is an extensive transdisciplinary theory programme that addresses students and faculty at all departments of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam. It regularly opens up to broader audiences. Studium Generale wants to show how art and design are linked with other domains (from the personal to the political, from the vernacular to the academic), how our ‘now’ is linked with past and future, our ‘here’ with ‘elsewhere’. This portal website informs about recent activities and refers to archived material from previous editions.
In this opening talk, Stefanie Hessler will discuss artworks and curatorial methodologies that not only speak about but also through their oceanic subject matter in a performative way. The term tidalectics, coined by the historian and poet Kamau Brathwaite to articulate a worldview that eschews static land and evolves alongside water and flux, serves as an anchor to analyze artworks and curatorial work guided by oceanic thinking. Hessler will show that through a tidalectic methodology, which takes cues from natural processes such as the ebb and flow of the tides, current ecological, societal and onto-epistemological shifts can be addressed productively.
Stefanie Hessler is a curator, writer, and editor. Her work focuses on ecologies and technology from intersectional feminist and queer perspectives. She is the director of Kunsthall Trondheim in Norway, and project co-leader for the research-based transdisciplinary exhibition “Sex Ecologies” in collaboration with The Seed Box environmental humanities collaboratory, as well as editing the accompanying compendium on queer ecologies, sexuality, and care in more-than-human worlds (forthcoming, The MIT Press, 2021). Between 2020–22 Hessler is visiting research scholar at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media at Westminster University in London, UK. She is curator of the 17th MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, titled “Sensing Nature” in Montreal, Canada (2021). She is the author of Prospecting Ocean (The MIT Press, 2019), and has edited books like Life Itself (Koenig Books and Moderna Museet, 2016) and Tidalectics: Imagining an Oceanic Worldview through Art and Science (The MIT Press, 2018).
Recent curatorial projects include “Frida Orupabo: How did you feel when you come out of the wilderness” (2021) and “Jenna Sutela: NO NO NSE NSE” at Kunsthall Trondheim (2020); “Down to Earth” (with Thomas Oberender, Tino Sehgal, Frédérique Aït-Touati, and others) at the Berliner Festspiele / Gropius Bau in Berlin (2020); “Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Tomás Saraceno: More-than-humans” at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid (2019); “Joan Jonas: Moving Off the Land II” at TBA21–Academy’s Ocean Space in Venice (2019); the 6th Athens Biennale (2018); and the symposium “Practices of Attention” at the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (with D. Graham Burnett, 2018).
“Smart Boys know not to dive too deep, but I’m a curious one”
OTION ( Guillermo Armand Blinker ) is a multidisciplinary performer based in Amsterdam. In his live performances, he organically blends, songs, spoken word poetry and dance over afro/neo-soul inspired dreamlike vocal soundscapes, generated by a loop-station.
Music, Myths and other narrative scapes about reinvention, survival, protection and transformation. We’ll listen to and read essays, poems and extracts of graphic (and other) novels that come from or have ties to the sea. Moving from the Caribbean to Detroit, to Fujian via Singapore and other islands and coasts, we’ll think and talk about socially produced phenomena. Who did/does what with/for ocean life, materials, sound and spirit – Retro future, future future, past passing, then and now.
Reading and listening materials from Sylvia Wynter, Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, Emilio Amideo, Rita Indiana, Drexciya, Alexis Pauline Gumbs , Jennifer Lucy Allan, Amelia Groom, Beverly Buchanan, Bishakh Som, Trung Le Nguyen.
17:00 – 19:00 Wednesday 27 Oktober, 3 November, 10 November, 17 November, 24 November, 1 December and 15 December.
In principle, participation in a group concerns the entire series.
Sign up here:
Jay Tan is an artist and educator who grew up watching a lot of TV in South London. They completed their MFA at the Piet Zwart Institute in 2010 and were a 2014/15 resident at the Rijksakademie. Based in Rotterdam, they make decorative sculptural and video installations heavy in domestic mechanics. This might mean dressing up model racing cars or bejewelling cavities. They teach in the Rietveld Academie Fine Arts Dept and the Masters of Artistic Research at KABK.
