Together with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and the International Institute of Social History, Het Nieuwe Instituut is organising the second edition of Open Archive, a programme in which three makers search for new stories in open, digital heritage collections, with the aim of making a new media work. From 3 June, Jessica de Abreu, Femke Dekker and Michiel Huijben will present their works, which share the theme of ‘activism and archives’.
The New Plantation by Jessica de Abreu shows how contemporary society still reflects colonial history. The installation explores how old, vivid memories of slavery and colonialism, and the new reality of institutional racism, evoke emotions that can trigger post-colonial depression: a mental state that stems from the realisation that nothing can be changed about the colonial past. What happens to the psyche when it attempts to grapple with the complexities of history?
Femke Dekker’s project, RE: ACTIVATE, focuses on the relationship between media and activism, revealing the strategies they use to reinforce and exploit each other’s mechanisms. Activists have always used the mass media strategically as a platform to broadcast their ideas. For RE: ACTIVATE, Dekker has used audio materials from the archive of the Vrije Keyser ('Free Emperor') radio station that demonstrate that radio not only connects, but can also be a call to action.
Michiel Huijben searched the archives for images that reveal the role of public spaces within society. By looking for places instead of events, a complex picture emerges of what activities the public realm allows. His artwork for Open Archive combines images from the three archives with materials found on the internet, and considers them as a whole in order to sketch a more complete picture of public space while simultaneously questioning the authority of ‘the archive’.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
3015 CB Rotterdam
Making digital, open, royalty-free collections available online allows institutions and makers to discover new and surprising stories. Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision are collaborating with the International Institute of Social History to stimulate the creative re-use of open, digital heritage collections. Making digital heritage accessible for artistic use is central to this, with room for diverse creative, technical and copyright interpretations.
Jessica de Abreu, Femke Dekker and Michiel Huijben were selected from more than 190 makers who responded to an open call. All three have a strong multidisciplinary vision of the creative use of archival materials. The jury was particularly impressed by their original research questions and their contemporary and critical vision of the archive in relation to current social developments. During a five-month working period, they were given the opportunity to create a new artwork based on the three institutions’ open archives.
In addition to an exhibition at Het Nieuwe Instituut, Open Archive will conclude with an online symposium on the creative re-use of archival materials. Open Archive is made possible in part by the Pictoright Fund.
New forms of accessibility
Het Nieuwe Instituut became a heritage institution on 1 January 2021. Forming networks and partnerships is essential for making the collection accessible. Different forms of research – speculative, academic, design-based, public – allow the development of new approaches and methodologies for looking at the collection, assigning value to it and giving it meaning.
Open Archive: Three New Media Works in Development
Het Nieuwe Instituut is organising the second edition of Open Archive together with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and the International Institute of Social History. Open Archive invites three makers to search for new narratives in the digital collections of these three institutions, resulting in three new media works. Halfway through the process, the selected artists are currently fully engaged in their research. Although they come from different disciplines, the theme of ‘activism and archives’ forms a common thread in their three projects.
Open Archive 2020/21: Introducing the Selected Artists
Jessica de Abreu, Michiel Huijben and Femke Dekker are the three selected artists for Open Archive 2020/21, which starts in December 2020. Open Archive’s focus this year is on a strong multidisciplinary vision for the creative reuse of archive material. Open Archive is an initiative of Het Nieuwe Instituut, The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and the International Institute for Social History.