Brigette van der Sande
3 – 14 December 2018
Art historian, curator and writer Brigitte van der Sande (1957, the Netherlands) started a continuing research into the representation of war in art in the early 1990s, resulting in exhibitions like Soft Target. War as a Daily, First-Hand Reality (2005) in BAK, basis actuele kunst in Utrecht and War Zone Amsterdam (2007–9), as well as many lectures, workshops and essays on the subject within the Netherlands and abroad. Her last travel to a war zone in November 2015 resulted in the article Inside Hell We Build Paradise. Report from Jonas Staal’s New World Summit in Rojava, Syria, published in Open, an online platform for art, culture and the public domain (www.onlineopen.org/inside-hell-we-build-paradise).
In 2013–14 she curated See You in The Hague, a multifaceted narrative about the ambitions and reality of The Hague as International City of Peace and Justice for Stroom Den Haag. In the same period Van der Sande co-curated with Babs Bakels The Last Image, a series of analogue and digital exhibitions presented by the Dutch funeral museum Tot Zover (So Far) about the triangular relationship between death, the camera, and the spectator. At the moment Van der Sande and Bakels are working on a proposal for a monument for the national suicide prevention line.
It was during travels to the Middle East and Africa in the nineties and the first decade of this millennium that Van der Sande suddenly noticed science fiction popping up everywhere, as an instrument of critique and change. In January/February 2018, together with a team of freelancers from different cultures and backgrounds, she realised the multidisciplinary platform for thinkers and builders of futures called Other Futures – Exploring New Perspectives through Science Fiction in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Other Futures kicked off with the exhibition Creating Other Futures, a three-day festival in Amsterdam and the storytellers' event New Narratives for Climate Action, exploring themes in all disciplines: our relation with the planet and the ‘Other’, emancipation, diversity, queer futures, postcolonial theories and practices. Focus of the first edition was non-Western science fiction, with a large representation of African makers and thinkers. The next edition of Other Futures in 2020 will focus on Asia and the Pacific.
Often considered a poor cousin of highbrow literature and arthouse films, science fiction enables us to imagine possible futures. Twelve years ago, while travelling through the Middle East and Africa, Brigitte van der Sande chanced upon an unexpected amount of sci-fi literature, drawings, and films that envisioned alternative futures as a way to critique existing power structures while shunning censorship. In countries where continuous change is the status quo because of war or political instability, thinkers, artists, and writers are deeply engaged with the liberating potential of the genre. In this talk, van der Sande will discuss how her long-term research on the subject led to the realisation of Other Futures, “a multidisciplinary online and offline platform for thinkers and builders of other futures.” The first edition, which took place in Amsterdam in early 2018, featured non-Western science fiction makers and thinkers mostly from Africa and from the African diaspora; the second edition, slated for 2020, will focus on Asia.
Brigitte van der Sande (b. 1957, Netherlands) is an art historian, curator, and writer based in Amsterdam. She is the artistic director of Other Futures, a multidisciplinary platform that frames science fiction as an empowerment tool to envision the future and build a new and better world. In the early 1990s, van der Sande began a long-term research about the representation of war in art which developed through lectures, workshops, the exhibition Soft Target. War as a Daily, First-Hand Reality held at BAK, basis actuele kunst, Utrecht (2005), and War Zone Amsterdam, a series of presentations which took place at Mediamatic in Amsterdam (2009), accompanied by a reader published on open! Platform for Art, Culture, and the Public Domain. Between 2013 and 2014, she curated See You in The Hague (2013-2014) at Stroom Den Haag, The Hague and she co-curated, with Babs Bakels, The Last Image, an exhibition series about the relationship between death, the camera, and the spectator at The Nederlands Uitvaart Museum Tot Zover (Dutch Funeral Museum So Far), Amsterdam.
Image caption: Performance artist and activist Mykki Blanco at Other Futures Festival 2018. Photo by Pieter Kers. Courtesy Other Futures.