From 22th of July till the 9th of September, 2018, the exhibition Going Nomad was on show at Amstelpark, Amsterdam.
Exhibition Going Nomad researched diverse aspects of contemporary nomadic living and thinking, through a focus on mobile architecture. It took place in and around het Glazen Huis; a glass architectural remnant of the 1972 international Floriade-exhibition to which Amstelpark once was purposed.
Holger Nickisch curated this exhibition at the invitation of, and in collaboration with Zone2Source, the contemporary art initiative dedicated to developing projects around alternative experiences & practices regarding our ‘natural’ environment.
Participating artists in this project were:
Robbert van der Horst, Danielle van Vree, Henry Alles, Elke Uitentuis & Katarína Gališinová (in collaboration with We Are Here), Henriëtte Waal, Inge Meijer, Holger Nickisch, MIR (in collaboration with Hannah Vosseberg), Nicola Arthen, De Onkruidenier, and artist-duo VanRoelink
Parallel to a growth of cities and metropolitan areas in this 21st century, an increasing number of people wander the world, – either voluntarily or forced -, as a result of social, political, economical and technological developments or upheaval. Considering the fast pace with which the nomadic life has (once more) become a significant modus of existence for many people, a sense of urgency is felt to shine more light on the developments around the temporal, dynamic, social and communal nature of the architecture in which this life is sheltered.
Especially in art, mobile architecture has for some time now become a popular category, up to the point that it is questioned if it can legitimately be called its own art form. But the category’s popularity is more general as well: In addition to art institutions, actors like housing associations, educational institutions, politicians and policy makers have tried to employ the concepts of nomadic life for their own particular purposes. This overall rising popularity has the effect of sharpening the intentions and strategies of artists involved in the category. It is why we felt the time had come to take stock of its forms, practices and concepts and to investigate those further, to understand – and ideally to find ways to co-create – the (urban) context in which contemporary nomadic developments proceed.
For exhibition Going Nomad, a temporary settlement of mobile structures was established in the Amstelpark and its particular pavillions. This park was once the locus of the highly successful 1972 World Agricultural Exhibition where nations presented new visions for the future. During Going Nomad, the pavillions accommodated a diverse group of artists and researchers who related to the theme. In a compelling way, they actively invited the audience into their work and research.
Among the participating artists, Henriëtte Waal brewed beer with water of the park-adjacent Amstel river in a mobile, travelling brewing installation; Henry Alles landed his TAIR (Temporary Artist in Residence) structure in the park from which he conducted his research, Robbert van der Horst invited park visitors to start building and constructing a temporary dwelling; artist-duo VanRoelink organised a series of workshops for children in which they would build a shelter together, while De Onkruidenier approached the Amstelpark as a supermarket full of resources. Elke Uitentuis (together with the refugees and participants of We Are Here) organised tours for the audience to travel along the nomadic life of the refugee; and Danielle van Vree presented a series of performances revolving around the encounter between human and environment.
Through the Going Nomad exhibition-project, various aspects of nomadic architecture (f.i. ecological, utopian, crisis, disaster relief) and corresponding activistic architectural concepts were deeply explored. Findings and experiences were discussed between artists, researchers, policy makers and the diverse audience that visited workshops and presentations accompanying this exhibition.
Holger Nickisch was invited to the project as a curator because of his years of interest and expertise in the specific art categories he is involved in.