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Metahaven at Cobra

The Metahaven Design Collective has won the 5th Cobra Art Prize and is honoured with an exhibition at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art. 

By Editor / 30-01-2014

The prize focuses attention on the values – experimental, engaged and interdisciplinary – of the Cobra movement in relation to contemporary art practice. 

“Metahaven is an outstanding example of a design practice in which, in the spirit of CoBrA, the boundaries of disciplines are explored, interdisciplinary inspiration is sought and art is critically applied to society from a perspective of utopian ideals,” says Xander Karskens, chairman of the jury.

The Metahaven designers see the prize as an “explicit encouragement for research and political engagement in design.”

Metahaven is interested in the social and power structures hidden behind the apparently transparent design of our digital environment. Founders Daniel van der Velden and Vinca Kruk are as much researchers and theoreticians as they are graphic designers. In their projects, there is no longer any distinction between these different activities.

Together with the editors of political weekly magazine De Groene Amsterdammer, they will publish a special issue on the political implications of the Internet, data storage and data access. Political interests and the interests of society are sometimes diametrically opposed to one another in this subject.

The exhibition includes both independent and commissioned projects completed from 2010 to 2014. Examples include WikiLeaks Merchandise (previously presented at PS1 in New York), the Uncorporate Identity publication and New Babylon, a new HD video film by Metahaven, inspired by the work of the visionary artist and architect, Constant. The installation, Nomadic Chess, is central to the exhibition, and was previously presented in a Jesuit chapel in Chaumont, France. For the presentation at the Cobra Museum, Nomadic Chess also includes photographs made in collaboration with Meinke Klein.

The exhibition Metahaven Selected Projects 2010-2014 has been designed by Metahaven in collaboration with the museum and is the first retrospective of their work in a Dutch museum. It runs 18 January - 16 March 2014 at the Cobra Museum, Amstelveen