Jan Boelen in dialog with Indy Johar

26. September 2014


As places where design is debated now and will be debated in the future, what is the duty and purpose of museums of applied arts? Which themes are relevant to everyday life? Which objects should be collected? And in what way and for what purpose?

The MAK posed these questions to nine globally renowned design pioneers. They participated in an experiment to investigate the significance of a collection of exemplary objects as a source of inspiration. In the process, each pioneer could have discussions with a person of his or her choosing—so-called “muses”—in the course of which they would shed light on the future of the applied arts, as well as share their perspectives on museums of applied arts. The result was a stimulating dialogue, which looks not only at the past but also tries to imagine the future!

Jan Boelen engages in a dialogue with London-based architect Indy Johar. They delve into questions about the museum as a laboratory for global knowledge and reflect upon the concepts of authorship, ownership, and (intellectual) property—issues that are very important for a museum.


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Jan Boelen in dialog with Indy Johar / 150 Years of the MAK from MAK Wien on Vimeo.

Jan Boelen is founder and director of the Z33 House for Contemporary Art in Hasselt, Belgium, and head of the Social Design Department at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. Indy Johar is a designer of digital platforms for co-working. For Jan Boelen, design is political to the core, for it affects our production methods, our social structures, as well as our thoughts and feelings. When considering a collection of the future, he came up with a single object: Curiosity Cabinet (2014)—a cabinet by Commonplace Studio that demonstrates the limits of what is collectable.