Please, accept cookies in order to load the content.

Hybrid programming from 1 June

Thanks to falling infection rates and the reduced pressure on hospitals, it became possible to open Het Nieuwe Instituut to visitors again from 1 June. In addition to online activities, programmes could return to our physical location, albeit with extra safety precautions.

Nothing beats the added value of an actual visit, a direct confrontation with an object or the specific context which only an exhibition can provide. Right?

Or will some visitors prefer to continue making digital forms of visit? Will the current protocol and other measures result in a fenced-in visitor experience, lacking in spontaneity and chance encounters? Will a sense of discomfort predominate and will that other visitor be reduced to a potential contamination risk?

The policy around Covid-19 has also led to critical questions for design. How does design relate, for example, to the concept of the 1.5 metre society and the basic forms of inclusion and exclusion associated with it? The disciplining and exclusive mechanisms of design have been regularly discussed within the institute in recent years. It’s interesting that these qualities are now being used, over and over again, as solutions to a social problem. And, although in the Netherlands physical space – the 1.5 metres – is central, we have already been warned (for example by Naomi Klein) that the current digitisation, fuelled by the lockdown data explosion, entails new forms of control.

In other words: ‘open’ does not necessarily mean, ‘open and accessible to everyone’. For example, pre-ordering a ticket with a time slot is required, making it necessary to share an email address in order to receive confirmation. Not everyone will be willing to do this, perhaps for privacy reasons. Also, with public transport use intensifying again, some visitors will prefer to wait a little longer.

In order to lower the potential threshold for a visit, the various restrictions have been covered as far as possible. At the same time, the new situation has been approached as a design question. For example, there’s now an opportunity to realise a unique visitor experience, one that is about personal meaning and intimacy and where you can still celebrate each other’s company – at a distance.

Het Nieuwe Instituut also offers (voluntarily) the option of paying the discount entrance rate if there's a financial barrier to visiting the institute.

The institute is making several of these topical issues part of its upcoming programme. The Dutch entry for the Venice Biennale (moved to 2021) and the accompanying programme will also focus on the same questions, parallel to the importance of multiple social and ecological voices.