« Upgrade! Lisbon | Main | Interactive Futures: The New Screen »

May 29, 2007

The Netherlands at the Venice Biennale 2007


Citizens and Subjects

Dutch Pavilion :: The Netherlands at the Venice Biennale 2007: Citizens and Subjects :: 10 June–21 November 2007 :: Commissioned by: Mondriaan Foundation :: Concept, Curator: Maria Hlavajova :: Artist in the Dutch Pavilion: Aernout Mik

Citizens and Subjects is a three-part project conceived as the Dutch contribution to the 52nd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The project reflects on the notion of the nation-state in the present day circumstances of the so-called West and asks how we can negotiate its prospects vis-à-vis the challenges posed by the enduring state of anxiety stemming from various threats, real or imagined. This contemporary condition is co-defined by immigration, an issue of major political and moral consequence, which we seem to have been incapable of resolving. Instead, fear, ‘security’ and violence have increasingly become tools for maintaining the status quo. The project proposes this situation as the paradigm of our contemporaneity and prompts us to think through art about other possible ways that a new kind of political reality could be constructed.

Critical Reader edited by: Rosi Braidotti, Charles Esche, Maria Hlavajova :: ‘Extension’ of the Pavilion (The Netherlands, autumn 2007): a collaboration among BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht University, Treaty of Utrecht, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and Witte de With, Rotterdam :: Organized by: BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht.

Citizens and Subjects: Aernout Mik

In Citizens and Subjects, Aernout Mik presents a multichannel video installation consisting of three new works – Training Ground, 2007, Convergencies, 2007 and Mock Up, 2007 – embedded in an architectural intervention in the Dutch Pavilion. Training Ground and Mock Up are fictional works (two- and four-channel video installations, respectively), in which Mik starts from the idea of a ‘training’ or ‘exercise’, asking how we prepare teams of first responders (policemen, fire brigades, medical teams, etc.) – and ourselves – to deal with potential future crises or threats to national security and handle issues such as (illegal) immigration. Convergencies (two-channel video installation), by contrast, employs both documentary footage of such trainings and footage from real situations in which the acquired techniques and strategies are applied. Through repetition, re-enactment, mimicry, inertia, building irrational excess by means of staging scenes or editing existing film material and by over-saturating the work with unexpected play and empowering invention, Mik questions the simplified distinction between citizens (as those with the rights and full privileges of belonging to a state or nation) and subjects (as those under rule or authority) today. On one hand he asks, aren’t we all actually subjected in the same way to this rather disquieting reality? Concurrently, he clarifies the notion of the ‘subject’ as one who is capable of acting in order to overcome the distinction between subjection and possible liberation, metaphorically suggesting that perhaps it is from here that new opportunities might emerge.

Citizens and Subjects: The Netherlands, for example

Instead of a traditional catalogue to accompany the exhibition in the Dutch Pavilion, a critical reader is published, in which ideas and questions that Mik introduces in his project are debated and analysed by a number of scholars and artists based in the Netherlands. The reader takes the state of the Netherlands as an ‘example’ of the contemporary western condition and considers how our society fails to negotiate the challenges posed by economic globalization, human migration and cross-cultural influence. It asks how art and artists can react to these changes and what possibilities they can create to see things differently.

Contributors: BAVO (Gideon Boie & Matthias Pauwels), Sarah Bracke, Esther Captain & Guno Jones, Marlene Dumas, Halleh Ghorashi, Suchan Kinoshita, Sven Lütticken, Aernout Mik, Melvin Moti, Sohelia Najand, Henk Oosterling, Pages (Nasrin Tabatabai & Babak Afrassiabi), Baukje Prins, Willem de Rooij, Iris van der Tuin and Lawrence Weiner.

Edited by Rosi Braidotti, Charles Esche and Maria Hlavajova. Language: English. Number of pages: 336. Published by: BAK, basis voor actuele kunst and JRP|Ringier. Designed by: Kummer and Herrman. ISBN: 978-3-905770-73-5.

Citizens and Subjects: Practices and Debates

The ‘extension’ of the Dutch Pavilion to the Netherlands in autumn 2007 is envisioned as a platform for contributing to the general public debate about a variety of key issues, including changing national identities and the anxieties brought about by such changes. These and other ideas related to the project Citizens and Subjects are debated through art and other disciplines by means of discussion groups, research residencies, teaching modules, lectures and conversations. The programme takes place in Utrecht through a collaboration between BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht University and Treaty of Utrecht, as well as at Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in conjunction with the project Be[com]ing Dutch and at Witte de With in Rotterdam in connection with the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. These respective projects have grown out of a similar analysis of current cultural, artistic, social and political conditions, and the possible role cultural institution s can play in their development.

Project Partners

Utrecht University; Treaty of Utrecht; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Witte de With, Rotterdam

Financial Partners

The project Citizens and Subjects has been commissioned and funded by the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam. The Municipality of Utrecht kindly supported Citizens and Subjects: Practices and Debates. This part of the project has been realized with additional contributions from Utrecht University and Treaty of Utrecht. carlier | gebauer, Berlin has generously provided financial and production assistance. Further financial or in-kind support has been provided by: Forbo Flooring, the Netherlands; Rabo Art Collection, the Netherlands; Independent Television News, London; Associated Press, London.

International press
Beate Barner
t: +49 30 398009609
m: +49 173 6076643

Dutch press
Hanna Sohier
t: +31 30 2316125
f: +31 30 2300591

Posted by jo at May 29, 2007 03:00 PM