Social Art and Design

Issue 1 Redesigning Business

Section: Projects
Topics: Participation Aesthetics

Rijksstudio Breeding Show

Tom van der Heiden

What if anyone could use, re-use, remix and share images of the Dutch Masters? 
This year, the first project of the minor Open Design was a collaboration with the Rijksmuseum. The Museum is currently digitalising its entire collection and sharing the high-res images, licence free, through an online platform called Rijksstudio. This platform encourages everyone to work with the collection, create and recreate new products, images and other applications. We, Willem de Kooning students, were challenged to look at the Rijksstudio project from an Open Design perspective. We explored the type of new creations that had already arisen from the shared images, and how Rijksstudio could further facilitate its audience to work with the collection.

My research led to a project called Rijksstudio Breeding Show. The Breeding Show is a tool to manipulate images from the collection. I deveoped an action, a plugin for Photoshop that people can download for free. It allows you to manipulate images in a number of pre-defined steps. First the user is asked to select two images from the Rijksstudio collection online. Once the action script starts it begins to merge the images into a new kind of 'breed'. The two works are shattered into pieces of various shapes and they start flying across the screen, mixing up into a new form. The work changes step by step, allowing the user to stop the manipulation anytime. Users can also intervene in the process by manually adding other operations if they feel the need. The final iterations are collected in an alternative online archive with a completely different look and feel. I only attribute the name of the re-maker, as the work is now theirs. How nice is this, if you have just re-mixed images of Van Gogh and Vermeer!?!


Tom van de Heiden studies Illustration at WdKA, with a minor in Open Design.