From pre-master to master at EUR
(September 2021) In July, I officially passed my pre-master Sociology with an 8.0 avarage. This means I will be starting my master-program at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in September, at the department of Social and Behavorial Sciences. I am very excited to dive deeply into the sociological literature. The master is called Engaging Public Issues, which resonates scarily well with my work as a designer. Since I am doing university, I will have to tune in with my academic side (and make comics or crazy designs based on sociological work – oh well). Can’t wait to get started!
Consume less! Letter in Volkskrant
(August 11, 2021) The consequences of the climate crisis are getting more and more severe. This month, a report came out by the UN that bundled a vast quantity of research on the subject. The conclusion: we are in big, big trouble. A Dutch politician responded, with the best intentions, that we need to act NOW in order to protect our ways of living. I don’t agree. We need to radically change our lifestyle, which is not sustainable or realistic on the long term (or even short term). It is about time to put an end to our culture of destructive consumption, endless hyperfocus on economic growth and careless use of raw materials. This was published in De Volkskrant on August 11, alongside many other letters and articles about the urgency of this crisis.
#1septemberoffline at NOS.nl
(May 30, 2021) My protest #1septemberoffline ended up at NOS.nl, after an interview by NPO1 Radio. It is meant to ask ask attention for education in the Netherlands, which continues to be down the list of priorities in national politics. The situations of students have to be discussed urgently. Want to read more about it? Check out this page.
Article in TROUW and Volkskrant
(February 5, 2021) The coronacrisis has hit a lot of sectors right in the heart. Many people are financially struggling and this too accounts for students. Next to that, they’ve had to go through online education. Some of them already for 1,5 years. When the minister of education announced measures to compensate future students for the damage done, I was baffled by their proposal, which put aside all students who had been studying and graduated already. So, I wrote a letter to the newspaper Trouw and lay out my arguments! Read it here. After the elections, I wrote a letter to the Volkskrant about the dangerous tendency to put right-wing voters aside as stupid and ‘deplorables’. Instead, we should attempt to understand each other’s world.
VENI VIDI VACCINATIE
(December 30, 2020) 2021: VENI VIDI VACCINATIE. Yesterday we placed this big-ass face mask on Het Gezicht van Nijmegen, to celebrate the end of the year and prelude the new one with a hopeful message. 2020 will be marked as the beginning of a new era; we will speak of ‘before 2020’ and ‘after 2020′. More than ever, I can feel the presence of history. Remember: don’t let your reptile poop on a bat or a chicken! History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does tend to rhyme. Check out the news article here.
Merry christmas and a better 2021!
(December, 2020) There was little to be celebrated this year, however cool 20-20 might have sounded at first. It turned out to be quite easy to summarize: the world went wild and is shaking as we speak. But; we are still circling around the sun, the elbow bump has turned into a friendly gesture all of a sudden and videos of clumsy puppies are just as reassuring as before. As my parents like to beautifully put it, year after year: “we live in interesting times“. Fortunately, we are doing that together. Merry Christmas; it can only get better!
Political campaign article for JOOP
(December, 2020) The Dutch political party, D66, launched a ‘grassroots’ campaign for their leader: Sigrid Kaag. It turned out to be a superficial, badly designed one with little sensitivity to the substantive leader she really is. I wrote an article on it, argumenting why I believe it should change (and how). Read it here, at joop.bnnvara.nl – a national platform for news, opinions and more.
Politicians are people too (Volkskrant)
(October, 2020) Every now and then I end up sending a digital letter to the newspaper about our society and what’s happening in the world. Lately, it has been a lot about corona. I wrote a piece on the complexity of this crisis and called for more understanding of politicians being ‘just like people‘. They also published a letter about apologies by the Western society for the discrimination and xenophobe behavior that has partly led to a new wave of terrorism.
Introduction to Sociology
(October, 2020) The first course I had at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, was an introduction to Sociology. What better way to remember the literature than to illustrate it all? This resulted in a series of 70 drawings that go through the most important definitions and perspectives (conflict theory! Functionalism!) of Sociology.
