Heterotropics: Premises & Prospects
Colonial nostalgia against the grain
Expert meeting Reinwardt Academie (Amsterdam University of the Arts)
With Sara Giannini, Christiane Bosman (TAAK), Milena Bonilla and KUNCI Cultural Studies Center (on Skype).
During the meeting we will outline and discuss the premises and prospects of the long term curatorial project Heterotropics with the project’s curator Sara Giannini, some of the participating artists, and member(s) of TAAK, Amsterdam based platform for art and society that supports the project.
Heterotropics is an expanded event series investigating the immaterial and material remnants of colonial desire and exotic projection taking the city of Amsterdam as a starting point. Over the course of one year the project will facilitate and commission artistic and theoretical interventions in specific locations in Amsterdam. Such interventions address the traces of imperial formations in the city and question what forms of projections they trigger in the present. In this sense the project does not approach the local landscape akin to an ethnographer but rather through symbolic dimensions of meaning.
The different chapters
The different chapters form an expanded and experimental performative exhibition. The chapters are developed in dialogue with different artists and practitioners, researching local archives, sites and collections.
Heterotropics#1 (24 September 2016) explored the voyeurism triggered by the street names of De Indische Buurt through a multifold program across public and private spaces of the area with artists Alex 2000, David Bernstein, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Jokubas Cizikas and Jacopo Miliani. Currently we are shaping and programming Heterotropics#2 (dates TBC), in which the Indonesian collective KUNCI Cultural Studies Center is invited to Amsterdam for a research residency at the Tropenmuseum and Heterotropics #3 (dates/venue TBC) in which Colombian artists Luisa Ungar and Milena Bonilla will deconstruct and perform the history of The International Colonial and Export Exhibition (Amsterdam, 1883) highlighting the embedded genealogy of human zoos, colonial shows and museological displays.
The investigation of colonial nostalgia, known in Dutch with the Malay expression ‘Tempo Doele’ (‘old good times’), is a red threat running through and embracing all the different chapters. If colonial nostalgia is considered as an apparent desire, visible in the private and the public sphere for things, styles, and notions associated with the colonial era, how is colonial nostalgia inscribed in the Netherlands and more specifically in the cityscape of Amsterdam?
The aim of the project is to raise awareness of and question such phenomenon by linking the urban/architectural realm to museum collections and archives. The invited artists intermingle history and fiction in their practice, allowing for an exploration of the imageries and fantasies associated to the colonial past. Such a perspective can help us navigate the collective imaginary, investigating the present impact of historical/architectural vestiges and how the impalpable work of memory makes us remember and forget.
During the expert meeting we will address and tackle all these different aspects and problems, outlining the project’s chapters and the research carried out by the project’s curator and the participating artists. The audience is invited to actively participate in the discussion.
We recommend a preliminary reading of Heterotropics’ research paper and an exploration of Heterotropics #1 on the project’s website.