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Present-day research on objects from our 21st century ancestors

The objects presented from a future perspective in the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen exhibition rely on significant research completed between 2021 and 2023. The labels available on this companion site reflect that research and point readers to additional resources to continue investigations into the social and environmental impacts of everyday objects. 

Image of cups made of seaweed

Algae cups

Seaweed offers an alternative to plastic violence.

Image of a luxurious colonial cabinet


Nine different hardwoods from across the globe come together in this richly decorated cabinet featuring inlays and robust decoration, revealing histories of colonialism and environmental exploitation.

Image of a gendered toilet sign.

Gendered Toilet Sign

The gendered toilet sign is globally one of the most recognized pictographic symbols; however, the symbol’s relationship to what it represents depends on gender norms rather than the fixtures or activity of the space itself that it represents.

Image of a honey dipper on a steel slab.

Honey Dipper

What can the material and use of honey dippers tell us about the human ecosystem?

Image of ice axe

Ice axe

A steel and carbon tool for humans to traverse non-human environments.

Energy-efficient lighting

Lightwell Friso Kramer LED

The Lightwell Friso Kramer LED, the Lightwell for short, offers cities a tool for the creation of sustainable public lighting.

Image of snickers bar phone

Nokia 1100 Mobile Phone

A durable, fixable phone for millions.

Image of large bolt of bubble wrap

Plastic bubble wrap

To protect or not protect?

Image of a vehicle tire

Rubber Tire

Although palm oil plantations have received far more attention, rubber plantations can be just as bad for biodiversity loss and harmful working conditions.

Image of plastic vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum Cleaner

Does convenience actually change anything?

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