EM Magazine illustration(s)
(October, 2020) At the start of this school year, I started my pre-master Sociology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Soon after, I discovered a few things: 1) sociology is an absolutely fascinating field, providing me with the theory I have been wanting to integrate in my design practice and 2) the university has a journalistic platform called EM Magazine, which happened to be looking for illustrators at the time. Click here to check out the first article I illustrated for them, about graduation in the Corona-era!
Placemaking for DZKMNL
(September, 2020) together with studio Aina. I am doing a project for De Duurzaamste Kilometer van Nederland, in Leiden. We will be doing all kinds of interviews, interventions, performances and lots of (literal and figurative) green stuff… Stay tuned and get excited. We already got ourselves a kilometer of rope!
(September 2020) KONT is a magazine that links to people together and asks them to do a project together. This year, me and Fides Lapidaire teamed up and worked on the theme ‘the city as a baby‘, in Eindhoven. We went out there, pink-suited and all, and analysed the surroundings of Strijp-S, which led us to an analogy on the millenial and the pressure of having to make-an-impact (impact? IMPACT!). This ended up in us putting the cliches in perspective, that hoover above the word ‘impact’. Would you like to see some of the spreads and check out our story? Go get yourself a little KONT (ass in Dutch, yes) here! Don’t forget to repeat the word impact at least twenty times to make it more fun.
Redesigning a square for Rotterdam municipality
(August, 2020) Around the corner of my house, in Rotterdam-South, lies a funny little square. It had been in a messy and neglected condition for a while and the municipality wanted to give it a touch-up. Corona gave the final push: the restaurants and food places at the square needed more space for their people to sit, since it was no longer an option to let them inside. I was asked to do the design, in dialogue with the local entrepeneurs. Fast forward to July… and it has become one of the most ‘gezellige’ squares of Rotterdam-South!
Infinite drawing workshop
(August 2020) I organised a workshop for de Lindenberg in Nijmegen, a cultural center where people of all ages can follow artistic workshops. This time with lots of kids! For 1,5 hours they did all kinds of drawing games and exercises. They made an ‘infinite drawing’ together, continuing each other’s artwork. This workshop was inspired by the idea of an ‘Exquisite Corpse” (long live Wikipedia: click here).
“Een Vleugje Vakantie”
Some more illustrations
(July, 2020) I have been illustrating for some clients recently, bent over my desk with my favorite black pencil in my hand (and ink all over the place: the struggles of being left-handed). For de Voorkamer I made some illustrations full of summer vibes (and icecream) for a the summer program that we’re working on together. For HAN Applied University, I made one for the cover of an English teachers’ guide. Looking for some new, refreshing images? Contact me here!
Candy color samples
(June, 2020) For a secret design project we had to pick some colors (spoiler alert: something with textile). However, the samples were tiny and the options were endless. In order to make the selection process a bit more tangible and playful, we decided to go to the candy shop instead and get as many colors as we could find. With a table full of sugar and a hungry co-designer eating all the double ones, we made up our minds. Sweet!
I have become the municipality of Rotterdam!
(May, 2020) The traffic light stickers I designed for the new corona-behavior I see all around me (to be found here), have been going around the good ol’ Internet, causing quite a stir. Most interestingly, the media interpreted it as if it was done by ‘Rotterdam’. And what would a news article be without a group of angry respondents on social media, who felt patronized by their government?
This means I have officially turned into a municipality. Next up: How to Become a Ministry, Part I, II and III (the first one will be great, the second one a bit mediocre and the third one simply bad because that’s when it’s the exploitation of the formula hits in).
The Elbow Economy | Coronavirus
(March, 2020) A new world requires new stickers for our traffic lights, explaining us on a daily basis how to press the buttons. We might want to start doing that differently, now. Some have already adopted this new behavior. 500 Stickers on its way for May!
Don’t visit the Netherlands!
A Dutch newspaper (AD) suggested that the comedian Arjen Lubach should make a video to keep German and Belgian tourists from coming to the Netherlands during the Easter holidays, in times of Corona. His simple: “Do it yourself, we don’t have time for that!” Luckily, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands at the moment. I decided to help them out with this commercial. Bleib zu Hause, blijf in uw kot, restez à la maison!
