Jan Boelen is trained as a product designer. He is currently Artistic Director of Z33, and head of the Social Design masters programme at the Design Academy Eindhoven (NL).
Z33 aims, as an arts centre, to be involved with social change, and sees art and design as a means to this end. Designers and artists are the first target audience, given that they are the ones who can push the discipline further forward. Z33 also wants to be a laboratory for a possible future, capitalising on the traditions already existing within, for example, art education in the Limburg region. He wants to further explore and extend the new boundaries of design, and he definitely wants to do that at an international level.
“Design is nothing more than the crystallisation of a social system. Given the fact that our current society has been taken over by an economic logic with a neoliberal agenda, and simultaneously fuelled by disruptive technological powers, you notice that the social and cultural aspects of a society are under continual pressure. And that’s exactly what interests me. That’s exactly what designers and artists, with their limited means, keep trying to create space for.”
“In the future, I want to have less to do with the programmatic logic and ‘just’ organising exhibitions. In the future, we more and more want to make the knowledge we accumulate transparent, and share it. It’s important for an institute which is funded by public money to give that back to society. We want to use our knowledge as an innovative collection and begin to function as a centre of knowledge and reference.”