Fudge the Facts

forever a pupil

Dear Bill: an ongoing conversation about contemporary art education

Dear Bill,

I often wonder what you think of us, and for that matter, the school of your namesake, as you gaze silently down from the stairwell. There’s something erotic about your masculine pose, the way your soft white shirt is unbuttoned at the top, and how your plush corduroy pants outline the slight tilt of your posture. Admittedly, I have a thing for men in corduroys – maybe it’s that professorial fetish I’ve had since I was a teenager – an analyst would say it’s a father complex I’m sure.

As my eyes occasionally catch yours in passing, there are so many questions:

What do you think about us – did you ever imagine this?
What was it like at the Black Mountain College?
Did you even use the word ‘curriculum’, or was there simply an unspoken order to the lessons?
What was it like to work with Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Harry Callahan, Mary Callery, Merce Cunningham, Edward Dahlberg, Max Dehn, Buckminster Fuller, Walter Gropius, and Jacob Lawrence?
Did you eat and drink together?
Did students see you contradict each other in conversation?
Were you in the garden when Buckminster Fuller experimented with his geodesic domes?

Bill, there are so many things I want to speak with you about… if you’re around and have a little time, can you PM me? I’m uncertain whether I’m on the right track with my teaching, and so need your advice.

xx Renee

RIP Chantal Akerman

Kingdom in decay

There’s nothing like looking back at your own work and realizing most of it has disappeared with the way of the web, and there ain’t no Wayback Machine that will ever put it back again. Reduced to a few remaining jpegs of crappy resolution screenshots, there’s a sense of frustration, but then I remember that’s exactly what I’ve always loved about working online. It’s ephemeral, or said less highbrow, it’s disposable – links get made and are broken, social networks form and collapse, frames get deprecated, html grows old, Flash (let’s not talk about it), and hardware dies….. and all those ones and zeros continue to proliferate, indifferent to my little kingdom in decay.


When I took avian ecology in university my professor, Warren Pulich, always professed that crows are the smartest of birds. He said getting their skins (used for identification classes) was difficult, because they always knew when you were out to catch them. Now it appears, he wasn’t just telling a tall Texas tale….. “These results show that crows will avoid an area or thing that is deemed dangerous to their own species. In other words, they know what death is and know to fear it.” Read more…


A perfect storm of deadlines——> trying to stay centred while avoiding the drain.

Conversation with Nana Adusei-Poku and John Akomfrah

Nana Adusei-Poku in conversation with John Akomfrah, Witte de With, Rotterdam

What a fantastic way to end the year. It was a packed house at the Witte de With, and the event was the culmination of a tremendous amount of discussion and preparation by the PZI Interdepartmental Think Tank. In light of Stuart Hall’s passing in February 2014, we wanted to find a way of honouring and revisiting his work -  and the evening delivered just that.

For me the two most timely and memorable quotes of the evening were from The Stuart Hall Project, where Hall says “Race is the lens through which people come to perceive that a crisis is developing.” In the wake of Ferguson, no truer words could be spoken about current economic and social divides. And later John Akomfrah in conversation with Nana Adusei-Poku talked about the power of archives, and their capacity to speak, adding that “the archival trace is the monument of the diaspora.”

A big thanks to everyone in the Piet Zwart Interdepartmental Think Tank for making this event possible, and the Witte de With for being generous hosts.

Screening of The Stuart Hall Project followed by a conversation between John Akomfrah and Nana Adusei-Poku

John Akomfrah,The Stuart Hall Project (still), 2013. Film. Image courtesy of Smoking Dog Films.

Screening of The Stuart Hall Project, followed by a conversation between Nana Adusei-Poku (Research Professor in Cultural Diversity at Hogeschool Rotterdam and Witte de With’s Curatorial Fellow 2015) and director John Akomfrah.

