School in Common: Cinema Olanda Film with Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Rolando Vázquez / CRIDE (Critical Decoloniality) organized with Centraal Museum

Saturday, 30 November, 14:00–16:30
Centraal Museum (Agnietenstraat 1, Utrecht)
Free but RSVP is necessary

What are the (in)visible modes of speech involved in coalition building when navigating in and out normative powers of cultural and academic institutions? 

There are so many different types of language used in art and activist communities. The language adopted for funding applications is vastly different to that used in peer-to-peer organization, and different again to that of institutional coalition-building. This School in Common session addresses these many languages and, further, speaks to the obstacles and opportunities that opaque language brings, as well as the role of silence. 

Rolando Vázquez, of CRIDE (Critical Decoloniality), will address how speaking among ourselves in a coalitional way and across differences requires levels of intimacy, and the emergence of voices that do not fit (or don’t otherwise exist) within institutional language. Decolonial critique searches for a coming-to-voice that requires the humbling of institutional epistemologies and frameworks of representation. Artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh will talk about using different types of speech within her film Cinema Olanda Film, as well as the various visual languages that it employs. She will also explore how the work, which was made specifically for the Dutch pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, aims to open alternative conversations in national discourse.

These issues will be collectively expanded upon, starting with a conversation between Wendelien van Oldenborgh and Rolando Vázquez in the context of van Oldenborgh’s film installation. Cinema Olanda Film is now on view in the exhibition space “De Annex” at the Centraal Museum in a new installation setting. The work has been acquired by Centraal Museum in collaboration with Museum Arnhem.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh develops works, whereby the cinematic format is used as a methodology for production and as the basic language for various forms of presentation. She often uses the format of a public film shoot, collaborating with participants in different scenarios, to co-produce a script and orientate the work towards its final outcome. With these works, which look at the structures that form and hinder us, she participated in various large biennials, and in smaller dedicated shows. 

Cinema Olanda Film is shot in a singular, uncut sequence, thereby connecting an architectural location, a number of individuals, and past and present events through a momentary filmic reality. It weaves together multiple storylines that complicate the image of the Netherlands as an open, tolerant, and modern state and sets them against the backdrop of the modernist church St Bavo in Pendrecht, the postwar Rotterdam district designed by Lotte Stam-Beese. Cinema Olanda Film reveals the fragility of the constructed image and edifice and thereby the nation state’s struggle to come to terms with its colonial past.

CRIDE (Critical Decoloniality) is an affinity network in the making for “decolonial aesthesis”. Made up of various arts organizations and museums in the Netherlands, including Casco Art Institute and Centraal Museum, its mission is to overcome the normative power of western aesthetics.

Rolando Vázquez is co-founder of CRIDE and Associate Professor in Sociology at University College Roosevelt of Utrecht University. The film installation by Wendelien van Oldenborgh at Centraal Museum thus serves as a host and facilitates CRIDE’s mission. 

For this School in Common session, Casco Art Institute builds on the exhibition program Het is of de stenen spreken (silence as a commons), which was on view at Casco from 14 September to 3 November 2019. In this exhibition, artists Babi Badalov, Ansuya Blom, Ama Josephine Budge, and Mire Lee presented four distinct artistic voices that explored the possibilities and limitations of communicative language. 

The installation of Wendelien van Oldenborghs’ Cinema Olanda Film is part of the new programming space: the Annex. In the Annex, the concluding space of Expo 2 & Expo 3, the Centraal Museum presents solo exhibitions by contemporary artists who relate to and reflect on the themes explored in the main exhibition, in this case Dreams Cast in Concrete: Kanaleneiland & Hoog Catharijne. Pendrecht and Kanaleneiland were designed and built in the same ‘zeitgeist’. Van Oldenborgh seeks to offer a critical and decolonial perspective on these post-war developments.

*School in Common is a program of quarterly sessions for collective study and planning around art and commons organized by Casco Art Institute.


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