Amsterdam’s premier interactive design studio Studio Moniker has done it again. A firm favourite here at INT HQ, co-founders Luna Maurer and Roel Wouters continue to expand our mind with a seemingly endless array of expectation-surpassing projects, consistently finding innovative ways to explore the social impact of technological advances.
The Dutch duo’s latest work — which launches today, 24 April 2019 — sees them reframing what a music video is and what it can do. Pretty impressive stuff for a Wednesday morning, right?
Described by Studio Moniker as “a participatory, interactive music video,” crafted on the behalf of Rotterdam-based musician Jo Goes Hunting, the visuals for Lake of Pavement form part of Neuhaus.world, a collaborative project that sees Luna and Roel working with Het Nieuwe Instituut to “explore, investigate and promote knowledge based in marginalised and unrecognised cultures.”
Going on to state that they’re interested in “knowledge that strays far from any traditional reductionist analysis or mathematical modelling, knowledge that lives in plants, animals and machines, and knowledge that relates to the entire physical body and all of its senses, beyond the rational mind,” you’d be forgiven for worrying that Neuhaus might be little more than an exercise in academic posturing.
Happily, it is nothing of the sort. Instead, it incorporates user-generated photographic material to construct an ever-changing, ever-evolving music video, almost entirely reliant on external contributions for content.
“Your photo stays in the video as long as nobody else takes a new photo for that specific shape,” Studio Moniker says. “That moment your photo will be overwritten by the new one. This way neuhaus.world is constantly in flux.”
Users can either add their work to the permanently-mutating public version of Neuhaus or, if they’d prefer a little privacy, they’re free to use the tool to magic up a one-off version of the video.
Given that it’s such a participatory process, we decided to ask Roel how he sees designers creating a more collaborative world.
“I think people are inherently social and collaborative beings, nevertheless the environment they operate in is crucial to whether their social or collaborative behaviour is triggered or not,” he begins. “Designers should be aware of the environment they put their users/visitors/viewers in. If possible they should design systems that simulate growth on a multispecies level rather than growth on a personal or capitalistic level. After centuries of industrial and technical development, the time has come that we have to look at all the knowledge that has fallen in between the worked out human-centric concepts. I think Neuhaus is about that.”
And there you were thinking it was just a music video.