Future Practices is the title of the multi-year framework from which the editorial board works in the coming years. The framework is in line with discussions previously held by the editorial board: where is the potential of the intercurricular programs in relation to future art and design education? What does studio practice and material research look like in the future and what role do the workshops play in this? How are students prepared for a field that is constantly evolving? How do they want to manifest themselves after their studies? Future practices concerns students and teachers from all departments as well as workshop specialists.
The editorial board intercurricular programmes invites students, teachers and workshop specialists of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie to team up for two semesters and create an educational platform. The Quality Agreements budget offers the possibility to support new educational platforms in the upcoming years. Three new platforms can start in January 2021, focusing on either ecology, future commons, embodiment, relationality, the future of materialisation, future pedagogy, future art and design economies, technology, future philosophy or future politics. Download the Open Call, or read below.
An intercurricular program at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie is additional small-scale and intensive education, related to current topics and innovative issues, that is open to students from all departments of the BA and MA programs. The purpose of the intercurricular programs is to add an enriching content layer, without displacing regular education. The programs thus position themselves in the space between, outside and next to the educational departments, or even outside the academy.
An intercurricular program stimulates interdisciplinary and trans-departmental collaborations and/ or establishes connections with actors outside the academy, through projects in which cooperation, self-organization, research and new ways of working are central. An intercurricular program explicitly claims experimental forms of thinking and making, and arises from urgent questions art & design, in education and in society at large. The themes of the intercurricular programs are not necessarily addressed within the existing departments, but do arise from the needs of their students and teachers and from the educational issues that play a role there.
To stimulate and support initiatives (that already exist or can still come about) to work collaboratively on urgent matters, the editorial board has chosen for platforms as an educational format. A platform is a form of bringing students, teachers and workshop specialists together around a topical question that will form the driving factor for their knowledge production. The platform functions as a sort of research group. The research, knowledge and experiences that will be generated by the platform will be shared with the wider community at the academy. All platforms define their own working method.
All students, teachers and workshop specialists at the academy are invited to respond as a small core group to initiate a platform around one of the topics below. You can respond to this Open Call with a collective letter of motivation of max. 500 words. The editorial board would love to read:
your specific approach to one of the topics mentioned above, and how your approach matters to the academy
an indication of your working method and planning, in relation to the budget
an insight in your goals and results
Please do take the defined requirements below into account. Send your collective letter of motivation to firstname.lastname@example.org before 13 November 2020. The editorial board will select the 3 proposals on the basis of the collective letter of motivation in November 2020. The selected groups will be informed in December 2020 to initiate their platform starting January 2021.
The editorial board has selected several overarching topics for the platform: ecology, future commons, embodiment, relationality, the future of materialisation, future pedagogy, future art and design economies, technology, future philosophy or future politics
A platform will in its own way relate to and elaborate on (at least) one of these topics.
The editorial board intercurricular programmes will host a digital walk-in consultation hour on Tuesday 27 October at 12.30 hrs. Please send an email to Tessa Verheul and Joram Kraaijeveld for additional information.
Does your body equal your person? When does your body become a symbol for something else? How to be the embodiment of a notion such as hope? How many bodies are needed to embody a social body of resistance? All sorts of ideas and theories about individual bodies, social bodies and digital bodies have recently been rebutted and reworked in such a way that the body seems to be lost while at the same time this body is present to demonstrate against its loss. Whether it is the digital world that is not so ‘virtual’ after all but rather a very concrete and biopolitical infrastructure or the notion of identity that doesn’t seem to be so cosmopolitan after all but rather the fleshiest of the flesh when it comes to gender, race or sexual preferences, the body is back from never gone at all. Still your body seems to be so much more than a body. What could these new understandings mean for a practice of art and design?
For some decades artists have taken the intersubjective as a formative principle for their artistic practice. All sorts of social events have been organized and these sit-ins, tea ceremonies and other sorts of social meetings have been exhibited as artistic practices in and outside museums. As these practices have been collected and canonized, the question if they are art seems to be decided upon. What remains relevant is the question how we relate to one another? Are intersubjective relations necessary for an individual subject to identify oneself or even to live? What kind of human relations and what kind of social contexts would we like to develop? There seems to be a shift from the artist as the instructor or director of situations to a situation in which ones relates as equals. Rather than a fixed set-up, artists seem to be looking for encounter-based collaborations.
Also without the covid-19 pandemic it was clear that we are facing a new reality. But the shift towards online education at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2020 created more urgency to rethink critical pedagogy within the current situation. The academy is an environment for learning, for learning to shape a practice and life as an artist or designer. Critical pedagogy as a vision of education has always been that education is not an environment for opportunistic or purely private matters but as a collective space for learning to develop personal ideas in relation to others. Can critical pedagogy help us to refocus the important practice of learning so that we can find ways to relate to the new reality? What might be the features of a socially just pedagogical approach to working with people from various places in the world within an Amsterdam-based twenty-first century Dutch institution for art and design?
