AARDSCHAP Highway Museum, graphics and exhibition design

Aardschap is an action research group that develops communities of practice for disfunctional landscapes to kickstart new land-use. Highways are a spatial, cultural, and social phenomenon that impact not only the motorists who use them, but the communities that they pass through. In addition, they have significantly transformed the physical environment and our relationship to the cities and towns which are easily accessible (or not) from them. The highways are the most used public spaces, and a key part of future cultural heritage. To make this tangible I have been providing designs for a mobile exhibition stand, for exhibition De Mobilist, and a bookdesign. The museum communicated an awareness of the unique impact highways have had on Dutch culture. The Highway Museum was the first museum of its type in the Netherlands, and its program included lectures for policymakers, workshops, expeditions, media coverage, exhibitions, publications (including books and newspapers), and a new design assignment for architects.  Aardschap Highway Museum


Client: Aardschap. Project duration: 2007/2011.

— Snelweg Museum project group:
Melle Smets, Hans Jungerius, Rob-Groot Zevert, stichting G.A.N.G. Arnhem, in collaboration with: Marten Minkema, Mat Wijn, Pier Taylor. Design mobile museum: Melle Smets, Rob-Groot Zevert, Pier Taylor, Jeremy Jansen. Funding: VSB fonds, het Mondriaan Fonds. Period: 2007/2009.

— Authors Snelweg Verhalen book: Melle Smets, Bram Esser. Editor: Johannes van der Sluis. Bookdesign: Pier Taylor. Drawings: Melle Smets. Publisher: nai010, 2011. Project support: Eva van Ginhoven, Olivier Otten, Simon van Kray.

— BKKC exhibition De Mobilist. Commissioned by: BKKC. De Mobilist project group: BKKC, Aardschap. Production De Mobilist: Melle Smets, Floor Tinga, Atty Bax, Netty van der KampContent development: Melle Smets, Floor Tinga. In collaboration with: Tijs van den Boomen, Bram Esser, Krijn Christiaansen, Linde EgbertsJan Samsom. Exhibition and graphic design: Pier Taylor. Project photography: Teun VonkFunding: BKKC. Period: 2010/2011.

The project was lauded in the Netherlands with two major awards. The Mobile exhibition stand ‘Highway Museum’ was the winner of the Routepluim 2008: Best citizen initiative award from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. And CPNB (Dutch Booksellers Federation & Trade Publishing  Group) awarded the Snelweg verhalen (Highway stories) book a Silver Tulip: best Dutch Informative book of 2011.

Snelweg Verhalen, the ‘Highway Stories’ publication, built on the experience of making the mobile exhibition stand. Artist Melle Smets and philosopher Bram Esser spent four weeks non-stop in the world of petrol stations, service areas and business parks. While their journey led along motels, emergency telephone poles and gay cruising areas throughout the Netherlands, they portrayed the people and places in the mobility landscape.

                            

The Highway Museum Mobile exhibition stand showed that highways are not just incidental phenomena; they are shapes of an entire world, a region on their own. The Dutch highway is the best used public space of the country, and of consequence as future cultural heritage.

A selection of locations the mobile museum was displayed: Vakantiebeurs Utrecht, Triënnale Apeldoorn, bookpresentation Diabolische snelweg V/D Valk Witte Bergen, exhibition Routine Museum Hilversum, congress Brabantstad Fort Altena, A1 congres Hengelo, tour along all Rijkswaterstaat offices in The Netherlands, exhibition Maak ons land at NAI Rotterdam.

De Mobilist exhibition and conference discussed the highway environment and culture in the province of Noord-Brabant. The exhibition showed current developments as well as material from the highway stories book.

The book is available from Nai010 Publishers
www.nai010.com,  ISBN 978 90 6450 755 7

Location exhibition and conference De Mobilist:
rabants Kenniscentrum voor Kunst en Cultuur, Tilburg