Cake: LEVEL UP
The Research Bureau by University of the Underground has been quite an adventure so far. It took me to Cairo, lots of cake shops, funny videos on the internet (a never-ending hole) and I wrote a research document to take my writing to the next level (I think it worked!). To do that, I went through lots and lots of papers by philosophers, sociologists, foodies and historians. And what better way to summarize it than to turn it into some cupcakes? Thus, Hannah Arendt’s theory on ‘authority’ ended up being edible.
Next up: workshops, performances, interactions, reaching out to people! Let’s go-go-gooooo.
An undefined Cake-research for UOTU
For the University of the Underground I have started with researching cake: what are the rituals around eating and cutting cake? How can we reinvent the purpose of a cake, besides the obvious celebrative aspects? I made a digital archive of the most mind-boggling cakes I could find on the Great Internet (a cake for Operation Crossroads… really, people?). As a response to the ongoing investments into Saudi Arabia by one of the biggest pension funds of the Netherlands, I made an ABP-Saudi-cake. Congratulations on another year of sponsoring a country that continues to ignore any possible human rights in Jemen! Let’s do it differently in 2020, possibly? It’s a Peace of Cake. More cake, batter, puns and amateur-activist pies coming up – stay tuned.
ABZ social interventions
I was asked by Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken (a social service bureau in Rotterdam) to help an IT-company become more innovative. To test our assumptions on what could help them to think (and ACT!) differently, we came up with all kinds of social interventions that we executed together with the employees of the company. They were sent out onto the streets to catch people and lock them in with black screens (sounds scary, but we included some escape routes) and try to get their answers to urgent privacy matters. People were confused. Just how I like it!
Ever since I put a big orange HUH on the Museumplein of Amsterdam, I’ve been working together with a design and communication bureau in Amsterdam, whose founder happened to see me on TV (world fame for a day can come in quite handy). Together, we have thought of some new, typical HUH kind of concepts for the world to know and use. And the execution phase has begun! What will it be? Well, the more a secret, the bigger the surprise… I have been producing many, many protest signs in my living room, spilling paint everywhere while I was at it. Fun-exciting-times!
Research Bureau CAIRO
I am very excited, thrilled, delighted (and many more superlatives) to announce that I will be taking part of the Research Bureau Cairo, initiated by the University of the Underground! Together with 14 other designer-artists-musicians-creatives-sociologists-performers from all over the world, we’ll be heading to Egypt and dive into an unknown world of water rituals. I’ll keep you updated…
Solidary Workspace BIEB X KONT!
For the public library of Eindhoven, in collaboration with KONT, I was asked to come up with a concept for a Solidarity Workspace, where people can make little gifts for other readers during DDW19. It was a process full of crazy material, lots of drilling, handsaws, primary colors and some fake trees (sorry, Real Trees). And what would be a set design without some proper paper maché? The installation will be used in the public library of Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week 2019 (time flies! (fire…flies?)).
A bunker with ears? Open now! (sept. 2019)
De Bunker Luistert has opened her doors! Here you can make your own radio plays (hoorspelen). In september, Brabant celebrates the 75th year of liberation. Now kids can come and play in this historic building, while learning about the history of the old German bunker. The opening fit the content of the concept: we made a big line of visitors and all gave them an object to make sound with (geluidspolonaise!). At the end of the line, a bell rang to open de Bunker. Double symbolism: ‘inluiden’ means ‘to usher in with bells’ and ‘to inaugurate’ at the same time in Dutch. Also, we passed on a sound the way we pass on freedom to the generations coming after us. Lets figuratively fight for that 150 years of freedom! An article about it can be found in het AD.
