Winners fellowship Repairing the Present selected

Dutch component of European innovation subsidy awarded to two art initiatives

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This spring, Witteveen+Bos will be hosting two art initiatives. The artists involved will be given the opportunity to give their ideas concrete form in one of Witteveen+Bos’s consultancy projects. It will consist of two fellowships within a project on the local environment vision for The Hague. The fellowships comprise the Dutch component of the European S+T+ARTS programme, which facilitates collaboration between artists and the business community ­– under the title ‘Repairing the Present’ – for the purpose of developing solution pathways for the Green Deal.

Over the past few months, all of the 334 applications that were received in response to the open call were extensively assessed by 12 regional S+T+ARTS centres, as well as a group of experts and a local jury. The winners for the Dutch region are art collective Grow Your Own Cloud and artist Penelope Cain.


Grow your own cloud

Grow Your Own Cloud is a Paris art collective founded by Cyrus Clarke and Monika Seyfried. With their contribution to the project, they aim to take the next step in their work on DNA data storage methods. Using the name Urban Data Forest, the collective wants to reshape the data cloud by creating the world’s first organic data centre in The Hague. Urban Data Forest raises ethical, technical and social questions about data storage and its environmental consequences. The ultimate goal is to set up a prototype for a future in which sustainable urban data storage is the key to cleaner, greener and more prosperous cities.

Repairing with lichen

Penelope Cain is a microbiologist-turned-artist. In her well thought-out works she combines both disciplines in order to increase our awareness of the beauty of interspecies communities in endangered landscapes. Her ‘Repairing with Lichen’ project explores a new layer of urban perceptions through the eyes of a single species: the lichen. It focuses on urban biodiversity, with new appreciation for existing flora, but also monitors carbon uptake and nitrogen fixation. By introducing the concept of micro-wildlife in the least natural areas of the city, Penelope proposes a project that allows for a high level of public involvement and that can be scaled up in cities and urban areas everywhere.

Art experiment

Eveline Buter (Director, Witteveen+Bos): ‘We are very much looking forward to hosting these artists and we hope to learn a lot from each other. We each work in our own way on issues such as greening cities and reducing the impact of data centres. We’re curious to see what can happen when our technical world and their artistic approach are so intensely brought together. It fits in with our aim of creating a deeper and more concrete form of mutual inspiration between art and engineering – one which goes beyond the annual presentation of the Art+Technology Award.’

With this initiative, the project partners introduce artistic experimentation as a part of innovation processes. The interrogative and illustrative power of the artistic prototype is the first stage. The fellows will work closely with Witteveen+Bos. In4Art’s Art-Driven Innovation method means the project will continually be making connections between the different disciplines during the experiments, allowing innovation ‘spill-overs’ to be further developed and the prototypes to make an impact on various levels.

Broad collaboration

The experiment is supported by an extensive group of local experts, who can ensure that the insights will resonate within their industries and sectors. The results will be shown internationally at renowned museums such as MAXXI in Rome and ZKM in Karlsruhe. This project is co-funded under the LC01641664 grant agreement by the European Commission’s Directorate‑General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology.