Department of Search

Where art and science create debatable futures

The Department of Search was established in 2014 at Science Park Utrecht. This artist run department experimented for three years with action research interventions to establish new forms of encounters between art and science. This book unfolds the findings and speculate on the potential of a shared space to formulate the fundamental questions of the future.

The Department’s basic procedure is simple: artists thoroughly search University premises and the spaces inside, around and between the buildings, for clues, cues and ideas they can use. They share their findings, models, and ideas for projects with local scientists. A search is conducted for shared values and what they may lead up to. From the intensive adventure will often – there is no guarantee - emerge a wide open panorama of potential, or a collection of debatable futures.

Design of the book
The book design, by Studio Renate Boere, translates the search to the added value of art and science. It illustrates the space for experiment that is needed to break through conventional assumptions, methods and research questions that both disciplines need to come up with new ideas.

‘Free space’ was the starting point, given by the initiators. In a both figurative and literally sense. The designers have seized this opportunity, research and experiment resulted in a playful and layered design. There’s lots to explore, rules are being bend. The result represents experiment and opportunities in order to inspire for taking action.

Drawings by Melle Smets illustrate the activities on the Zero Footprint Campus. In the core of the book the designers visualized free space in an abstract form, flipping through the book it creates an optical illusion. Further on a portrait gallery shows how art and science have been proven successful in history.

Because of the close collaboration between the initiators, writers and designers more and more valuable content came up during the process. The book was continuously being fed and enriched with imagery, quotes, statements and clever design solutions.

The future starts here
Remarkably folded pages structure the book (they even contain little secrets) and a bright yellow insert states where the future starts, stimulating the imagination.

All in all, a fat of the land publication, persuasive in its design telling a convincing message.

Order the book at

Order the book at for international orders

Price: € 19,95


Size: 17 x 12 cm
Binding: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 320
ISBN 978-90-82672-54-1

Editorial board
Carlijn Diesfeldt
Cynthia Hathaway
Melle Smets

Ed van Hinte

Carlijn Diesfeldt
Melle Smets
Cynthia Hathaway
Ed van Hinte (Cluing in, Interviews, Shared Values, No Boundaries)

Most of the quotes were taken out of the expert meetings of the Zero Footprint Campus, and interviews by Saskia Naafs for the Zero Footprint Campus newspaper publication.

Melle Smets

Concept / design
Studio Renate Boere: Renate Boere, Evelien Broersen, Simone van Oosterhout, Wilco van der Leeuw, Aniek Kroes

Renate Boere
Aafke Holwerda
David van Riel
Jan Scheffe
Melle Smets
Jokko Voogt

Printing & binding
ORO grafisch projectmanagement
Printing House KOPA

Commissioned by the Aardschap foundation, Utrecht February 2018

This publication was made possible by DOEN Foundation and the Municipality of Utrecht.

© Published by Hybrid Crocodile, 2018

Studio Renate Boere / Abraham van Beyerenstraat 4 / 2525 TG Den Haag / +31(0)70 2167612 / +31(0)6 24525557 /