Yes we're open info

!Mediengruppe Bitnik, Dus Architects, Martijn Engelbregt, Spiros Hadjidjanos, Elín Hansdóttir, Wayne Horse, INTK, Caleb Larsen, Moniker, Pawel Kruk, Baden Pailthorpe
with interventions by amongst others Hamid el Kanbouhi

2 June – until the end
Opening on 1 June, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m with Baba Electronica & DJ Lonely

The perhaps cynical sounding title 'Yes, we're open' indirectly plays off the recent press releases about the Netherlands Media Art Institute putting up the shutters at the end of this year. With its approaching closing, the NIMk is seizing the chance to deal substantively with the subject of 'openness' in art.

Openness – as a theme, in form and as a quality – is central in 'Yes, we’re open'. What can a term like openness mean in art today, and in an internet society? Currently people regard the internet as an 'open' and free medium for the distribution of massive quantities of information, but at the same time politics and commerce meddle with it to an unbelievable degree. The internet has its boundaries, literally and figuratively, and is not infinite. On the other hand, the internet has also contributed immensely to a more or less successful effort toward achieving the transparency and openness that the public wants to see on the part of businesses and organizations. The question of copyright, which is playing a more complex and prominent role in the present era, is also related to this. How does this issue influence art and artists?

In our present 'democratic' web 2.0 era, with its shift from being consumers to being producers, the role of the public has likewise changed radically. In light of this, 'Yes, we're open' is also following up on the concept of the 'open artwork' that was introduced by John Cage and others in the 1950's and 1960's. How much real (or imagined) influence does the public have on the artwork? An artwork can be regarded as an open structure in both a conceptual and spatial sense, so that the sometimes rigid ideas about the authorship of the artist are called into question through appropriation and intervention by the audience. 'Yes, we're open' therefore opens up issues like authority and copyright in relation to the makers, owners and content of artworks for discussion. The artists pose the question of openness with respect to subject, form or nature – or a combination of these – in various manners.

Who owns culture and who has access to it? !Mediengruppe Bitnik illegally provided the residents of Zurich with telephonic access to the audio of a closed opera, and the sculpture by Caleb Larsen is eternally in a state of transition, travelling from owner to owner. Artists like Baden Pailthorpe and Elín Hansdóttir appropriated existing images and manipulated them until new - more open – meanings arose. Moniker works together with the public on an image which is, consciously or not, constructed collectively, and although with Moniker something visual remains, the installation 'Bubble Building' by Dus Architects is literally a large bubble waiting to burst. Martijn Engelbregt and Hamid el Kanbouhi force the public to react to the mirror which is held up before them. The INTK collective casts doubt on the principle of the freedom of the internet, and responds by means of 'unCloud', an application which makes an open wireless network for distributing information, such as a collection of art works, possible. These works particularly address the boundaries of possible interventions and actual influence by the public on the visual end result, as is also the case in the work of Spiros Hadjidjanos, where a large volume of responses from the public nullifies the individual visual effects.

Finally, there is a place that offers space for new reactions to the Annlee project by Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno, 'No Ghost Just a Shell'. In their project Huyghe and Parreno bought a manga animation figure in order to liberate it from the market of games and animations. Subsequently, they and other artists created new artworks around this character. Annlee was given a voice, history and identity by means of animations, paintings, objects, installations, posters and a magazine. In 2002 the copyrights were returned to Annlee herself, and she was freed from her representation. We asked the artist Wayne Horse, and also the public (via a call) for new interpretations and visual responses to this project.

 Call for new Annlee art works
Call for new Annlee art works to be shown within the show Yes we're open. NIMk wants your interpretation of the Annlee project! read more »

At the same time, each week, as part of 'Yes, we're open', an artist's or viewer's favourite work from the collection will be seen on the homepage of the website: 'the pick of the week'. Confirmed 'the pick of the week' participants are, amongst others, Marina Abramovic, Lucette ter Borg, Sacha Bronwasser, Sandra den Hamer, Heiner Holtappels, Aernout Mik and Thomas Peutz.

Thus in the building, and outside its walls, 'Yes we're open' responds physically and virtually to the theme of 'openness', and will change in character during the course of the exhibition. A programme of associated activities and interventions will shortly appear on the website.

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