Launch — A Well Respected Man or Book of Echoes

Casco and Elec­tric Palm Tree invites you to the book launch of ›A Well Respec­ted Man or Book of Echoes‹ tak­ing place in the frame­work of the pro­gram Books@Temporary Stedelijk 2

This event marks the launch of the pub­lic­a­tion ›A Well Respec­ted Man or Book of Echoes‹. The book, edited by cur­at­or Binna Choi and artist Wendelien van Olden­borgh, assembles sev­er­al voices and modes of enga­ging with today’s post­co­lo­ni­al con­di­tion as instanced by the Dutch-Indone­sian colo­ni­al his­tory and its con­tem­por­ary leg­acy.


1:30 pm Pro­logue by Binna Choi (dir­ect­or, Casco – Office for Art, Design and The­ory, Utrecht) and Wendelien van Olden­borgh (visu­al artist, Rot­ter­dam)

1:50 pm Inter­ven­tion with Nuraini Juli­astuti (dir­ect­or, KUNCI Cul­tur­al Stud­ies Cen­ter in Yogyakarta)

2:10 pm Present­a­tions by Lizzy van Leeuwen (cul­tur­al anthro­po­lo­gist), Anke Bangma (cur­at­or of con­tem­por­ary arts, Tropen­mu­seum, Ams­ter­dam), Baukje Prins (lect­or, Haagse Hogeschool, The Hag­ue), and Nancy Jouwe (pro­gram dir­ect­or, Kos­mo­pol­is, Utrecht)

3:00 pm Debate

4:00 pm End

Reser­va­tion is required. please send an email to reservations@​stedelijk.​nl.

The book cen­ters on the lit­er­ary piece Als ik eens Neder­lander was (What if I Were a Dutch­man), writ­ten and pub­lished in 1913 by the Indone­sian nation­al­ist and polem­ic thinker Soe­wardi Soer­jan­in­grat. Poignant and filled with repressed rage, this essay is both a fear­less cri­tique towards the Dutch col­on­ists and an elo­quent mani­festo call­ing for a new nation­al Indone­sian iden­tity. How­ever, this seem­ingly nation­al­ist­ic ges­ture of res­ist­ance becomes much more com­plex in light of the evol­u­tion of colo­ni­al and post­co­lo­ni­al polit­ics. This is under­scored by the fact that Soer­wardi him­self changed his strategy – and also his name, to Ki Hajar Dewantara – from one of an oppos­i­tion­al act­iv­ist to an edu­ca­tion reformer, found­ing a move­ment called Taman Sis­wa (Garden of Stu­dents), that, with its com­bin­a­tion of tra­di­tion­al Javanese val­ues and West­ern sub­jects, was more col­lab­or­at­ive than ant­ag­on­ist­ic.

The dual­ity of these pos­i­tions of res­ist­ance, here per­son­i­fied in one fig­ure, guides the pub­lic­a­tion and eli­cits the ques­tions for this event. In the com­pany of the con­trib­ut­ors to the book and oth­er invited speak­ers, we will exchange ideas for urgent ped­ago­gic mat­ters – or oth­er modes of protest – con­cern­ing the post­co­lo­ni­al con­di­tion and its echoes. In doing so, we will dis­cuss how we can move bey­ond the top­ics of (post)colonial vic­tim­hood and guilt, or iden­tity polit­ics and the crisis of nation­al iden­tity, and towards the con­struc­tion of an ima­gin­ary transna­tion­al field where a new eth­os and sub­jectiv­ity can be developed.

A Well Respec­ted Man, Or Book of Echoes is the first edi­tion of the Elec­tric Palm Tree Text­book series, which aims to com­ple­ment text­books in the exist­ing edu­ca­tion­al con­text while reas­sess­ing the polit­ics of cul­ture and address­ing cul­tur­al com­plex­ity in an increas­ingly glob­al­ized world. Elec­tric Palm Tree is a long-term cur­at­ori­al pro­ject for transna­tion­al research and prac­tice. It is cur­rently powered by Casco, an Utrecht-based pub­lic insti­tu­tion ded­ic­ated to research-based and inter­dis­cip­lin­ary prac­tices in the fields of art and design.”
 — Stedelijk

Binna Choi is dir­ect­or of Casco — Office for Art, Design and The­ory, an Utrecht-based pub­lic insti­tu­tion ded­ic­ated to research-based and inter­dis­cip­lin­ary prac­tices in the fields of art and design, with an emphas­is on col­lab­or­at­ive and ima­gin­ary modes of inquir­iy into our social and polit­ic­al envir­on­ments. Togeth­er with cur­at­or Kyongfa Che, she has organ­ized Elec­tric Palm Tree, a transna­tion­al artist­ic research pro­ject that focuses on the polit­ics of cul­ture and know­ledge pro­duc­tion. Choi is a con­trib­ut­or to and edit­or of the book A Well Respec­ted Man, Or Book of Echoes.

Wendelien van Olden­borgh is an artist based in Rot­ter­dam. Her work focuses on the dynam­ics of cul­tur­al iden­tity in soci­ety by com­mu­nic­at­ing the inter­ac­tions between indi­vidu­als. She often works against the his­tor­ic­al grain and in pub­lic loc­a­tions, using the film lens to invest­ig­ate these intric­a­cies, which allows for an altern­at­ive pub­lic dis­course to take place. Cur­rently, she is work­ing on a new pro­duc­tion for If I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolu­tion, an Ams­ter­dam based plat­form for the explor­a­tion of per­form­ance and per­form­ativ­ity in con­tem­por­ary art, and she will be par­ti­cip­at­ing in the upcom­ing Venice Bien­nale. Van Olden­borgh is a con­trib­ut­or to and the ini­ti­at­or of the book A Well Respec­ted Man, Or Book of Echoes.


Stedelijk Museum
Paulus Pot­ter­straat 13

May 13th, 2011 from 1 to 4 pm