Reverse-engineering Economic Mania 

24th September – 7th November 2018 

Brief lead by tutor Lauren Alexander  

A research project between Amsterdam and Istanbul, which will be presented as part of the public program of the Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools, 28th October – 4th November 2018. 

On the year of the 10th anniversary of the global financial crash, Reverse-engineering Economic Mania will critically investigate colonial and contemporary trade connections between The Netherlands and Turkey. Looking at the Netherland’s colonial history as a backdrop- being the home of speculative trade methods- we will develop and publish thoughtful experiential alternatives for economic exchange in a global future. 

In the Netherlands, economic wealth has been created and maintained based on hundreds of years of historical links to trade in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Accumulated wealth created during the Dutch Golden Age, was multiplied by the development of trade speculation and the stock market, an invention of the Dutch. Today the Netherlands remains one of the leading economies in relation to its very small size. For example, it is the largest exporter of freshly cut flowers and meat to many different emerging economies. This project examines historical connections between East and West by studying the infamous tulip bubble, aka Tulip Mania, which took place during the early 1600’s, in which the tulip bulb, which originated from Turkey suddenly became an object of wildly speculated value and investment. Many of the trading techniques developed during this colonial period were implemented globally to form our current, flawed capitalistic system. 


Click here for the full course outline and see the students works on the dedicated website here