excerpt of a text that I’ve written in 2008
(translated in English from the intro of my book De Kijkman)
The world exists in your head. It’s the way you see it. You can discover her every day. You can see her as you want. While you are young, they call this fantasy. As you get older you start conforming your discoveries more and more to the discoveries made by others. Faith, knowledge and science. Before you know it, your fantasy will only be used in the bedroom.
You can keep using your fantasy in a constructive way, as creativity. As a designer I found out that creativity is more than making beautiful objects. It’s a way of thinking. It’s seeing the world as you would like it to be, and when it doesn’t match, you create it. By association, creation, pointing out and more often, by justifying. If you believe it, others will follow.
This is the world, I designed it myself.
My role as a designer
Life exists in the right amount of different molecules. Just a bit more hydrogen or a bit more helium and mankind would never have existed. But if we had found balance we would never have developed to what we are either. It’s because of the unbalance that mankind evolved to what they are.
Definition by the free dictionary: “A state of equilibrium or parity characterized by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces.”
Definition by the Oxford Dictionary: “A situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions”.
Things change, because they move, and they move because they’re out of balance. The concept of going towards balance involves time, balance itself rules out time. There is no absolute balance. I’m interested in this ‘out of balance’ situations, where life changes and every action matters. I could say I’m interested in life, and I wouldn’t be wrong. I could state I’m interested in influence because that insinuates a bit of control in the ongoing change and I could say I’m mostly interested in balance, and making it move where it’s not happening.
There is so much to make me curious, I want to show and share this with others. I love to tell stories. I love it when people enjoy stories being told. Even better when they learn something out of it and the best is when they get inspired. These stories in some way should invoke curiosity, disrupt, make people question, rethink.
Understanding what makes us tick is an important subject in connection to how I can make it better and transfer that to the people around me. Because a better life for others means a better life for me.
As a designer I’m looking for meaning. For the why and for the how. There is reality but no truth. There is gravity but no balance. There are relative absolutes and non-relative absolutes. Why do we do certain things and how can I use this habits, rituals and representations to communicate my message.
I have to (be a) force myself in this balance to make strong choices and follow them.
In this total of actions, aesthetics should be functional. Design can be purely aesthetic if the purpose is visual enjoyment for the spectator. I do not want to make things beautiful; I want to make beautiful things by making them suit to their purpose. This means that every defined connection to an adjacent field should be seen and decided upon. One of them could be the acceptance by the way an object looks. In that case aesthetics can be functional.
Vision on the future
I will be a designer of strategies. As a designer I will be a leader and a member of a team, in pursuit of a product. This can be a service, an object or a movement. Something that develops. Something that changes society in a good way. This can be my own product. Making is a tool to show, create, and move forward, not an end in itself. My talent in this is observing, analysing and understanding, combining, connecting and constructing individual visions and talents (finding the ‘we’), finding solutions, moving forward, motivating, simplifying and telling a story.
Fields of interest
the domestication of new communication technology by society
perception and visual representation
self actualization and personal development in creation
food and consumption patterns
inspiration (this might be a product from the above)
Goals for 2014
1. established vision and method/structure based on chaos, evolution and prototyping
A vision might be a vague goal, but I’m well on my way. To perceive the world in our minds, most of it consists of data, at least, that is what we try make of it. Data becomes information by processing, and replicates by memes, inhabtting our brains.
2. become part of a festival or exhibition with at least 10.000 visitors.
This year, I went to Solar Festival (>25.000 guests) with a collective called Bouwjaar’84, where we build a 12 meter monster that starred in the end ritual performance.
3. a lasting collaboration with an innovator/entrepreneur/designer/collective or movement
This might be upcoming, and it might be with a philosopher. It will be video and it will be good.
Work: Codex Seraphinianus
Architect and designer Luigi Seraphini created this two-part encyclopedia about a unknow world in the ‘80’s. His drawings and text seem to tell a lot, but in a language that so far nobody does understand. The letters and words in the book seem to be written with a certain pattern and grammatic, but until now, nobody could crack the code. In some way, the same goes for the illustrations. They seem to tell a lot, in a visual language (or grammar) that refers to elements that we recognize in our world, but are connected in a unfamiliar, confusing way. It tells me something, I can’t figure out what exactly, and it makes me tremendously curious, for more than 20 years already. And all that while he’s still alive, not answering any questions about his books. With his book, Luigi Seraphini walks the very fine line of just making me understand enough to make me curious.
- Visual understanding
- Decoding language
I took two days off from work to finish this book. Rand describes her vision or philosophy on the ideal human mind. She tells the story of an architect who values trust and love for himself the highest, and from there interacts with people and build his body of work.
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
- Explanatory storytelling
- Understanding of the structure of western society
Book: De Aarsman Collectie (Dutch)
In the now airing BBC series, Sherlock Holmes calls himself the only Consulting Detective.
He explains his method as follows:
1. I observe everything.
2. From what I observe, I deduce everything.
3. When I’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how mad it might seem, must be the truth.
In a recent interview, Hans Aarsman is referred to as a photo-detective. In his observing essays, he seems to do the exact same thing with news photos. While deducing the image, he points out information that is contained and gives meaning to the composition as a whole. I can argue if the information is really in the picture or in the context that is stored in the spectators brain. To me, Hans Aarsman is a reverse designer, so maybe an ‘ensigner’. In this reverse way he shows me how I connect meaning to visuals by referring and associating with that what I already know.
- Broad associative understanding
His works are a fascinating combination of kinetics and mimicking of evolution. Form and shape exist because it works. With his works he redefines life, living creatures to their lust to survive as a species. By dividing complex attributes of life in chunks like ‘reproduction by genes’, ‘storing energy’, ‘memory’ and ‘surviving external influences’ he builds creatures by his own definition of life.
So far these creatures survive by being repaired or recreated by humans. It’s their way of surviving by symbiosis. His thoughts connect to the meme-theory, where one believes that pieces of information live and reproduce by their attractiveness for being remembered and retold.
- Using evolution as a design method
- Redefinition of life
- Small, personal approach
other influences might be
Nick Drake, Nina Simone, Sixto Rodrigues,
The XX, The Knife, Gesaffelstein and Nicolas Jaar
Before midnight, Melancholia, Inception, Fightclub, Limitless and Cashback
Californication, Mad Men, Suits, Black Mirror, Äkta människor
the stand-up comedy, theater and cabaret
Harrie Jekkers, Herman van Veen, Hans Teeuwen and Ronald Goedemondt
Pattern recognition, The joke, The game, Kinderen van moeder aarde, Profiles of the future
I answered a few important questions that can thrive me in the right direction of shaping my role as a designer. To me it’s not a job or a career, it’s tightly interwoven with how I live. That is my most important medium or canvas. Taking a step every day to close the gap between doing and being and all that is influencing this. From there I choose my goals and subjects to inspire others.
I’m Naan Eldering, born on 19 december 1985 in the South of the Netherlands. I’ve written this text in januari 2014, during the 2nd trimester of the master Information Design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven.
I hope you enjoyed the read.