They have shown work at the CACC Paris, Ujazdowski Castle, Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Ellen de Bruijne projects and Gallerie van Gelder, Amsterdam, Futura, Prague, Kunstverein, Amsterdam, Vleeshal, Middleburg, the CAC, Vilnius, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Hollybush Gardens London, Tent and Kunstinstituut Melly (Formerly Witte de With), Rotterdam and RongWrong, Amsterdam.
The seas, as magnetic reflections and representations of unconsciousness (and subconsciousness), are allocated to embody ancient archives of collective not-necessarily-human memories and amnesias. Water, having memory, makes up the larger part of y/our bodies. How can we make sense/s of these watery bodies and recover how they in/form and make up y/our daily and nightly lives?
Together on each session, we’ll read a short text to do with oceans and waters, while eating and/or drinking something sea vegetable, to macrobiotically render y/our blood into mimetic sea-water-quality. In these informal sessions, there is room for writing – and you go home with a dreaming exercise as a ritual that we’ll use to re/connect and recover whatever shows up in and from y/our sub- and unconsciousness.
Practically: we’ll work towards writing a visual lexicon of sorts that historizes or herstorizes sea vegetables or any kind of food or drink or plant that you like, into a kind of portraits, to recover the ways in which we connect to neocolonial global trade relations today, as a collective ritual offering for betterment.
Possible readings: WET, the magazine on gourmet bathing, Leonard Cohen; The Black Atlantic, Paul Gilroy; A Billion Black Athropocenes or None, Kathryn Yusoff; The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon; Macrobiotics developed by Michio Kushi; bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress; Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed; ritual poetry of CA Conrad; What We Could Have Become, Malu Blume; Women Who Run With Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes; Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, Claudia Rankine; The Call of the Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft; The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void, Jackie Wang; Black + Blues, Kamau Brathwaite; among others. (During the first session you will receive all the texts files and we choose collectively-organically which text to read for the next session.)
17:00 – 19:00 Wednesday 27 Oktober, 3 November, 10 November, 17 November, 24 November, 1 December and 15 December
In principle, participation in a group concerns the entire series.
Sign up here:
CPR deals in and with pharmacopoetics as an artist-writer in undisciplined fields of arts and agricultures.
“Just as the sea is an open and ever flowing reality, so should our oceanic identity transcend all forms of insularity, to become one that is openly searching, inventive, and welcoming.”
― Epeli Hau’ofa (We Are the Ocean: Selected Works)
“As watery, we experience ourselves less as isolated entities, and more as oceanic eddies: I am a singular, dynamic whorl dissolving in a complex, fluid circulation.”
― Astrida Neimanis (Hydrofeminism. Or, On Becoming a Body of Water?)
In 2021-2022 Studium Generale Rietveld Academie takes a deep dive into the ocean. Through the reflective surface and from our own liquid bodies, we imagine the ocean as a sensorium that feels, perceives, registers and creates.
Most of what happens in the ocean, we cannot perceive with our own senses. Yet we are doing enormous damage to it. The ocean should therefore also be considered a ‘critical zone’ threatened by human activities and greedy extractive economies.
If we take the ocean as a discontinuous and asynchronous time-space, this critical zone also includes histories of exploitation, fear and death: from transatlantic slave trade to contemporary boat refugees and coastal and islanders displaced by sea-level rise.
What is an ocean in terms of ideology? What kind of power relations are at work and how can we create a new sensitivity and awareness of what is outside our own sensory or biased system?
From another perspective, the ocean can also be experienced as a transformative and immersive space: a space of affect and metamorphosis in which bodies and identities become fluid, and in which human and non-human entities meet.
How can we liquefy our ways of being? How can we think from and with the ocean?
