Bik Van der Pol
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point d'ironie
Performance in collaboration with SKOR and participants of Who Cares? Speculations on the Cultural Organisation of Civility, 2010

Using the motif of the point dironie, we worked with the participants of two expertmeetings and the symposium 'Who Cares? Speculations on the Cultural Organisation of Civility', organized by SKOR. While healthcare has become a prime site of global market-driven transformation in governmental policies, Who Cares? seeks to connect current debates about care and citizenship in contemporary art, philosophy and politics, to realities of healthcare organisation in the Netherlands and internationally, to question the role of art and its assumed ameliorative function.
'point d'ironie' is produced as a teaser-image for the symposium and as a 14 minutes long video work.
'point d'ironie' is based loosely the action by the Slovak artist Julius Kollers Univerzálny Futurologicky Otáznik or Futurological Question Mark (UFO) in 1978, forming a question mark with a group of people. point d'ironie however, is a mirrored question mark which was invented by the poet Alcanter de Brahm in the end of 19th century, and was used to indicate irony and sarcasm.
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point d'ironie
This punctuation mark does embody our own question (and perhaps doubt) on what the role of artists could be with regards to care and citizenship; it also addresses the fact that taking care for/of can only occur when citizens are prepared to not only participate as a 'gratuit' statement but also to take their participation personally, even when the effect of their contribution and role within the context of care and politics may be uncertain or even futile. Though real engagement is difficult to measure, this action is marked by one certainty: all the participants in these meetings will co-produce and communicate ideas and speculations on 'where we are heading to'. This performance stresses the importance of all those engaged and involved in these discussions, and of their own awareness of being in that moment.

We planned to shoot a fourth image with a general public in the Amsterdamse Bos (not realised). This large 'city park' finds its origin in a public project developed as an emergency plan to facilitate labour during the years of crisis in 1934. Today, it is one of the biggest 'green lungs' of the city of Amsterdam.
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