CON/DE/STRUCTION (working title) is conceived as an attempt to learn from the diverse ways Dutch architecture and urbanism have been dealing with the built past, and to correspondingly develop creative methods to approach and engage with historical cultural documents.
In the initial part of the project I will focus on researching spatial and material strategies that were employed (over the last two centuries) by Dutch architects, urban planners and designers in processes of restoration and renovation, demolition and destruction, reuse and repurposing. I expect to trace such strategies in the State Archive for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning (within Het Nieuwe Instituut).
These publications, among many others that can be found in the library of Het Nieuwe Instituut, demonstrate the scope of contemporary research relevant to this project
Subsequently, my intention is to explore and experiment with different audio-visual techniques that are inspired by the findings of the first stage, and apply them on historical documentary materials from the publicly accessible media archive of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
While addressing the socio-political responsibilities and challenges of safe-keepers of cultural heritage (such as the collaborating institutes) in days of accelerated media-production and growing demands for decolonization, equal representation and positive discrimination, the project will not look at specific historic wrongdoings or currently debated injustices. Instead it might declare neutral, random or even boring pasts as possible cultural battle fields.
Guy Königstein, Present Absence, visual essay, 2017
This endeavor builds upon a series of earlier artistic engagements with the archive. For instance, for the projects Present Absence and The _______ You Work With I worked with visual and textual materials produced during the apartheid era in South Africa, found by myself during an artist residency in Johannesburg.
Guy Königstein, The _______ You Work With, re-published handbook, 2017
In Grand Kenyon I explore the life and work (and archive) of influential British archaeologist Dame Kathleen Kenyon (1906-1978), using techniques inspired by her own excavation and field recording methods.
Guy Königstein, Horizon K. (Sabratha), collage, 2019