Symposium: The Laughter of Things

Master Media Design (Lens-Based and Networked Media) Department
Piet Zwart Institute for Post-Graduate Studies & Research

Monday January 26, 2015, 10 am till 6 pm
Piet Zwart Institute
Karel Doormanhof 45
3012 GC Rotterdam

This day of lectures and presentations will focus on old and recent media technologies of temporal measurement and control, and how they animate and re-animate human life. The keynote speaker is Zoe Beloff, who will discuss works she is presenting in the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2015 program, including:

The Infernal Dream of Mutt and Jeff (2012)
Two cartoon figures from the thirties physically endure social progress and industrial management. In this reflection on the eternal problem of work pressure, a video projection presents a lesson in efficiency, a case of contagious paranoia, and an instructional film in which objects take on a life of their own.

Glass House (2014)
Beloff attempts to visualise a script that Eisenstein never succeeded in filming. The result is a merry excursion in the brain of a visionary avant-garde artist.

Further speakers that will expand on this topic of pervasive techniques of control, that mobilise audiovisual media to measure, categorise, and discipline us, include: Aura Satz, Julien Maire and Florian Cramer.

Zoe Beloff
Scotland-born, New York-based artist Zoe Beloff is one of the leading names in “media archaeological art.” Combining film, performance, installation and drawing, her work has been shown at the MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Christine Burgin Gallery, New York; Site Santa Fe; M HKA Antwerp; and Pompidou Center Paris.

Aura Satz
London-based artist Aura Satz (Barcelona, 1974) completed a PhD at the Slade School of Fine Art. Her work incorporates film, sound, performance, and sculpture. Satz is interested in modes of heightened perception, sensory disorientation, and the physical and sonic properties of specific objects. She received the Arts Council England Award in 2011 and 2012. Her work has been featured at Science Museum, Tate Britain, Hayward Gallery, and Royal Academy, London; De Appel, Amsterdam; and George Eastman House, Rochester, New York.

Julien Maire
Julien Maire (1969, Metz, FR) lives and works in Berlin. A visual and performing artist, his work deconstructs and re-invents the technology of audiovisual media. His work received a New Media Art award from the Foundation Liedts-Meesen in 2008. Recent exhibitions include the 25th Alexandria Biennale, Egypt; Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh; SMAK, Ghent, and Artefact Festival, Stuk, Leuven, Belgium; 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale, Korea; and MoMA Zendai, Shanghai, China.

Florian Cramer
Within Hogeschool Rotterdam, Florian Cramer is a Research Professor in New Media, and the Director of Creating 010, a centre focusing on Communication in the Digital Age, and Cultural Diversity. Cramer collaborates with the Institute of Network Cultures to further thinking about the future of print in a post digital era. He is the author of numerous essays and books on literature, art, computer culture, copyleft and the politics of media, and a part-time programmer at WORM, Institute of Avantgardistic Recreation.

M/Other Tongue

Anna Barham, Olivier Castel, Iñaki Garmendia, Mónica Restrepo, Katarina Zdjelar

–curated by Sabel Gavaldon

PV Thursday, 22 January, 7 to 9pm
23 January to 28 February 2015

“I have but one language — yet that language is not mine”, wrote Jacques Derrida in what is supposed to be an autobiographical essay, reflecting on the loss of one’s mother tongue as a consequence of colonialism in Algeria. But in what language does one write memoirs when there is no mother tongue? Read more…


Thursday 22 January, 7 to 9pm
Private View

Saturday, 24 January, 6 to 8pm
Gauaz parke batean (In the Park at Night…)
Performative lecture by Iñaki Garmendia in collaboration with Itziar Bilbao Urrutia

Saturday, 31 January, 6 to 8pm
Reading by Olivier Castel followed by Skype conversation with Mónica Restrepo

8-10 Cecil Court
London WC2N 4HE

Not working as intended: media as accidents

Time: Thursday January 15, 19:30-21:30
Location: Piet Zwart Institute, Karel Doormanhof 45, Rotterdam
Admission: Free

This lecture is organised by the Master Education in Arts, and part of the Seminar Digital Cultures taught by Levien Nordeman.

Ever since cybernetics, technological devices have been supposed to carry their own social agency and reshape reality. This belief can be found in such diverse fields as media theory, systems engineering, design, hacker culture and pedagogy. It also informs contemporary philosophical debates, such as those on speculative realism. But to which extent is it actually possible to design social and cultural uses of media? From the birth of the Internet to the recent (allegedly North Korean) hack of Sony Pictures, the history of communication technologies is rife with social accidents and cultural misappropriations that often ended reshaping and redefining media as collateral damage. The implications for media design, media pedagogy and other “lab” approaches to media are humbling.

Within Hogeschool Rotterdam, Florian Cramer is a Research Professor in New Media, and the Director of Creating 010, a centre focusing on Communication in the Digital Age, and Cultural Diversity. Cramer collaborates with the Institute of Network Cultures to further thinking about the future of print in a post digital era. He is the author of numerous essays and books on literature, art, computer culture, copyleft and the politics of media, and a part-time programmer at WORM, Institute of Avantgardistic Recreation.

Next up in this series is a lecture on gender and digital media by Nana Adusei Poku (Research Professor at Creating 010) on March 12.

Real Snow

Pracownia Portretu presents Real Snow, an exhibition by Perri MacKenzie and Kevin Gallagher, comprised of paintings and sculpture. Exhibition opens 12th December 2014

The artists chose a short story written by Perri as their point of departure. This science fiction now circulates in the email invitation to this exhibition, finding its way from inbox to inbox – have you checked yours? In the text, the painter-tagonist K is commissioned by a mysterious publishing house to write a novel (“but I make paintings,” she says). When K receives emails that communicate nothing but their addressees, she begins to suspect non-human hands at work. As genre boundaries continue to be wilfully ignored, K finds herself caught in a dragon of a puzzle.

Through found, made, written, and painted objects, the exhibition Real Snow constructs forms for living within and outside of intelligent things. Real Snow: jumbled into letters, piled into shapes, formed into a ball. Melting.
Real Snow
Location: Pracownia Portretu, Przędzalniana 55, Łódź, Poland

The Stuart Hall Project

Screening: The Stuart Hall Project
+ Nana Adusei-Poku in conversation
with Director John Akomfrah

Screening of The Stuart Hall Project, a film essay on sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall, followed by Nana Adusei-Poku, Research Professor in Cultural Diversity at Hogeschool Rotterdam and Witte de With’s Curatorial Fellow 2015 in conversation with John Akomfrah.

Time: Saturday December 13, 2014
15.00 hrs doors open & screening begins 15.15 hrs.

LocationWitte de With Center for Contemporary Art
Witte de Withstraat 50
Rotterdam, Netherlands

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art hosts the screening of The Stuart Hall Project and a conversation with the director John Akomfrah, in collaboration with The Piet Zwart Institute and the Research Professorship for Cultural Diversity.

Stuart Hall (1932-2014) was a leading intellectual and cultural theorist in the UK for more than 50 years. He regularly appeared on television and radio, and fronted provocative, thoughtful documentaries. Not only was his work influential in terms of establishing the field of Cultural Studies, he also became one of the key theorists for a younger generation of intellectuals and artists throughout the Black Diaspora. Stuart Hall’s work embraces marginalized and situated knowledge, and examines what identity categories mean within a wider socio-political and academic discourse.

Director John Akomfrah, who belongs to this younger generation, comes to Rotterdam with his masterful film essay made entirely from Hall’s film, television, radio and photographic archives, and it is accompanied by a soundtrack from Hall’s musical hero, Miles Davis. Often using his own experience as a Jamaican-raised part Scottish, part African, part Portuguese Jew to make his point, Hall’s central argument is that a person’s identity is continually shaped by surrounding forces. Not only does this remarkable film work as both a portrait of Hall himself and his adopted country, it is also an intriguing insight into how the UK has for many decades used the documentary form to explore questions of identity.

This event is conceived by the Piet Zwart Institute’s Interdepartmental Think Tank. The group is composed of representatives from the Creating 010 Research Centre, staff members, students from each programme and the Director of the Piet Zwart Institute. Looking at how interests can be shared across courses, they plan interdisciplinary projects and public programming.

This afternoon is presented as part of Studium Witte de With, a collaborative education platform for art and theory which is intended to serve as a catalyst bridging various fields of knowledge across higher education. Studium Witte de With offers a broad program mapping and analysing the cultural and political ecology.

MIARD at HUIS SONNEVELD Het Nieuwe Instituut

Date: Thursday December 11 2014
Time: Exhibition: 12:00 – 17:00 hrs. / Public Reception: 17:00 hrs.
Location: Huis Sonneveld, Jongkindstraat 12 Rotterdam

A one-day exhibition in the legendary preserved interiors of the style ‘Nieuwe Bouwen’ at Huis Sonneveld, part of Het Nieuwe Instituut. The exhibition will present two different bodies of work: a research project by a MIARD Alumna and projects by a group of current MIARD students.

Unfolding Interior Patterns

Unfolding Interior Patterns by Iulia Circei


Using another discipline as a point of departure, the designers will question, define and reshape the interior. The application of this research lens implies the mixing of ‘codes’ to broaden the given disciplinary boundaries.

Master students at MIARD will exhibit new site-specific species of space and its objects.

Designers: Madina Bissenova, Alice Bonicelli, Iulia Circei, Kleoniki Fotiadou, Wojciech Gawronski, Natalie Konopelski, Noah Matsumoto, Devika Mirawitani

Design Studio Tutor: Laura Lynn Jansen

From the series "Interior Portraits: Sonneveld" by Natalia Martinez Saavedra

From the series “Interior Portraits: Sonneveld” by Natalia Martinez Saavedra


Interior Portraits is based on the different readings that image making can generate in domestic spaces. The principles of photography as light, reflection, time and exposure were used to contribute to the visual analysis of the hidden and immaterial qualities of interiors, therefore altering the perception of space.

For the Huis Sonneveld, the project develops still images that through juxtapositions and sequencing act as part of an extended narrative. Using long exposures to capture the traces of temporary inhabitants, and producing a Camera Obscura to generate a two-way portal between inside and outside, led to the construction of a larger collection that aims at overlapping multiple scenarios to visualize the time and memories that are trapped in this iconic modernist house.

Designer: Nathalia Martinez Saavedra
(MIARD Alumna 2014)

Public Reception

After the one-day exhibition closes there will be a public reception at Het Nieuwe Instituut.
Time: 17:00 hrs.
Location: Museumpark 25, Rotterdam


Date: Sunday December 14, 2014
Time: 14:00 – 17:00 hrs
Location: Piet Zwart Institute: Karel Doormanhof 45, Rotterdam
Admission: free

Offcourse is a collective project, organized by the second year students of the Master of Education in Arts of the Piet Zwart Institute, related to the Graduate Project Seminar Making Things Public. Offcourse takes you on a trip along eight inspiring activities, dealing with different ideas and thoughts about life and learning. The constant changes in society and the latest technological developments affect and influence our lives, and demand different approaches to daily problems.

In a joint effort, the students implement creative and critical thinking on the spot to deal with issues in art, culture and education from their individual perspectives. They encourage a dialog to open up communication, ask questions, invite interaction and stimulate discussion. Offcourse challenges you to rethink, reconsider and negotiate issues of education.


Showcases Digital Publishing Toolkit

The ABC of digital publishing

An event by The Institute of Network Cultures

Over the last two years a consortium of publishers, designers and developers have created several ebooks and experimented with the (im)possibilities of electronic publishing. During this event the publications and research results will be presented in which the following questions will be addressed: How does the production chain from publisher to designer change? What publishing platforms can publishers use? How do digital forms of publishing change the role of the designer? Moreover, the publication: ‘From Print to Ebooks: a Hybrid Publishing Toolkit for the Arts’ will be introduced. A publication that gives designers, publishers and developers the knowledge and tools to develop esthetic, interactive epublications on their own. Several alumni and tutors of the Piet Zwart Institute Master Media Design and Communication are part of the organisation and/or programme.

