Public engagement is essential to Open Set’s mission and is integrated into all curriculum


expanding dialogues is at the heart of what we do.

In symposia, conferences, and lectures, we present the results of our research and invite wider audiences into our intellectual boxing ring.

On the Practice of Tuning-in

8 March 2019, 10.00–17.00
Location: Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam

This symposium brought to a close three Open Set research programmes on rhythms in Amsterdam Zuidoost: the summer school, the 5-month-long Lab Practicing Rhythm and the series of seminars Rhythmanalysis in Context. 

During these programmes, local and international artists, designers and scientists delved into the contemporary and historical setting of Amsterdam Zuidoost through rhythmanalysis. What happens when one tunes—when one listens to, understands, synchronizes with or refuses—the rhythms of others? Through multidisciplinary collaborations, Open Set explored sensitivities involved in the process of tuning in different contexts: as individuals or communities; in urban spaces or with urban materials, education and culture.

The symposium presented rhythm-based explorations and interventions developed during the programmes. Together with international speakers, we reflected on how the recognition of different rhythms plays an essential role in understanding the complexities of, and in engaging with, the urban fabric.

The Open Set professionalisation programmes in Amsterdam Zuidoost aimed to enrich the methodologies of participants with innovative transdisciplinary methods. Through different formats, these programmes offered a safe territory for promising artists and designers to strengthen their practices, meet peers from all over the world, and extend their professional networks.


  • Tanja Jadnanansing — Chair of the Board of the Burough of Amsterdam Zuidoost
  • Suzy Blok — choreographer, educator, artistic and general director at Dansmakers Amsterdam
  • Prof. Julian Henriques — Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Pinar Sefkatli — architect, PhD researcher, University of Amsterdam: 'Designing with Rhythms'
  • Peter Vial — visual artist
  • Anna Costantino — Philosophy of Education & Language Education, University of Greenwich
  • Petra Hegenbart —multi-disciplinary practitioner
  • Heather Griffin — designer
  • Xiaoji Song —researcher in social science, design, digital technology
  • Albert Kuhn — Non-fiction director, producer
  • Kozhukhovskaya Natalia — visual artist
  • Noemi Niederhauser —artist, designer, curator, the co-founder of the artist-run space A - DASH
  • Cathalijne Smulders — visual artist
  • Chair – Prof dr. Caroline Nevejan — University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Chief Science Officer at the Municipality of Amsterdam


Pakhuis de Zwijger. Piet Heinkade 179, 1019 HC Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The attendance is free.


The programme is made possible by the support of the City of Amsterdam Zuidoost, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Het Pauwhof Fonds, CBK Zuidoost, and has been organized in collaboration with the research group Designing Rhythm for Social Resilience (2018–2022). The visit of Nadia Christidi is made possible by Het Nieuwe Instituut with support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Fluid Rhythms

16 August 2018, 16.00–20.00
Location: Imagine IC

This symposium was a public launch of the seven-month programme 'Fluid Rhythms'. It aimed to explore the potential of rhythm as a lens through which we look at the complex urban fabric — the tunings and frictions between multiple elements of a city.

“The crowd is a body, the body is a crowd” — Henri Lefebvre

Rhythms occur on many levels at the same time in the macro-level structures and dynamics of the city: in its planning and infrastructure; within the cells of bodies; and in the interconnections between mind, emotion, brain and heartbeats, which can be provoked by a smell, a sound or a sight. By investigating these intertwined patterns of change — in other words, rhythms — a world of subtle complexity starts to reveal itself to us in how humans, machines, animals and microbes interact and coexist. We discussed different methods for discovering new, invisible or forgotten rhythms, in order to find the points of friction and blind spots in order to transform and harness the power for social and ecological change.

Invited Experts

  • Nadia Christidi — writer, artist, PhD researcher at MIT: 'Bird Song in Bijlmermeer: The Poetry and Politics of Intimate Entanglements'
  • Satinder P. Gill — researcher, University of Cambridge: 'Rhythm in Human Sense-making'
  • Anton Kats — artist, musician: 'Radio Delo'
  • Pinar Sefkatli — architect, PhD researcher, University of Amsterdam: 'Designing with Rhythms'
  • Mike Thompson — art, design & research collective Thought Collider: 'Making Waves'
  • Noam Toran — artist: 'The Natives are Restless'


Imagine IC & OBA Bijlmer. Bijlmerplein 393, 1102 DK Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The attendance is free.


