[spectre] New Media Art Organisations in Netherlands lose funding

Julian Oliver julian at julianoliver.com
Wed Jun 15 17:01:30 CEST 2011

..on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 12:23:05PM +0200, Josephine Bosma wrote:
> 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.

I think it's important to question the root expectation of State support
altogether, however absurd that question may seem. 

Where I come from, New Zealand, students come out of humanities degrees with
$30,000+ loans and comparable arts organisations run on vastly less arts
funding, 1/20th at best, of what the Dutch enjoy, one reason I left. Since,
European arts funding has been very good to me and I wish it to remain. I've
greatly enjoyed (and benefited) working with several of the Dutch organisations
now under the axe. What is happening in the Netherlands is grim indeed..

That said, I do believe it's foolish to /expect/ a persisting agenda of
cultural support from the State. The modern European state has emerged as a
geographically-abstracted capital enterprise whose executives we vote into
power from time to time. With post-crisis economic rationalism the call of the
day, the State-as-enterprise wants competitive capital growth, first and
foremost. With exploding populations stressing infrastructure, in an agressive
marketplace, supporting this thing called Media Arts may simply not prove to be
in State interest, may simply not make any sort of sense. 

Moreso, the executives that the democratic majority put in power bring with
them their own strategies and interests, each of which may or may not later
reflect the terms under which they were voted in. It's always going to be a

As such, /depending/ on the state to support Media Arts organisations, let
alone culture infrastructure altogether, is not wise. It will need to be more
dexterous that this. 

Cultural projects that are believed to not: stimulate new markets, generate
cultural tourism, revitalise a struggling post-industrial town (Newcastle,
Linz, Karlsruhe), contribute to industrial R&D, project an image that fits
State branding will increasingly be dropped. 

It's here where a lab that hosts workshops on Edible Computing, The
Programmable Crochet Symposium, Fungal Antennae Propagation or Kite-Based
Mesh-Networking master classes may not appear a sensible investment when
appearing in Times New Roman under the red pen. It doesn't matter how
intrinsically important they are within the broader human project. European
countries are following the New World and rationalising away from support of
the arts, preferring privatisation of the so-called Arts Sector. 

All said, if we are to continue to gamble with state support, we need to
further educate voters as to the real value of what we are doing. The gain in
supporting it must be tangibly, publically felt. This means more successful
public programs, increased accessibility to research, extensive knowledge
sharing etc.. 

This is not to say those troubled Dutch organisations haven't been particularly
active in this regard already. Good things sometimes end, or are ended.




> 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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> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >Initiator / Director
> >McLuhan in Europe 2011 Network
> >---------------------------------------------------------
> >http://mcluhan2011.eu/berlin
> >#mcluhan2011eu
> >Berlin Centennial Weekend | 27 - 29 May 2011
> >Marshall McLuhan Salon | Embassy of Canada
> >
> >---------------------------------------------------------
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