Dutch Installation Art

Published on May 20th, 2006

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From 20-05-2006 until 10-09-2006

Michiel van Bakel, Jasper van den Brink, Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, Rikkert Brok, eddie d, Kirsten Geisler, Bernard Gigounon, Nan Hoover, Gerald van der Kaap, Andreas Siefert, Bill Spinhoven, Eric Steensma, Martijn Veldhoen, Jan Peter van der Wenden

The Netherlands Media Art Institute has been invited by the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest to curate an exhibition for one of the four floors of the museum.

The exhibition is already a huge succes, the number of visitors is very high and the Rumanian press calls it a ‘must see'; the most interesing exhibition of the moment.

A desire for the extraordinary, which is at the core of any fantastic machine, travels through this exhibition as an undercurrent – and is often transferred to the viewer as an experience for the senses.

Interactivity is a common word in new technology in general and multimedia in particular. It is featured daily in a growing number of public discourses, from entertainment and education to marketing and also since the mid 1990s in art.

The term interactivity first surfaced around 1960 in the United States in reference to the computer or to be precise to the fact that scientists had managed to interrupt the computer’s operations. They called the interruption an interactivity and decided to focus on the partnership of man and machine in further development of the computer. Since then interactivity got directly associated with computer systems. Interactive art as we now has not changed its relation to computers. But the background of Interactive Art harks back to participational art where the spectator is taking part in a given project. This could be ‘Happenings’ (1950s) or the reactive ‘Kinetic Art’ (1950s) where the public was encouraged to take part in the realization of the artistic project. Partaking was supposed to stimulate the spectators creativity and hence with inspire new ideas. The ideals of the artists were high they wanted to change both the art world and the world at large. But at the time many of these undertakings failed. Artists soon found out that the public was not keen on being engaged and in making the project alive. The better controlled video installations of the 1970s became an acceptable substitute.


1. Michiel van Bakel – Hovering over Wasteland Panopticum
2. Jasper van den Brink – Video Fly Tunnelvision
3. Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács – Prime Time Paradise
4. Rikkert Brok – Friendly Fire
5. eddie d – A word of welcome Orquesta Revoltillo
6. Jan Peter van der Wenden – Digital Pin Display De Blauwe man
7. Kirsten Geisler – Dream Dream of Beauty 2.2 / Touch Me
8. Bernard Gigounon – Starship
9. Nan Hoover – black and white… Returning to Fuji
10. SERVAAS – Pfft…
11. Andreas Siefert – Dropshadow
12. Bill Spinhoven – It’s about time
13. Eric Steensma – The Park
14. Martijn Veldhoen – Dislocations
15. Gerald van der Kaap – White Chill Terminal

The video installations, especially the closed-circuit installations were based on principals that were close to interactive art. The installations consisted of video camera’s, monitors or projections and were based on relations in which the public didn’t need to actively partake. The media used created the work and from the audience a mere perceptive participation was expected. The interest in these controlled environments in which the actions of the public activate the work increased with the development in technology. Due to cheaper and smaller equipment the installations could become less ‘obvious’ and more adventurous. Not all of the works were interactive in itself, most of the installations were very much controlled, but the creative process was interactive. The public stirs the computer which in turn translates the movements in images, sounds or texts, for the public to play/interact with. The spectator becomes a user searching for the (prescribed) paths. Hoping to encounter the new and unexpected while losing oneself in a total immersion.

Surrounded by a three-dimensional space of the work, projects the users body mentally into another, spatial and temporal dimension he experiences in real time. This use of space and architecture is another characteristic of most interactive and installation art.

Due to its connections with play many of these artworks have not been giving the attention they deserve. Mostly seen as simple mirror effects, they were seen as entertainment and not withstanding the high criteria of art. In the exhibition ‘Dutch Installation Art’ the Netherlands Media Art Institute will present a selection of interactive, installation works and single channel works that not only immerse the active spectator but also reflect upon society, discuss the working of interaction and present us with unexpected alternative modes of presentation.

Director MNAC: Ruxandra Balaci
Director Netherlands Media Art Institute: Heiner Holtappels,
Curator: Annet Dekker
Producer Bucharest: Raluca Velisar
Producer The Netherlands: Barbara de Preter

Thanks to:
With thanks to: Mondriaan Foundation and the Dutch embassy in Bucharest

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