Tag Archives: Alex Adriaansens

Summer Research

So I am once again traveling to the Netherlands to do some research, scraping away at these interviews, as many as I can cram into about ten days without going insane. I leave on 23 June and go directly to University of Twente where I will meet Elfi Ettinger in person (one of my IR 9.0 panelists) and possibly speak in their seminar series. I hope to also meet not only her immediate colleagues, but some people from other departments who work on new media and ICT stuff, but I only will be there for about 24 hours, so we’ll see.

After that I head to Rotterdam and start interviewing; I plan to speak again to Hajo Doorn (from Worm) and Alex Adriaansens (from V2_) about the state of arts funding, and finally I will interview Brenno de Winter, who who had the flu in January when I was originally planning it. Then I go to Germany to speak at the IFIP WG 9.5 –part one of scholars on Facebook–and then back to Rotterdam and more interviews. I will speak with all of De Geuzen, with Sher Doruff, Erna Kotkamp, and Marianne van den Boomen, and Jaromil. And last but far from least, I will formally interview Florian and Mirko.

I may fit in a few more interviews, depending on how well I can schedule these so that for example, I see all the Utrecht people on one day, all the Amsterdam people on one day, etc. Otherwise the travel time will probably prevent me from adding anyone else. Plus I have to allow time to write up–I learned that in January when I didn’t really have enough time to make sufficient notes here in the blog.

While all this is going on, I have to also finish a book chapter and work on my paper for IR 9.0 because the full papers are supposed to be turned in at the end of August. I think that for panels we have to get some papers in by the deadline, but maybe not all. As the organizer though, I feel I have to be one of those papers that gets in on time…

More soon, including a very protracted but increasingly useful and interesting email conversation I’m having with Aymeric Mansoux from goto10.org.

Alex Adriaansen at V2_

This afternoon I had a lengthy meeting with Alex Adriaansen, director at V2_ ; he could not have been more generous with his time or forthcoming with his views about the context for New Media studies in the Netherlands or the challenges they face. So I will note it all down before I forget!

First, V2_ has been around for 25 years and that means that by now they have established a reputation as doing interesting, edgy things and also having good practices. Alex emphasized how important it was to them to be truly interdisciplinary themselves, and this brings it’s own challenges because scientists have one way of doing things and, people concerned with business have another, and artists still another, and so on. But he felt this was something they had succeeded in working out over the years, and now these other groups respect their way of doing things.

Another characteristic of the Dutch context is the focus on projects rather than on structural funding schemes for the long term. Alex attributes this to politicians and business people tending to take a short view that always judges success by some concrete result, rather than on what is learned or on long-term possibilities. The problem for V2_, (or any organisation, because I see this in the US as well) is that you have to always follow whatever trend the funding agency is hot for, which means first that you may not be able to really follow through on ideas that need more time, and, perhaps a greater problem, you can get caught up iin the hype so that you lose your critical perspective. I’ve heard this from Florian at Piet Zwart as well, and I will be sure to check on it at De Waag tomorrow.

But Alex felt that they were navigating these challenges successfully. I think V2_ audience may be less prone to falling for hype as well, because most of their programs are aimed at the “creative class” meaning artists, designers, theoreticians, etc. Except for the DEAF Festival, they aren’t very concerned with reaching a wide audience. However, they have decided to strengthen their ties to some educational institutions. They have a pretty strong connection to Piet Zwart MDMA already, and now they are pursuing a PhD programs with some universities (he didn’t say which). I think that sounds like a great idea, and it makes me wish I had time to take on another degree!

The biggest challenge Alex sees ahead for V2_ is reorganizing itself so that it can on the one hand strengthen it’s artistic focus, but on the other build on the more “practical” possibilities suggested by their research. So I look forward to seeing what happens in the next year. –Or rather the next four, as these things go in the Netherlands.

In addition to talking about V2_, we also talked about the program under development at my school, CSU Stanislaus, and the challenges we face in being rather isolated from any big cities or cultural institutions. He suggested looking at the IAMAS program in Japan; from their website, IAMAS is:

AMAS consists of two schools: the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences and the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences. The Institute is solely a graduate school (for obtaining a Masters Degree) and has one faculty and one course, namely Media Creations. There are 20 students in each year of the course. The Academy is a vocational college accepting 30 students each year who must have at least graduated from high school.

That sounds like an interesting program to investigate.

In addition to thanking Alex for his time, and for sharing of the electronic proceedings of DEAF with me, I also have to thank him for being so gracious about my being almost an hour late! On my way there I got completely loast in the tram system and every time I thought I figured it out, I went even more wrong. Finally I just took the Metro, which I seem to understand better. Lucky for me I had already purchased an OV-chipkaart, which iis a smart card for the metro, buses, and trams. My strippenkaart would never have lasted through that maze, and then I would have had to search for a shop to buy one… But anyway, all’s well that ends well.

I may edit this later if I realize I’ve forgotten something.