Adventurous Writing at the Domein voor Kunstkritiek Lab Days

This spring, Domein voor Kunstkritiek and De Nieuwe Garde are organizing an adventurous lab on digital art criticism and essays, in which they will dive into online publication forms together. A lab for Dutch and Flemish cultural journalists, essayists, and makers with a passion for experimentation who want to look (far) beyond the linear text. Sign up for these three-day workshops and presentations by, among others, the interactive designers of Studio Krom, The Institute for Network Culture and culture magazine De Optimist, with plenty of room for exchange and drinks at our host De Brakke Grond in Amsterdam.

The reason
The digitization of the arts and the reflection on it has taken off in recent years, with the corona crisis acting as an accelerator. What is striking is that the traditional forms are still preserved in online art criticism. For example, reviews often go online as linear texts with a few selected hyperlinks and a photo. So much more can be done with digital forms, such as the full integration of video and sound or a non-linguistic, visual response to art. In a three-day lab, we want to further explore all digital possibilities with hungry critics, essayists, and makers, and apply these to the performances we see, all along collaborating and entering into dialogue with each other. At a later date, at the beginning of the summer, we will revisit these three days, to publish our results and share our best practices and ‘fuck-ups’ in order to establish a digital art-critical framework, e.g. a number of hybrid perspectives that we can incorporate into our professional practices.

The set-up
This three-day event consists of workshops, presentations, work periods, performances, and conversations and will take place during the Hemelvaart weekend at Flemish Cultuurhuis De Brakke Grond, with a return day to be determined at the end of June.

On day one, Thursday 26 May, we start early in the afternoon and after a short introduction, we divide the group of participants into three subgroups for three workshops on working with images, democratic and free writing. After dinner, we visit the festive music theater performance Do the Calimero by Lies Pauwels.

On day two, Friday 27 May, we will look back on the previous day and what we have learned and create working groups based on what each participant wants to explore further during the weekend. The first reflections of the previous evening are being worked out. Het Domein will give a presentation with results from an earlier hybrid criticism project that they organized together with De Brakke Grond around their Beyond the Black Box festival.

On day three, Saturday 28 May, each group will work on its material. Then we meet the interactive designers of Studio Krom from Eindhoven. In a series of speed dates with this duo, each working group discusses its material and research question, and Krom provides them with templates and options to build on.

In the month of June, each working group continues to work on the basis of its own time and availability with a chosen template and with the help of a short online consultation with Krom. On the ‘return day’ at the end of June, we will share all publications on an online platform, zoom out in a group discussion about digital criticism, and toast to radical results.

This program is an initiative of Domein voor Kunstkritiek and De Nieuwe Garde, in collaboration with de Brakke Grond and the Institute for Network Culture, with financial support from the Creative Industries Fund. Participants pay a contribution of 200,- for this three-day and the return day, including performance tickets and meals. Drinks and travel costs are the responsibility of the participant. De Brakke Grond can provide sleeping places in Amsterdam for participants from Flanders.

To register
Participants are professional writers—critics, essayists, makers, illustrators, designers, artists—from Flanders and the Netherlands, with an open attitude towards each other: willing to listen to each other and give feedback.

Register before April 4 by sending a short motivation, a CV, and a text by your hand—in any chosen form, e.g. an essay, blog, review—to Dirk Verhoeven:

Het Domein & De Nieuwe Garde select the participants based on their sense of experimentation and text quality. Because the workflow will entail subgroups and personal guidance, the program is intended for twelve participants and there is limited space available. All entrants will be notified individually.

About Domein voor Kunstkritiek

Since 2004, Domein voor Kunstkritiek has been committed to the future of innovative art criticism. They stand for recalibrating and enriching independent reflection on art. They see themselves as the driving force within the networks of media, education, and cultural institutions that are innovatively committed to a meaningful and broadly conducted conversation about art. They offer thinkers and writers the opportunity to explore their talents. Their field of activity encompasses all possible art disciplines, including dance, theatre, music, and the visual arts, film, architecture, and literature. Last year they conducted an initial investigation with the Podcast Festival and had three experienced art critics write essays on three podcast titles.

About De Nieuwe Garde
De Nieuwe Garde supports essayists in their careers as authors through mentoring, masterclasses, and networking. Accessibility is a core concept for the organization. Anyone can submit an essay and receive personal feedback on his or her piece, even if it does not qualify for a mentorship. Partner titles of De Nieuwe Garde include Awater, De Gids, de Lage Landes, Nederlandse Boekengids, De Optimist, De Revisor, DW B, Etcetera, Filosofie Magazine, H art, Hard//Hoofd, Humbug, Kluger Hans, nY, rekto:verso, Terrace, Theatermaker and Tirade. We also work together with: Creative Writing, De Tank, Dipsaus, El Hizjra, Folio, Institute of Network Cultures, Marie Kleine-Gartman Essay Prize, Prize for Young Art Criticism, and Writers Vocational School Paramaribo.

Find the original open call (in Dutch) here.

Image: Articulate, an installation by Studio Krom.