YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES
Yvonne Droge Wendel
Laura Oldfield Ford
Ji Yoon Yang
Appel Curatorial Programme '08/'09 project. An exhibition and a day of lectures and performances in Amsterdam-Noord. The curators have invited ten international and local artists, artist collectives, and contributors from other fields to react to the development plans for Amsterdam-Noord and to imagine a set of alternative futures. After a period of research and meetings with local initiatives, the curators have taken as their starting point the current local situation and view it under its global conditions.
Artists and contributors:
YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES (KR/USA), Heman Chong (SG), Design Negation (NL), Flying City (KR), Yvonne Dröge Wendel (NL), Famed (DE), Andreja Kulunčić (HR), Alon Levin (USA/NL), Oda Projesi (TUR), Merijn Oudenampsen (NL), Laura Oldfield Ford (UK), Maria Pask (UK/NL) and Lee Scrivner (USA/UK)
For the first time in decades, the Shell Research and Technology terrain in Amsterdam-Noord opens to a wider public with the de Appel Curatorial Programme ’08/’09 project "Weak Signals, Wild Cards". The project is an exhibition of commissioned works, talks and performances. The curators have invited ten international and local artists, artist collectives, and contributors from other fields to react to the development plans for Amsterdam-Noord and to imagine a set of alternative futures. After a period of research and meetings with local initiatives, the curators have taken as their starting point the current local situation and view it under its global conditions. The new commissions made by the artists are for and from the alternative futures that they have imagined and will be displayed for one month, with an opening event on 26th June accompanied by music from Dutch DJ duo The Routines, and food from the local initiative Vrouwenbazaar.
The title "Weak Signals, Wild Cards" uses two terms from futurology. Weak signals form a pattern of phenomena that serves as an indicator of possible future developments. Wild cards refer to events that are difficult to predict but have a high impact. Amsterdam-Noord, the largest borough in Amsterdam with a long industrial history, is undergoing a series of public and private initiatives that aim to revamp this traditionally working class area. The artworks, performances and presentations made for this project attempt to forecast the as yet unknown future of art in Amsterdam-Noord, and the result is a flush of utopias, dystopias, warning signals, and manifestos.
Through the commissioning of alternative futures "Weak Signals, Wild Cards" will compose a common body of imagination, seeking to problematise the ‘usefulness’ of art in city redevelopment, and the impact of regeneration on the existing population. In the current economic uncertainty where the conditions for urban regeneration may no longer hold fast, it becomes necessary to rethink what other kinds of urban structures, environments, and societies might be possible – and what artistic practices might result.
Over the water from Amsterdam Centraal sits Noord, the largest borough in Amsterdam. Home to a dissolved shipping industry, its ancestral memory a landscape of polders, farmlands, gallows and garden cities, it now stands at a threshold. As planners and developers swing their gaze towards this huddled mass of rooftops, they see towers, cafés, and waterfront living.
Weak Signals, Wild Cards is a commissioning project and exhibition by the participants of de Appel Curatorial Programme 08/09. Set in Amsterdam Noord, it invites ten artists and a number of speakers from other fields to react to the given plans for the area and conjure a set of alternative futures. The artists have created works for and from their envisioned future contexts, while the speakers will foretell their imagined futures of Amsterdam Noord, from the perspectives of their expertise.
The title of this project uses two terms from futurology. Weak signals form a pattern of phenomena that serves as an indicator of possible future developments. Wild cards refer to events that are difficult to predict but have a high impact. We are not alone in attempting to predict a future: Amsterdam Noord is currently faced with a bevy of visions of its imminent regeneration. The predictions being made revolve dizzyingly around of the ‘Creative City’, which implicates not only artists but an expanded creative subjectivity in its conception of a society made up of self-reliant, resourceful individuals on a constant quest for self-improvement. This combined vision of the future ‘Creative City’ is so strongly anticipated and visualised that one gets the feeling that one could already inhabit the space of this mirage.
Yet the criticality of the current global economic circumstances provides an opportunity to not only to question, but also to remake the foundations being laid. If the conditions on which urban regeneration is based no longer hold fast, it becomes necessary to rethink what other kinds of urban structures, environments, and imagined communities might be possible. What spoken and unspoken social and economic roles are currently presumed to be played by art in the ‘Creative Industries’ and their commissioning processes in city development? In the light of the current economic uncertainty, what other kinds of future communities are possible beyond those envisioned by private property developers? What kind of public artwork would be made for these imagined communities, and under what conditions would it be produced?
The works, talks, performances and events in the exhibition will create a set of speculated futures, composing a common body of imagination. In contrast to art’s current and widespread instrumentalisation within schemes of urban regeneration, Weak Signals, Wild Cards seizes the potential of art to slip through time and form itself in response to multiple unforeseen possibilities. The contributions are not finished works or statements, in that they are documents of a society that is still to emerge. And yet, there they are: their arrival will allow a rethinking of the present.
Weak Signals, Wild Cards represents the third year of the de Appel Curatorial Programme’s shift to context-responsive curating. de Appel Curatorial Programme 2008/09 has taken up the task of responding to Amsterdam Noord.
de Appel Curatorial Programme 2008/09 is Clare Butcher, Lilian Engelmann, Mia Jankowicz, Christina Li, Ana Nikitović and Ji Yoon Yang.
de Appel Curatorial Programme is a nine-month long professional programme for the development of young curators. The programme was initiated in 1994 by Saskia Bos, and has since been reshaped to have a strongly context-responsive focus by the current de Appel director Ann Demeester. de Appel Curatorial Progrmme ’08/’09 is Clare Butcher (ZW/ZA), Lilian Engelmann (D), Mia Jankowicz (UK), Christina Li (CH), Ana Nikitovic (SR) and Ji Yoon Yang (KR).
For further press information, interviews with the curators and artists please contact:
Mia Jankowicz 00-31 (0)61 6149702 firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening: 7pm, Friday 26th June 2009 Light refreshments will be served.
Talks & performances: 2–8pm, Sunday 28th June 2009
Sun 5 July EN 3pm NL 3.30 pm
Sun 1 July EN 3pm NL 3.30 pm
Sun 19 July EN 3pm NL 3.30 pm
Sun 26 July EN 3pm NL 3.30 pm
Booking required. Please rsvp to email@example.com to book attendance.
Shell Kantine, Shell Terrain
Exhibition: 12–6pm, Wed-Sun 27th June–26th July 2009
Talks & performances: 2–8pm, Sunday 28th June 2009