menu | nederlands

The organisation store

December 2011 till January 2012
(not realised)

In the end of 2011, I was invited in Utrecht by Jelle Bouwhuis, he was head curator SMBA (Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam) at that time and part of a commission for Foundation Art in the Station Area in Utrecht. He asked me to develop a new site specific artwork for an empty store in Hoog Catharijne - a shopping mall in Utrecht. Eventually my proposal with the title "The organisation store" was based on a cooperation with the Municipality of Utrecht, Corio (owner of the shopping mall), shop owners, customers and students of several design academies. With the practice of art it was my aim to contribute to the actual circumstances in this mall.

This shopping mall experienced difficult economical times, some of the shops were empty and the ongoing renovation caused tension. For the period of two operational months I wanted to open a laboratory inside an empty store. Initiating a cooperative research after the commercial language that was used by the surrounding shops. "The organisation store" wanted to analyze together with customers if the commercial language still matched with their target audience. This laboratory would have all the looks of a trendy store and at the same time provide the infrastructure for a deep research after the visual experience of shopping.

In collaboration with students of design academies I wanted to offer small design gadgets that would be able to engage the commercial visuals in the mall. To be able to touch upon the actual circumstances in the mall, I wanted to be part of the communication between the Municipality of Utrecht, Corio and the shop owners. During a meeting with the organizers I felt that this wish was problematic within the economical climate of that time.

After a few weeks in which I was asked to develop a more detailed version of my proposal I received a short email with the message that "The organisation store" was cancelled. Later I understood that the owner of the shopping mall (at that time Corio) denied my proposal and the municipality present in the art commission explained to prefer 'employment' over the importance of my proposal. It made me aware that instead of seeing art as a social and innovative tool - to improve the current impasse - it was seen as a visual and journalistic threat.

"The organisation store" wanted to follow the concept behind #theorganisation and to make knowledge and means available for initiatives that serve society as a whole. Its cancelation proved also its potential.


images | website