[spectre] New Media Art Organisations in Netherlands lose funding

Maria Chatzichristodoulou m.chatzichristodoulou at hull.ac.uk
Wed Jun 15 12:48:57 CEST 2011

I think Josephine's points are really important.

I hope to engage in this discussion more fully as I think what is happening
in the UK and the Netherlands in terms of cuts to arts funding, and the fact
that media art organisations in particular might be targeted (and why), is
saddening, worrying and misjudged.

On this occasion I just wanted to say: I tried to sign the petition that
someone sent, which is in Dutch only, but it's been quite complicated and
I'm not even sure I managed! Might it be a good idea to produce a
translation for this in English, that is more accurate than the one
generated by google translator? I am sure that many colleagues
internationally will want to add their names and wonder if others were
confused too. 

All best
Maria X

On 15/06/2011 11:23, "Josephine Bosma" <jesis at xs4all.nl> wrote:

> hi Stephen and others,
> It is not a naive idea at all imo. The only problem with it is that,
> see Heiko's reaction, it needs a thorough argumentation and a readily
> acceptance of experts in the field. What is at stake, I think, is the
> place of art in the world in general. We all remember quite clearly
> the outrage about the destruction of invaluable statues in
> Afghanistan. There are however no laws to protect cultural heritage
> of international value. It could be time to develop them.
> A question that would come up when discussing this would be: does a
> forced move to the private sector damage the arts significantly
> enough to speak of destruction of international or national cultural
> heritage? Yesterday evening I was quite shocked to see the Dutch
> evening news (NOS journaal) present an uncritical item about how
> american art institutions think their interests are best served by
> the private sector, away from government funds. Apparently an
> acceptance of a move from the arts towards market forces and friendly
> benefactors that need to be kept happy personally in order to be
> willing to give support is well underway.
> So what is destruction and what exactly needs to be supported,
> maintained or saved? The reason the plans of the Dutch government
> will most likely succeed is that they play very well on the divide
> between traditional and experimental art spheres.
> best,
> J
> *
> On 15 Jun 2011, at 09:38, stephen kovats wrote:
>> hi all,
>> this may sound somewhat naive, but given that the organisations
>> involved are not exactly 'fly-by-night' speculative or frivolous
>> instances, but are historically significant parts of the Dutch,
>> European and broader and international cultural, political,
>> educational, academic and scientific landscapes, i.e. institutions
>> of major significant cultural and national heritage, that perhaps
>> this is an issue that needs to be taken up by a court challenge at
>> the European level, either at the European Court of Human Rights or
>> the European Court of Justice. It's not necessarily so that
>> national governments have either the right, the mandate or the
>> power to disproportionately or unreasonably erase such significant
>> portions of their own cultural identity.
>> any legal experts with relevant experience/insight among the ranks
>> of the spectrites?
>> greetings,
>> Stephen
>> On 14.06.2011, at 20:15, Andreas Broeckmann wrote:
>>> (fwd)
>>> Last Friday the new policy plans of the new Minister were
>>> announced and published and they are very dramatic in general for
>>> the whole field of art and culture in The Netherlands. On the PNEK
>>> list it was announced as:
>>> New Media Art Organisations in Netherlands lose funding.
>>> The Dutch New Media Art Organisations Steim, De Waag, Mediamatic,
>>> V2 & NIMK are about to lose all their funding.
>>> The Dutch secretary of state for Culture in the Netherlands, Halbe
>>> Zijlstra, has published his policy plan for coming years. In
>>> contrast to the official recommendations given to him by the
>>> Culture Advisory Board, the cutbacks will not be spread out over a
>>> number of years, but will take immediate effect in 2013. The
>>> budget for visual art will shrink from 53,3 to 31 million.
>>> Among the more damaging and destructive decisions is the complete
>>> cutting of funding for the six leading New Media Art Organsiations
>>> that produce, distribute and facilitate New Media Art;
>>> -STEIM: Independent Live electronic music centre that is
>>> exclusively dedicated to the performing arts.
>>> -De WAAG: Organisation & Worklab for old and new media, developers
>>> of open source tools, research & technology for the creative
>>> independant industry & intermediate between art, science and media.
