Activities > Publications > MaHKUzine #4

MaHKUzine #4, Winter 2008

The concept of the politics of design permeates the entire issue of MaHKUzine#4. To be sure, the politics of design do not refer to intrigues and machinations in the design world creating wicked plots and scenarios. Rather, the politics of design connects with current design fascinations evoked by globalization and sustainability creating novel design perspectives and design trajectories with an undercurrent of making our world a better place.

The Research Essays reflect that design attitude. In Design as a Tool for the Empowerment of Producers from Underexposed Cultures to Participate in a Global World through the Internet, Luis Ignacio Carmona introduces the concept of Internet Cooperatives where consumers and producers will be partners in the development of sustainable, ecological and unique products. Fashion and the Passing of Time sees Maaike Staal suggest the term Trash-Worship for designers who use discarded materials in their creations; they employ the remnants of our consumer society as a base for new designs for that same society. In fact, they revalue our own garbage. In Between Nostalgia and Expectation, Gabriela Hernández argues that public space is where a culture reflects its past and its aspirations. Deploying Baudrillard's simulacra and simulation theory as background Hernández develops a specific line of thought in order to illustrate and understand nostalgia and expectation in different public places from different poles.

In the DARE #2 symposium The Politics of Design – a satellite project of Utrecht Manifest's 2nd Biennial for Social Design - various speakers address a similar design attitude. Casco's Fiona Parry reports on positions taken. Speaker Petra Blaisse uses the curtain as a quietly political tool that is capable of altering and subsequently questioning the fixedness of architectural space. Both Hella Jongerius and Fiona Raby, encircling the symposium as first and last speaker respectively, discuss how designers can affect the way people think about choice, including choosing to think about the future. Guus Beumer focuses on fashion design and the fashion industry and shows how design has affected how we even think about what the future is. Hein Eberson's Second Life lecture voices concerns for a designer in relation to the increasing prominence of online activity and its impact on forms of communication, privacy and security. One of the concepts Roemer van Toorn introduces is the Society of the And where ideas once held at a distance by binary opposition can be joined together creating a context in which designers and architects must now work in order to produce socially responsible design. In MaHKUzine#4, Van Toorn and moderator Annette W. Balkema further discuss the validity of the Society of the And.  

Last but not least, the Research Reports point out that art no longer uses traditional contexts, but appears to create its own platforms able to continuously produce novel, interdisciplinary contexts. That recontextualizing turn also implies that the artist always needs to reflect on the connection of art, public, and public domain. Wim Marseille discusses the rhetorical opposition of a why- and a why not- attitude in the design process while reporting on a series of research lectures in South Korea addressing the issue of global design. (AWB)

Read or download maHKUzine #4 at ISSUU

MaHKUzine, Journal of Artistic Research
Editorial board
Henk Slager (General editor)
Annette W. Balkema
Arjen Mulder
Bibi Straatman

Editorial consultants
Klaas Hoek
Wim Marseille
Chris Vermaas
Mascha van Zijverden

Final editing
Annette W. Balkema
Language editing
Jennifer Nolan
Global Vernunft
Thomas Clever, MaHKU/MA Editorial Design
Swift (by Gerard Unger), BE Akzidenz Grotesk


MaHKU is part of the European Artistic Research Network, together with Helsinki School of Art, Helsinki; Malmo School of Art, Malmo; NCAD School of Art, Dublin; Slade School of Art, London; Vienna School of Art, Vienna.


  • Annette W. Balkema, Lecturer in Analysis in Spatial Design, MaHKU, Utrecht
  • Guus Beumer, Director Marres and NAI, Maastricht
  • Petra Blaisse, Interdisciplinary Designer, Inside Outside, Amsterdam
  • Luis Ignacio Carmona, MaHKU Graduate Design, Editorial Design
  • Hein Eberson. Lecturer Editorial Design, MaHKU, Utrecht
  • Gabriela Hernandez, MaHKU Graduate Design, Urban Design
  • Hella Jongerius, Product Designer, Rotterdam
  • Wim Marseille, Courseleader MA Interior Design, MaHKU, Utrecht
  • Fiona Parry, Curatorial assistant Casco, Utrecht
  • Fiona Raby, Professor of Interaction Design, Royal College of Art, London
  • Maaike Staal, MaHKU Gradaute Design, Fashion Design
  • Roemer van Toorn, Professor Projective Theory Program, Berlage Institute, Rotterdam