Pieter Paul Pothoven will introduce his project that both documents and visualizes the Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action (RARA). This anonymous collective fought in the 1980 and ‘90s against racism, sexism, oppression and exploitation: the ongoing legacy of Dutch imperialist history. Their acts included setting fire to companies in the Netherlands that were financially benefitting from Apartheid in South Africa, amongst which were Shell and MAKRO.
He will speak about his personal motivation to make a series of works and texts, and to compose an archive on RARA for the International Institute of Social History (IISH); his attempts to get a better understanding of this anonymous anti-imperialist collective that until today has been able to remain elusive; and the contemporary significance of their political thought and praxis. In A Balancing Act, Pothoven will relate in particular to the works that are part of the current exhibition, in which he zooms in on the failed bombing of the Van Heutsz monument in Amsterdam (1984).
In relation to his work on show What Plants Were Called Before They Were Given a Name (2017), Uriel Orlow will present his lecture performance Grey, Green, Gold (and Red) which expands on the themes and concerns of Orlow’s project Theatrum Botanicum (2015-2018), considering plants and gardens as active agents in politics and history. Following human-plant entanglements, Grey, Green, Gold (and Red) explores the role played by the garden Nelson Mandela and his fellow inmates planted on Robben Island prison during their 18-year incarceration, the implications of an ongoing battle between a flower and a squirrel, as well as the fate of alien species in Europe and South Africa.