Design research for KETTER&Co (august, 2019)
During the summer of 2019, I conducted a design research for KETTER&co about the Amstelpark, searching for ways to connect the park with the neighborhood and nearby initiatives. And how do I get them to talking? I bought a big plant, walked up to them and asked them about their favorite garden memory as a conversation starter. Findings were documented by film, video and -as always- some illustrations capturing my subjective view. To be continued…
Speak up, men! (july, 2019)
“Climb that soap box every once in a while” is a Dutch expression that seems to refer to the gravity racers as some sort of speech podium (how would that practically work, racing while giving a speech? Could make for a good TV-show). This was an article in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant on the dynamics between men and women during discussions on equal rights. I might want to get a membership myself, since I’m blocked from reading my own article on the website. If you have one, read it here.
Design Week Atlanta, USA (June, 2019)
For the Design Week in Atlanta I was invited by Design is Human to exhibit Cut the Crap and give a lecture on my working methods as an interdisciplinary designer-artist and pigeon-lover. Luckily, the pigeon is also a widespread phenomenon in Atlanta so I could dive into the more mèta-theory from the start. I americanized the campaign to make it fit to our 2019 debates and the American culture . Together with other present designers, we stayed in a shotgun, took Ubers and trendy scooters, went to the Waffle House, a shooting range (first and last time), multiple museums and NYC. I’ll be back!
Live drawing sessions May, 2019)
When artists of WOW! Amsterdam and students of Design Academy presented their concepts, I was asked to be there and capture their project-angle in one hand-drawn illustration as they spoke. The result of this live drawing session was used for the poster of their exhibition, later that year. Conclusion: live drawing is so much fun! More please.
Coloring pages (March, 2019)
I was asked to make a coloring page for a social care institute in Heer Hugowaard about their community garden. They were about to move to a new place so it was a nice keepsake for the residents. Later on, I made a coloring page for Tuinbazen (a project by KETTER&co) about the Amstelpark. As a campaigner and research designer, I do all kinds of different work to shed new light on the parks of Amsterdam and the gardeners that take such good care of it.
Pecha kucha at OPA Arnhem (March, 2019)
I explained the importance of using seemingly uninteresting and widely known images as a start for a project. The more familiar people are with a certain object, situation or image, the more opportunities I see to tell a story the way I did with potatoes, pigeons and a supermarket shelf. 20 slides, 7 minutes and (always!) too much too tell to an audience of 200 people. A pigeon is not a parakeet.
New project for CUBE museum (February, 2019)
How to make a campaign workshop (March, 2019)
I revealed some of my deepest secrets behind my projects and the success of the pigeon campaign, Cut the Crap (everyone loves pigeons now). After that, we did a workshop where the students were asked to make a strong yet extremely silly campaign about a random object that was given to them. They ended up with crazy and unique ideas. They will take these methods along in their assignment to make a campaign for the ‘Stadslab’ in Heerlen.
HUH at Museumplein, Amsterdam ( dec. 3 2019)
On the third of december at 08:00 A.M, the Iamsterdam sign was removed from the museumplein in the Dutch capital. To refill the void that came to be and to make the transition to the empty square a bit more bearable, the enormous orange HUH was placed there instead two hours later. It resulted in the awakening of the media machine; an army of journalists came to see and report on this guerilla stunt. It was published at NOS, Telegraaf, Pownews, RTL Nieuws, Parool, NRC, AT5, Dumpert (including some creative hatred), Hart van Nederland, I was interviewed at Radio5, etc, etc. Many of them -unjustly- stated that it was meant as a protest against the removal.
Regardless of some fake news, the intervention was a big success. Hundreds of tourists took pictures with a huge HUH on the background for hours – as if Iamsterdam was still there.
In the news and NRC cover (October, 2018)
The Design Academy Eindhoven made a podcast about my research for Cut the Crap, that I also presented at the Arena during DDW.
Graduated! (June, 2018)
I graduated cum laude from the Design Academy Eindhoven. Wiersema! has been officially launched.
The road to graduation (feb-june, 2019)
I transported the Bread Suit looking like a dead body, emerged myself into the world of pigeons, made the biggest paper mache of my life and wrapped a huge HUH into orange canvas.
yes-no-yes-no and stereotyping myself (2018)
Above: Welles – nietes – 3x vaker welles – 3x vaker nietes – etc. A research on nonsense debates and street protests.
Below: an interview with myself, reflecting on how I had been stereotyping myself in my methods as a designer.