Inhuman Carnaval at Dutch Design Week '21

Open costume lab, workshops, exhibitions and more

17 Oct 2021
22 Oct 2021

How does it feel to be an earthworm, bee, plant, or fungus? During Dutch Design Week, we are hosting a big open costume lab, exhibitions, workshops and talks where we invite artists, designers, and passersby to dress up as the amazing species of our ecosystem, and celebrate the biodiversity of our planet! 


Wearable Soft Toys: Venla Elonsalo's brown teddy costume - Designer:  Venla Elonsalo Photo:  @sofia_okkonen Styling:   @superminttu Casting:   @islamovic_jasmin Model:   @miraaurora   /   @thesisterhood_mgmt MUA:   @jennyjanssonmakeup Hair:   @2pintaa Venla Elonsalo

People are just beginning to discover the richness of our planet's biodiversity, and with it the value of each individual species within our ecosystem. At the same time, this biodiversity is shrinking at a great rate. How can we break out of our anthropocentric worldview and learn to feel more empathy for the other species on the planet? Can we train ourselves to see the world from a non-human perspective by wrapping ourselves in pink velvet and becoming an endangered pink velvet worm, for example?

The biodiversity costume lab at DDW

During Dutch Design Week we are hosting an open costume lab where we invite fashion designers, artists and you too, to make costumes of amazing species from our ecosystem. For a whole week there is room for experiment and design research to mimic various species in fabric and other (sustainable) materials. We are also hosting an ongoing program of master classes, workshops, lectures and exhibitions around bio-diversity and design. 

A costume made from a mushroom? A mask with the scent of Dahlias, or face paints as a water bear? The craziest/most beautiful/original costumes and techniques that we see this week, are translated into instructables, which we are publishing in a DIY-guide for carnival 2022, where the project continues...

Hacking Carnival 

Originally, carnival was designed to unlearn the social structures and especially the hierarchies of society. By using masks and outfits to empathize with another persona, we can break existing rules, structures and beliefs. 

With Inhuman Carnival, we explore adding a new layer to this large-scale escapism. can you actively advocate for biodiversity and grow your understanding of non-human beings while you party? We believe that empathizing with a species and making a costume is a good starting point to become more aware of a large abstract problem, such as the loss of biodiversity.

Our ultimate goal is to "hack" Carnival 2022 with as many biodiversity costumes as possible. We want to activate a large audience to dress up as an 'inhuman species' during the party. The DIY guide with instructables that is made during DDW is the starting point for this. 


Inhuman Carnival at Dutch Design Week
October 17th through 22th, 2021
Natlab, Eindhoven

Read more about our Inhuman Carnaval program

Inhuman Carnival at Dutch Design Week is organized in collaboration with Baltan Laboratories.

Open Costume Lab

In our Open Costume Lab, fashion designers as well as participants of all ages created impressive costumes inspired by a variety of species from our ecosystem. In this creative open space, we provided all the fabrics, materials and resources as well as guidance and inspiration, in hopes of not only ending up with a bunch of amazing inhuman costumes, masks and accessories, but also fostering curiosity about what it is like to be in the skin of another being. Can we shed our anthropocentric worldview through dressing up as different species?


Creating costumes in the Open Costume Lab - At Dutch Design Week 2021 we are hosting an open costume lab where participants are creating amazing costumes from species in our ego system, while hopefully becoming more aware of the biodiversity of our planet. Caroline Aravicius

Species Costume Library

Our Species Costume Library exhibited works from more than 20 fashion designers and artists, all around the theme of biodiversity and the non-human other. It served as a locus of inspiration for creating inhuman costumes, as well as a space for contemplating our relation to these different species. It contained life-sized costumes, as well as accessories, prints and video installations. 


Species Costume Library exhibition - Participants explore the Species Costume Library exhibition. The exhibition explore the theme of biodiversity and the non-human other. In this merging of fashion, art and interspecies appreciation we invite the participants to get inspired and ready for a change of skin. Caroline Aravicius

Extinction Claims

The web-based artwork by conceptual artist Paolo Cirio took on a physical presence during Dutch Design Week. In Extinction Claims, we gave a voice to the numerous species that have been negatively affected by fossil fuel emissions from major oil, gas, and carbon companies. The project seeks to claim financial compensation from these companies on behalf of the various endangered species and visitors could sign a petition to stand up for them. 


Extinction Claims exhibition by Paolo Cirio - Paolo Cirio composed the web-based artwork  at the Inhuman Carnaval 2021   with aggregated datasets of endangered species and invites the public to participate in their protection. Caroline Aravicius, Paolo Cirio

House Plant in Residence

Amongst the various performances that took place during Inhuman Carnaval at Dutch Design Week was that of visual and performance artist Jesse Asselman, titled House Plant in Residence. In an immersive, transformative and almost meditative state, and with the help of a copious amount of body paint and makeup, Jesse fully becomes an indoor plant that decorated Natlab at various moments during the week. 


Kamer Plant Performance - with Jesse Asselman Photo courtesy of Jesse Asselman. During Dutch Design Week, visual and performance artist Jesse Asselman becomes a living, breathing house plant at Natlab. With the help of body paint and make-up, they fully immerse themselves into the house plant role, inviting us to get closer to the non-human others we share our space and planet with.  Caroline Aravicius, Jesse Asselman

Live Tufting Landscapes

For a whole week, as part of Inhuman Carnaval, we got to witness textile artist Nadie Borggreve tufting in real time during Live Tufting Lanscapes. Her tufting creations resemble Gothic windows and are deeply rooted in nature, transporting us into a multitude of natural landscapes. This tufting was a work-in-progress so every day the viewers could see and experience something new and different. 


