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What about FREESPACE - Reporting from the Biennale
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What about FREESPACE - Reporting from the Biennale

19 July 2018

On Thursday July 5th, Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Creative Industries Fund NL presented an evening of contributions to the Venice Biennale of 2018. The evening completed a nearly year-long series of lectures, debates, open calls and discussions on the Biennale and its theme FREESPACE. The cycle of events opened with lectures on the Fund's open call 'Work, Body, Leisure' during the Dutch Design Week in October 2017. In the end, the wide range of lectures, workshops, publications and contributions to the Venice Biennale encouraged an ongoing conversation on the societal impact of architecture, design and the creative industries.
Text by Lara Schrijver

sensory experiences
This year's Biennale presented a broad palette of sensory experiences, from imagery that draws in the spectator to installations with a highly material articulation. Most of the objects triggered an immediate visceral response, more direct and compelling than the intellectual framework for each installation. Notwithstanding the thorough and clearly delineated intentions of the curators, the sensory took primacy over all other approaches. Engaging and provocative, it could be tempting to approach this Biennale as a purely aesthetic experience, which therefore disengages from societal and political challenges currently facing the world. After all, if it is aimed at the senses, how could it possibly provide a critical view to society?

Yet nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the proposition of Grafton Architects in FREESPACE seeks to connect people to their environment in a more coherent way. It suggests that the challenges are more easily faced if the environment is amenable to fostering observational skills, connections and a sense of generosity. More than that, though, it allows its observers to seek their own questions and draw their own conclusions. These spaces give rise to an affinity that draws in observers, provokes them to explore further, and thus allows new perspectives to appear.

multiple perspectives on FREESPACE
This undercurrent is what drew the evening's participants together. Each contribution provided its own distinctive approach to the material, performative, and social interpretation of FREESPACE, from a film registration of a dance performance to a study of Irish marketplaces as a model for understanding social cohesion. The multiple perspectives provided a springboard for addressing the issues put forward in the curatorial statements on FREESPACE, shaping the conversation throughout the evening. While the discussion remained necessarily brief after six presentations, shared questions for the future could be traced through the program: how might architecture and design help to address or even reposition societal challenges? How may design proposals reveal hidden social mechanisms? How may our built environment challenge our preconceptions, or indeed foster unforeseen connections?

'What is it that brings us together, what are the connections that run throughout people, places, and cities?'


After a brief introduction highlighting the collaborative efforts of the Fund and Het Nieuwe Instituut, the main program began with a 10-minute film by Make Move Think, which compiled the ideas and registration of a dance event held during opening weekend: a dancer on a quay, shards of poetry in the background and the occasional voice explaining the qualities of Venice. During the film, the audience was notably silent – the quiet and steady rhythm of the film seemed to be mirrored by the audience. As unusual as it might be to include this performance in the notes of the Biennale, it also goes to the core of FREESPACE. What is it that brings us together, what are the connections that run throughout people, places, and cities? The body in space is one of these shared elements between architecture and dance, fully justified as a starting point. Moreover, this film directly questioned the assumption that a direct and fundamental exploration of the material, the performative, and the artistic, may be seen as escaping traditional forms of academic reflection and thereby circumventing critical discourse.

All of the evening's presentations – four pavilions, one installation in the central pavilion, and one registration of a dance performance – in fact provided space to rethink the divide between the material and the intellectual. Even with the wide range of topics – how much does a dance performance have in common with a manifesto on nation-building or the documentation of rural marketplaces? – the underlying commonalities became increasingly apparent as the evening progressed. Most projects explored (urban) spaces from more than one perspective, and highlighted both their social and their formal characteristics.

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What about FREESPACE in Het Nieuwe Instituut. Photo: Maarten Nauw

After the film, Traumnovelle presented their installation for the Belgian pavilion, an EU-blue circular tribune that transformed the interior of the pavilion based on their question of how architecture can become part of a political project. Situated somewhere between utopia and a future fiction, their installation even triggered one visitor to post a dance on Instagram. The Dutch pavilion, curated by Marina Otero Verzier, was a bright orange locker room with hidden doors and cabinets showing various interpretations of the pavilion's theme of 'work, body, leisure'. The rigorous structure of the lockers reflects the highly regulated contemporary landscape, questioning where we can still find FREESPACE in today's world.

