MAR students at the Research Center for Material Culture

26 april 2017

RCMC invited students of the Master Artistic Research (KABK) to interpret ethnographic collections in new ways and to create new works inspired by them. During this seminar works of the students were presented, performed and discussed.


The ethnographic archive is a particular kind of historical reservoir: it is an anthropological and artistic legacy, but also a legacy of colonialism and its technologies of power, inextricably linked to systems of control.

This seminar invited artists and academics to explore the relevance and potential of ethnographic archives - including objects, photographs, and sounds - for contemporary makers. What is the agency of objects in ethnographic collections, how do they bring us into action, into relations; how do they affect us? What complex histories and intentionalities do these objects embody? 

In our modern life it seems to be hard to experience enchantment. Thinking with Jane Bennett, who challenges this view, we question: how can objects be a source of enchantment? How can they inspire, captivate and disturb? What might be the relation between the creative imagination and the archive? And what are the ethical implications when artists activate and intervene in ethnographic archives?

The seminar was part of a collaboration between The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague and the RCMC and took place on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.


Introduction: Prof. dr. Wayne Modest (head Research Center for Material Culture) 
Speaker: Vincent Vulsma (artist) 
Respondant: Jasper Coppes

Viewing/performance of student works 
Speaker: Sara Blokland (artist, curator, researcher) 
Speaker: Dr. Margaret Tali (researcher and curator)

Panel discussion: Yuki Kihara (artist), Mirjam Linschooten (artist), and speakers 
Moderator: Janice McNab (head of Department, Masters of Artistic Research KABK)