Doors of Perception 1 (1993)

The first Doors of Perception conference had mildly eccentric origins. What happened was this. The new Netherlands Design Institute was set up in May 1993 and its first director, John Thackara, an Anglo-Saxon interloper, wanted to stage a seminar at which experts from around the world would review "the future tasks of design". The Brit, who knew few people in Holland, had been given the name of an obscure magazine called Mediamatic by Kayoko Ota, a design and architecture producer in Tokyo.

There followed a meeting and an agreement to collaborate and do a joint seminar. A room at the Stedelijk Museum with 200 seats was booked, and, following a rather brief round of consultations with friends, a list of speakers was drawn up. Willem Velthoven, Mediamatic's editor, and by this time co-producer of the event, which had been named Doors of Perception after William Blake's poem, designed a memorable brochure featuring buttons, and a few thousand copies were despatched to some rather dodgy mailing lists. By this time it was six weeks before the event, which is about a year later than standard for an international event. Well, to cut a long story short, a remarkable number of people from all over the world found out about the event, demanded tickets, the venue was moved to the RAI convention centre, and in November 1993, 650 people showed up - most of them at about a week's notice. It was exciting then. Judge for yourself, as you read the transcripts, why that might have been. (And yes, we know it wasn't Woodstock but for *us* it was a big deal).