Platform for Research through the Arts and Sciences

What could visual art afford for people involved in making technologies? Could artistic practices show us ways to embed technologies better in society?

In his inaugural lecture as Socrates Professor on the topic of Making Humane Technologies, Prof. Dr. Erik Rietveld aims to show that artistic practices afford embedding technologies better in society.

By analysing artworks made at RAAAF, an art collective that makes visual art and experimental architecture, he describes three aspects of making practices that may contribute to improving the embedding of technology in society:

(1) the skill of working with layers of meaning; (2) the skill of creating material playgrounds that afford free exploration of the potential of new technologies and artistic experiments; and (3) the skill of openness to the possibility of having radically different socio-material practices.

He then uses images of several RAAAF projects to make these skills involved in making more tangible, arguing that artistic skills like these that can contribute to a better societal embedding of technologies.


You can read the full lecture HERE

Photo by Kyoungtae Kim / Deltawerk – RAAAF


Contemporary Commoning is a two-year research project investigating the many ways in which ‘commoning’ can contribute to new forms of public space, in the physical as well as the digital realm, and new spaces for public action. This research takes the potential contribution of design and art in these processes of ‘commoning‘ as the main point of departure. 

The research is a collaboration between the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Sandberg Instituut, Waag: Technology and Society, University of Amsterdam’s Center for Urban Studies, Casco Art Institute, and Studio René Boer.


The research project is grounded in Amsterdam’s Zeeburgereiland, an island on the city’s eastern fringes currently being developed, and will result in a toolkit of ‘recipes for the commons’.

This project is made possible through the support of NWO, BPD and Nautilus.


For more information please visit




links: project page


“Trusted Subcultures” is a design-cum-manifesto for a new public space to arise on the waters of Amsterdam. The project addresses several questions vital for a better understanding of our everyday living environment: A lot of our governments’ funds go towards the improvement of social cohesion, but what is “social cohesion” in the first place? How is it possible for strangers – people from different subcultures – to become “trusted familiar strangers”? The design takes an innovative and optimistic concept of the stranger as its starting point. The proposal for a temporary floating park offers flexibilility and a variety of possibilities for action, which makes it into a very suitable pilot project for developing a new understanding of social cohesion in public space.


partners: studio RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances]