Nina bell F. House Museum for Studium Generale Gerrit Rietveld Academie at Stedelijk

25 March 2023, 13:00–17:00 / Stedelijk, Amsterdam
More access information via Studium Generale Rietveld Academie 2022–2023

In collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Gerrit Rietveld Academie presents Refuge – fleeing, flowing leaking. This is a large-scale, multi-day event in the museum building and a festive Friday night. From 22 to 25 March, it focuses on questions of refuge. On the Saturday, there will be an afternoon by our Nina bell F. House Museum with contributions by Nuraini Juliastuti; Sites of Memory; Jeftha Pattikawa with Malou Sumah (Archief Maluku), Ais Leuhery (Verloren Banden, Wijkraad Vaassen Berkenoord2) and Tony Markus Sacharias (Multidisciplinary Artist); Marianna Takou and Ying Que; Leana Boven. Find the curatorial statement and program below.

Curatorial Statement

Nina bell F. House Museum for Gerrit Rietveld Academie
bricks to build homes for careful archives

Nina bell F. (pronouns she/they) is a spirit and living organism fermenting in and around Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons in Utrecht. Their existence is built on emerging relations with kindred souls from the past and present. Nina bell F. House Museum is an instituting practice for keeping Nina’s spirit alive, developed from a critical reflection on Casco’s archival practices and its political economy. The collection proposes useful ways of being and knowing–communally and economically in terms of organizing and fermentation, in which the selection process followed an intention to develop kinship. It was launched for Natasha, the Singapore Biennale 2022-2023.

Following Sara Ahmed (2017:16), the house is like a dwelling, created by citations as bricks and straws for feminist memory. For Nina bell F. House Museum, archival practices are considered as bricks too. As a lighter material like straw, they can be used to make a shelter. In this vulnerable state, it is a space for fostering institutional critique, to nourish relational and commonist aesthesis. 

For this afternoon, Nina invited guests from the cultural and academic field who engage with archiving practices in relation to social movements, or uncover stories that have remained buried and silenced in institutionalized collections. What are other ways of archiving than those shaped by the colonial knowledge system? Instead of centering objects, perfection and hygiene, it’s people and relationships that are the casco, the skeleton of the house, with care and reproductive labor as the main tools for building. The program investigates the potential of small art organizations and independant cultural spaces as sites to build homes for archives that do not find a home in the established or state based archives. What kind of support system and resources can sustain archiving processes that include movement making through artistic practices?


13:00–13:15 Prelude 
Introduction by Marianna Takou and Ying Que 

13:15–14:15 How do we craft our skills to take ownership of what is lost?
Talk by Nuraini Juliastuti

In the contexts where the orderly arrangement of abundance in the universities, libraries and museums is founded on organised long-term extraction, the violence lies in the systems which control the narratives of stories and histories. What kinds of circumstances define the meaning of knowledge and archives? Post-colonial realities include the capacities to be travellers to access such abundance. To write our own histories, we are always positioned as borrowers. How do we craft our skills to take ownership of what is lost? How can we penetrate the wealth of the institutions and to make it porous?

14:15–15:00 Performing beyond the archive
Session led by Sites of Memory 

Sites of Memory rethinks the notion of “the archive” through performance practice. SoM invokes the body as an archive, the city as an archive, culture as an archive.

SoM creates site specific performances that connect history and theater. The work is created in collaboration with multidisciplinary artists and historians who research the colonial history of The Netherlands and former colonized areas. The process of reflecting on history also includes stories that are not documented or only from the “white gaze”. The intention is to amplify voices often silenced, or ignored. To tell more complete stories, SoM uses a technique called Critical Fabulation. This is a method developed by historian Saidiya Hartman and uses historical and archival research involving critical theory and fiction. Stories are created to fill in the empty spaces in historical archives. In addition, SoM’s artistic research emphasizes the diverse voices within the team and their personal relationship to the subject. SoM not only utilizes traditional forms of historical research and critical fabrication, but also, oral history, embodied knowledge and ancestral memory.

15:00–15:15 Break

15:15–16:30 Verloren Banden: Moluccan Footage, Articulating Perspectives in Postcolonial Netherlands
Session led by Jeftha Pattikawa with Malou Sumah (Archief Maluku), Ais Leuhery (Verloren Banden, Wijkraad Vaassen Berkenoord2) and Tony Markus Sacharias (Multidisciplinary Artist)

Jeftha Pattikawa explores the importance of self-representation and community archives in retelling and complicating the power dynamics that inform the stories we tell about Moluccans in the Netherlands. Verloren Banden is an archive and audiovisual project by and for this community whose position is strongly impacted by colonialism. The footage is unique in two ways: the images show the resilience of the Moluccans in postcolonial Netherlands and the visual material was made by the community itself.

The project uncovers and visibilizes the everyday life and struggles of members of the community in the late 1970s in Vaassen, the Netherlands. Nationwide, the image of Moluccans was influenced by resistance, protest, radicalization and violence. The Moluccan youth back then unconsciously recorded this period of communal growth and resilience with their cameras. It is a small and local history, yet represents a larger Moluccan perspective.

16:30–17:00 Outro
Closing by Leana Boven

This activity is part of:

The museum embodies the practices of many artists, practitioners and organizations around the world, as found through yet beyond the archives of Casco

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