With talks, workshops, reading groups, a walking club, screenings, publications, an exhibition (Rietveld Uncut) and a multi-day conference festival in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Oceanic Imaginaries will explore our relationships with the ocean from different angles and disciplines and from different scales.
Dates and times:
Monthly keynote gatherings at the GYM, from 14—16:00:
27 October (launch and opening talk!), 24 November, 8 December, 19 January, 16 February, 16 March.
Weekly workshops, writing group, reading groups, walking club and video screenings with Jay Tan, CPR, Nikos Doulos, Jo-Lene Ong, Taka Taka and others, from 17—19:00: 27 October, 3 November, 10 November, 17 November, 24 November, 1 December, 15 December, 19 January, 2 February, 9 February, 16 February, 2 March, 9 March, 16 March.
Reader in collaboration with the Rietveld Library and Lexicon by CPR:
Conference-festival and Rietveld Uncut at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam:
“The claim of equality is not only spoken or written, but is made precisely when bodies appear together or, rather, when, through their action, they bring the space of appearance into being.” — Judith Butler
This year's Studium Generale Rietveld Academie is about different experiences and manifestations of the body, and about (dis)embodiments in art and life. We have become hyper aware of our bodies and those of others: Through Covid-19, the quarantines and guidelines for physical distancing, we are not only dealing with (our) viral bodies, vulnerable bodies and lonely bodies; in attempts to continue life, we manifest ourselves nonstop behind our screens as virtual bodies and data bodies. This creates new life forms, but also more techniques to be controlled, excluded and manipulated. For much longer we have been dealing with social and political differentiations that are made between bodies that matter and those that would matter less. All over the world, protest is embodied by people assembling and allying in resistance.
What are experimental and emancipating strategies and practices for fluid embodiments? How can we form resistant collective bodies without losing our own subjectivity and fleshy "matter"? How can we think about this from art practice and theory?
“It is precisely because our bodies are the new enclaves of biopower and because our apartments are the new cells of biovigilance that it is more urgent than ever to invent new strategies of cognitive emancipation and resistance.” — Paul B. Preciado
Preliminary Programme at Rietveld (and online)
September 23; October 21, 28; November 4, 11, 18, 25; December 2, 9; January 6, 13, 20; February 3, 10, 17; March 3, 10, 17
Conference-festival and Rietveld Uncut at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam:
March 24, 25, 26, 27
The Art of Critique
The artistic movement of Institutional Critique feels particularly urgent today, as we are witnessing an intense moment of “institutional critique” in society at large. Fueled by social media, the critique of institutions – think of phenomena like #MeToo, Brexit and the large scale climate protests – is practiced everywhere with an intensity and at a scale that seems unmatched.
At the same time, one can question whether it still makes sense to treat the art world as a separate institutional field now that art institutions align themselves more and more with profit-oriented thinking and impulses generated within the art field are quickly swallowed up by a larger creative industry.
Taking into account these developments, The Art of Critique asks what constitutes a practice of Institutional Critique today.
Relating (to) Colour
Wednesday, January 15, 22; February 5, 12, 26; March 4, 11, 18, Rietveld Academie; Conference-festival & Rietveld Uncut: March 25-28, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
“Colour... is new each time” — Roland Barthes
Studium Generale Rietveld 2019—2020 focuses on histories, politics, and perceptions of colour in the creation and understanding aesthetic forms, social structures, and embodied experiences. Colour structures our daily life and our actions, our relationships with others and the spaces in which we live. Within different historical and cultural contexts, however, colours have very different symbolic, psychological, material, and socio-political meanings. Relating (to) Colour wants to see colour in art, science, technology, and life beyond the purely symbolic and aesthetic and not as self-evident or universal, but as a physical, material, cultural, and political phenomenon. We try to understand colour not only as visual, sensual, or textual but especially as a lived experience and relational concept that creates affect and agency.
