joints, muscles, tendons and bones that are not caused by an accident. ReumaNederland wants to answer the question: How do we make life with rheumatism tangible? This is an excellent opportunity to work with designers.

Making rheumatism experienceable

More than two million people in the Netherlands live with rheumatism. That is one in nine people. Therefore, rheumatism is close to everyone, with far-reaching consequences. Severe pain, fatigue and damaged muscles make movement difficult and impede daily life. Because you cannot always tell, and because the symptoms vary from day to day, many rheumatism patients experience a lack of understanding. This makes the symptoms worse. This lack of understanding is not due to unwillingness but rather to ignorance and inexperience with rheumatism's impact on life.

How can we allow a broad public to experience, in an installation, what impact rheumatism has on the daily lives of more than two million Dutch people?

This What if Lab has a twofold objective. On the one hand, to let people experience what it is like to live with rheumatism. This increases our understanding of the here and now. The other side is to make the obstacles of rheumatism experienceable in a temporary context, where you also have the luxury of being able to step out again.

Design studio Muzus is taking up this design challenge! The aim is to develop a deeper social awareness and understanding, even among people without rheumatism, and thus to put the urgency of solving the problem on the map.