Daniel van der Velden is a graphic designer and writer based in Amsterdam who, since 1998, has been collaborating with Maureen Mooren on a variety of design and editorial projects. Among a new generation of influential Dutch graphic designers, they have developed a reputation for work that engages and challenges its readers by making aspects of writing, editing, and authorship commensurate with designing. This approach can be seen in their design of Archis, a magazine about architecture, culture, and urbanism, which appropriates and thus recontextualizes the stylistic conventions and typographic formats of various other magazines. They are particularly interested in the relationship and possibilities of fiction within the realm of information and in the reconsideration of preexisting graphic forms, whether a newspaper, advertisement, letter, diary, and so on. For instance, their series of invitations for exhibitions at the art gallery Room recycles the formats and contents of letters, conveying practical information within a more compelling story. As van der Velden notes, “The instability that occurs with this strategy is one that is, I think, always happening when something ‘boring’ like some dates and names is uploaded with something thrilling, or playful.” Since 2003 he has directed the Meta Haven project, a comprehensive national identity system for the Principality of Sealand, the world’s smallest “micronation.” Founded in the late 1960s and located on a formerly abandoned World War II anti-aircraft platform in the North Sea, Sealand garnered recent worldwide publicity with the establishment of HavenCo, a data-hosting services company. It’s a kind of data haven, or safe harbor for information, that claims to be the world’s first and only true market environment for Web business free from security and regulatory issues of conventional nation-states.
Maureen Mooren and Daniel van der Velden, MM&DVDD, Amsterdam
$20 ($10 Walker and AIGA members; full-time students)