donderdag 29 juni 2017

Pleun van Dijk - FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017

Pleun van Dijk is a young multidisciplinary artist and designer based in Rotterdam. She graduated from The Design Academy Eindhoven and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. By observing and analyzing moments of transition within society she tries to create new thoughts and show a different perspective on a topic. By taking new ideas out of the abstract and giving shape to a possible outcome she wants to give the viewer the possibility to anticipate on the new developments before they sneak up on us.

Pleun doesn't call her work „fashion” in the traditional meaning of the word. Most of her work is about the relations between human body and fashion in the sense of sculpting our body in itself.
Her biggest personal achievement so far has been her graduation project called “Reborn” and the follow up project “Transcience”. Exhibition wise she would say the Graduation show during the Dutch Design week, the For Play exhibition at MU and recently the DAE #tvclerici expo during Salone del Mobile in Milano  were the highlights of her career. At the moment she’s working on some freelance jobs and she is busy finishing her Artist in Residency at Springhouse (Amsterdam), where she started a new research on the future of human procreation. One of the most inspiring and challenging projects Pleun recently did is helping her brother/filmmaker Bram van Dijk with the production of his graduation movie which will be released this summer.
Pleun's biggest struggle as a young designer/artist is to find ways to produce new work. After graduation she realized how hard it is to find the time and focus to dive into a new topic, do a proper research and transform this into a new project. The reality of having a side job and working as a freelancer gives her often the feeling of loosing time and running around between all different projects.
The thing she loves most about her profession, if she had to choose only one thing, would be having the opportunity to give the viewer a new perspective on a certain topic, and make them speculate about certain things by triggering their imagination on possible future scenarios.

How would you define fashion?
Fashion is for me no longer focused on the layer around the body but the body itself. The new developments in human enhancement will change our physical appearance as well as the way we are. Therefore fashion seems to go beyond covering ourselves with garments.

What fascinates/inspires you and why?
My main fascination in work as well as in life is the question ‘what does it mean to be human’? Especially since we live in a time of growing possibilities of human enhancement which will force us to redefine our being. Design questions will no longer only be focused on the world around us but we will eventually become a design question ourselves.

Finding your own distinctive voice can be difficult, where and how do you find your personal creativity (before you start designing/during the design process)?
The necessity to create feels like something that always has been there, I just have to find the right format to express. The topics arise from personal fascinations and keeping my eyes wide open in a constantly changing and moving world around me.

What challenges did you face during the design process? 
What I always find the biggest challenge in a creative process is the search for a reasonable translation of a more theoretical research into shape. In the case of “Reborn” I wrote a thesis in which I developed a new way of looking at our own evolution, I find it one of the most difficult things to find a good way of visualizing and transforming these new findings into shape.

What do you want to communicate with your work in general?
As mentioned before my work is all based around the question what it means to be human. By speculation on what we might become I hope to trigger the viewer to think and rethink our values. 

Can you tell us something about the project you will present at the FASHIONCLASH Festival?
Until now, designers have been mainly involved in shaping the world around us. Now the mankind becomes easier to understand, analyze and unravel. We see designers intervene more far-reaching in the biomedical processes. We repair what is damaged, replace broken body parts and change our look till it fits our desire. As a result of this we seem to hold the key to perfection and gradually we seem to change into a designed human being. Now that we have become better at deconstructing the human, the question is arising if we are also capable of reconstructing ourselves? When we literally will disassemble the human and present it as a modular system, we are faced with impossible choices. With her graduation project titled “Reborn” Pleun wants to provide a platform for these ethical questions, stimulate reflection and enter into a dialogue with the viewer. The overall picture gives us the opportunity to anticipate the new developments before they, almost unnoticed, sneak into our lives.

What do you try to communicate with your project?
With this work I want to provide a platform for the ethical questions, stimulate reflection and enter into a dialogue with the viewer.

Why have you decided to participate at FASHIONCLASH Festival? 
 After presenting my work at the graduation show and at the MU For Play expo during Dutch Design Week I got asked by Fashionclash if they could use my work for their campagne shoot. After some emails and phonecalls we spend the day in the studio with a great team of people which resulted in the pictures you’ll find in the catalogue. From the shooting day the idea came up to show the whole installation during the Fashionclash event. FASHIONCLASH is already working on future themes.

