Both Eyes Open to The Colonial Past

Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis Course 2022

…it encouraged questioning the cultural industry of a post-Fordist era that palliate colonial acts through their cultural products.

Our intervention was simple and direct: we decided to do a ‘pastiche’ of the Rijksmuseum’s current curation, which adds contextual ‘heads-up’ about colonialism and its consequences in Amsterdam to otherwise celebrated works by Dutch artists. The irony and cynicism displayed by this practice, which treats colonial history as an unfortunate contaminant in what is otherwise a very profitable cultural-economical product, is what we attempted to skewer with our interventions. We attached small post-it notes to economic powerhouses such as stock exchanges and public statues, describing the destruction and murders caused by the relative figures and institutions. We used the same stylings of the Rijksmuseum’s curation style.

This served a double purpose—it performed the actual work the Rijksmuseum’s curation (half-heartedly) attempted (to contextualize public art with the atrocities we knowingly or unknowingly celebrate). In addition it encouraged questioning the cultural industry of a post-Fordist era that palliate colonial acts through their cultural products.