19 May 2021

the jury is out: fifteen ideas against growth addiction are chosen for new exposition

Almost 500 entries from creative makers and thinkers, 34 digital pitches and 4 judges. These were the ingredients for Museum De Lakenhal's open call. We were looking for ideas against growth addiction. And they have been found: a jury has selected the fifteen best ideas. Starting in October, these will be on display in Museum De Lakenhal during the new exhibition If Things Grow Wrong.

Growth addiction

We want faster, bigger, more. Is that always better, or do problems also grow unnoticed as a result? From minor stress about lack of storage on your phone to global pollution... If things grow wrong, growing pains emerge in all sorts and sizes.

Growth addiction calls for creative solutions. Therefore, in early March, Museum De Lakenhal launched an open call for creative makers and thinkers to send in their progressive, logical or strange idea against growth addiction. Almost 500 entries were received. A jury consisting of Eva Rovers, Raki Ap, Liesbeth Staats and Wytske Visser selected 15 creatives who will develop their solution for the exhibition If Things Grow Wrong.

More on the open call and exhibition

''People sometimes see similar problems due to growth addiction, but they think in very different solutions. I look forward to these 15 getting a stage at the museum, hopefully prompting action or behavior change.''

Member of the jury Wytske Visser, coordinator public programme Museum De Lakenhal

The participants

From dance company to laboratory manager, and from climate discussion to vanitas portraits: this October, the exhibition If Things Grow Wrong at Museum De Lakenhal presents creative solutions against growth addiction from a variety of disciplines. The participants come from Leiden, the rest of the Netherlands and abroad.

These are the 15 selected ideas (working titles):

  • Open Blad by Barend Blom, Maarten Hoogslag (coach), Roel Rutgers (architect and furniture maker) and Nienke Hoogvliet (artist)
  • Dubbelspraaktvertaler by Evert van Leeuwen (scientist and teacher)
  • Letters from nature by Jeroen van der Most and Peter van der Putten (artist and scientist)
  • The Paradox of Science by The Dream3D lab and SuperNatural Foundation
  • Future Fossils by Aart Kuipers and Walter van der Velden (designers)
  • Ken de Keten by Tinka van der Kooij (maker and researcher)
  • En quête (des Marges Fluctuantes) by Guy Woueté (artist and activist)
  • Indigenous Perspectives 'The Future = Indigenous' by Jesse van 't Hull in collaboration with non-profit organisation NATV
  • Flight: vanitas still life by Zindzi Zwietering (photographer/artist)
  • Emperor's New Robes by Henri Affandi artist from London
  • Doosmens by UNCLTRD (Dina Al-Hamdany, Elisa Heath and Max Bernaerts, students architecture at TU Delft
  • Taal voor de toekomst (in gesprek met de Noordzee) by Arita Baaijens (biologist, writer, explorer), Eeke Brussee (sociology student), Axel Coumans (designer) and Mark IJzerman (artist, AI). Mark IJzerman (artist, AI expert).
  • De dood by Mohammad Faizi Nazir aka 'The Bearded Man' (creative connector, economics teacher, magician)
  • Kaia by Kim van den Belt (design student at the art academy in Groningen)
  • PLASTISCH by Dansblok in collaboration with Amsterdam filmmaker Jilles van Kleef

Jury report

In assessing the proposals, the jury paid attention to various criteria. They looked at whether the idea has a strong connection with the theme of growth addiction. In addition, they assessed how stimulating the concept is and how it has been elaborated (visually). They also reviewed multidisciplinarity and polyphony, i.e. the extent to which the chosen forms and perspectives of different candidates complement and challenge each other. The proposals that were ultimately selected are distinctive in that they offer a real solution and, moreover, incite action or encourage behavioural change.

To find out exactly what the works entail, you will have to be patient a little longer! The jury report gives a sneak peek for now. The report per participant can be found here:

jury report

The jury

The jury consisted of four experts, each with a very different perspective on the theme:

  • Liesbeth Staats, journalist and programme maker: ,,I found it surprising that the problem of growth addiction is so widespread, or at least so strongly shared. By young as well as old.''
  • Raki Ap, former soldier, civil servant and climate and anti-racism activist: ,,The pitches were a wonderful experience with all the enthusiasm and creativity.''
  • Eva Rovers, writer, cultural historian and initiator of the Bureau Burgerberaad: ,,The chosen proposals stood out for me because they thought big, in systemic changes.''
  • Wytske Visser, coordinator of the public programme at Museum De Lakenhal: ,,It is striking that a few subjects recurred more often. Bad growth in the form of cancer, waste, giving nature a voice and the desire to withdraw from the rat race, to name a few. It did not matter whether the contributor was a scientist or a school class.''


If Things Grow Wrong is a multidisciplinary exhibition about growth addiction. The exhibition and public programme will start in October 2021 in Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden. In the meantime, the makers and the project can be followed online.