Residentie Daan Roosegaarde

Daan Roosegaarde is a powerhouse of inspiration. The Dutch artist and innovator, with studios in Rotterdam and Shanghai, is young, bright and a great talker. He is bursting with new ideas and he knows how to communicate them to regular people. He was invited to come to Utrecht by Impakt Festival and HKU Studium Generale where on October 28th, 2015 he presented a keynote speech and fantastic visuals at Oudenoord 700, HKU’s new address. His lecture was also the official opening of the Impakt Festival 2015.

Photos: © Peter Menninga

Full of humor and urgency, Rosengaarde made a passionate case for creativity. Dare to create was his motto. And that is actually pretty easy: think, work together, stop saying ‘yes, but ..’ and let things get under your skin. Not only can you then improve yourself, you can improve the future as well. He used a number of stories and personal examples to illustrate his points.

Masterclass maken – Daan Roosegaarde – ‘Hippie with a Business Plan’ from HKU University of the Arts Utr. on Vimeo.

One of Roosegaarde’s examples was about an art installation he made in Lille (FR), aimed to draw people to a beautiful but poorly-visited church, Sainte-Marie-Madeleine. “I placed the installation in the dark. When you came near the installation, the outer foil leaves opened up, allowing a beam of light to shine through that lit the interior of the church. I like to think of this as a good example of literally shedding new light on old history.”

He told another story about the Van Gogh bike path that he designed in Eindhoven with the construction firm Heijmans: “A few months before the project was to be completed, I was told that legally it would not be possible to lay the path. There were no white stripes and the law required them. Changing the law would take a long time. Fortunately, we found a simpler solution, to place a sign with the text: ‘Markings are missing.’ That was allowed. After the official opening of the path I personally pulled the sign out of the ground.”

At the end of his lecture, students in the audience were invited to ask Daan Roosegaarde questions. Residenties in Utrecht had submitted a number of questions in advance. The submitters of the two best questions were in the hall and presented their questions themselves to Daan Roosegaarde. Again he showed his skill as a speaker and his control of the audience. He answered the questions in fast tempo, including by limiting each speaker to one question.

A video reporter from Impakt Festival got the chance to interview Daan Roosegaarde.

About Daan Roosegaarde
Daan Roosegaarde (1979) is an artist and an innovator. He has studios in Rotterdam and Shanghai and does work commissioned by the Dutch government and the World Economic Forum, among others.  Daan Roosegaarde is a sought-after visionary with interesting ideas about the challenging developments facing the modern world and about how technology can be used to solve contemporary problems. His ideas about the relationship between humans and technology are always original.

Daan Roosegaarde is known from projects like Roosegaarde – Van Gogh Bicycle Path, Waterlicht Museumplein Amsterdam and Robotic Lotus Flower Dome, where he cleverly used the memory of materials to create interactive environments. These examples also received attention in his lecture.

About Daan Roosegaarde’s residency
Impakt Festival found the ideal person in Daan Roosegaarde for delving more deeply into this year’s festival theme. This year, the festival for contemporary media culture posed critical questions around the theme, The Future of the Past – in a world well documented. Because in this age of smart phones, internet and social media, all aspects of our lives are captured, wittingly and unwittingly, in pixels and bytes. These data are shared, spread and stored on a massive scale via internet and other platforms. But what does this mean for our collective memory and our experience of the past, present and future? The relationships between past and future and between old and new were explored in depth by Roosegaarde.

HKU (Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, University of the Arts Utrecht) organizes interesting and inspiring lectures with free admission for students under the auspices of Studium Generale. In the fall of 2015, these lectures took place under the theme Hoe faber ben jij?. At a school of art like the HKU, things are constantly being created, but what does it mean to create? wondered Studium Generale. At HKU, the word create is used daily in more than forty different courses of study, spread among eight schools. Do we all share the same understanding of what that word means? Most likely not, and that was illustrated by various speakers who all have their own vision on this topic. Including Daan Roosegaarde, of course.

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