On November 18, 2015, I had a dialogue with Reinaart Vanhoe about Participation in Dutch Nationality and Citizenship
Reinaart Vanhoe is an artist and tutor at Willem de Kooning Academy. Born in Belgium, he lives and works in Rotterdam and Jakarta. His practice is involved with collaborations and creating networks. He is one of the founders STDSPS/ DEPLAYER, polymorphic production platform in Rotterdam, on the cutting edge of performance art, experimental music and visual arts.
Since Reinaart’s practice is concerned with networks, the dialogue reflected on the mechanism of power and the unambiguous character of symbols in general. The ambivalency of symbols (e.g. flags) that provoke feelings of (national) identity and belonging and at the same time typecast your identity into a closed box. The dialogue focussed on the way institutions, through the control of the communication channels, have a strong hold on the distribution of images and, therefore, maintain a power position in the construction of cultural identity. These institution provide a one-sided and narrow access to information and communication. Part of the dialogue was a reflection on the apparatus of concepts that is used to define cultural diversity. The call for neologism, brought the dialogue to a meta level: the desire for identification results in the impossibility to define a complex, fluid and stratified identity. Language (more specifically text) is too unambiguous. In order to break free from the simplification and limitation, Reinaart believes we should shift our perspective from conceptual to contextual; first assess the situation (i.e. a contextual approach) which leads to action (a conceptual approach).