Source collection The Conversation Room
Hugues Boekraad is known as a design critic, author and has taught at the Jan van Eijck Academy in Maastricht and the St. Joost Academy in Breda. Among other things, he wrote a book about the French graphic designer Pierre Bernard, My work is not my work, 2006. Boekraad praises Bernard as someone who does not see people as passive consumers but encourages interaction. Pierre Bernard's work enabled Boekraad to investigate the contributions that designers can make to the public domain.
In De Nieuwe Mens, architectural historian Auke van der Woud desribes how in the late nineteenth century the core of the then dominant culture was "overgrown" by a new culture, that eventually became our mass culture. Sometimes it reads like a cultural-historical fairytale, but above all it is an appeal to look at our culture from the past century and a half with different eyes. Van der Woud emphasizes that we must learn to understand and understand these better from an anthropological and sociological interest. In this way, the broader whole is examined and not only the elitist and exclusive splinters of culture.
'The Debate' is a publication of the famous 1972 debate between Dutch graphic designers Wim Crouwel and Jan van Toorn. A public clash of subjectivity versus objectivity, the debate was held in response to an exhibition of Van Toorn’s work at the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum. Crouwel defended his approach of neutrality and austere rationalism, attention to typography and worksmanship, and professionalism in service of the client’s message. Van Toorn argued for his use of chaos, collage, and photographs of everyday life; that a designer’s ideas, personality, and political commitments are integral to the work.
Johan van de Gronden, philosopher and director of the World Wildlife Fund, explores the twilight zone between philosophy and nature conservation. In one of the essays in Wijsgeer in het wild he explores the wonderful and poorly understood relationship between living languages and biological diversity. The background to these essays raises the question of the moral dimension of nature conservation. What do morality and landscape have to do with each other? And if there is almost no tuft of untouched wilderness left, what does nature conservation mean?