In the context of the 34th World Expo opening in Milan this spring, Het Nieuwe Instituut addresses this phenomenon from different perspectives, between April 26 and August 23, in three exhibitions: What is the Netherlands, GLASS and Garden of Machines. The recurring question in the programme is: under what conditions is innovation achieved, and what role do designers play within that process?
Since its inception a variety of differing ambitions have come together at the immensely popular World Expo. What prevails over all differences, however, is a strong faith in progress. In the most spectacular manner, the World Expo's – which have brought us iconic buildings such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Atomium in Brussels –presented a vision of a future where technological innovation is able to bring the unattainable closer. The ability of designers to capture the unseen forms an important incentive for Het Nieuwe Instituut to develop a comprehensive programme on the theme of the World Expo.
At the World Expo the latest developments in the field of engineering and industrial production are always connected to the cultural and social progress of countries and communities. More or less explicitly, each pavilion wants to reflect its national identity, while also showing its moral, political or economic superiority. Both the World Expo as a whole and the individual country pavilions are the result of coalitions between states, the market and socio-cultural institutions. Their ambitions are compressed into an architectural statement (the pavilion), a narrative (the exhibition), and a presentation model (media and objects). The focus is always put on the crucial role of (technological) innovation for national economies and cultures; critical questions are hardly ever put forward. But can innovation today still be defined in national terms? And what role can the cultural domain claim within the increasingly market-driven systems of innovation?
Programme Innovation at the World Expo
What is the Netherlands. 14 entries to the World Expo
26/04/2015 - 23/08/2015
In the exhibition What is the Netherlands curator Stephan Petermann (AMO, the research department of OMA) outlines a portrait of 14 Dutch contributions to the World Expo since 1910. What is the Netherlands shows how the Dutch entries to the World Expo have always been the result of collaborations between government, industry, designers and artists.
GLASS. Engine of progress
18/04/2015 - 23/08/2015
Garden of Machines
18/04/2015 - 23/08/2015
The Machinery formed an important section of the earliest World Expo’s: it was the place where the newest forms of mechanization were presented to the public. Almost one-and-a-half centuries later, Het Nieuwe Instituut presents the speculative exhibition Garden of Machines, which offers an ecological glimpse into the future.
The Mansholt Letter
01/05/2015 - 31/10/2015
The 34th World Expo opened in Milan on 1 May 2015. Under the title Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life, a collective of national states, multinationals and relief agencies assembled for the occasion will present the future of global agriculture, food and energy supply to millions of expected visitors. The occasion has also prompted Het Nieuwe Instituut and Slow Food to initiate The Mansholt Letter.
Rotterdam Innovation Market
04/06/2015 - 23/08/2015
The Rotterdam Innovation Market presents seven very different innovations recently developed in the Rotterdam region. The innovations come from those sectors in which Rotterdam excels, such as Port and Logistics, Cleantech, and Architecture & Industrial Design.