Informality - A new collectivity

29 August 2011

Monday, 29 August, starting 7:30 p.m.

Program in English

Admission free

Together with the artist Matthijs de Bruijne, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam has organised an evening with presentations by artists and groups focusing on the effort to create greater social solidarity. One of the points of departure for this evening is the lecture by Joost de Bloois, given at the opening of the exhibition ‘Informality’ in the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, about precarity, art and political activism. Among the questions De Bloois posed in the lecture was whether artists could fulfil a different role in society. In that new role they would be less oriented to individual creative behaviour and affiliate more with groups in our society whose position can be regarded as precarious, and which, as such, share a comparable social position with that of artists. Click here for the text of De Bloois's lecture (in English).

The evening's presentations respond to De Bloois’s idea of a different division of social roles for artists. After each presentation there will be an opportunity for public discussion.


A joint presentation by Ron Meyer of the FNV Bondgenoten / Cleaners' Union; a representative of the Domestic Workers Nederland; artist Matthijs de Bruijne and the designers of Detour. In part on the initiative of Ron Meyer, the FNV sometimes takes a new tack in its campaigns. This could be seen last March at the celebration of the successful cleaners' strike of 2010, with the Trash Museum at Utrecht Central Station. For it the FNV called in the assistance of artists like Matthijs de Bruijne and the design bureau Detour. Together with several domestic workers they made clear what this new approach includes. An example of their collective work is also part of the ‘Informality’ exhibition.

The artist Edwin Stolk presents several of his recent projects, including 'The Hanging Gardens of Babylon' in Heemskerk in 2010 and 'A Life Changing Experience' in front of the door to the De Appel art centre early in 2011. Based on them, he reflects on the possibilities for a definition of being an artist, outside the role of the individualist pushed by media and art institutions. In the course of this, he will also introduce the organisation he recently founded, The.Org, which aims to develop collective activities outside the domain of art institutions. See also

Actie Schone Kunsten present a statement. Actie Schone Kunsten is an association of ‘art workers’ and domestic workers, acting to support the latter. It is an initiative of Casco in Utrecht, in the context of their project 'The Grand Domestic Revolution - User's Manual'.

A presentation by two representatives of the Precarious Workers Brigade. The Precarious Workers Brigade is a London based group of flexwerkers, or precarious workers, operating in the world of culture and education, who have organised actions in the cultural sector in London and have published on precarity in the art world, for instance 'Tools for Collective Action— Precarity: The People’s Tribunal'.

The presentation includes a further explanation of the who, what, why and how of this movement. See also

Monday, 29 August, starting time 7:30 p.m., programme in English

[Image credit: Domestic Workers Nederland (with Matthijs de Bruijne and Detour), You are so nice! Could you work two more hours today?, 2011]

Precarious Workers Brigade have a policy of including information on the context in which their work appears:

Talk given on 29 August 2011 by 2 people of Precarious Workers Brigade at Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam; entry to event is EURO ; speaker fee total EURO 0; travel from the UK, accommodation for 1 night and per diem of EURO 70 per person provided by SMBA; SMBA employed 4 interns in 2010; 1 intern collaborated in preparing this event; they are paid at EURO 2 per hour.