With: David Batchelor, Taka Taka, Imara Limon, Nancy Jouwe, Sekai Makoni, Erik Viskil, Wieteke van Zeil, Adam Broomberg, Sara Blokland, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Patricia Pisters, Isabel Cordeiro, Joke Robaard, Melanie Bühler, Jay Tan, Ioanna Gerakidi, Ola Hassanain & Casco Art Institute, Stefano Harney, Rietveld Uncut, Fumi Okiji, Ronald Rose-Antoinette, Eddie George, Dhanveer Singh Brar, Nisrine Chaer, Pieter Paul Pothoven, Danielle Dean, Simone Zeefuik, Ying Que, Egbert Alejandro Martina, Nina F. Bell, Nermin Elsherif, Quinsy Gario, MamaKil, and many others.
“(...) It matters what stories tell stories. It matters what thoughts think thoughts. It matters what worlds make worlds (...)” — Donna Haraway
Studium Generale Rietveld Academie invites you to think of “fabulation”. As a means of “fabricating the real”, world-making or “speculative fiction”. As an artistic, social and political capacity, welcoming alternative histories and other regimes of wanting, being and becoming. Practices of fabulation may enable saying things that are not used in order to distinguish truth from lies but to effectively say things better, to unsettle and to include. Come and take a walk on the wild side with us!
With: Mieke Bal, Wayne Modest, Geo Wyeth, Patricia Kaersenhout, Charl Landvreugd, Simon(e) van Saarloos, Alison Sperling, Sher Doruff, Sven Lütticken, Kunstverein, Hypatia Vourloumis, Nwando Ebizie, Gayatri Gopinath, Monsur Mansoor, Amber Jamilla Musser, Shaowen Bardzell, Sarah Sharma, Sandra Ruiz, Jackie Wang, Daniela K. Rosner, Tavia Nyong’o, Tina Campt, Jayna Brown, Alice Chauchat, Rosalind Nashashibi, Isabel Lewis, Luke Willis Thompson, Naima Ramos Chapman, Tiona Nekkia McCLodden, and many others.
Singing the Blues and Coming up for Air: Not Just Overcoming but Embracing the Odds; The Act of Listening; Wildness; Quadrant, situational performance, 50:00.
With: Aminata Cairo, Nagaré Willemsen and Rosanne Jonkhout, Unsettling Rietveld Sandberg, Taka Taka, Joy Mariama Smith, Yolande van der Heide.
Touch is of vital importance to our emotional and neurobiological development. So how do we feel and more specifically touch in our technologically mediated dematerialized digital cultures? Do we solely stroke and swipe our screens? How is the body and its feel involved? Are we in fact cultivating different tactilities in relation to the world and others? Further, how can we trace the ways in which touch informs and reforms the body with respect to violence, gender, sexuality, democracy, and identity? If art and design have privileged sight and sound, should touch – and all the senses – be addressed and activated in order to help us stay ‘in touch’ with our bodies and the material world?
With: Karen Archey, Army of Love, boychild, Karen Barad, Rizvana Bradley, Sarah Browne, Staci Bu Shea, Fiona Candlin, Holly Childs, Yvonne Dröge Wendel, João Florêncio, Ioanna Gerakidi, Ine Gevers, Amelia Groom, Jack Halberstam, Jort van der Laan, Erin Manning, Laura U. Marks, Marianna Maruyama, Mark Paterson, Paul Preciado, Joke Robaard, Charlotte Rooijackers, Eloise Sweetman, Wu Tsang, Hypatia Vourloumis, Eyal Weizman, and many others.
“The brain is not ahistorical, fixed, or atemporal. (…) the brain is always situated in a body and self, and thus in social relations, in family, community, in culture and the economy, in the local and the global, in history.” (From Victoria Pitts-Taylor’s NeuroCultures Manifesto, 2012)
Culture and brain form complex systems of influence, control, and resistance. The present brain seems to have been invaded by technology: machines increasingly perform the previously human tasks of language, memory, and imagination. Our learning processes are taken up by automated and algorithmic procedures. What are the philosophical, social and political implications of this cognitive automation for our brains and bodies? What is happening to our subjectivity, identity, and free will? What about the artist’s brain?
