There is no space

In an effort to study the working environment in the Vetterstraat building, part of the Rietveld Academie campus, a plan was announced to temporarily take down the walls of all the studio spaces (the partitions that separate each of the work spaces for the 2nd year, Rietveld Fine Arts department). The original configuration of the space was a play on the classical format of artistic education which aims to mimic life outside of the institution, a rehearsal in which students play at being artists in a traditional sense.

The deadline for taking down the walls was the week of the upcoming assessments.

Part of the aim of this project was the initiation of a a debate, bringing the opportunity to reconsider the potential of the common working space, along with the social relations which this space creates. And to pose the questions: do artists still need a personal studio? Could a shared one suffice? Is a studio an element of an artist's working life at all?

A public discussion regarding the project was announced and took place.

All students and staff working at the time in the Vetterstraat were incorporated into the initiative, spaces were marked with a discontinuous red line, signalling their impending take-down, discussions were held also on a one to one format, and a project archive was collected, gathering reactions, photo documentation, interviews.

The project was realised as an initiative in collaboration with Vitya Glushchenko.

The following is an excerpt of the speech held along with the public presentation on December 20th, 2014.

What is the work?

Could I say it’s physical? If you look around it does give this impression.
Is it a matter of boundaries raised and then torn down?
Is it “word of mouth”? A month’s worth of it?
Is it a dream? Coincidentally someone came up to me one day to tell me I entered her imagination in the form of a wall-buster. She dreamed I tore down her space as soon as she turned around. Her reaction? Ah, OK, let’s see what I can do now!
Is it the power of words? We often forget that interraction relies so much on these little particles we fling at each other daily. Words have weight and forge reality. Saying “I will take your walls down.” could hold the violence of the act. You say “Please don’t” and we negotiate positions. Your body tenses up, opposing mine.
Is it the process?
Or not playing nice?
Is it role-playing like all other instances of working, creating, existing, really?
What does it have to be?
Is it a joke? Good, bad or mediocre?
Power relations?
Or an exercise in acting like assholes and getting away with it?
Could it be trying to get whatever the fuck we can out of this process of gaining an education and since there’s not that much to get, we’ll take the walls as well? Why not!? Thank you! 100 Euros a piece might be some sort of a decent payback.
Is the work here? Was it yesterday?
Is it done, finished, complete? I’d say no, for the time being.
Is it all of the above, or are my answers really also made up of all the others you came up with just now, while I was reading this?

What is the work?

It has to be something, right?

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