Field Essays is an ongoing research into the tactile relation between thinking and making in the creation process. It can take on the form of a publication, workshop, lecture, exhibition and/or series of talks. It started out in 2008 as a personal research into the nature of design processes in the context of the Professorship of Art and Public Space of the Rietveld Academy, where I was a fellow of the Research Group. Today, Field Essays grounds my practice: researching, reflecting, drawing, writing, and bringing talented minds together to construct alternative histories of the world we inhabit.
For the publication series, I intuitively match an emerging designer whose work appeals to me, with an artist or thinker in order to create an interesting conversation. In doing so, we move back and forth between fieldwork and reflection: new work might be produced, or new insights. In parallel to the publication, I write notes and make drawings about the collaboration process, in an effort to articulate the underlying motives, implications and connections within the practices of the protagonists.
In this way, every issue is a renewed attempt at formulating a visual grammar of artistic research. Ultimately, Field Essays strives to emancipate the creative process from its instrumentalised position. Therefore, the frontiers of design are the search territory — where imaginative tactics and territories are being tested.
Field Essays 55.2 Things that happened. An exclusive book about the wonderful work of emerging Icelandic designer Brynjar Sigurðarson, and his curious encounter with anthropologist Tim Ingold. Includes a foreword by design visionary Li Edelkoort. Edited by design researcher Sophie Krier and graphic design studio ÉricandMarie. Included in this book are: a conversation with anthropologist Tim Ingold on the origin of things, as well as a 12-inch vinyl for which Sigurðarson has collected, recorded, and mixed stories on musical soundscapes. A selection of previously unpublished drawings and writings will thrill amateurs of hand-made details, myths, darkness, isolation, micro-history, memory, stones, animals and supernatural.
Every Object Contains An Image juxtaposes the work of designer Jonathan Muecke (USA) and the work of artist Bas Princen (NL). With his photographs, Princen recomposes built and un-built landscapes — revealing their mindblowing oddities. On the other hand, the core motive of Muecke’s design practice is “to retain potential in an object”. Muecke’s bold artifacts function as probes that venture into the realm of our perception — attempting to detect its hidden mechanisms. Both create visual propositions that “make room” — thereby making room for another reading of the world. Included in this issue are a Manual by Muecke and a Reference Booklet by Princen, printed in a numbered edition.
Pick of Sticks Embodied brings together the work of design duo LucyandBart (AU/NL) and philosopher Marek Pokropski (PL). Lucyandbart work close to the body, and their working process is erratic and impulsive; they generate ambiguous images that depict our skin as a an interface between our self and the world. Marek Pokropski introduces a philosophical framework in an essay about our embodied perception of the world. Past Field Essays workshops have been commissioned by a.o. Icelandic Academy of Art and Design (IS), Bolzano University (I), Cranbrook Academy (USA) and Vanabbe Museum (NL).
Self-initiated research (2008-ongoing). Supported by the Professorship of Art and Public Space, The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture, the CBK Onderzoek & Ontwikkeling (Research & Development) grant & The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Realized in partnership with Onomatopee, Utrecht Manifest No. 4 Biennale of Social Design, the Sandberg Instituut / Studio for Immediate Spaces. Graphic design by Andreas Tscholl (issue zero) & Ericandmarie (issue one).