What are the topics you find interesting?
Concerning the topics I’ve been working on I would be interested in developing the idea of our body becoming fashion by itself further more. How to deform and manipulate our shape till it will fit our desires and what would be the influence of fashion on all of this?

What are your thoughts regarding ‘religion and fashion’?
Perhaps the fashion industry can be considered to be a religion by itself. Religion is based on the idea of believing in a common story or myth which could be applied to fashion and all the trends that come along with it as well.

Does fashion makes sense to you?
It makes sense and it doesn’t. I find the fashion industry very interesting and bizarre at the same time. In a way it’s funny how the need to cover our body out of protection got turned in a whole new industry that often seems to be completely disconnected from the basic need it essentially had.

What are your thoughts on making ‘fashion’ more environmentally-friendly?
I would not consider it to be a question but a necessity. It’s a fact we are running out of resources at the same time as we have to deal with a still growing population. We’ll have to change in order to be sustainable.

What are your thoughts on the senses in relation to the human body?
Often we underestimate how much information we access through our senses. The main focus in our society is on the visual information we consume via our eyes but there is so much more. Hopefully the other senses will be explored further more to enrich the accessible information we absorb.

Do you think that fashion can contribute to a better world / better well-being, and what do you do to make a difference?
 All design fields could contribute to a better world, not only fashion. It will go step by step but in the end it could make a difference. Just talking about fashion I would say the sustainability is one of the main focus points at the moment and in the near future.

What senses are engaged in your creation process?
Although the sculptures became too fragile to be touched they have a strong sense of tactility which triggers hopefully more than just on a visual level. Another irrelevant sense that got involved in the making process wasn’t one I chose for since the silicone has an enormous strong vinegar smell. Even after taking a shower and changing my clothes I could smell it around me as if the sculptures where trying to become part of me as well.

How does technology change your creation process?
It’s hard to say what it actually changes but for sure the impact is enormous. The tools we use to create are different from time to time and have a big influence on the outcome. Next to this technology is also what we react on in the design field, the change goes further than just the technique but is influencing the topics and concepts as well.

What’s a standard day for you?
Everyday can look completely different so I think that became the standard.

Vegan, vegetarian, healthy diet or any food will do?
I almost never eat meat but wouldn’t call myself 100% vegetarian cause I’m cheating once in a while.

What’s your favourite song at the moment?
Wanted 2 stay by Samaris.

Best Tv-show/movie at the moment?
My favorite series is “Black Mirror”, I think they’re doing a great job in the way they manage to translate the technological developments into plausible future scenarios. One of the best movies I’ve seen lately is “Bridgend” by Jeppe Rønde, beautifully made and trilling to watch.

What is your bad habit?
When I go out for dinner or drinks with friends I always want to get a sip or bite from what they have chosen. I think I got this habit from my dad who often did the same when we were little.

Are you a people's person or a loner?
Bit of both, they have to be balanced out.

Do you have a pet?
No, and I don’t think I’ll ever want to.

Your favorite quote?
Midas Dekkers: “We willen o zo graag vooruit. Maar er is geen vooruitgang. Er is niet eens achteruitgang. Er is alleen maar gang.”

What’s your favorite city?
Copenhagen, I’ve lived there for one year and felt home from the first day.

What/Who do you miss the most when you are not at home?
Going to the toilet without locking the door.

If you could move anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Iceland, I traveled around the country by myself some years ago and wanted to go back ever since. Although I imagine it to be tough to spend the winter there I’m curious to experience what this isolation would do to me.

What do you enjoy the most in life?
Someone tickling my skin.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Licking my plate after eating a dessert.

Who is your biggest example/idol?
My biggest inspirations are mainly artist, some of them are; Ivo van Hove, Pina Bausch, Frida Kahlo, Sophie Calle and Marlene Dumas.

Favourite magazine?
Actually I almost never manage to read magazines. I’m already happy when I find time to read through the newspaper. But I do have good memories of the Saturday mornings at my parents place, with a cup of coffee reading the volkskrant magazine at the kitchen table.

Your favourite hashtags #?
I’m not an advanced Instagrammer so to be honest, #noclue.

Your favourite social media app?
All of my friends will admit I’m not the most digital person on earth. Somehow I’m not a quick adopter and only started an Instagram account about a year ago, slightly forced by my brother ;-).

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