Department of Search
Where art and science create debatable futures
The Department of Search was established in 2014 at Science Park Utrecht. This artist run department experimented for three years with action research interventions to establish new forms of encounters between art and science. This book unfolds the findings and speculate on the potential of a shared space to formulate the fundamental questions of the future.
The Department’s basic procedure is simple: artists thoroughly search University premises and the spaces inside, around and between the buildings, for clues, cues and ideas they can use. They share their findings, models, and ideas for projects with local scientists. A search is conducted for shared values and what they may lead up to. From the intensive adventure will often – there is no guarantee – emerge a wide open panorama of potential, or a collection of debatable futures.
Design of the book
The book design, by Studio Renate Boere, translates the search to the added value of art and science. It illustrates the space for experiment that is needed to break through conventional assumptions, methods and research questions that both disciplines need to come up with new ideas.
‘Free space’ was the starting point, given by the initiators. In a both figurative and literally sense. The designers have seized this opportunity, research and experiment resulted in a playful and layered design. There’s lots to explore, rules are being bend. The result represents experiment and opportunities in order to inspire for taking action.
Drawings by Melle Smets illustrate the activities on the Zero Footprint Campus. In the core of the book the designers visualized free space in an abstract form, flipping through the book it creates an optical illusion. Further on a portrait gallery shows how art and science have been proven successful in history.
Because of the close collaboration between the initiators, writers and designers more and more valuable content came up during the process. The book was continuously being fed and enriched with imagery, quotes, statements and clever design solutions.
Remarkably folded pages structure the book (they even contain little secrets) and a bright yellow insert states where the future starts, stimulating the imagination.
All in all, a fat of the land publication, persuasive in its design telling a convincing message.