Curator Petra Heck has won her spurs in the art world. Since the beginning of 2019 she has been working as a curator at Stichting NDSM-werf in Amsterdam Noord. A challenging place where urban development, art, architecture and experiment meet in a vast and raw place. A former shipyard, where Dogtroep put location theatre on the map and where many artists and initiatives such as Sexyland have their place. In the years as a curator at NIMk (Netherlands Institute for Media Art) she worked a lot with artists who experimented with video and new media.
Petra’s independent mind and social involvement ensure she is always looking for the relationship between visual art, (electronic) music and developments in society, the socio-political context. Questions such as 'how do you connect past, present and future in one place and how do you preserve a space for creativity and experiment for the city?' occupy her and stimulate her to think about creating places where different voices can be heard and where different disciplines and target audiences meet.
I like context-specific work and a little activism from time to time. A splash of lightness and humour is appreciatedWho Cares? by Petra Heck“I have been thinking about that: how sometimes we have to stop what we are doing to feel the true impact of something, to let our bodies experience that impact, the fury of an escalating injustice, a structure as well as an event; a history, an unfinished history. Sometimes to sustain your commitments you stop what you are doing.”
- Sara Ahmed
Especially during the lockdown, but now it is still super visible who are the most vulnerable in society, who have been hit hardest in this crisis. The enforced 'doing nothing' applied to only a few, and was mainly a 'luxury' position that certainly did not apply to everyone. Social distancing, which was actually physical distancing, also caused a lot of stress and loneliness among the elderly, singles and young people.
I believe that everyone has, in one way or another, become 'disturbed' in their thinking and acting by this time. With Covid-19 it became abundantly clear that the disrupted relationship between man and nature, industrialization and globalization played a major role and will again play a role in future pandemics or other disruptive 'natural' violence. There is an urgency to do things radically differently, to find a new balance.
This inspired me to compile the following selection of artworks in which socio-political notions, personal stories and especially the subject of care are central. I chose works in which systemic processes, power structures and oppression are highlighted or tackled in an often very personal way: take care of the other, yourself, the planet, in a sometimes seemingly 'unproductive' way.