The programme is made possible by the support of the City of Amsterdam Zuidoost, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Het Pauwhof Fonds, CBK Zuidoost, and has been organized in collaboration with the research group Designing Rhythm for Social Resilience (2018–2022). The visit of Nadia Christidi is made possible by Het Nieuwe Instituut with support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Fluid Memory

27 January 2018
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

While presenting the development of the Open Set Lab program we aim to inspire new debates and artistic research around archival matters. We invite the audience to engage in a conversation about the subjects and questions that have been at stake during the program: What are the conditions for rethinking our contemporary relations to the historical material, or reshaping public debates around it? What is the role of artists in this process and if / how it can be done through artistic means? Is there an artistic practice of remembering that can determine our relation to the present and future? At the same time, we highlight the potentials for collectively building and re-shaping archives – and (collective or individual) memory – from the bottom up. In particular, we focus on the use of digital tools to activate archival processes and records, and, how archiving or appropriating archives in general can be used as tools in social movements, as ways to collectively (re)shape public debates.

Our special guests to address these questions include:

– Ernst van Alphen | Professor of Literary Studies, Department of Film and Literary Studies, Leiden University;
– Tina Bastajian | Media Artist, Archival/cross-media Dramaturge, Educator;
– Carolyn Birdsall | Assistant Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam;
– Annet Dekker | Assistant Professor Archival Science, University of Amsterdam, and Curator;
– Matteo Marangoni | Artist and Curator, Instrument Inventors Initiative.

Alongside the presentation of the selected research projects and themes developed during Open Set Lab, this conference also sees the launch of the new edition of the Open Set Reader. The Reader has been developed by the students of the Master in Design Curating & Writing at the Design Academy Eindhoven.

Location & registration

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision - Media Parkboulevard 1, 1217 WE Hilversum, The Netherlands 

REGISTRATION via Eventbrite.


Memories of the Future 2017

09.09.2017, AKV|StJoost Master Institute,
's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands

Open Set, AKV | St Joost Master Institute and Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid are pleased to invite you to the kick off of the new research programme on the intersection between design, film, art and the humanities – Open Set Lab. Please join us on Saturday 9 September from 11 am to 5 pm for the public symposium.

Under the theme Memories of the Future the symposium will address the folowing questions: how can we de-mystify our historical conventions, re-contextualize our previous experience, give it new meaning based on present conditions and transform it for the future? How do we preserve the traces of the past, and how do we make sense of them in the digital age? Whether it be social network platforms, carefully curated collections, or state archives, how we archive and what we archive are unavoidable aspects that determine our memory.

The following five month programme Open Set Lab will investigate the power of agency held by designers and artists to create new tools, ways of thinking and visual or performative narratives that can reactivate our memory – and as a result, open up futuristic pluralities.

Location & registration

AKV|StJoost Master Institute, Parallelweg 21-23, 5323 AL 's-Hertogenbosch.

Should you wish to attend the symposium, the registration is required via e-mail at


Annette Behrens (Artist), Sue Breakell  (Archivist and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Brighton Design Archives), Dr. Sebastian Groes (Reader in English Literature at the Department of English and Creative Writing, Roehampton University), Robert M Ochshorn (Independent artist and researcher), Johan Oomen (Head of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision R&D Department, researcher at the Web and Media group of the VU University Amsterdam).

Moderator: Shailoh Phillips (Studio Babel, polymash researcher, artist, mediator).


11.00 Doors open
11.20 - 11.45 Opening by Miriam Bestebreurtje (AKV|StJoost, Head of Master Programmes) and Irina Shapiro (Open Set, Programme Director)
11.45 - 12.20 Presentation by Johan Oomen
12.20 - 12.50 Shailoh Philips | Exercise Indexing the Archive
12.50 - 13.30 Lunch Break
13.30 - 14.10 Sue Breakell | The Context of Content: Material and Immaterial Archival Bodies
14.10 - 14.45 Robert M Ochshorn | Faster and Less Accurate. Post-Spreadsheet Digital Archives
14.45 - 15.00 Break
15.00 - 15.35 Annette Behrens | An Emptied Space
15.35 - 16.15 Sebastian Groes | Critical Mess: A Speculative Meditation on Memory, Materiality and the Database
16.15 - 16.30 Break
16.30 - 17.15 Final Panel Discussion

Memories of the Future 2016

27.07.2016, Kunstblock, Rotterdam the Netherlands

Our contemporary society is characterized by a growing uncertainty about the future in reaction to climate change, geopolitical shifts, ongoing scientific breakthroughs, the acceleration of new technologies and the pervasiveness of social media. These are just a few factors that are having an impact on the present, on the understanding of ourselves, the world around us, and the future, on the reinterpretation of heritage and on our vision of tomorrow. The Symposium Memories of the Future explored how the notion and perception of memory can be used to stimulate diverse futuristic approaches. How can we activate memory for the future? Is the future set for us by predetermined cultural reference frameworks? Or are memory and heritage, as well as the future, concepts that can be open to a public debate?

