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Take On Me (Take Me On)
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

Take On Me (Take Me On). An alternative production factory
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NL
Dutch Design Week 2009
October 17 – November 8, 2009

Curators: Freek Lomme and Hadas Zemer

Statement: «During the Dutch Design Week 2009, from 17 to 25 October, the Van Abbemuseum presents Take on me (take me on), a live-exhibition project curated by Freek Lomme and Hadas Zemer. It features four groups of “artistic designers”, individuals or agencies whose ways of working fall outside the usual, conservative definitions of “art” and “design”.
Each group will create their own production line in one of the four corners of the original part of the museum and gradually extend their working process throughout the building. Together with visitors, they will each work on the development of a product that seeks to respond to certain urgent questions today: ‘What kind of wealth would we like to acquire? What is it that we see when we look deep into our own personal value system? What are our authentic desires and how much do consumer products satisfy us?’
The live exhibition will also accommodate various other activities during the week that will mix with these production centres. These include public discussions, lectures, film screenings, debates, and the production of a daily newspaper: the Daily Whatever. The aftermath of the project, together with all relevant documentation in word and image, will remain on display until 8 November 2009.
Take on me (take me on)
Governments often tell us: ‘Society, that’s you!’ But how is our society created? Sometimes our culture and our perception of the world seem only constructed out of the imperatives of commerce, sales and turnover: ‘I shop, therefore I am’ becomes our motto. At the same time, this materialistic equation appears to lack meaning and we can experience a sudden gap between our own idea of our urgent needs and the values or solutions that are presented to us. The credit crunch has anyway begun to discredit the mechanism of supply and demand, though no one is yet offering an alternative. As a result, we are forced to think about our material as well as our immaterial situation almost from scratch: What is it that we really want? What is true wealth? Can we answer these questions, fundamentally for ourselves as individuals? And how do we keep our spirits up when our finances are down? In fact, how do we define the meaning of life?
Take on me (take me on) investigates the ways in which we relate an idea of our deepest authenticity – our true self as defined by the standards and values we feel to be our own – to society’s principles of supply and demand. What values do we value the most in all this? Economic value? Cultural value? Personal satisfaction? Individual uplifting? Peace and quiet?
Come and join us. The four groups on assignment to Take on me (take me on) are: Acclair, Conditional Design, Metahaven, and Orgacom. They will develop their own production methods while interacting with each other and, above all, with the public – creating their work in a concerted effort with their visitors on an alternative and collaborative factory floor in the museum. In this way questions about the methods of production that are often hidden from consumers come into view. We are the ones defining our own living environment, aren’t we? Why is something produced? What does production – particularly artistic production – have to offer us? And how does it fit in with our own personal frame of reference?
Each design project enters into a specific question that tries to address the visitors’ fundamental needs and values. The designers’ products may be either goods or services. Visitors may determine and change the value of the creative ‘product’ by responding to the presentation or to the designers’ work. Therefore Take on me (take me on) is dependent on active engagement and productive involvement from its visitors. Come and ‘take me on’ for yourselves.»

Participants: Acclair, Conditional Design, Metahaven, Orgacom