Gediminas and Nomeda Urbonas from Urbonas Studios will explore the notion of protest in the context of their interdisciplinary research, which advocates for the reclamation of public culture in the face of overwhelming privatization. Quinsy Gario will moderate this evening.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
3015 CB Rotterdam
Programme students & Friends of Het Nieuwe Instituut€ 3,75
Thursday Bite (without programme)€ 7,50
BankGiro Loterij VIP-KAARTFree
The Pro-test lab started in 2005 as a call to reclaim public space in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania—in particular, to keep the city’s largest cinema, Lietuva, from being demolished. With overlapping artistic and social actions this intervention into Lithuania’s post-Cold War development processes was conceived as a multi-layered, multi-year organizational structure, addressing memory, trauma and emotions attached to public space, while combining public discussions, exhibitions, a media channel, performances, an educational program, a series of petitions and even legal actions, all calling into question development policies and territorial planning.
The art practice woven in and through the Pro-test Lab was a non-representational mode of critical spatial praxis that was not driven toward a singular object. Rather, it developed as a network of valencies rendered as the project unfolded—relationships between tangible and intangibles objects, spheres of action and contexts. To understand such complex networks of relations, a speculative model of “emotional infrastructure” was developed. Next to energy, transportation, telecommunication, water supply, waste management and other conventional types of infrastructures, the “emotional infrastructure” draws on difference, suggesting that in the search for alternatives to a restrictive economic rationality, it could model cultural and critical forms of civic engagement, incorporating senses, memory, human rights, dignity, safety, and certainty. Such a hypothetical infrastructure would carry with it implications of play, exercise, and experiment with and through artistic forms of non-violent social and cultural engagement and participation as complex systems that are alternatives to formal planning and city development. This research seeks to contribute to the knowledge about models and methods of organization that, through art, produce and sustain public-ness, transform conflict, reinforce societal bonds, and re-establish “soul in the city.”
Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas are artists, educators and co-founders of Urbonas Studio, an interdisciplinary research practice that facilitates exchange amongst diverse nodes of knowledge production and artistic practice in pursuit of projects that transform civic spaces and collective imaginaries. In collaboration with experts from different cultural and professional fields, these projects develop practice-based research models, merging a variety of materials and techniques from new media, urbanism, social science and ecology. Urbonas Studio work has been exhibited at the São Paulo, Berlin, Moscow, Lyon, and Gwangju Biennales; at the Manifesta and Documenta exhibitions; and in solo shows at the Venice Biennale and the MACBA in Barcelona. Nomeda and Gediminas have been awarded a number of grants and awards, including the Lithuanian National Prize (2007), the honorable mention for the Lithuanian national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2007), Best International Artist at the Gwangju Biennale (2006). They were also nominated for the Nam June Paik Award in 2012.
Gediminas Urbonas recently co-edited Public Space? Lost and Found (SA+P Press; MIT Press, 2017), which brings together artists, planners, theorists and art historians in an examination of the complex interrelations between the creation and uses of public space and the roles that public art plays therein. Urbonas Studio is currently working on Zooetics, a research project that explores the potential to connect with the noetics and poetics of non-human life amidst the planetary ecological imbalance that is often called the Anthropocene.
Gediminas is Associate Professor and Director of the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology in the School of Architecture and Planning. Nomeda is MIT research affiliate and PhD researcher at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology (NTNU).
Quinsy Gario is a performance poet, visual artist, theatre maker and activist. He was born in Curaçao and raised in St. Maarten and the Netherlands. He studied Theater, Film and Television Studies at the Utrecht University with a focus on Gender and Postcolonial Studies. He won the Hollandse Nieuwe 12 Theatermakers Prize 2011, the Issue Award 2014, the Amsterdam Fringe Festival Silver Award 2015 and was a finalist in the 2011 Dutch National Poetry Slam Championship. He is a boardmember of De Appel Arts Center, member of the pan-African artist collective State of L3 and a recurring participant of the Black Europe Body Politics biannual conference series.
The Reading Room is a series of evenings dedicated to the act of collective reading. It is a place to decipher and interpret the world with its countless languages and systems, including phenomena that by their ubiquity evade investigation. Led by an artist, researcher or designer, a small audience will reflect upon a concept, a text, an object or an image. The Reading Room is a space for intimate, provocative conversations. It is a place for creative confusion and sometimes even frustration, in which speakers and audience are not looking for concrete solutions but for higher resolutions. Subjects in previous Reading Rooms include exhibition, surveillance, migration, liquidity, museum, insecurity.
Before the Thursday Night you can grab a bite and eat with the speakers and staff of Het Nieuwe Instituut. At 18:30 Het Nieuwe Café will serve either soup with bread or a quiche with salad. Dinner vouchers are available for €10,- up to a day before the particular Thursday Night event via the Tickets link on this page.