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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?

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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.

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Thursday Night at Het Nieuwe Instituut
Luca Napoli

Thursday Night Live! is a weekly programme of lectures, screenings and discussions on architecture, design and digital culture. Developments and critical insights are discussed by thinkers, designers and makers from the Netherlands and abroad.