The invited experts related the theme to emerging (virtual and physical) environments and tools, and discussed the theme's influence on emerging forms of social interactions, relationships and aesthetics.


René Boer: Failed Architecture (NL), Josephine Bosma, journalist and critic (NL), Max Bruinsma, independent design critic (NL), Theo Deutinger: TD Architects (AT), Prof. dr. Ben Schouten: TU Eindhoven, Chair, Design of Intelligent Systems of Playful Interactions (NL).

The symposium is a collaboration between Open Set and the Institute of Network Cultures.

Recorded Lectures

Intermedia Theater

World Citizenship, Memories of the Future

23.02.2016, Samsung Leeum Museum, Seoul, South Korea

Kicking-off the 2016 session was Intermedia Theater, one of the Leeum Museum’s cross-disciplinary programmes, a symposium co-organised by the Leeum Museum, the Samsung Museum of Art and Foundation Open Set, within the framework of Open Set Dutch Design Seoul Sessions.

The Intermedia Theater's theme for 2016 was World Citizenship. Art is one of the most transnational fields, and it can powerfully raise our awareness of living in a globalized world. The issues that we have to think about together with our contemporaries across the globe cover politics, economy, culture, science, and more. The ways art deals with these topics can stretch space and create a context for the past and the future to co-exist, thus evoking universal empathy.

During the last two weeks of February 2016 Open Set traveled to Seoul to offer a special programme under the title Memories of the Future. The phrase is also the title of a work by Laurent Grasso from the Leeum Museum’s collection installed on the exterior wall of MUSEUM 2, the contemporary art building of the museum complex. The work consists of nineteen neon letters that form an oxymoronic term betraying the idea that memories are only about the past, and from the first to the last letter, the palette gradually fades from dark to light in a blue tone, obscuring spatial boundaries. Memories of the Future, a title in plurality, conjoined the Leeum Museum and Open Set in an attempt to figure out how contradictory things can correspond to each other and to lay open invisible and indeterminate relationships.


Kim Sang-kyu: Seoul National University of Science and Technology (KR), Jeroen Barendse: Studio Lust (NL), Annelys de Vet: Studio DEVET, Sandberg Instituut (NL), Koert van Mensvoort: Next Nature Network (NL), Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho (KR).

CA Korea — Open Set Conference

19.02.2016, DDP, Seoul, South Korea

What is the distinct character of the design practice in the Netherlands? How has the identity of Dutch Design been influenced by the cultural heritage of the Netherlands, as well as by Dutch social, political and economic developments? What shapes its present and future?

The conference welcomes designers from the Netherlands, who will address these questions from the perspective of research, education, editing, critique and design practice. They will be joined by their colleagues from Seoul to respond to the inquiry into the past, present and future of the design profession in the international context and specifically — in South Korea.

The themes of the CA Korea — Open Set Conference are complemented by its location — the recently opened Dongdaemun Design Plaza. DDP is a centrally located landmark designed by Zaha Hadid Architects that incorporates Korean tradition and the future of ever-changing design.


Max Bruinsma (NL), designers Floris van Driel (NL), Alfons Hooikaas (NL) & Jaewon Seok (KR), Mirte van Duppen (NL), Nuankhanit Phromchanya (TH/NL).

Designing Experience, 2015

29.07.2015, Kunstblock, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

The symposium Designing Experience was part of the 4th edition of Open Set Summer School and was hosted by Kunstblock in Rotterdam.

The speakers explored the theme Designing Experience: Moment — Stage — Memory from artistic, curatorial, scientific and academic perspectives, and addressed the questions: what does it mean to mediate new experiences, and what form can it take? What is the social and ethical impact of these new experiences?


Max Bruinsma (NL), Dennis Elbers: Graphic Design Festival Breda (NL), Jacqueline Heerema (NL), Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken: Dutch Research School for Philosophy (OZSW), Linnaeus University, Sweden (NL) and Florian Cramer (NL).

Recorded Lectures