Open Call 2019 Olfactory History of Oosterdok

This open call is closed

Before Covid19, we were planning an ambitious event in Amsterdam about the Sensory History of Oosterdok, the eastern part of the old harbour of the city. Related to this project, Mediamatic issued an open call for art and design projects that merge history and de "intimate senses" in new and interesting ways. 


Amsterdam -

The Oosterdok area played an important role in the development of Amsterdam from the 13th century onwards, and is the place where a great deal of the Dutch colonial endeavours started and ended. Today, the Oosterdok is still undergoing rapid changes that reflect the nature of the city at large. Much has been written and showed about this history and its implications for our present, but what about that which cannot be so easily grasped in archives, libraries and museum collections? Because a city is not just a physical place, but is also formed by social relations, memories, emotions, and human experiences: all in which smell plays an important role.

From 2019 onwards, and in collaboration with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the cultural institutions united under the name ‘Expeditie Oosterdok’, Mediamatic is starting the research and development phase of the exhibition about the Olfactory History of Oosterdok, and it is in this context that we are issuing an open call for art and design projects that merge history and smell in new and interesting ways. What role does smell play in the development of a city? Can we trigger a kind of ‘historical unconsciousness’ and what does it mean if we do? How can we tell history differently, so that it also includes that which is not easily represented?

The 2019 open call is closed

We are inviting proposals for prototype olfactory projects (art works, lectures, performances etc.) that can be presented around Oosterdok in the coming years leading up the blockbuster public event in 2022. Please note that the selection and execution of your project is not a guarantee for inclusion in the larger event, and that all proposals must have a strong public component (it is not possible to admit a research project). This call is open to artists, designers, perfumers, curators, researchers, and performers of all nationalities and ages, individuals as well as groups and collectives. To get an idea of what we are looking for/what is possible, please have a look at previous projects on the website of Mediamatic. If you are interested to participate, please submit your proposal through the following link, before July 1, 2019 (CET). A second open call will follow by the end of 2020.

What we have to offer

When selected, Mediamatic will work closely together with the artist(s) to realize the project, this includes assistance in finding appropriate funds and/or partners to cover a travel/living/production budget, as well as an artist fee. It is possible to stay at Mediamatic as an artist-in-residence and use the facilities on site, such as the Aroma Lab and Clean Lab.

Selection procedure

A small selection committee chaired by the artistic director of Mediamatic selects artists in 2 rounds; after sending in a first, short project proposal, you may be asked to submit more information, have a Skype interview or studio visit. After this second round, a final selection is made.

The jury of the first round of the open call was made up of: Willem Velthoven (director Mediamatic), Irene de Craen (researcher Mediamatic), Caro Verbeek (art historian and Odorama curator), Inger Leemans (Professor of Cultural history at VU University Amsterdam), Saskia Wilson-Brown (founder and executive director The Institute for Art and Olfaction), and Maki Ueda (olfactory artist).

Go to Application form

For questions regarding this project or the open call, please mail to:

We are looking forward to your ideas!