No Such Thing As Repetition

1 Jul 2011
15 Jul 2011

No Such Thing as Repetition is a thematic exhibition organized by the Piet Zwart Institute, Master Media Design and Communication: Networked Media and curated by Inke Arns, Artistic Director of HMKV, Dortmund (DE).

The exhibition, which explores acts of repetition and re-enactment, features works by Amy Suo Wu (AU), Danny van der Kleij (NL), Dusan Barok (SK), Fako Berkers (NL), Inge Hoonte (NL), Laura Macchini (IT), Laurier Rochon (CA), Lieven Van Speybroeck (BE), Mirjam Dissel (NL), and Natasa Siencnik (AT)


recto2 - Piet Zwart Institute, Master Media Design and Communication: Networked Media

“Is there repetition or is there insistence. I am inclined to believe there is no such thing as repetition. And really how can there be.” [1] Gertrude Stein’s remarks about repetition as insistence fit remarkably well the contemporary practice of artistic re-enactments.

History usually is experienced as something heavily mediated. Artistic re-enactments attempt to erase this distance, replacing it by direct experience and establishing an affective relation to what is being repeated, and empathy. Artistic re-enactments are not simply affirming what has happened in the past, but rather they are questioning the present via repeating or re-enacting historical events that have left their traces in the collective memory. Re-enactments are artistic interrogations of media images that try to scrutinise the reality of images, while at the same time pointing towards the fact that collective memory is essentially mediated memory.

The exhibition No Such Thing as Repetition focuses on current strategies of repetition and re-enactment. The projects presented discuss unlikely copies, claiming to be much more complex than the 'original’ and carrying the seed of the uncanny and fakes. They question the usual relation between reality and fiction. The works in the exhibition invite visitors to perform their own moon landing or search for lost voices on the radio spectrum. Virtual creatures are being re-enacted out on the streets of Rotterdam, a money-making machine fails to make money, and a safe channel of data exchange through the internet is being provided. The exhibition also features a live Twitter feed from a ship sailing down to South Africa in 1820 and a daily performance of a short story by Ernest Hemingway in real time. Parts of the Eichmann trial of 1961 – the first trial in history that was broadcast on TV – as well as tapped telephone conversations from the “Rubygate” case are being re-enacted. Finally, while an orphaned photo album found on the flea market is made to reveal memories, fake or real, the sound of two record players stuck on endless repeat at the end of the record fills the space.

[1] Gertrude Stein, Portraits and Repetition, Lectures in America (1935), pp. 166–169


Daily at 16:00 (except on July 03) Into the Deep, a performance by Fako Berkers. Through the windows of Roodkapje you can watch a performance in the busy streets of Rotterdam. The work plays with the increasingly blurred boundaries between the actual and the virtual.

July 09: 16:00, UK artist Rod Dickinson speaks about his work in relation to notions of re-enactment. Followed by (20:00 - 23:00) The Political Party: an event reflecting on the current state of affairs in Dutch cultural policy

July 10: Open Radio Bike tour at 14:00-15:00 by Danny van der Kleij

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Note: This exhibition takes place in conjunction with the Graduation Show: Catching Flies in the Alternet :