In the following presentation, Jeffrey Bolhuis showed how the Irish pavilion recreated the marketplace typical of rural Irish towns. The installation will be shipped to Ireland after the Biennale and continue raising awareness on the nature and the necessity of social cohesion, here materialized in the marketplace. The Turkish curatorial team approached its pavilion as a 'global masterclass', inviting students and professionals to contribute to the pavilion through workshops in situ. Finally, Michelle Provoost presented Crimson Architectural Historian's installation on The City of Comings and Goings. In various media, this installation presented the topical issue of migration in all its facets: not just refugees, but expats, temporary labor forces, different types of travelers, showing the impact on our cities of these regularly moving groups of people. The installation included an image of this fictional city in the style of Saul Steinberg, a Nolli-plan of the public spaces related to migration, and six theses on migrations (harking back to the original positions nailed to the church door by Luther).

'nation-buildig' and the role of architecture
Notably, a number of the questions during the discussion underlined the continuing discomfort with the issue of 'nation-building' and the role of architecture in relation to political and institutional structures. The discussion showed how Europe is still struggling to transcend national identities, also visible in the project 'Europa' by Central Office for Architecture and Urbanism. This lighthearted installation placed on the three neighboring pavilions of Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands spells out 'Europa' in neon letters with the colors of each nation's flag, overwriting the names of the individual countries. In the debate, both the need for more collective action was underscored, as well as a general resistance to the very idea of nation building. One member of the audience questioned whether adding new (even if more neutral) structures such as the 'metanation' suggested by Traumnovelle was the answer to Europe's identity crisis. Léone Drapeaud responded that their proposal was less about traditional 'nation-building' and more about a platform that emphasizes common aims and actions.

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What about FREESPACE in Het Nieuwe Instituut. Photo: Maarten Nauw

a different approach to the socio-political
At the same time, alongside the pressing political concerns voiced in the debate, there is an undercurrent of social concern that cuts across political lines and national boundaries. Drawing the contributions together is an open-ended demonstration of the contemporary conditions each of these groups observe in today's city – not documented in numbers or shown in data collections, but rather encapsulated in symbols, in materials, in spaces and even in dance. The tangible, individual experience, the subjective observation and the manner in which these objects, images and performances provoke the observer to reflect and draw their own conclusions, delineates a different approach to engaging with the socio-political sphere. It is a departure from clinical, scientific observation, yet it does not retreat into the purely individual sphere. Instead, it encourages debate, and dialogue.

Strikingly, all the contributions presented this evening were by some type of multidisciplinary, collaborative group. This seems to draw new contours for the future of the architect, replacing the mythical male genius with a network of reflective practitioners. The contributions were diverse, yet held together through shared concerns. Three pairings in the overall program show these distinct but common interests. The two pavilions most easily captured in a single image, a blue tribune (Belgium) and an orange locker room (The Netherlands), pointedly encouraged unforeseen interventions by their visitors. The two pavilions that explicitly engaged with the Biennale as a process in time (Turkey and Ireland) show how the actual building and exhibiting of architecture is but one moment in a trajectory of social and spatial configurations. And finally, the assemblage of symbolic and performative gestures that come together in the dance performance and the multiple media of the City of Comings and Goings show how the material and even ephemeral crystallization of collective ideas can have a lasting impact upon our cities and our imaginations.

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CityLab: local action or international movement?

5 June 2019

In the context of the WeMakeThe.City festival, Creative Industries Fund NL and Play the City are organizing 'CityLab: local action or international movement' in Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam. This session takes place during the Urban conference Common Ground on Wednesday 19 June 2019, from 14.30 – 16.30. Experts from the Netherlands and Turkey share their experiences of new forms of co-creation and the impact of CityLabs on the future development of our built environment.
About 50 CityLabs (Stadslabs) have been mobilized since 2014 in Dutch cities by the Creative Industries Fund NL. Bringing design and co-creation to the formulation of socially and environmentally inclusive strategies, Dutch cities will continue the movement under the programme: 'Anders Werken aan de Stad, Dorp en Land' (a different approach to the city, village and country). This programme focuses on local governments and concentrates on the co-creative approach to 'city-making'. Local governments build up a CityLab together with designers, all the possible stakeholders and the residents, and work in a co-creative process to address current spatial and social issues in their own municipality.

While CityLabs are maturing and developing new forms of co-creation processes, similar spaces for local action are developing worldwide. They are becoming an integral part of the official unilateral planning we know from last century.

What could the impact of CityLabs be in the future? Could they become a worldwide movement? What is the position of CityLabs within the international context? What are potential roles for a CityLab in diverse political regimes? With guests from Turkey, we focus on the case of the Mersin CityLab currently being established, while looking into the future of CityLabs in the second decade of the 21st century.

