Research Infrastructures: On Public and Collective Research Practices
What kind of infrastructures support doing research in collective and public ways? Three international groups, all Het Nieuwe Instituut fellows of the past year, share their approach to transforming institutes. During this evening, the soft closing of the Fellowship Programme 2021 at Het Nieuwe Instituut, the audience is invited to join the conversation with the institute's current fellows: MELT, The School of Mutants and Tropic Fever. This event is moderated by Delany Boutkan and Federica Notari.
In order to ‘do’ research in collective and public forms, individuals and groups of researchers need infrastructures to support ways of bringing people, knowledges and perspectives together, but how can you approach this within and alongside existing institutions, or beyond them?
Through its annual Call for Fellows, Het Nieuwe Instituut gives visibility to research projects that offer a departure from established modes of thinking and aim to become a catalyst for those collective forms of knowledge. How do the fellows go about building collective and public networks for research? What role can fellowships play in transforming institutions, how do fellows reflect on the biases of those institutions, and how do they work with the complexities and multi-dimensional approaches within such research practices?
You can find the transcript of the evening below:
As MELT, Ren Loren Britton and Isabel Paehr are arts-design researchers who work with games, technology and critical pedagogy. Tuning to the material-discursive conditions of tech infrastructures, they trouble patterns of agency in socio-technological systems with the methods of queer play, unlearning and leaking. Their work crumbles structures, unbounds materials, dissolves technology and makes collectivities. MELT works with materialities as they shape shift and understands that climate change is directly related to ongoing colonialism. MELT works and takes rest to practice for the present and future in which all disabled and trans*gender people flourish. MELT has been shaped by (melting) ice, trans*feminism, software, disability, justice, signal, moving at trans*- crip- kinship- time, Black feminisms, materialisms, decolonial thinking, gifs, crip technoscience, anti-racism and dancing.
The School of Mutants
The School of Mutants (TSoM) is a collaborative art and research platform initiated in Dakar in 2018. It starts with an inquiry into educational infrastructures and radical pedagogies that emerged in post-independence West Africa. The project reactivates ruins of academic utopia by mobilizing spaces for the production, transmission and pluralization of knowledge in a non-hierarchical way, in connection to socio-cultural, ecological and aesthetic mutations of the real. Works include films, archival projects, public events, and publications.
TSoM consists of Oulimata Gueye, Hamedine Kane, and Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro. Hamedine Kane, a Senegalese and Mauritanian artist and director, lives and works between Brussels and Dakar. Through his practice, Kane frequents borders, not as signs and factors of impossibility, but as places of passage and transformation, as a central element in the conception of an itinerant identity. After ten years of exile in Europe, his practice now focuses on themes of memory and heritage. In his work, past and future are intertwined, transgressing and irrigating the boundaries of space and time. In 2020, Kane participated in the Momenta biennial in Montreal, and in various exhibitions as part of the Africa 2020 season in France. In 2018 in Dakar, he co-initiated The School of Mutants. His film The Blue House, which had its world premiere at the IDFA in Amsterdam in November 2020, received the special mention of the jury.
Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro is an artist, ecologist, and curator. His practice develops collective learning situations rooted in mutating places. His work takes the form of assemblies, public art, and multimedia installations. In 2018, he co-initiated The School of Mutants in Dakar, a collaborative art and research platform that was presented at various biennials and international art exhibitions. He has a regular collaborator of ZKM (Karlsruhe) and has had curatorial collaborations with Inland, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, NA Project, Institut Kunst, London Science Museum and dOCUMENTA (13).
Lou Mo is an independent curator with experience working in museums, an auction house and an international gallery. She is invited curator of the 14th Dakar Biennale and interested in investigating current issues related to themes such as diaspora, identity, and perception through contemporary art, especially in regions previously considered as non-centres. She has been working with The School of Mutants since 2019 and curated the collective’s 2020 Taipei Biennial exhibition. Originally from Montreal, she lives and works in Taipei.
Tropic Fever: Robin Hartanto Honggare and Perdana Roswaldy
Robin Hartanto Honggare is a writer and curator, and, presently, a PhD candidate at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He curated the Indonesia Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice (2014). His articles have been published in the Southeast of Now, Planning Perspectives, Avery Review, and Jakarta Post. His current research, rooted in his interest in the architectures of cultivation and the histories of colonial modernities in Southeast Asia, examines how buildings and landscapes shaped, and were shaped by, commodity productions.
Perdana "Pepe" Roswaldy is a sociology graduate student at Northwestern University. After four years of studying the Russian language and Soviet art politics, they took a detour to land conflicts and the plantation economy in Southeast Asia. They received Kellogg-DRRC grant for their thesis on land conflict and gendered environmental changes in 2019. Their current project is the postcolonial extraction and plantations in Indonesia.
Mahardika Yudha is an artist, filmmaker, and curator. He is co-founder of Forum Lenteng and has organized OK. Video 2007—2017. His activities gravitate around organisational pursuit, be it mediating, facilitating, curating. Heavily interested in history, he often jumps back and forth between tracing, collecting, and processing the findings to various artistic outputs, such as Kultursinema—an exhibition program of Arkipel, Jakarta International Documentary and Experimental Film festival; and time-based media works ranging from video, documentary, and installation. His works have been exhibited in Videobrasil, Singapore Biennale, SeMA Mediacity Biennale Seoul, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Kasseler Dokfest and International Film Festival Rotterdam 2022. He is also one of the initiators for Hoppla, and co-founder of the HEX Foundation.
Tropic Fever uncovers the racial and spatial imprints of colonial plantations and their entanglement with our contemporary society. Engaging multimedia format, the work utilizes archival and visual materials from Indonesia and the Netherlands in parallel with a close reading of historical literary works that capture the plantation lives. Tropic Fever is a collaborative project by Robin Hartanto Honggare, Perdana Roswaldy, and Mahardhika Yudha.
The museum is free to visit from 5-9pm.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
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Het Nieuwe Instituut Fellowship Programme
Since its foundation in 2013, Het Nieuwe Instituut has carried out and supported research in architecture, design and digital culture. Exhibitions, lectures, archival investigations and publications have served as outputs of research projects, but more importantly as active platforms for their development. Het Nieuwe Instituut’s Fellowship Programme has a fundamental role among these platforms. Intended as a means of supporting, and learning from, a variety of research initiatives and methodologies, the fellowship is ultimately an opportunity to rehearse other modes of thinking and doing.