For Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro have provided a springboard for devoting a large part of its programming in 2016 to the human body. Not only the physical achievements of individual athletes but also the crowds of people who will be monitored, analysed and manipulated as a collective body by advanced technologies: 24 hours a day. Technological innovations have created a situation in which the body of the citizen and that of the state, the city and the public realm can be more efficiently moulded into an ideal image. The body is being designed at all levels and media play a crucial role in recording and propagating these innovations.

51 Sprints

This web magazine contains background information about the interactive web documentary 51 Sprints, which puts the Olympic athlete centre stage.


The Design of a Democratic Body

The 1972 Olympic Games offered the host country, West Germany, an unrivalled opportunity to portray itself to the world as a modern, democratic and culturally aware nation. This carefully constructed image was marred two weeks into the games when eight members of the Black September Organisation infiltrated the Olympic Village and took the Israeli team hostage. The exhibition Munich 1972. The Design of a Democratic Body tells this controversial story through the lens of design, by contrasting the narratives and aesthetic strategies of the organisers with the tactics deployed for their disruption.

Control Syntax Rio

Monitoring the Collective Body

The city of Rio de Janeiro has an advanced command and control centre from which various scenarios – from traffic jams to acts of terrorism and natural disasters –  can be predicted and potentially prevented. The installation Control Syntax Rio, on show at Het Nieuwe Instituut from 12 June 2016, shows how this Olympic city is being read as a matrix of potential calamities and the impact this has on the social climate of the city.

The Life Fair

New Body Products

With universal themes such as Birth, Work, Sex, Security and Health, the exhibition The Life Fair: New Body Products explores how the quest for an optimal body has developed into a highly competitive market. First and foremost in the development of goods and services: commercial parties whose products exploit the fears and desires underlying our physical capacities and vulnerabilities.

Space Embodied

The Russian Art of Movement 1920-1930

The installation Space Embodied. The Russian Art of Movement 1920–1930, is about the new, free human as propagated by the Russian avant-gardeSpace Embodied is an installation about the body in movement: life-size projections of dancers, a dance floor, stage sets and mirrors confront visitors in a direct and physical way with the historical material from the 1920s.



This series of four exhibitions is the result of an investigation into modest platforms and the ways in which they connect the human body with the surrounding physical (and sometimes digital) space. The successive installations address the yoga mat, the beach towel, the tatami and the prayer rug. The research focuses on the material and symbolic meanings of these platforms by exploring their history and the way they are used in different cultures.