New Knowledge

This is – again – NL_MIX – the app I made to study the future of the Netherlands with. The app combines visual material I took from future-of-the-Netherlands online glossies (pdf’s) produced by many, many interest groups and sorted into eight categories : Denkers (Thinkers); Duurzaam (Environment), Infra (Infrastructure); Natuur (Nature); Recreatie (Recreation); Veiligheid (Safety); Werken (Work); Wonen (Housing).

For one thing in particular struck me when I started to take a closer look at the ‘makeability’ of the Netherlands: there are so very many vision documents in which the future of the Netherlands is outlined. ‘More cycle paths’ says the Dutch Cyclists’ Association, ‘more organic’ says poultry farming, ‘more dikes’ says Rijkswaterstaat. And I could go on and on. Everyone who is something, wants something or represents something has their own plans for our small country.

The visions were piling up, and I wanted to do something with that. I was looking for a way to investigate whether there is coherence to be found in the abundance of images of A Better Netherlands. I decided to use WordPress for this, the software I already use for my business blog and this ‘nerdy artists notebook’. Some time later – actually: many pleasantly focused hours later – WordPress was tailor-made for my goal: NL_MIX is now operational. An app that visualizes the future of our nation and offers an ultimate form of ‘makeability’. Because according to good Dutch usage, everyone can be at the controls.

For this post I made a small animated GIF to show how different the Netherlands looks when one of the eight interests prevails. This was a surprising outcome – that each interest expresses itself in a distinct visual pattern, imprints itself in a different way on the future Netherlands. This is something that can be discerned only once one plays with my app, so it would qualify as new knowledge that is the fruit of artistic research – yay!

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