Photo above: Ekim Tan
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New temporary Digital Heritage x Public grant programme

3 June 2019

The Netherlands is rich in digital heritage. The Cabinet is making extra funds available in 2019 and 2020 to stimulate the visibility and use of this heritage. The Creative Industries Fund NL, the Mondriaan Fund and the Cultural Participation Fund have joined forces and developed three complementary grant programmes. Makers and cultural institutions are being encouraged to work together to develop new uses and increase the visibility of digital heritage to a broad public.
Our history and culture are recorded in detail in the digital or digitized collections and archives of various museums, libraries and specialized institutions. These databases and archives are a rich source for new stories, but all too often they are unintentionally hidden from a large group of people.

additional resources
By now, the Digital Heritage Network (NDE) has laid the foundations for sustainable digital availability of heritage. The additional resources released by the government in 2019 and 2020 are specifically intended to increase the visibility and use of digital archives and collections. The common objective of the three funds' programmes is to give a broad public a new perspective on the value of our digital heritage. In this way, special and inspirational experiences are created, which tie in with current developments.

impulse from cultural funds
The Creative Industries Fund NL, Mondriaan Fund and Cultural Participation Fund are each designing a stimulus measure from their own perspective. In so doing, we are opting for a broad impulse to encourage the use and visibility of digital heritage. The Cultural Participation Fund focuses on the creative use of the collections by young people, the Mondriaan Fund contributes to making digitized heritage collections more accessible to the public and the Creative Industries Fund NL invests in new stories created by consortia of makers from the creative industry. The funds will share the proceeds of the grant programmes with the field in coordination with DEN (the knowledge institute for culture and digitization) and the NDE.

temporary digital heritage x public grant programme
As a designer, maker or design bureau, how do you make heritage visible to a broad public and which perspective, innovative application or intervention do you choose to shed new light on the heritage? With two selection rounds that focus on this question, the Fund aims to improve the visibility and utilization of digital collections in an innovative way, through the joint efforts of designers and heritage institutions. The first deadline is Thursday 5 September 2019.

Click here for more information about applying for the temporary Digital Heritage x Public grant programme.

Mondriaan Fund programme
Cultural Participation Fund programme

funding
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has made € 3.5 million available for the period 2019-2020. These resources are divided equally between the three participating funds.
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11 June: Get a Grant Architect

3 June 2019

When can you, as an architect, apply for a subsidy from the Creative Industries Fund NL, how does it work and what do you need to be aware of? On 11 June 2019, we are organizing an information session for architects who have already graduated or are close to graduation. Curious? Sign up and come along to Get a Grant Architect in POST Rotterdam.
During the Get a Grant Architect event, Architecture coordinator Maarten Tas will provide an overview of the grant possibilities that the Fund can offer young architects. Arna Mačkić (Studio L A) and Christopher de Vries (Rademacher de Vries) will then use their own work to explain what the support they received from the Fund has given them, and how they approached applying for subsidy. At the end, there is an opportunity to ask questions and for individual discussions. Marieke Berkers, architectural historian and former advisor to the Fund, is the moderator of the evening. The language is Dutch.

Fund
The Creative Industries Fund NL is the cultural fund for architecture, design, digital culture and all possible crossovers. In addition to providing project subsidies from the various grant programmes such as Architecture, Design and Digital culture, the Fund makes a working grant available annually within the Talent development grant programme to some 25 talented young designers/makers for their artistic and professional development.

Date: Tuesday 11 June 2019
Time: 19.30 - 21.30 (doors open 19.15)
Location: POST Rotterdam, Coolsingel 42, Rotterdam
Admission: free
Register: here

Speakers: Arna Mačkić (Studio L A) and Christopher de Vries (Rademacher de Vries)
Moderator: Chris Luth (architect and curator)
Language: Dutch
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13 June: Get a Grant Arnhem

3 June 2019

When can you apply for a grant, how does it work and what do you need to be aware of? The Mondriaan Fund and the Creative Industries Fund NL are jointly organizing an information session on grant possibilities for artists and designers who have already graduated or are close to graduation. Come along to the Get a Grant Event at ArtEZ College of the Arts in Arnhem on Thursday 13 June 2019.
The Get a Grant Event gives an overview of what the Mondriaan Fund and Creative Industries Fund NL can offer young creative professionals. Are you looking for funding for your project or practice? Staff from the two funds will tell you about the subsidy possibilities: when can you apply for a grant, how does it work and what do you need to be aware of? In addition, a visual artist and a designer will talk about their experiences in submitting an application and answer questions from the public. Afterwards you can ask the speakers specific questions.

