Het Voorstel is an installation in the form of a storage unit that holds nine initially empty boxes. The installation sparks conversations. In this case between students (individually) and a lecturer. 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. This is how the conversations begin and end with the installation. The box serves as a shared archive of the topics discussed and can also act as a mailbox between meetings. In addition, a new element is also added to their box every new meeting; a suggestion for the manner of speaking or for the circumstances of the conversation, for example a walking route.
“Het Voorstel 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 was important that both would relate to it equally. We were also curious about what would be discussed, what would 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 filled, 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. I’m also 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)