[spectre] Re: <nettime> New Media Art Organisations in Netherlands lose funding

Andreas Broeckmann ab at dortmunder-u.de
Thu Jun 16 17:04:05 CEST 2011

Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 12:19:53 +0200
From: Florian Cramer <flrncrmr at gmail.com>
To: Nettime <nettime-l at kein.org>

Some comments/remarks from someone living and working in the
Netherlands, more or less in the same sector (but only in education).
It's not correct that the new media arts organizations will lose their
funding completely. At the moment, the situation is not completely
clear yet. What is known for sure:

- NiMK (Netherlands Institute for Media Art, still better known as
Montevideo) will lose its funding.
- "e-culture" ("e-cultuur") as a sector of the arts funding system
will be scrapped and be moved into a new sector "creative industries".

"E-culture" is a word of which many Dutch people may not know that it
only exists in the Netherlands. It's not completely synonymous with
media arts, but encompasses all activities in between information
technology, digital media, the arts, design and social aspects of new
technology. The word originated with the organization "Virtual
Platform" in Amsterdam. In the past couple of years, it grew more
broadly into a "sector" of cultural funding, next to other "sectors"
like visual arts, music, performing arts, film etc. The organizations
receiving public funding within this sector are rather diverse: STEIM
(an institute for experimental electronic music), Waag Society
(nowadays a Creative Industries-oriented institute with particular
orientation towards projects in health care, culture and school
education), V2_ (organization for "unstable media", often in the form
of interactive art/systems), WORM (a DIY-oriented space for
off-mainstream music, film and media hacking), Mediamatic
(research/educational organization for new media, culture and

The funding budget for the "e-culture" sector will be moved into a new
"Funds for the Creative Industries". This funds/sector will cover
architecture and design next to new media. According to Dutch design
critic Max Bruinsma
[http://www.items.nl/2011/6/13/het-ministerie-van-de-markt/], it may
be represented by a new "sector institute" created out of a fusion of
Virtual Platform, Premsela ("Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion")
and the Dutch Architecture Institute NAI. A sector planning for the
creative industries in the Netherlands, which will also affect higher
education, is currently by made under the leadership Victor van der
Chijs, a former manager of the Schiphol Airport, ING Bank and
currently of Rem Koolhaas' bureau OMA. It's often hard to understand
for non-Dutch people that this country has a strong [and, all in all,
quite successful] tradition of all-encompassing, top-down master plans
for all areas of the country, from economy to urban development,
infrastructure, education and culture. We're just witnessing the birth
of an extremist new masterplan that will undo structures that have
grown in the arts sometimes over centuries.

Outside the "e-culture" sector, all post-academic art institutes will
lose their funding completely and thus, with all probability, shut
down. This includes the Jan van Eyck Academy, where a lot of Nettimers
have been researchers or lecturers, and the traditional Rijksacademie,
the oldest art academy of the Netherlands.

What the new sector plan will really mean for the former "e-culture"
organizations - aside from the fact that they will now be considered
service institutions for the creative industries - is not fully clear
yet. It could mean that they lose their base (structural) subsidies
and will only receive project subsidies. On the other hand, most of
these organizations receive a mix of national and local funding. Some
of them, like WORM, have been receiving national funding since only a
short period. By itself, the new policy concerns national funding
only, but will likely form the framework for local funding as well,
according to the Dutch "cultuurplan". The current cultuurplan period
began in 2009 and will end in 2012, so the changes will be effective
in 2013. Whoever considers this an odd marriage of socialist-style
plan economy and market hyper-capitalism, is not completely off. It
is, and always has been, one of the charms of this country.

Halbe Zijlstra, Dutch minister of culture from the pro-business
liberalist VVD party, has decided to abandon the e-culture sector
against the recommendations in a commissioned rapport written an
external consultancy. In the visual arts, which will be cut 50%, he
has equally ignored the (previously requested) advice of the Dutch
Arts Council. His memo is a document of the current wave of populism
in Dutch politics: It states that, after WWII, the arts have been
defined by a small group of experts and funded according to their
taste. Today's society, according to Zijlstra, is more individualist
and has a right to arts that cater to people's diverse tastes. By
catering to them (and, by implication, becoming more
popular/accessible), art institutions can finance themselves, with the
exception of cultural heritage organizations whose function it is to
preserve the memory of Dutch history worldwide, including (to cite one
of his examples) coats of arms of Dutch ships in the colonies.

Interestingly, net cultural concepts such as crowdfunding are being
taken, turned around and heavily promoted by the Dutch government as
way for arts organizations to finance themselves in the future.

- Dutch higher education is being transformed according to the same policies.


blog: http://en.pleintekst.nl

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