Amsterdam Research Institute of the Arts and Sciences (ARIAS) is a crossing platform for arts and sciences as clearly reflected by its name. Last night, 29 May, I have attented an event they organized about arts and archives in Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam.
There was a presentation about research on the Myth of Rodin.
Then participants could choose four group themes. I have chosen titled Reworking Colonial Photographs led by Leiden University’s Anne Vera Veen. She led the participants to look for strategies to rethink, reframe and rework photographs in colonial archives in order to imagine decolonial futures.
The discussion was lively and enlighting. It opened up a new perspective of how we can give meaning to photographs by exploring more backgrounds and categorizing them in appropriate contexts. I was very inspired and stimulated.
The participants of this relatively small group, 10 persons, came from archives, museums and heritage fields. Small and beautiful in true sense. Everybody focused and contributed seriously. Nobody looked at their mobiles. What a refreshing atmosphere.
Why do I give such a huge compliment about this kind of event? I went and lived in other places where there is a lack of opportunity for cognitive recreations like this. Amsterdam is a relatively small city but opportunities for cognitive recreations are in abundance. As its citizen, I am always triggered to dig creativity, new ideas, and dynamic networking. I feel alive.
My experiences in my previous cities were different. Administratively those cities are larger with many education institutions but cognitive impulses are limited exclusively for the insiders and mostly in the context of academic endeavors. There are not so many opportunities for the larger public. Available recreations are usually entertainment and food in the packaging of malls. Malls are everywhere. Old, new, small, large, ugly, modern. Malls, malls, and malls. I am concerned about this development.
Creating cognitive recreations do not require a lot of costs and complicated preparations. What we need are a bunch of free spirits, open minds, and creative souls. Those qualities are everywhere including in cities that are far away from capitals. No excuse to say that we live in a small city that is why nothing to do here. It is not true. Two or three souls are sufficient to start something valuable. I do hope my dear friends in Indonesia share this dream with me.