19 September 2020 until 28 February 2021

The World After: Conversation Pieces

Oude Kerk presents: The World After - Conversation Pieces

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TWA ruimte 2020
Oude Kerk installatie 02 10 2020 LND Wstudio 0073e
TWA Zito Lema 2020
Oude Kerk installatie 02 10 2020 LND Wstudio 0014bw8
Oude Kerk installatie 02 10 2020 LND Wstudio 0064
Oude Kerk installatie 02 10 2020 s LND Wstudio 0032

Participating artists: Aimée Zito Lema, Children of the Light, Geo Wyeth, David Helbich, Germaine Kruip, Hans van Houwelingen, Iswanto Hartono, Marc Mulders, Marinus Boezem, Madelon Hooykaas, PolakVanBekkum, Ruchama Noorda, Sarah van Sonsbeeck, Smári Róbertsson, Stéphanie Saadé, Yair Callender.

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The Oude Kerk and Mister Motley invited 16 artists to respond to questions raised by the Covid-19 crisis. Their contributions, in the form of short films that were presented in an online project called The World After, clearly radiate the combination of insecurity and optimism that characterized the lockdown period. Jointly, the videos paint a telling picture of the unusual spring of 2020.

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Conversation pieces

From 19 September these videos will also be installed at the Oude Kerk. They are not presented as works of art in a traditional exhibition, but as elements of an enduring conversation between the Oude Kerk, the artists and the rest of society. The World After: Conversation Pieces therefore also includes an extensive public programme of performances, screenings, artist talks, concerts, and debate evenings.

Response to the context

The Oude Kerk presents context-specific projects: as a rule, the church invites artists to create new work that responds to the extraordinary building, its history and its surroundings. As the Oude Kerk was closed during the lockdown period, the starting point and context of this particular project was a world-wide social situation rather than a physical location. The World After: Conversation Pieces is the post-lockdown sequel to The World After. The videos have been installed throughout the church; visitors get to discover this new layer while they are exploring the historic building and its stories.

Gaps in the programme

What if gaps appear in the programme all of a sudden? How can the church use this phenomenon to make its programme more inclusive? The Oude Kerk has been deliberately leaving gaps in its programme for quite some time now, to ensure that all of the Amsterdam locals can share in the ownership of this place on an equal basis. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the development of these plans gained momentum. The first step in this ‘deprogramming’ process is a collaboration with local artists: an Open Call encouraged local artists’ community Open Ateliers Nieuwmarkt to create work that responds to The World After. These contributions will be added to the exhibition in the Oude Kerk in December.

About The World After

When the world came to a grinding halt in March 2020, the Oude Kerk together with Mister Motley invited artists to reflect on the situation. Their contributions kept the ideas and the programme of the Oude Kerk alive as long as its doors were closed. The participating artists all came from the networks of the Oude Kerk and Mister Motley; many of them had previously contributed to the church’s programme. The title of the project is taken from an article that historian Yuval Noah Harari wrote for The Financial Times in March. He predicted a dilemma: we can either return to the supposed normal, or face the problems of our world and embrace change and innovation.