NOW ONLINE - Verkiezingen zijn niet genoeg! Kunstpraktijken als democratische vernieuwing (IN DUTCH)


Issue no5
Oct - Nov 2022

Videoregistration of Elections Are Not Enough! Art Practices as Democratic Renewal, debate organised by Metropolis M and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Joram Kraaijeveld, research editor at Metropolis M, talks to Sarafina Paulina Bonita van Ast, Teresa Borasino, Quinsy Gario, Harpo ’t Hart, Caitlin Schaap, Jonas Staal, Simone Zeefuik about the relation between political and artistic action in and out of parliament. (DUTCH SPOKEN)

Verkiezingen zijn niet genoeg! Kunstpraktijken als democratische vernieuwing

Elections Are Not Enough! Art Practices as Democratic Renewal

Date: Sunday 14 March Location: Livestream from Teijin Auditorium, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

(Also: YouTube Stedelijk Museum)

Time: 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Participants: Sarafina Paulina Bonita van Ast, Teresa Borasino, Quinsy Gario, Harpo ’t Hart, Caitlin Schaap, Jonas Staal, Simone Zeefuik and Joram Kraaijeveld (moderator)

Metropolis M, in collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum, is holding a livestream event on the eve of the Dutch parliamentary elections. Joram Kraaijeveld, research editor at Metropolis M, will talk to artists about their distinctive practices and the ways they strive to achieve democratic renewal through artistic and political action, both inside and outside government.

Major social issues, such as the fight against institutional racism or the struggle for climate justice, require action and measures to be addressed within our democratic institutions. Artists organize protests, develop rights for nature, create an international court for climate crimes, and experiment with democratic models of self-government, in order to propose a world in which several worlds fit.

How does the art world view democracy? What kind of adjustments or reforms does democracy need in order to fight institutional racism and promote climate justice? And what is the role of artists in this struggle for equal rights and equal opportunities, for the possibility of a shared future?

‘Elections Are Not Enough!' investigates diverse art practices that critically examine, complement or reinforce current forms of popular representation, based on the knowledge that artists are crucial contributors to major societal change. The artists will discuss pressing issues that are important to them, but also to anyone who wants democracy to be capable of tackling the major issues of the 21st century, anyone who wants the earth to be liveable for everyone.

The assembly will be convened by Joram Kraaijeveld (research editor at Metropolis M) in conversation with Domeniek Ruyters (editor-in-chief, Metropolis M) and Britte Sloothaak (curator, Stedelijk Museum).


Sarafina Paulina Bonita van Ast (they/them) is a queer, Dutch-Surinamese, non-binary performance artist who works with audio and text. Sarafina creates performances and poetry from an intersectional approach that focusses on the experience of otherness. In their work, they question the construction of gender, the difference between the perceived and constructed feminine and masculine, and the affects of religion and heritage. They believe that through creating art, important stories are told, communities uplifted and, joy shared.

Teresa Borasino (born in Lima, lives and works in Amsterdam) is a visual artist and activist. Her work addresses the climate crisis through various media – performance, installation, graphic design and civil disobedience. She often works in collaboration with other artists, architects, academics and activists to develop new synergies between art and direct action. In 2016, she co-founded Fossil Free Culture NL, a collective of artists and activists working at the intersection of art and climate activism. Her goal is to end oil and gas sponsorship of cultural institutions.

Quinsy Gario is a visual and performance artist from the Caribbean islands that share a history of Dutch colonization. He focuses on decolonial remembering and the actions that such remembering can engender. His best-known work, Zwarte Piet Is Racisme (2011-2012), critiqued the general knowledge surrounding the Dutch racist figure and practice of Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), later exposing the institutional government support that keeps the figure alive in the Netherlands. Gario has an academic background in media studies, gender studies and postcolonial studies, is a graduate of the Master in Artistic Research programme at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague, and was a recurring participant of the ‘Black Europe Body Politics’ conference series. Quincy Gario is on the electoral list for the upcoming elections, pushing for change within the Dutch parliament.

Harpo 't Hart is a curator, sound designer and sound artist. His work questions the way we listen to the world. How should we listen to our rapidly changing world—a world of climate change, a world in which electronic devices listen to us? Harpo investigates the possibilities of a music that does not revolve around humans: a concert of things. Since 2017, he has been involved in the Parliament of Things and the Embassy of the North Sea projects, and has been responsible for the 'Verbeelding' (Imagination) programme since 2019. The sea and the life in the sea belong to themselves. The Embassy of the North Sea was founded in 2018 on this premise, with the goal to give things, plants, animals and people in and around the North Sea are a voice. Today's most pressing ecological and technological issues transcend borders, individuals and species. Yet we still approach these problems largely from the nation state. For example, the largest mass extinction in 65 million years is taking place, but which nation state feels responsible for this? The problem is that nation states are accountable to each other, but not to non-human life. The Embassy of the North Sea argues that there is a representation crisis in democracy: non-human life is not represented effectively enough, nor are the lives of future humans and non-humans.

Caitlin Schaap is a singer and a core member of Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP). She dedicates herself to projects and actions around (inter)national social change. Together with KOZP, she has organized Black Lives Matter demonstrations, campaigns against blackface, and conversations about anti-racism policy with governmental organizations and other institutions.

Jonas Staal (b. 1981) is a Dutch visual artist whose work deals with the relationship between art, propaganda and democracy. He studied monumental arts in Enschede and Boston. His work manifests itself internationally by way of interventions in public spaces, expositions, lectures and publications. He lives and works in Rotterdam and Athens, and is the founder of the New World Summit artistic and political organization (2012-present) and the New Unions campaign (2016-present). With Basis voor actuele kunst, or BAK, in Utrecht, he co-founded the New World Academy (2013-2016). Currently, together with Florian Malzacher, he is directing the Training for the Future utopian training camp (2018-present) and co-managing (with Laure Prouvost) the Obscure Union (2017-present). He recently published Propaganda Art in the 21st Century (MIT Press, 2019).

Simone Zeefuik is an Afro-Dutch, Amsterdam-Bijlmer based writer, cultural programmer and organizer whose work centres around on representation, everydayness, inclusivity and social justice. She focuses on imagination as access, joy, the (de)spectaclizing of Blackness, digital archives and movements against the illegalizing of the so-called undocumented members of the Afro-Dutch communities. She’s a programmer for Amsterdam’s Bijlmer Parktheater, a teacher at Zawdie Sandvliet’s Afro-Dutch Studies and a ginger tea critic. Together with Richard Kofi (her fellow programmer at Amsterdam’s Bijlmer Parktheater) she set up and hosts the podcast Project Wiaspora. From 2021-2023 Zeefuik will teach the temporary master Blacker Blackness at Amsterdam’s Sandberg Institute where she’s also a guest lecturer. Sandberg offers master programmes in Fine Arts, Interior Architecture and Design. Her course focuses on imagination as a method to decolonize, uncode and liberate representations of Blackness in art and design. Other projects and digital archives she initiated: Literary platform RE:Definition (2008 – 2013), #RewriteTheInstitute , Blaccupy and the Topple Dem Statues-workshop series. Co-initiated: #UndocumentedNL, #DecolonizeTheMuseum and speakers’ platform Soapbox (2010-2012).

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Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 5 — 2022