The Contract

Tents on Tahrir Square, Egypt

There is something treacherously seductive in the shadow play about the artist and the city, that is performed by certain discourses on gentrification and the creative class. Feeding off old-fashioned notions of the avant-garde, it stages the artist as an instrument of change, a positive influence, one whose mere presence is a symptom of a declining neighbourhood's recovery.

Tue, 10/09/2012

To be legal does not mean to be legitimate and to be illegal is not a synonym of illegitimate

Fractional Reserve Banking. An illustration of how banks are able to create money from a client’s 1000 Euros. By Núria Güell

A conversation with the Catalan artist Núria Güell about economy, education and art as acts of intrusions into the mechanisms of power that construct hegemonic modes of behaviour, thought and meaning in society.

Sun, 06/17/2012

Free towels

Urban plan SlaveCity 2005

What is the role of art in moments of social transformation? A look at the models followed by the Free State of AVL-Ville and Slave City of Atelier van Lieshout, and The Best Party, an Icelandic political party founded by a group of artists, musicians and other cultural agents. Recent events regarding the protests against cultural policies in The Netherlands have imbued this article with a new kind of relevance. The call for resistance against the government's fateful neoliberal grasp on society is growing stronger. For art to play a pivotal role in this, it could take some cues from the examples presented in this article: Time to leave self-effacing moderateness behind, stop being reasonable, and demand the impossible!

Sun, 08/15/2010

My friends, there are no friends

Save the males, a project by Tinkebell

Captivated, the visitors of a fair of Eco-fashion and sustainable design gather around a cardboard box, inside which 61 cute little chicks are scampering about. Meanwhile, on the other side, a girl with a pleasant smile explains to them what her project “Save the males” is about. She is an artist, known as Tinkebell, and the chicks, all male, will need the help of those present, if they are not to end up in the shredder. It is a fate that would have been inevitable, had they been left at the poultry farm where she picked them up earlier, and one they would have shared with the 31 million chicks that are born as males each year in the Netherlands.

Thu, 01/06/2011

The interrogation room

Esculturas públicas envueltas en plástico negro como protesta.

In the Netherlands, cultural workers are on the streets, protesting against the pending cuts on government funding for art and culture. In the newspapers, meanwhile, their opponents have put the question of whether art is elitist back on the agenda again. Time for a little introspection.

Thu, 12/09/2010

Possessed

Visitors picking up their copy of "Untitled (Wall Structure) by Sol LeWitt.

What does it mean to possess a work of art, when all it really consists of is an idea? The Danish artists' collective SUPERFLEX provocatively exploits the legacy of conceptual art in order to find out, and in the process reveal the limitations of current intellectual property laws.

Mon, 09/13/2010

“We need spaces that allow people to struggle with each other for their meaning.”

Arnlod Reijndorp

In this interview, Arnold Reijndorp, independent researcher on urbanism and urban culture, looks back on his visit to Basque Country, realised a few weeks ago within the framework of a study trip to different European cities, a trip he helped organise together with The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture for a group of cultural professionals.

Thu, 11/11/2010

Shhhhhh... Artists at work.

The Trainee. A work by Pilvi Takala

On how to resist the libertarian appropriation of notions of creativity and flexibility in order to turn labourers into "freelancing subcontractors", and how to participate in a strike with an artistic practice that produces nothing.

Sun, 07/18/2010

Drawing the inbetweens

It's a small world after all

In his definition of political art, Walter Benjamin once said that the important question was not how a work of art stands in relation to the relationships of production of a period, but how it stands in them. Taking this as a guideline, we take another look at the graphic novel "Pyongyang" (2003) by Guy Deslisle.

Sun, 05/23/2010

At your service

Willem IV on a horse

What is the purpose of art in a free society? The construction of three monuments serves as a point of departure for a reflection on the relationship between ideology and art in the so-called progressive democracies: The bust of Pim Fortuyn in Rotterdam, Bruce Lee's statue in Mostar, and the "Monument of the chased-off citizen of Rotterdam", which was never built.

Thu, 04/29/2010

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