Live tufting presentation by Nadie Borggreve - Inhuman Carnaval at Dutch Design Week 2021 Photo taken by Caroline Aravicius at Natlab during Inhuman Carnaval at Dutch Design Week 2021. Nadie Borggreve   creates her tufting works that echo and are deeply rooted in nature.   Her creations have a pictorial aspect that transport the viewer into a multitude of settings. Her creations resemble Gothic windows in how they look upward, toward the heavens; wool replaces stained glass, giving rise to astral formations. Borggreve also plays with the composition of her pieces, which she either… Caroline Aravicius, Nadie Borggreve


Sensory and spatial artist Iris Woutera gave a visually stunning opening to the Inhuman Carnaval program with her performance titled Deform. In Deform, she engulfed herself in a material designed by a combination of hard (plastic) and stretch (textile) which, in turn, responds to her movement. The organic flow refers to forms in nature, such as plants, fish or a gently swaying sea anemone.


Deform, a performance by Iris Woutera - Sensory and spatial artist  Iris Woutera  participates in the opening of the Inhuman Carnaval progam at Dutch Design Week 21'. In her performance titled  Deform several performers are slowly moving in shapes designed with hard (plastic) and stretch (textile). The shapes, in return, respond to their movement. Photo by Anisa Xhomaqi for Mediamatic Anisa Xhomaqi, Iris Woutera

With: Iris Woutera


Our program included diverse workshops that invited everyone to experiment with fashion design in order to make their own biodiversity-inspired creations. The day-long immersive workshop Bugs & Buds Bootcamp, led by fashion designer Conny Groenewegen, focused on costume design that does not merely resemble another species but also recreates the movement and specific needs of that species, giving it an empathetic dimension. Participants were encouraged to think and imagine the perspective of the plant or insect, to find a connection with the chosen organism and establish a relationship with it by working through various perspectives, patterns, and directions. During the workshop Embroidering Species, Desiree Hammen helped participants to use embroidery as a tool to feel closer to species that we don't know or understand.


Bugs & Buds bootcamp - Maybe a costume doesn't have to look like a different species, but it does make you feel like a different species. This may be because it manipulates or limits the movement you can do while wearing the costume. The workshop with Conny Groenewegen and Csilla Lakatos is primarily about empathy, but is strongly focused on experience, context and senses. A day-long immersion workshop that combines fashion design and movement.   Caroline Aravicius, Csilla Lakatos, Conny Groenewegen

Odorama - Smelling Species 

In this edition of Odorama, an ongoing Mediamatic lecture program around smell, speakers approached the olfactory in relation to other species. Some of the topics we talked about were; How can our noses help us engage with other species? Do other species use smell the same way as humans do? What about the aromas that animals and other species release to mark their territory? The audience also got to smell the elephant smells created by perfume artist Frank Bloem


Frank Bloem setting free some of Jelle Zandveld's fruit flies - Scientist and fruit fly specialist Jelle Zandveld  brings some of his fruit flies to this edition of Odorama and shares his insight on fruit flies that stems from his evolutionary research. Frank Bloem sets some of them free.  Anisa Xhomaqi, Jelle Zandveld

Open Air Gentle Disco

Our Gentle Disco moved to Eindhoven for Dutch Design Week! We put our white socks on and showed our moves on the mycelium dance floor, dancing to the tunes of DJ Huppeldepup. By dancing on top of the mycelium blocks, we helped artist Arne Hendriks with the building of pigeon towers, an ongoing experiment to build with living mycelium waste from oyster mushroom farms. During his research, Arne discovered that dancing on top of the blocks in order to press them is quite an effective method, and also a great opportunity for some dancing fun!


The Gentle Disco crowd vibing on the tunes of DJ Huppeldepup - During Dutch Design Week on the Ketelhuisplein in Eindhoven we danced and pressed the mycelium bricks from Verbruggen Paddestoelen. Anisa Xhomaqi

Drinks at Dusk

During Dutch Design Week, we had daily presentations by various artists at sundown, along with drinks. The speakers were all artists that participated in the Inhuman Carnaval program and they got to share their thoughts on how their practice relates to the theme of celebrating biodiversity through dressing up, or through fashion in general. The artists that joined us for Drinks at Dusk are Nadie Borggreve, Jesse Asselman, Lennart Vader, Conny Groenewegen and Desirée Hammen. 


Drinks at Dusk with Desirée Hammen - At Dutch Design Week we have daily presentations by various artists at sundown. In this edition we talk about how we can (re)create other species with all their textures and complexities through embroidery with fashion designer and artist  Desirée Hammen . Caroline Aravicius, Desirée Hammen, Anne Hofstra

Inhuman Carnaval Party 

After an intense week of costume-making, we got to show off our inhuman outfits at the Inhuman Carnaval Party. For one night, we let go of our human identities and transformed into literal party animals, dancing to filthy beats by DJ Wannabeastar and Shirley Hart. There was also free beer from Oedipus Brewery for all the non-humans!


Inhuman beings dancing - At Dutch Design Week we party in biodiversity costumes with DJ Wannabeastar and Shirley Macholina , using costumes made in the costume lab at Inhuman Carnaval. Free beers provided by Oedipus Brewing for non-humans! Anisa Xhomaqi