This meeting is the first in a series of three Get a Grant information sessions that the Mondriaan Fund and the Fund are organizing throughout the country this year.

Mondriaan Fund
The Mondriaan Fund is the public fund for visual arts and cultural heritage. The Fund offers, among other things, a range of contribution possibilities for artists and mediators (curators and critics) in the areas of talent development and deepening of the practice.

Creative Industries Fund
The Creative Industries Fund NL is the cultural fund for architecture, design, digital culture and every imaginable crossover. In addition to providing project subsidies from the various grant programmes such as Design and Digital Culture, the Fund makes a working grant available annually within the Talent Development grant programme to some 25 talented young designers/makers for their artistic and professional development.

Date: Thursday 13 June 2019
Time: 14.00 - 16.00 (doors open 13.30, after 15.30 possibility for individual questions to the speakers)
Location: ArtEZ College of the Arts, Onderlangs 9 (lecture hall M3.07) Arnhem
Admission: free
Registering: sign up here using the registration form

Spekers: designer Julia Janssen, artist Julius Thissen
Moderator: Peter van der West
Session language: English
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Open Call Researching Remix

9 May 2019

Do you use 'remix' as a method to achieve innovative and experimental work? And within your practice, do you reflect on themes such as balance of power, ownership, appropriation and social inequality? For the Researching Remix Open Call, Metro54 and the Creative Industries Fund NL invite makers, collectives, organizers and thinkers to submit a project proposal. The deadline is Tuesday 2 July. The results of the selected works will be presented at the Dutch Design Week in October.
collaboration between the Fund and Metro54
As a platform, Metro54 follows experimental and innovative art, design, fashion, architecture, music and digital expressions very closely. In 2019, Metro54 is organizing the travelling annual programme Re-mix and Re-search: whose cultural appropriation is this?. This programme investigates the theme of cultural appropriation within contemporary urban arts & culture and is being realized in collaboration with the Creative Industries Fund NL.

open call
Remix as a methodology and research method has a significant influence in urban arts & culture. We are interested in projects that are able to relate critically to this influence and, in so doing, reflect on themes such as the balance of power, ownership and cultural appropriation.
For this open call we are looking for new, interdisciplinary and many-voiced remix work that contributes to innovation in the fields of (graphic) productions, graphic design, fashion, architecture, visual culture and digital culture. Themes such as agency, recognition and ownership play an important role in the intended projects. We are also particularly interested in how remix as a research method or methodology plays a role in your practice proposal.

group exhibition
The selected proposals for new work will be presented during the Dutch Design Week 2019 in Eindhoven as part of the exhibition and programme This is a Take-Over: Researching Remix. In this way, curator Metro54 wants to draw attention to design, reflection and research within urban arts & culture.

meetup
If you would like to present an idea or if you have any questions about the open call, come to the in-store meetup on Thursday 6 June from 19:00 to 21:00 at Daily Paper in Amsterdam. Metro54 and Fund staff will be present.

contact
If you have any questions about the content of this open call, you can also contact Metro54. For questions about submitting your proposal, please contact Sean Gillis or Zineb Seghrouchni or by telephone at 010 436 16 00.

practical information about your application

Who can submit a proposal?
Individual makers, designers, thinkers, collectives and organizers of new, interdisciplinary and diverse work can submit a proposal.

When is the deadline?
you can submit your application here
the open call closes on 2 July 2019
the selection will be announced in the third week of July

What is the available budget?
maximum € 4,000 per proposal for making new work (including VAT, where applicable)
a minimum of four proposals will be supported

What do you need to provide?
portfolio
project plan: in text and/or images; the inclusion of web links to online material, films, etc. is permitted
proof of the applying party's registration with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK)

What is the evaluation of the proposal based on?
vision on remix as a research method and methodology
extent to which reflection on themes that influence urban arts & culture has been developed
boldness and inventiveness
feasibility of the proposal
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When can you, as an architect, apply for a subsidy from the Creative Industries Fund NL, how does it work and what do you need to be aware of? On 11 June 2019, we are organizing an information session... more >
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When can you apply for a grant, how does it work and what do you need to be aware of? The Mondriaan Fund and the Creative Industries Fund NL are jointly organizing an information session on grant poss... more >
opencallresearchingremix.png
Do you use 'remix' as a method to achieve innovative and experimental work? And within your practice, do you reflect on themes such as balance of power, ownership, appropriation and social inequality?... more >
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