With: Stephan Schleim, Patricia Pisters, Antonia Majaca, Fiona Kearney, Marcos Lutyens, Franco Berardi Bifo, Tony D. Sampson, Bassam el Baroni, Michele Rizzo, Yuk Hui, Flora Lysen, Erik Rietveld, Warren Neidich, André Lepecki, Melanie Bühler, Victoria Pitts-Taylor, Hannah Barton, Jennifer Chan, Paul Feigelfeld, Daniel Keller, Elizabeth Orr, Özgür Kar, Timotheus Vermeulen, John C. Welchman, Daniel Pinchbeck, Florencia Portocarrero, Lars Bang Larsen, Patricia Clough, Mette Edvardsen, Leon Hilton, Anne Juren, and many others.
What does it mean for art making if the “human” is but one life form among many?
“In the similarity of clowns to animals the likeness of humans to apes flashes up: the constellation animal/fool/clown is a fundamental layer of art.” (Theodor W. Adorno quoted by Anselm Franke in Ape Culture, 2015)
This year’s Studium Generale Rietveld Academie is about bots, bodies, and beasts. It focuses on the notion of the posthuman and the blurring of the traditional distinctions between the human and its others – be these bots or beasts. How can a notion of the posthuman be a tool for understanding the present? How can it help us make sense of our flexible and multiple identities? Can it redefine humanity’s place in the technological and biological continuums we are part of? Together we will dive into dialogue with posthumanism, (dis)embodiment and the dismantling of the liberal humanist and anthropocentric “subject”.
With: Anselm Franke, Maaike Lauwaert, Karen Archey, Cécile B. Evans, Hans-Christian Dany, Neïl Beloufa, Geo Wyeth, Mohammad Salemy, Amanda Beech, Matteo Pasquinelli, Victoria Ivanova, Xavier Le Roy, Keti Chukhrov, Alicia Frankovich, If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, Brian Holmes, Filipa Ramos, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Alexandra Anikina, Jan Peter Hammer, Harun Farocki, and many others.
ARE YOU ALIVE OR NOT? Looking at ART through the lens of THEATRE proposes itself as a “modus operandi” for generating knowledge, ideas, questions, collaborations, happenings, and things. The project takes its initial inspiration from a wish expressed in the introduction to Claire Bishop's book Artificial Hells, Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship:
“It is hoped that these chapters might give momentum to rethinking the history of twentieth-century art through the lens of theatre rather than painting or the ready-made.”
With: Claire Bishop, Nikolaus Gansterer, Maximilian Haas, Mette Ingvartsen, André Lepecki, Gavin Butt, Annie Dorsen, Alexandra Pirici, Jesse Darling, Claire Tancons, Claire Bishop, Joanna Warsza, Milo Rau, Ekaterina Degot, Chto Delat, Artur Zmijewski, Florian Malzacher, Rana Hamadeh, Mårten Spångberg, Joanna Warsza, David Weber-Krebs, and many others.
Creature of Transition
“[…] the voice is elusive, always changing, becoming, elapsing, with unclear contours […]” – Mladen Dolar in: A Voice And Nothing More (2006)
An increasing number of makers and thinkers, in sweeping and often groundbreaking ways, are concerned with the phenomenon of “voice”. Numerous exhibitions, symposia and publications continue to be dedicated to the physical, mythical, psychoanalytic, political, philosophical, legal and performative potential of “voice”. By looking into theory, literature, film, theater, visual art, popular culture and society at large, Studium Generale Rietveld Academie explores the potential for “pleasure” and “power” offered by the voice and invites you to ask yourself what vistas, at the dawn of the 21st century, “voice” has in store for you.
