DDW: Amused & Confused

Dutch Design Week anno 2010 is over (I wrote about it’s opening, and also about a couple of events we participated in, as Summ()n). I have to write about many more – more events of Summ()n, including our game, more encounters and impressions of myself. And I will; I didn’t manage to write about the things as they go, and now have to catch up a bit with the past. But I would like to first reflect upon a feeling of strange disappointment after this week-long design flood into the town.

There were a lot of great things shown here, no question; and all these individual ‘design trees’ didn’t overshadow the totality of the ‘design forest’ collectively created by all the participants. The forest was large, and dense. I was told that more than 1,500 participants came to the DDW this year, the largest number so far. There was no way for anyone to see all the events, so everyone’s impressions are inevitable partial, and fragmented. But one doesn’t have to see every tree in the forest to grasp its atmosphere; sometime a short walk is enough to shape your feeling, whether you feel ‘right’ in this forest or not.

If I follow this forest metaphor, I thing that the thing I missed most is a true wilderness, this specific sensation of ‘wonderlandness’ one usually gets when being in the real forest. You don’t get this while walking in the part, however big and irregular it is. Perhaps, the Design Week was perhaps too much designed (surprise, surprise!) and didn’t leave much room for unpredictable to happen, and for the new to emerge. May be it’s not even possible here in Holland, where even the ‘wildest forests’ are in fact parks, designed to look like wildest forests. I am therefore surprised with how little I was surprised with the things shown; I am confused with the lack of any particular confusion, by the normality of everything that happened. A weird feeling indeed.

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