The commons, as a way to manage renewable natural resources in a communal ways rather than in public or private ownership, has been an inspiration for artist and designers in the last decade. To what extent can this notion be extended to education of arts and design? Which forms of art can, in which ways, become a commons? In which ways can we cultivate and sustain the commons through art? Which forms or art are co-managed by self-organizing communities where maintenance, care, sharing, cooperation, ecology and diversity are important? Can we create educational commons, and what would be the characteristics of educational tools that belong to our community?
The workshops are the place at the academy for technical and material expertise and experimentation, for students to develop their personal signature style, interest or material. All these available techniques and materials are questioned by designers and artists, in part due to developments in industry, technology, economy and artificial intelligence. In addition, the ecological crisis creates awareness about every material as a burdening choice with consequences in its origin, use and consequence. These changes cause challenges to our relationship to materiality and pose new questions to the education of future designers and artists. How can workshops relate to these issues? Furthermore, the declining number of public workshops and downsized studio spaces make it hard for artists/designers to play and experiment freely, let alone, learn new techniques after graduation. How can students put their experimental visionary projects to use that are worth pursuing for manufactures, and hereby affect industries? How can students be prepared to operate in a world of design where they are dependent on industrial processes? Do workshops have the responsibility to keep discovering new materials? And if so, should they function as experimental laboratories?
If we think about the future of art and design, it is interesting and perhaps necessary to also imagine the future of our societies and economies and the place of art and design therein. Although art might be regarded still as an individual signature work that either enters the art market as a commodity or is supported as a public good by funding bodies or as a mix thereof, art is also still seen as a mere autonomous vehicle for social, political and innovative ideas, to tell untold stories or offer critical perspectives as if it doesn’t partake in the economy. Although design might be regarded still as the invention and creation of objects that can be put to use, offer all sorts of solutions for people and markets, or as the critical practice to improve our societies, design is primarily still seen as a product within an economy of supply and demand. What kind of economies can artists and designers create in the future, where both positions might lead the way as a vehicle for social, political and innovativechange instead of a venture for economical returns? What position can artists and designers claim in a future economy? What kind of roles does this give the artist or designer within society?
Artists and designers are in all sorts of ways critically addressing and creatively negotiating environmental concerns on a local, regional, and global level. These concerns include climate change and global warming, and relate to factors such as habitat destruction, drought, species extinction, and environmental degradation. These emerging environmental arts are making use of interdisciplinary research tools and drawing on visual culture, art history, political ecology and economics, Indigenous cosmopolitics and climate justice activism. Considering these environmental concerns, which sort of practices of design and art are needed in Amsterdam in the 21st century? Do students and designers need to start with addressing the ‘afterlife’ of every product and start designing a circular economy? If there is such a thing, what would a circular art world look like?
It seems that technology has never been more incorporated into or fused with our lives than it is nowadays. How are artists and designers responding to new conditions technology offers with apps or new digital research methods as well as the practices of data mining, mass surveillance and algorithms? How does social media’s mass ‘creativity’ and personal branding redefine our ideas of being an artist or designer? How can artists and designers respond to the apparently abstract but intrusive processes of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence? What if all artists and designers have been cyborgs or co-bots all along? How can creative coding give us the tools to reclaim the digital and physical spaces?
What sort of thinking is needed to understand the artistic and design practices of today and tomorrow? Which languages, traditions and vernaculars have become obsolete and which languages and notions need to be invented to develop a thinking of, a feeling on, a being with, a speculation about, a fabulation of art and design? In the last decade it has become clear that there is a collective desire for change, the modern and post-modern traditions of thinking – that one could call the discipline of philosophy – are no longer satisfactory in explaining the present conditions of our worlds as well as the artistic and cultural practices. Although the meta-modern narrative has tried to continue and go beyond the ‘end of history’, these historical periods of modernism and post-modernism, with all the different strands and schools, or even the periodization of thought in time slots has been heavily criticized as too Western, too white, too male, too institutional, too elitist, too inaccessible, and perhaps even too philosophical.
A common way to relate art to politics assumes that art and design is political when it represents or works with political issues, when a project concerns public housing or social justice for instance. In this understanding art is political when it gives a voice to those who cannot be heard or when it makes something visible that is either elsewhere or invisible. In the last years or so, a focus on the labour conditions within the cultural sector has offered a new perspective on the politics of art. Cosmopolitan biennales that exist because of unpaid labour by interns and sponsorship by large corporations is only one form of the exploitation within the field of the arts. Next to the politics of representation and the politics of labour, various art projects have generated a ‘politics of politics’ by working on democratic structures, human rights and the rule of law. Many of these projects have offered ways to reimagine the political and have had influence in decision-making processes to improve, invent or redefine democratic politics. Which positions can art have in politics in the future? Can art strengthen democratic societies with projects that rehearse democratic procedures? Does art need to do this for its own survival?