Het Voorstel is an installation in the form of a storage unit that holds nine initially empty boxes. The installation sparks conversations between students, individually, and a lecturer. Every conversation is linked to a box that opens in two equal halves. This box and the storage unit provide the departure point for the conversations. Student and lecturer meet at the storage unit at a pre-arranged moment, pick up their box and open it when their hour-long conversation begins. Afterwards, they put the box back. The box serves as a shared archive of the topics discussed and can also act as an analogue in-box between conversations. For every new meeting, a new element is also added to their archive by a third party. This could be a route that the two people could walk in the next hour or an inspiring image that ties in with the theme of the conversation.
Het Voorstel was commissioned by the Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and the Public Sphere (Autonomie en Openbaarheid in de Kunsten). The work was created to discover an alternative way to share knowledge, artistically, between lecturer and student. The installation was first used at the Maastricht Institute for Performative Arts.
“The installation was developed as part of a personal artistic research at the AOK research centre. The question I set out to answer was how a work can be made specifically for an environment, perhaps even becoming part of a particular setting yet remaining ‘alien’ to it. When the process ended, it was evaluated to see how it should be continued. 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. It is an invitation for a totally unexpected, entirely personal, conversation.
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
I documented the making process and the use of the installation.
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)