The exhibition responded to the growing interest in documentation and archiving in contemporary art. In the current era of Wikipedia and Web 2.0 technologies, the access to source material has become virtually unlimited and the Internet functions as the archive of all archives. How can that immense amount of information be tamed?

The artists in Source Material use an unorthodox way of unlocking, of ‘knowing’, in which the desire for order and clear arrangement can be converted into a passion for understanding the world. Surrounded by a flood of images, in their work they use archives, databases, and encyclopaedias or set up their own image bank. The traditional meaning and hierarchy of the images is made subordinate to a new logic, to a subversive, narrative or summarizing way of showing the world.

Cor Dera wants to influence our perception of nature in a critical manner. He believes that our technical knowledge and methods such as genetic manipulation threaten the original nature and do away with natural development. He collects photos of animals and plants from books, magazines, guidebooks or stock bureaus and he also makes photos himself. He classifies the nature photography in new aesthetic arrangements. The repetition, enlargement or scaling down of the images places extra emphasis on the enigmatic beauty of the patterns and colours of animals and flowers. In the extensive series of images, the photographed nature is given a new form, parallel with the nature that we no longer, or scarcely, know.

Reineke Otten presented 42 World Skin Color Maps, in which she charts the skin colours of the world’s population. She determines the characteristics by using the World Fact Book, Internet data, interviews with dermatologists, research by cosmetic companies, thousands of images and particularly her own intuition. The map of the world was not the point of departure for drawing up the inventory; Otten chose an abstract system, in which several rows of dots of a colour-family that range from light to dark per country. This gives each map more the character of a sample sheet of possibilities rather than a documentation of types.

The work of Özlem Altin is a poetic commentary on our current visual culture. How do images influence history, and how can an artist use and incorporate these images into a personal story? Altin often uses images from magazines, books and other found photographic material as a basis. The vulnerability of the human body is central. Her composed collages and book projects show images of people who display symptoms of exhaustion or passivity, next to photos of apparitions that appear to slowly dissolve into the image.

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Since 2005, Marjolijn Dijkman has been working on Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, an image bank in which she collects and arranges her photos into categories. Thus the category Gestures contains subjects such as Abandon, Abuse and Accommodate. Speculations tells of time and the past. She makes the photos during walks, residencies or while travelling, without seeking structure. That comes later. Categories are frequently added whereby the archive continues to expand and change. The form changes too. In TENT she presented, amongst others, a projected overview lasting seven hours. Together they tell an associative story. The title is derived from the first published world atlas, by cartographer Ortelius (1527-1598).

Kim Bouvy‘s photography and texts examine the ‘condition urbaine’: they focus on the influence of images from our urban environment on our image of the urban environment. For Phantom City she used sources including archive photos, newspaper clippings, promotional material, picture postcards and her own architectural photos of Rotterdam. From this material she constructed a fictional story about a city that nobody knows, but that everybody thinks they recognize. Phantom City. A Photo Novel was also published in book form.

In 2008, Sjoerd Westbroek decided to copy existing drawings in order to force himself into a different method of working. He used a catalogue of 145 German drawings from the 18th and 19th century, and meticulously reproduced the images. Furthermore, projections using devices such as the camera lucida were the basis for his drawings. His installation A New Method consists of projection equipment and copied images of mathematical figures. The installation is a tribute to the work of Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976) in which the convergence of the meaning of words and objects leads to a new artistic system of meaning.

Sound artist Radboud Mens is one of the heavyweights in the Dutch Noise scene. In his performances, the physical effects of sound on the body are important elements. For years Mens has been collecting LPs with noise-music, which he uses as reference material for his work. For the first time he opened his unique archive to the public, presenting a selection of LPs in a Noise jukebox.

Every day for ten years Jeroen van Broekhuizen made a photograph of what was showing on television. In his living room an analogue camera is set up in front of his television. Broekhuizen waits for the right moment before taking the picture. Each photo is given a number, which consists of the time, date and year. A large number of photos in chronological order cover his living room wall, while others are stored in folders. Together they provide a fairly accurate image of television history.