Doctoral Students

Anja Groten
Started in

Research summary

The (Im)possibilities of friction

The starting point of the research project is the question: can oppositional forces and encounters of resistance in the context of design and engineering processes be productive, and if so, what could be a possible outcome? Could the results of friction be used strategically, and be considered design?

This research problematizes frictional co-creative processes by drawing parallels with cultural, philosophical and political theories of agonism, dissidence and disobedience. By means of hands-on cross-disciplinary workshops and by producing and highlighting frictional experiences – by breaking open and appropriating software, hardware, and networks, i.e. through actual encounters with the technologies proposed – this inquiry aims to reframe the discourse about what is often described by tech-optimists as innovation.



Anja Groten (1983, DE) is an independent designer and researcher based in Amsterdam. Investigating the possibilities of frictional encounters as part of design practice, she designs collective moments of critical making, aimed at discussion, confrontation and contingency. Groten's design practice evolves around the cross-section of digital and physical media, design and art education and her involvement in different interdisciplinary collectives. Groten works on (self-)commissions and besides tutors at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, and the Design Academy Eindhoven. In 2013 she co-founded the initiative Hackers & Designers, attempting to break down the barriers between the two fields by enforcing a common vocabulary through education, hacks and collaboration. Groten has lectured and given workshops at several art and design schools in the Netherlands and abroad, amongst which Changsha Normal University, City Design School and CAFA Beijing (CHN), Krefeld University of Applied Sciences (DE), University of Westminster (UK), Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee (DE), OCAD University Toronto (CA), Otis College of Art and Design Los Angeles (US), and University at Buffalo (US).


Individual projects

    • Intersectional Search in Queer and Trans Archives

      – Presentation and reflections on the Feminist Search Tools project with Hackers & Designers, Read-in and IHLIA LGBTI Heritage

      Public Library Amsterdam, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Mail Art: A Complaint Letter to the Internet

      In pre-internet times, physical mail was used by artists and writers to exchange small works of art, poetry and letters. Mail Art was an alternative…

      Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Inefficient Tools for Quantified Beings

      The exhibition 'Inefficient Tools for Quantified Beings' moved to Amsterdam and will be activated through a public program, consisting of workshops, performances and talks.

      NDSM Fuse, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Summer Academy 2020 'Network Imaginaries'

      As a member of collective Hackers & Designers (H&D), Anja Groten co-organizes the Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2020. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic,…

      The Internet and a distributed network of local hosts
    • The Hmm and Hackers & Designers

      As a member of collective Hackers & Designers, Anja Groten collaborates with The Hmm on developing a self-hosted streaming platform for events.

    • Workshop Imaginary Networks

      Hackers & Designers (Anja Groten and Juliette Lizotte) are contributing to the Glossary of Undisciplined Design Symposium with a talk and workshop during the symposium…

      GfZK Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig (DE)
    • BodyBuilding. Inefficient Tool Building for Quantified Beings

      Group exhibition in collaboration with Hackers & Designers, The Underground Division, Nazanin Karimi, Thomas Rustemeyer, Kiki Mager

      Tetem, Enschede (NL)
    • Workshop Repository of Feminist Search Strategies

      Talk and workshop in collaboration with James Bryan Graves (hacker) and Anja Groten (designer)

      Aalto Visual Communication Design, Aalto (FI)
    • Towards a Critical Collaborative Practice

      Anja Groten publishes the article "Towards a Critical Collaborative Practice" in: 'Design Dedication. Adaptive Mentalities in Design Education', 2020 edited by Annelys de Vet, published…

    • Hacking & Designing

      Anja Groten contributes the article "Hacking & Designing: Paradoxes of Collaborative Practice" to 'The Critical Makers Reader. (Un)learning Technology', edited by Loes Bogers and Leitzia…

    • Interfacial Work-Out

      Together with Hackers & Designers Anja Groten gives an introduction to intra-active bodily publishing exercises at POST Design Festival in Copenhagen.

      Enigma, Copenhagen (DK)
    • Design Friction

      Anja Groten publishes the article 'Design Friction' in the journal ‘Modes of Criticism 4: Radical Pedagogy’ and gives a talk at the publication launch during…

      Onomatopee, Eindhoven (NL)
    • Do You Accept the Terms and Conditions?

      Anja Groten gives a presentation about her research at the event 'Do you accept the terms and conditions?', hosted by Waag.

      Waag, Amsterdam (NL)

      Together with collective Hackers & Designers Anja Groten co-organises the Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2019 entitled 'Coded Bodies'.

      NDSM, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Fake it! Fake them! Fake you! Fake us!

      Anja Groten and Juliette Lizotte give a talk at the launch of the publication 'Fake it! Fake them! Fake you! Fake us!' by Hackers &…

      San Serriffe, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Fake it! Fake you! Fake us!

      In 2018 Hackers & Designers proposed to explore the notion of truth by interrogating what the tools and technologies that we are building, using and…

    • The Workshop and Cultural Production

      Anja Groten contributes the essay 'The Workshop and Cultural Production' to Amsterdam-based publication platform 'Open!'

      Stichting Open!, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Momentary Zine

      As part of collective Hackers & Designers Anja Groten is invited to present the 'Momentary Zine' during the Neuhaus program at Het Nieuwe Instituut.

      Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam (NL)
    • Face the InterFace

      Anja Groten presents the smart mirror project 'Face the InterFace' at international platform for trans-disciplinary creativity Today’s Art.

      The Grey Space in the Middle, The Hague (NL)
    • Build your own self-driving car

      Anja Groten of collective Hackers & Designers collaborated with French collective Formes Vives to build the next iteration of the DIY self-driving car.

      The Yellow Gas Station, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2018

      Anja Groten organises the Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2018 entitled 'FAKE IT! FAKE US! FAKE ME! FAKE THEM! FAKE YOU!'

      DekWest, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Control the Controller

      Anja Groten and Heerko van der Kooij of Hackers & Designers give a workshop entitled 'Control the Controller' at Het Nieuwe Instituut.

      Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam (NL)
    • Friction by Design

      Anja Groten gives a talk entitled 'Friction by Design' at [MAKE]: 2018 Design Educators Conference.

      Herron School of Art and Design, Indianapolis (US)
    • Hackers & Designers. On &/ Off the grid

      Anja Groten published and contributed to the publication 'Hackers & Designers. On &/ Off the grid'. The booklaunch takes place at San Seriffe on May…

      San Seriffe, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Critical by Design?

      Anja Groten gives a presentation at the conference 'Critical By Design?' at the Academy of Art and Design FHNW in Basel.

      Academy of Art and Design FHNW, Basel (CH)
    • Tools for Co-creation and Situated Making

      Anja Groten gives a talk and workshop entitled 'Tools for Co-creation and Situated Making' at the graduate conference In/Equalities at the Department of Gender Studies…

      Central European University, Budapest (HU)
    • Ctrl + c

      Anja Groten gives a workshop entitled 'Ctrl + c – Force quitting persuasive algorithmic search processes' at the 9th SAR - International Conference on Artistic…

      University of Plymouth, Plymouth (UK)
    • Hack night. Self-driving toy car I & II

      Anja Groten of collective Hackers and Designers hosts a workshop series around the development of the self driving car in collaboration with Waag Society.

      Waag Society, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Integrated 2017 Between Creativity and Criminality

      Anja Groten participated in INTEGRATED 2017, the thought-provoking conference format organized by St Lucas School of Arts Antwerp. The 2017 edition focuses on the art…

      BE, Antwerp