press release

Weak Signals, Wild Cards An exhibition of commissioned works and a day of talks and performances: The final project of the de Appel Curatorial Programme '08/'09 in Amsterdam-Noord

Artists and contributors: YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIE, Heman Chong, Design Negation, Yvonne Dröge Wendel, Famed, FlyingCity, Andreja Kulunčić, Alon Levin, Oda Projesi, Merijn Oudenampsen, Laura Oldfield Ford, Maria Pask, and Lee Scrivner

Opening: 7pm, Friday 26th June 2009 Exhibition: 12-6pm, Wed-Sun 27th June-26th July 2009 Talks & performances: 2-8pm, Sunday 28th June 2009 Venue: Shell Kantine, Shell Terrain, Tolhuisweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Over the water from Amsterdam Centraal sits Noord, the largest borough in Amsterdam. Home to a dissolved shipping industry, its ancestral memory a landscape of polders, farmlands, gallows and garden cities, it now stands at a threshold. As planners and developers swing their gaze towards this huddled mass of rooftops, they see towers, cafés, and waterfront living.

Weak Signals, Wild Cards is a commissioning project and exhibition by the participants of de Appel Curatorial Programme 08/09. Set in Amsterdam Noord, it invites ten artists and a number of speakers from other fields to react to the given plans for the area and conjure a set of alternative futures. The artists have created works for and from their envisioned future contexts, while the speakers will foretell their imagined futures of Amsterdam Noord, from the perspectives of their expertise.

The title of this project uses two terms from futurology. Weak signals form a pattern of phenomena that serves as an indicator of possible future developments. Wild cards refer to events that are difficult to predict but have a high impact. We are not alone in attempting to predict a future: Amsterdam Noord is currently faced with a bevy of visions of its imminent regeneration. The predictions being made revolve dizzyingly around of the 'Creative City', which implicates not only artists but an expanded creative subjectivity in its conception of a society made up of self-reliant, resourceful individuals on a constant quest for self-improvement. This combined vision of the future 'Creative City' is so strongly anticipated and visualised that it already feels like a fait accompli.

Yet the criticality of the current global economic circumstances provides an opportunity to not only to question, but also to remake the foundations being laid. If the conditions on which urban regeneration is based no longer hold fast, it becomes necessary to rethink what other kinds of urban structures, environments, and imagined communities might be possible. What spoken and unspoken social and economic roles are currently presumed to be played by art in the 'Creative Industries' and their commissioning processes in city development? In the light of the current economic uncertainty, what other kinds of future communities are possible beyond those envisioned by private property developers? What kind of public artwork would be made for these imagined communities, and under what conditions would it be produced?

The works, talks, performances and events in the exhibition will create a set of speculated futures, composing a common body of imagination. In contrast to art's current and widespread instrumentalisation within schemes of urban regeneration, Weak Signals, Wild Cards seizes the potential of art to slip through time and form itself in response to multiple unforeseen possibilities. The contributions are not finished works or statements, in that they are documents of a society that is still to emerge. And yet, there they are: their arrival will allow a rethinking of the present.

Weak Signals, Wild Cards represents the third year of the de Appel Curatorial Programme's shift to context-responsive curating. de Appel Curatorial Programme 2008/09 has taken up the task of responding to Amsterdam Noord.

de Appel Curatorial Programme 2008/09 is Clare Butcher, Lilian Engelmann, Mia Jankowicz, Christina Li, Ana Nikitovic and Ji Yoon Yang.

Weak Signals, Wild Cards

Künstler: Young-Hae Chang HEAVY INDUSTRIES, Heman Chong, Design Negation , Yvonne Dröge Wendel, Famed , Flying City , Andreja Kuluncic, Alon Levin, Oda Projesi , Merijn Oudenampsen, Laura Oldfield Ford, Maria Pask, Lee Scrivner