Visit Conditions

I have shown this work during the Rietveld Graduation Show 2016. For an interview, conducted by Michelle Williams Gamaker and Sanneke Huisman, as an overview of the piece, click here.

Identity worn by the security guards at all times

Visit Conditions is defined as a series of choreographed elements that deal with the contemplative and the format within which one can enact the role of spectator have been setup during the Graduation Show to test effects of doubling the gaze and reflecting it back, to emphasise the exalted state of looking at art works, with all the reverence that it implies.

These elements were:
- a visible mobile surveillance system running in parallel with the Academy’s own system and focusing on the artworks on display during the show;
- a livesteaming system displaying the mobille surveillance system in realtime to visitors
- a sound piece bringing in fragments of other art spaces across Amsterdam (sound capsules of the Stedelijk Museum, the SMBA, de Appel, gallery Fons Welters etc),
- 4 museum guards which took their time to secure each exhibit during daily shifts.

The piece, with all its layers, acted as being nearly not there, embodying itself instead in the viewers of the Graduation show.

Technical supervision and support provided by: Jörn Nettingsmeier
Security team: ISA Security
Photos: Gert-Jan van Rooij

Made with the generous support of the Schuurman Schimmel-van Outeren Foundation

A publication, in the form of a USB stick and which acts as a DIY kit, went on sale along with the work. Among the texts on it, also a review written by Lieven Lahaye. See below:

Text inspired by rules of the RijksMuseum Amsterdam

'I first heard about Alina’s project when two of her tutors were talking about it at the academy’s water cooler, something about getting the guards from Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam to guard the graduation show? I thought it sounded a bit silly and was surprised to learn it was Alina’s work; I’m used to seeing her rail against the idea of fixed studio spaces, selection procedures for school exhibitions, exclusion of students during teacher conference week, together with frequent collaborator Vitya Glushchenko, as Bart and Lisa Simpson, exchanging “Sideshow Bob” for “Gerrit Rietveld Academie”.

I have since talked to Alina about the guards guarding the Rietveld graduation show and she mentioned that her motivation had less to do with the “security” aspect of a guard’s role and more with the fact that the idea of “museum guard” is so ubiquitous, they may act as clear symbols for “the museum” as an institution. By moving the guards from the museum to the academy, the institution of “the museum” is mirrored into the institution “the academy”, the main outcome being to address the similarities we find from one institution to another. Any institution relies heavily on dealing with situations in a provisional manner. It’s the secretary of the assistant director who can tell you everyone’s job description, not the HR manager, it’s going to Kevin from accounting if you want this form signed but never to Karen, unless it’s a form from an external party, then, for the love of god, you should definitely go to Karen, and never to Kevin. Kevin and Karen have the same job, title and tasks. Rules of behaviour are unspoken and unclear, and no one but Alice from reception really knows what’s going on.

Looking back, this whole thing started with Alina proposing an idea and then having to navigate the Stedelijk Museum institution to get to the next step and the next, and the next, and the next; but is it only Alina taking these steps? Or are the relationships between all involved responsible for producing this project? This hive mind, consisting of Alina, two tutors, the guards, probably a Stedelijk Museum PR person or two and myself, form an institution. Alina has mentioned before that an important part of her work is “having people do things for me”, maybe an off the cuff remark but still characteristic for how an institution is organised. In the hive, I can’t be sure of my exact role. Am I doing something for her now? What is the value of what I’m doing right now writing this text? Is it supposed to be purely informative/didactic (which I just assumed from the getgo was the goal) but how will it eventually end up once I give up control and click “send”? Is Alina my boss? I’m not getting paid for this. I may regret this whole thing. Now that I think about it, I’m not too sure what my job actually is. Is this text supposed to be purely informative? It’s what I assumed.'

Maybe it’s not.

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