What: Event on epublishing for the arts
When: Friday 28th of November 2014
Time: 14.00 – 17.30 hours
Where: Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Kohnstammhuis, Floor, Wibautstraat
2-­4, 1091 GM, Amsterdam
Tickets: Free admission, register,
Language: English

For the full program of the event click here

Madame B

A film by Mieke Bal & Michelle Williams Gamaker

With an introduction by Mieke Bal

Time: Tuesday November 25th, doors open at 8 pm, film starts at 8.30 pm
Location: WORM, Boomgaardsstraat 71 3012 XA Rotterdam

About the Madame B project
The project explores the unspeakable but tenacious remnants of romantic sensibility that still hold back women today, combined with the emotional tentacles of capitalism that bring families to bankruptcy. Inspired by Flaubert’s 1856 masterpiece Madame Bovary, we examine the unspoken cultural politics of the cultivation of craving. In this project, we aim to highlight what contemporary culture still silences. The work attempts to show how Flaubert was in many ways a post-modernist and feminist. It explores the way dominant ideologies – specifically capitalism and its association with emotions, and romantic love with its commercial aspects – are still rampant after 150 years. The work consists of two parts, an immersive 19-screen video installation and a feature-length film for cinema.
For more info please check:

MIEKE BAL (Heemstede, 1946), a cultural theorist and critic, has been Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Professor. She is the author of over thirty books. As a video artist, she makes experimental documentaries on migration and recently has begun exploring fiction. The project A Long History of Madness, with Michelle Williams Gamaker, has yielded a 120’ feature film and a series of video installation pieces. These have been exhibited nine times in one year, among other places in the Aboa Vetus – Ars Nova Museum in Turku, and in the Freud Museum London. Occasionally she acts as an independent curator.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS GAMAKER (UK, 1979) is a video and performance artist. Her work varies from single frame portraits to more complex renderings of reality via documentary, fiction films and video installations. The subtle and sublime potential of storytelling through the everyday is at the root of her work. She has exhibited internationally since 2001; her documentaries include Elizabitch (2004), All About Évike (2005), Colony (2006) and Becoming Vera (2007). In addition to her latest feature film Madame B (2013) with long-term collaborator Mieke Bal, she is working on a series of performance-based videos exploring connections between animals and architecture. Williams Gamaker completed her Ph.D in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College. She currently works at de Gerrit Rietveld Academie as a Fine Art studio tutor, Amsterdam. She lives and works between London and Amsterdam.

For more information about the Master Fine Art click here
or email


Time: Thursday November 27, 18:30 hrs
Location: Piet Zwart Institute: Karel Doormanhof 45, Rotterdam
Admission: free/public

Marie Ilse Bourlanges and Elena Khurtova will present their practice as a visual artists duo, zooming into various projects and processes. They will also introduce their current research, entitled “The Sky is on the Earth”, subject of a residency at Atelier Holsboer in Paris, with the support of the Mondriaan Fund. The project explores the archive of the enigmatic Jacques Bourlanges (grand-father of Marie Ilse), author of an intriguing theory of a correlation between the stars constellations and constructed geography.

The practice of Khurtova and Bourlanges has been directed by what they like to call “a challenge to the regime of utility”. The question they strive to raise is what use may mean outside the restrictions ordinarily set by function and consumption; in short, is there a use that is not exhausted by utility? Posing this question, their work develop the opposition into a manifest ‘play between the two’: what remains ‘after use’ is no waste, but a memory that adds something to the object’s story as well as a prediction that adjusts the very conditions of its utility.

From 2009 onwards, Marie Ilse Bourlanges and Elena Khurtova have been working together as a duo. Both sharing a background in architecture, they decided to join forces in a structural way and merge their expertise in textile and ceramics. They are currently teaching Material experimentations at the Inter-Architecture department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and at the Interior Architecture and Furniture design department of the Royal Academy of The Hague, for which they co-curated their latest show in Milan.