Bik Van der Pol
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To resist memory loss is to avoid falling into the trap of repetition, conservatism or fundamentalism. People’s activities (which make and determine history) must first be consumed and digested to make progression and change possible.

A program with public interpretative readings by Maziar Afrassiabi (artistic director of Rib Art Space), Samira Ben Laloua (founder of Extra Extra nouveau magazine erotique), Lex ter Braak (writer, artist and former director Jan Van Eyck Academy) and Wouter Davidts (writer, researcher, art historian) accompanied the exhibition.

So: whom does a contemporary art institute like Witte de With belong to? How are its stories told and untold? And could a staging of its exhibition history through traces, remains, and scars constitute an act of resistance against the tide of accumulation?

The publication WERE IT AS IF Beyond An Institution That Is, designed by Bardhi Haliti and edited by Bik Van der Pol and Defne Ayas, is a case study and much more. Many-voiced, it enlists the power of fragments as points of provocation to engage with methodologies of the contemporary. With texts by Defne Ayas, Bik Van der Pol, Manuel
Borja-Villel, Marianna Hovhannisyan, Brian Kuan Wood, Doreen Mende, Peter Osborne, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Samuel Saelemakers, Terry Smith, and Ana Teixeira Pinto.

WERE IT AS IF Beyond An Institution That Is is selected as one of 33 Best Dutch Book Designs 2017.