Piet Zwart Interdepartmental Think Tank Event hosted by the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art 

Saturday, December 13, 2014, 3pm
Screening begins at 3:15pm, free

Witte de Withstraat 50

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art hosts the screening of The Stuart Hall Project and a conversation with the director John Akomfrah, in collaboration with the Piet Zwart Institute and the Research Professorship for Cultural Diversity.

Stuart Hall (1932–2014) was a leading intellectual and cultural theorist in the UK for more than 50 years. He regularly appeared on television and radio, and fronted provocative, thoughtful documentaries. Not only was his work influential in terms of establishing the field of Cultural Studies, he also became one of the key theorists for a younger generation of intellectuals and artists throughout the Black Diaspora. Stuart Hall’s work embraces marginalized and situated knowledge, and examines what identity categories mean within a wider socio-political and academic discourse.

Director John Akomfrah, who belongs to this younger generation, comes to Rotterdam with his masterful film essay made entirely from Hall’s film, television, radio and photographic archives, and it is accompanied by a soundtrack from Hall’s musical hero, Miles Davis. Often using his own experience as a Jamaican-raised part Scottish, part African, part Portuguese Jew to make his point, Hall’s central argument is that a person’s identity is continually shaped by surrounding forces. Not only does this remarkable film work as both a portrait of Hall himself and his adopted country, it is also an intriguing insight into how the UK has for many decades used the documentary form to explore questions of identity.

This event is conceived by the Piet Zwart Institute’s Interdepartmental Think Tank. The group is composed of representatives from the Creating 010 Research Centre, staff members, students from each programme and the Director of the Piet Zwart Institute. Looking at how interests can be shared across courses, they plan interdisciplinary projects and public programming.

This afternoon is presented as part of Studium Witte de With, a collaborative education platform for art and theory which is intended to serve as a catalyst bridging various fields of knowledge across higher education. Studium Witte de With offers a broad program mapping and analysing the cultural and political ecology.

ART for MEMORY – Karen Bernedo and Orestes Bermudez Rojas (Peru) in Conversation with Renée Turner

This event hosted and organised by Castrum Peregrini in collaboration with the Prince Claus Fund and is part of Culture in Action 2014 Prince Claus Awards Week.
Lecture Conversation
Art for Memory
7 december, 19 uur
Entrance 5 euro; students 3 euro;
RSVP at E: productie@castrumperegrini.nl

Karen Bernedo and Orestes Bermudez Rojas will present their work and enter into a conversation with Renée Turner about the role of art in collective memory processes.

Karen Bernedo Morales is an independent curator and researcher. She is the director of Virtual Museum of Arts and Politica Violence and Member and co-foundator of Itinerant Museum of Art for Memory.

Orestes Bermudez Rojas as a visual artist and a member an co-foundator of Itinerant Museum Art for Memory.

Renée Turner is an American artist living in the Netherlands. She is the Director of the Piet Zwart Institute of the Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam, running four Master Courses founded on the complex social, cultural and political underpinnings of art.

Itinerant Museum of Art for Memory -Museo Itinerante de Arte por la Memoria-, one of the initiatives receiving the prestigious Prince Claus Award 2014.This collective has played a galvanizing role in recent years by using diverse art forms to challenge current memory practices in Peru, a country that faces multiple challenges in its efforts to overcome the recent conflict between government forces and insurgent groups that resulted in 70,000 deaths. The Itinerant Museum has traveled the length and breadth of Peru to bring the artwork to a broad audience and provoke new ways of thinking and talking about the violence that subsumed Peru in the 1980s and 1990s. It is a project of hope that challenges us to think not only about the violence that was inflicted upon so many innocent people, but also about our own complicity in structures of violence.



De Geuzen, Other Projects & Collaborations

Next to my other work, I've collaborated with Riek Sijbring and Femke Snelting under the name of De Geuzen since 1996. Below you'll find links to De Geuzen's main site and selected projects which have radically informed my thinking about visual research, digital writing and narratives. It is important to note that some of these works have collapsed with the evolution of the web, nonetheless I keep their traces online as an archive of an earlier internet.