With: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Ali Kaviani, Tom Rice, Gregory Whitehead, Maha Maamoun, Susan Gibb, Sharon Hayes, Francesco Ventrella, Wendelien van Oldenberg, Alex Martinis Roe, Ruth Noack, May Adadol Ingawanij, Imogen Stidworthy, Danica Dakić, Luis Jacob, Susanne Oberbeck (No Bra), Mark Beasley, Joan La Barbara, Nicholas Bullen, Gelsey Bell, I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, and many more.
By exploring the potentialities of ecological worldviews, old and new, through theory and art, WHERE ARE WE GOING, WALT WHITMAN? seeks to accelerate, accumulate, animate and activate our poetical and political understanding of the world. The project will not map a North, South, East, West. No upside, no downside, no center, no periphery, no order, no border. It rather reveals a meshwork of criss-cross paths, rhythms, and flows. It wants to be a guide for self-learners wishing to think freely and critically about and through art and 'a thousand ecologies'.
With: Nishant Shah, João Florêncio, Marius de Geus, TJ Demos, Diedrich Diederichsen, Erich Hörl, Armin Linke, The Otolith Group, Angela Melitopoulos, Ei Awakara, Binna Choi, Bracha Ettinger, Sabu Kohso, Stefan Tcherepnin, Natasha Ginwala, Rosalind Morris, Olof Olsson, Ayreen Anastas, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Vinciane Despret, Rene Gabri, Fernando García-Dory, Marcos Lutyens, and many more.
Drawing inspiration from The Role of a Lifetime (2003), by artist and filmmaker Deimantas Narkevičius WE ARE THE TIME explores the role of lifetime and life experience as a crucial source of ideas and inspirations, as a force that shapes ones’ art practice. Life experience is always generated as the intersection between the personal rhythm of one’s life and the larger societal perspective. How do we position ourselves in time? What are the decisive moments in our personal lives? What is our relation to the historical moment or context? How do we weave them into our life-narratives?
With: Deimantas Narkevičius, Foundland, Ruth Noack, IRWIN, Bojan Fajfrić, Ernst van den Hemel, Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, Rosa Barba, Rana Hamadeh, Tony Chakar, James Beckett, Rossella Biscotti, Kathrin Rhomberg, Jeffrey Babcock, Charles Esche, Arnisa Zeqo & Laurie Cluitmans, Sam de Groot, Chto Delat, Ann Demeester, Tai Shani, Fay Nicholson, Maria Hlavajova, Irit Rogoff, Hiwa K, Franco Berardi, Chicago Boys – While We Were Singing They Were Dreaming, AA Bronson, Yael Davids, Adrian Rifkin, David Dibosa, Grant Watson, Boris Groys, Anneke Smelik, Alfredo Cramerotti, and many more.
In the belief that art students can only learn to think independently when knowledge, imagination and reflection combine to work together in an unorthodox and critical way, Studium Generale Rietveld aims to encourage critical forms of learning, making and thinking. It follows a new research trajectory every year around a specific theme that links up with current events, issues and discussions in the (art) world. Artists and theoreticians from home and abroad offer a broad spectrum of perspectives on the overarching themes with lectures, performances, presentations and screenings.
After a preliminary programme, which also includes film screenings, reading groups, workshops and publications, there is an annual four-day conference festival in collaboration with guest curators who make contact with urgent critical discourses from different perspectives and practices. This takes place at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and is open to the public.
Since 2014 Studium Generale teams up with Rietveld Uncut; departments and individual students develop projects in relation to the theoretical framework of Studium Generale. The presentation and exhibition of these programmes is simultaneous to the conference, bringing ‘the making and the thinking’ together.
Frederik Roeskestraat 96, 1076 ED Amsterdam
Head of Programme
Jort van der Laan
Press and PR
Photo and Video
Rietlanden Women’s Office
Mrs Eaves by Zuzana Licko
Art Nouveau Bistro by Christina Torre