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Open Set Lab is a long-term, thematic research programme in which participants dive deep into a specific, socially significant context and produce an individual work inspired by that case study. The programme closes with public symposia; during the closing conferences, participants present their projects to general audiences, thereby expanding their research beyond the confines of Open Set.

Open Set Lab 2017

Memories of the Future: Exploration

into 1.000.000 Hours of Media Heritage

September 2017–January 2018

In the Netherlands and online anywhere

Open Set is pleased to announce Open Set Lab, a new research programme on the intersection between design, film, art and the humanities. The Lab runs from September 2017 until January 2018 and consists of lectures, interactive real-time sessions, and group critiques led by notable Dutch and international figures in design, art, and research. The programme provides a unique opportunity to fully access one of the largest audiovisual archives in Europe: the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (television, radio, music, documentary films), containing factual and fictional narratives from 1898 to the present.

Open Set Lab offers participants flexibility through an innovative, hybrid learning environment: the programme operates in the online as well as physical realms, with dual headquarters at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision at the Media Park in Hilversum and at the Master Institute at AKV|St.Joost in Den Bosch.

Participants can attend both physically at the headquarters and online via the Open Set Dahsboard platform. The real-time working sessions and group critiques will take place every two weeks on Fridays and Saturdays.

The five-month programme concludes with a public conference where participants can present their results.

The Lab is aimed at International designers, media artists, film makers, photographers and other cultural producers.

Being oriented towards analysis of the visuals and algorithms of the archive, the Dutch language is not a prerequisite for participating in the project.


  • Ernst van Alphen (NL) — professor of literary studies
  • Piet Bakker (NL) — lector mass media and digitisation
  • Tina Bastajian (USA/NL) — media artist
  • Petr van Blokland (NL) — designer
  • Carolyn Birdsall (NL) —assistant professor of media studies
  • Sue Breakell (UK) — archivist and researcher
  • Catalogtree (NL) — multidisciplinary design studio
  • Annet Dekker (NL) — researcher, curator
  • Sebastian Groes (UK) — senior lecturer in English literature
  • Johan Grimonprez (BE) — multimedia artist, filmmaker
  • Menno Grootveld (NL) — publisher, translator, journalist
  • Lynda Hardman (NL) —professor of multimedia discourse interaction
  • Arne Hendriks (NL) — designer, curator
  • Mishka Henner (UK) — artist
  • Jonas Lund (SE) — artist
  • Matteo Marangoni (IT) — artist and curator
  • !Mediengruppe Bitnik (DE/CH) — art group
  • Daan Odijk (NL) — researcher
  • Robert M Ochshorn (USA) — artist, researcher
  • Rik Smit (NL) — lecturer media and journalism
  • Martine Stig (NL) — visual artist
  • Frank van der Stok (NL) — curator, editor
  • ACED (former The Common Affairs) (NL) — platform for journalism & design
  • Noam Toran (USA/NL) — filmmaker, designer

Theme: Memory of the Future

In light of the increasing complexity and uncertainty of the political, environmental and social challenges humanity is facing now, a growing number of events and publications are addressing the necessity and difficulty of envisioning alternative futures. There seems to be an urge for re-engaging with our heritage and memories, not only as the ‘source’ of the present condition but, paradoxically, as an instrument for planning the future. How can we de-mystify our historical conventions, re-contextualize our previous experience, give it new meaning based on present conditions and transform it for the future? How do we preserve the traces of the past, and how do we make sense of them in the digital age? Whether it be social network platforms, carefully curated collections, or state archives, how we archive and what we archive are unavoidable aspects that determine our memory.

The Lab investigates the power of agency held by designers and artists to create new tools, ways of thinking and visual or performative narratives that can reactivate our memory – and as a result, open up futuristic pluralities. However, the complexity of the global challenges described above calls for a concerted effort of research expertise in the domains of the arts, humanities, philosophy and technology.

The programme consists of three interconnected thematic trajectories:

1. Mutation of the nature, meaning and practice of archives in the digital era. The contemporary archive as an authority that narrates collective memories versus a territory for creating subjective memories and futuristic pluralities.

2. Visual strategies in audiovisual documents: the codified construction of events or facts. What role does fiction play in factual news reporting? The constructing of a public audience in the history of broadcasting: conventions, or contradictory evidence proposing an alternative public or alternative history of the same events?

3. Algorithmic nature of contemporary data archives: curatorial dimension of algorithms for analyzing, searching and distributing content; influence of computer learning mechanisms on the design of archival algorithms. The archival process and archival infrastructure: misuse and disruption of systems that predetermine the usual direction of viewing and navigation.

Programme benefits

  • Unique opportunity to have full access to the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision Archive via an online interface, and to be supported by the experts and researchers of the Institute;
  • ‘One-on-one’ interaction with and guidance from designers as well as artists, critics, and academics;
  • Experience in developing a project from start to finish, contextualized around the Archive of Sound and Vision and executed in collaboration with an international network of young creative professionals.

    Examples of potential projects could be models and prototypes of moderating, selecting and publishing an archive, visual and speculative essays built on the content of the archive, analysis of the visual strategies and ‘codes’ that have been used in Dutch television for more than a century, etc;

  • Opportunity to present the final project during a public conference at the end of the programme and in the online publication;
  • The online environment (Open Set Dashboard, Google G Suite, Milanote, etc.) allows participants to fully interact with their peers and tutors from anywhere in the world, while receiving all available to the participants attending physically.

    This includes access to live feedback sessions and lectures, as well as the possibility to present their research during public events, in the Online Reader, and via other channels.



The programme operates in the online and physical realm, with dual headquarters at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision at the Media Park in Hilversum and at the St. Joost Master Institute in Den Bosch.


The programme is made possible by the support of Het Pauwhof Fonds and organized in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the Master Institute at AKV|St.Joost and the Master in Design Curating & Writing at the Design Academy Eindhoven.

Design: Studio Rodina

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