Jun 3–Sep 5, 2021

Open Archive 2020-2021

National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning
Musempark 25, Rotterdam 3015 CB Map
Tue–Wed 10 am–5 pm, Thu 10 am–9 pm, Fri–Sun 10 am–5 pm

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’.