Luk van der Hallen

Luc Vanlessen

Media & Design Academy

Art Center Z33, Hasselt

During the Super Triennial of Design, the 15th IDEM design workshop was organised in the state prison in Hasselt, that had been abandoned two months before, a building from the mid 19th century. The 60 international students slept in the prison cells and worked out projects related to the building and the stories that emerged by it.

The participants encountered the harsh conditions when being locked up in a prison. But merely in a mental way, projects were set up in the city.

The theme could be seen as a metaphor for the isolated position -imprisonment- of design either within the perspective of the commercialized western world:  the escapism of mindblown consumers, an endangered environment, explosive global economics and politics.

Or could design being seen as a valid solution for making a better world: human, sensitive, respectful. Could design be used to break through the imprisonment of conventions, be tempting and challenging, and create a new awareness, new qualities? Could it go beyond its limited meaning of its industrial context? 

Crossover also means that the design is mixing with other disciplines, crossing borders with the sciences and the arts, becoming hybrid. Crossover could be compared with our previous idea of escaping, moving into another discipline, using its qualities to improve, to enrich, to create new connections. Then what are the limitations of design, and its relations with arts and technologies, with new media, within a multicultural society?

And design can mean more: it can be used for communicating, for giving statements, as a language. In this way it is used as an art discipline. Design for the crossing of the settled, the traditional, the conservative. Design as a polemic attitude, for being critical, for making dialogue and opinion.

Media & Design Academy, Product Design, Genk, Belgium

Universität Gesamthochschule, Essen, Germany

Fachhochshule Dortmund, Germany

University of Industrial Arts, Helsinki, Finland

Statens Handverks Og Kunstindustrieskole, Oslo, Norway

Academy of Fine Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Center for Technological Education, Holon, Israel

Pontificia Universidade Catolica Do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

IDEM 15, ‘Crossover?’,

Former state prison,

Hasselt (B),

2-8/10 2005

studio Luk van der Hallen