Het Nieuwe Instituut and designer Elisa van Joolen introduce EVJ, a series of tote bags made from used plastic bags that will be available to borrow. In the second edition of Design Dialogues on 6 May, Van Joolen will be joined by philosopher Patricia de Vries, designer Karim Adduchi, designer Baby Reni, journalist Lynn Berger and experienced bag-caretakers Youngeun Sohn and Witho Worms at Het Nieuwe Instituut. With a contribution by archaeologist Maikel Kuijpers. The conversation will be about taking care of things that aren’t ours, imbuing the disposable with value, and answering the question: what happens when an ordinary object becomes something in our care?
The series of tote bags, the first museum bags produced by Het Nieuwe Instituut, will not be for sale, but can be borrowed by users for free. Borrowers become the caretakers of one of the 300 EVJ bags: they sign a loan agreement stipulating that they have to take care of the bag, take photos of how they take care of the bag, and return it to Het Nieuwe Instituut by 6 November 2021 so it can be used by a new caretaker.
Most of the items people possess are bought, received as gifts or occassionally rented, but borrowing something, and having to take care of it before returning it, is less common – even less so, when it’s an item that is borrowed from a stranger. The idea behind the EVJ tote bags calls on notions that seem to have gone out of fashion, but are regardless not any less important: care, commitment, responsibility, maintenance, trust and value beyond money.
At the end of the evening people can sign up to borrow the bags on the website of the EVJ bags.
Elisa van Joolen
Elisa van Joolen is a designer based in Amsterdam. Her approach to clothing design is characterised by strategies of intervention and reconfiguration. Elisa's projects often reflect specific social contexts and emphasise collaboration and participation. They expose relational aspects of clothing and subvert processes of value production. Elisa holds a BA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and a MFA from Parsons in New York. She was artist in residence at IASPIS in Stockholm and Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. She teaches at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. In addition to running her own studio, Van Joolen founded Warehouse, a place for clothes in context in Amsterdam, together with Hanka van der Voet and Femke de Vries.
Maikel Kuijpers is a professor of archaeology at the University of Leiden. He views the human from the perception of material culture. “Show me your belongings and I can tell you who you are” – but more on the level of civilisations. In order to keep the earth liveable, it is important that we understand our relationships and connections to materials. Materials and belongings are more than a cumulative amount of natural resources. They have a history. They shape our physical environment, influence our behaviour and in the long-term influence the way that we think.
Patricia de Vries
Patricia de Vries is an assistant professor of philosophy at Maastricht University. Her work resides at the intersection of philosophy, art and technology. She explores artistic and social imaginaries of emerging technologies, and the anxieties that often underpin our relation to them. Previously, she worked as a researcher and coordinator at the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam, as a Research Fellow at Digital Asia Hub in Hong Kong, and was a visiting scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Karim Adduchi is an illustrator and fashion designer who grew up in the mountains of Imzouren, Morocco. He moved to Spain and completed his art education at the University of Barcelona, and then moved to Amsterdam to further his education. Adduchi decided to use fashion to showcase his personal story and heritage in an transparent way. After his first collection, he received a lot of attention from the press, and his story becamse an example of self-expression and globalisation. A year after his first collection, he was asked to open Amsterdam Fashion Week.
Artist and fashion designer Irene Ha creates her work under the pseudonym Baby Reni. She grew up in the Netherlands with her Vietnamese parents and graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2020. In her graduation project Jetlegged - a portmanteau of the words jetlag and bootlegged - she researched and questioned paradoxical topics such as her western and Southeast Asian identity, the cross-over between art and fashion, and the ways in which fashion is being produced.
Lynn Berger is a staff writer at De Correspondent, an online journalism platform based in Amsterdam, where she writes about culture and care.
Youngeun Sohn is an artist, currently based in Amsterdam. Her performative practice uses her body, someone else’s body, gestures, and labor to intervene in daily life. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Art (2018) and was an artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (2019) and the Jan van Eyck Academie (2019-2020). She exhibited work in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit (2018) and made performances at the Chunui Technopark (2021), the Jan van Eyck’s Windowsills (2020), the Robert Lehman Library in Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (2019), the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library (2018), and Pad Thai Restaurant (2018).