>>> -Worm: Rotterdam based laboratory, venue and studios for film,
>>> music and internet featuring concerts, new media events,
>>> screenings, production of film, music and software art.
>>> -Mediamatic: software art projects, lectures, workshops &
>>> screenings aiming on the young generation of artists, designers &
>>> tinkerers.
>>> -V2: interdisciplinary centre for art and media technology in
>>> Rotterdam, activities include organizing presentations,
>>> exhibitions and workshops, research and development of artworks
>>> operating in an international network
>>> -NIMK: The Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk) promotes the
>>> wide and unrestrained development, application and distribution
>>> of, and reflection on, new technologies within the visual arts.
>>> Since the Netherlands Media Art Institute came into being in 1978
>>> an extensive collection of video and media art has been assembled,
>>> to which new works are constantly being added.
>>> These institutes together form the foundation for New Media Arts
>>> in the Netherlands and forfil an important role in the
>>> International Network that shares knowledge, exchanges, produces,
>>> distributes and promotes various forms of New Media Art.
>>> For most of these organisations the budget cuts will mean their
>>> disappearance.
>>> (fwd)
>>> BUT of course there is more to it. In the document one can read
>>> that Architecture, Design and eCulture are fusing together in a
>>> new fund called Creative Industry (something non of these sectors
>>> wants). ALL organization in the 3 domains won't receive any
>>> structural funding anymore in this plan BUT the new Fund, that is
>>> now being structured, will likely offer the change to
>>> organizations to get structural funding (2 to 4 years). But since
>>> this fund is not there yet and since they are having strong
>>> debates about the role and function, and program of this fund
>>> nothing is indicated about this fund in the published document. So
>>> when reading the document you get a different picture of what is
>>> being debated right now insight the Ministry and with the 3 sectors.
>>> The thing that should be in place for this fund are
>>> 1. structural funding to some of the important plpl.ayers in the 3
>>> sectors; and
>>> 2. creating space for basic research in the 3 sectors.
>>> When we get this done we are still facing a hardcore economic
>>> agenda (the Minister is a hardcore liberal) but that we can shape
>>> and address 'creatively' since we can't and don't want to fullfill
>>> this agenda ourselves. Dealing with the goals of the new Fund will
>>> be a major challenge since NO ONE wants this Fund and it has NO
>>> bearing grounds.
>>> Still, if you read the whole document you can see that probably
>>> eCulture, design and architecture are coming out best if you
>>> compare what is happening in other sectors like theatre,
>>> performing arts, post academic education, visual arts a.s. For
>>> example all production houses for theatre won't be funded anymore;
>>> all post-academic organization like the Rijksacademie, Jan van
>>> Eyck and Berlage Institute won't receive any funding anymore after
>>> 2012. This are just some of the cuts that have been done.
>>> NIMk nevertheless, since they are not part of eCulture but the
>>> visual arts, are serious trouble up from 2013. The Minister
>>> indicated that he has NO responsiblity for an archive that is not
>>> set up by the Ministry but by a foundation itself, so it's NIMk's
>>> responsibility to deal with their archive he thinks. The same for
>>> the Theater Instituut Nederland that won't get any funding and who
>>> also have a large archive on theatre on theatre covering decades
>>> of history. but it's also an archive setup and organised by the
>>> institute itself so also here the Minister sees no
>>> responsibilities for him.
>>> So you can imagine that I have been lobbying, having meetings last
>>> months since we saw all of this coming, even though the result is
>>> very unexpected in its format (bringing architecture, design and
>>> eCulture in one new sector called Creative Industry - that nobody
>>> wants to be related to).
>>> I keep you updated since the coming month will be essential for
>>> the future of eCulture in the Netherlands since the new fund is
>>> now being discussed and shaped and should be announced end of
>>> July. And of course we think and push that this new fund will
>>> supoort some organisations structuraly since the budget is there
>>> (eCulture is far less cut down then any other sector, only about
>>> 15% while other sectors face cut downs to 25 till 50%).
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