Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and the Public Sphere

Het Voorstel

Het Voorstel is an installation in the form of a storage unit that holds nine initially empty boxes. The installation sparks conversations. Every conversation is linked to a box that opens in two equal halves. The participants meet at an agreed time at the installation, where they begin or continue the conversation by opening their box. At the end of their hour-long conversation, they put their box back. The box can be seen as a shared archive of the conversation and functions as a mailbox between meetings.


“Het Voorstel (translation: the proposal) was commissioned by the Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and the Public Sphere. The work was created to invent an alternative way of sharing knowledge, artistically, between lecturer and student. For Het Voorstel it turned out to be important that both would relate equally to the intervention. We were also curious about what would be discussed, what could be shared if these meetings had no goal or desired outcome. Both the structure of the installation and the boxes offered ‘space’. How it would be used, was still open.
The installation was used at the Maastricht Institute for Performative Arts. When the process ended, it was evaluated to see how it should be continued, inside and outside the academy. I’m curious to see how this exchange, this proposal, might work in a non-education related context.”


An element I particularly enjoyed (and found moving) was the analogue meeting place, where the box and its contents made the conversations concrete. It’s like a little treasure chest. I thought back to when I was a kid and ate ice cream—you had to scoop out the last bits to get to the surprise at the bottom. The boxes had the same kind of effect.


Nora Ramakers – student participant

I particularly liked the mystery surrounding this project. Not knowing what you were going to talk about, where the conversation was going to take place, and what the outcome would be. 


I liked that all communication went through that one wooden box in that one corridor, that one place where the two meet and later, after the conversation, say goodbye again at the same place.

Anthony van Gog – student participant


It’s a proposal
It’s a log
It is a means of exchange
It’s an open ending
It’s a small room
It’s a metaphor for space
It’s free time to work in
It can be a walk
It’s a collection of moments
It’s a shared hour
A small stone fits in it
It makes a suggestion
It’s something between two people
It’s there for you
It’s a little ritual
It’s a box


I documented the making process and the use of the installation.

The full document can be read here (in Dutch only).

In collaboration

Ruth Benschop (Lecturer at the Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and the Public Sphere), Ron Bernstein (Jan van Eyck), Erik van de Wijdeven, Institute for Performative Arts Maastricht, Milan Meeuse


2017  1 Nov – 22 Dec  Institute for Performative Arts Maastricht, Maastricht (NL)
2020  2 Mar – 17 May  Institute for Performative Arts Maastricht, Maastricht (NL)

Posted by

Comments are closed.