Transversal Scepters: Spectral Witness

Program Workshops
June 9, 2020

Where: ZOOM, online

When: 9 juni 2020

RSVP here

Artist: Juliacks

Curator: Suzanne Sanders, Theo Tegelaers

In coöperation with the Huygens Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis (KNAW) and TAAK.


What is punishment? Is punishment a logical result of jurisdiction? What are its effects (on perpetrators, victims, and communities)? How might we envision a society in which justice and punishment are not directly linked?

In 2020, artist Juliacks will collaborate with TAAK, curator and art historian Suzanne Sanders, and the Huygens instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis (Huygens ING-KNAW) to organize a conference and performance workshop on changing ideas of justice and punishment.

This project comprises the last phase of the long-term art project Transversal Scepters. A group of historians, lawyers, law enforcement officers, and experts by experience are invited to take part in an artistic investigation, exploring the future perspectives that might emerge from a historical survey of Dutch prisons, from the first Haarlem prisons around 1600 up to the contemporary penitentiary system. Using the experiences of the participants, we will facilitate an interdisciplinary dialogue about the role and meaning of punishment in the judicial system.

This event is a continuation of earlier parts of the Transversal Scepters project, including the first Feast Forum led by Juliacks and TAAK in April 2019, where employees and detainees of the Penitentiary institution in Zutphen took part.

The forthcoming Feast Forum will consist of two parts: on Thuesday 9 June, Juliacks will organize the first expert meeting with the workshop ‘Healing and the Future of Justice.’ Later this year, a live component will take place at the Huygens Instituut in the historical Spinhuis of Amsterdam, where Juliacks will translate the different voices and ideas that emerge from the expert meetings into a performance and a film.

During the meetings, the participants will work on a script that explores diverging ideas of punishment and healing, based on the stories and perspectives of different guests. Juliacks’ artistic approach encourages the participants to think beyond conventional academic, social, or historical perspectives, and instead find novel ways of approaching the subject together. The results of these expert meetings and workshops will be incorporated into a film installation by Juliacks, which will be shared with a wider audience during the forthcoming exhibition.

To attend the meeting on 9 June, RSVP here.