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03 Jun 2011

KunstFort Asperen: Too late, too little, (and how) to fail gracefully

The United States of Europe: A Eurotopia?, a study by Freddy Heineken.

Too late, too little, (and how) to fail gracefully
KunstFort Asperen


11 June - 25 September
OPENING: 11 June, 11.00 am,
The First International Pigeon Race for the Cup of Fort Asperen
The Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday,
11.00 am - 5.00 pm

Nathalie Hartjes
0031 6 23 17 23 83

KunstFort Asperen
Langendijk 60
4151 BR Acquoy
the Netherlands

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From 11 June until 25 September, the Fort of Asperen, part of the New Dutch Waterline, is the scene for a large international group exhibition curated by Bik Van der Pol.

Participating artists include: Lara Almarcegui, Tarek Atoui, Marc Bijl, André Cadère / Alain Fleischer, Critical Art Ensemble, Teddy Cruz, Martijn Engelbregt, Tim Etchells / Vlatka Horvat, Harun Farocki, Zachary Formwalt, Freddy Heineken, Runa Islam, Jeroen Jongeleen, Otto Karvonen, Jasper Niens, Navid Nuur, the Mobile Academy/Hannah Hurtzig, Cesare Pietroiusti, Åsa Sonjasdotter, Hito Steyerl, Pilvi Takala, Javier Téllez, Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, The Yes Men, Artur Żmijewski.

The Fort of Asperen was erected in the 19th Century, but it was not until 12 April 1940 that the Fort was first prepared for war. Yet, the New Dutch Waterline became immediately obsolete as the German Luftwaffe flew over the Fort without problems; dropping their paratroopers far behind its defense line. This particular moment marked the end of the New Waterline's military function.

The system, although ingenious, never offered an adequate solution against 'intruders'. You could say the defense system was out-dated from the start, as it was based upon the outdated defensive principles of the first Dutch Waterline. To use this example as a metaphor we might question if it is at all possible, or desirable, for a society to try and keep out 'intruders' at all costs. The erected defense system turns out to be, despite all efforts, no match for the resourcefulness and imagination of the opponent who – often with amazingly simple means – escapes, breaks in, strikes back, or sets out another path.

Over time these 'means' have developed. Today, warfare follows a different trajectory, even more closely linked to economical and financial mobilization, the consequences of globalization and migration, technical innovation, and political interests. Warfare has developed a different guise. An important part of it takes place from afar; behind the keyboard, on the stockmarket, in the blogs and the media: places without any particular local fixture. Driven by economic efficiency and the growing influence of technical resources, an increasingly sophisticated arsenal of tools and strategies is developed to localize, identify, isolate, control and manipulate subjects. Speeded up by mass-media and populism, existence has become a rat-race to create the illusion of ultimate control and stability, set against the backdrop of capitalism, globalization and its related crises.

'Too late, too little, (and how) to fail gracefully' is inspired by the irony of Fort's military past. This summer the Fort will be home to a large scale multidisciplinary manifestation, that reflects on the impossibility and undesirability of building fortifications and creating expectations that are not (or cannot be) met. The project is articulated around the theme of 'intruders' and looks critically and with some irony to societal boundaries and barriers. When do we perceive the other as a threat? How are social barriers erected and how are these undermined? The manifestation strives, through artists projects and activities, to incite a broad audience to think about how territories are defined. Do borders indeed offer desired safety and protection? Or are they merely a mental construct?

The various artists projects and activities are developed under code-names, such as Trojan Horses, The Historical Fort, Early Warning Systems, Smokescreens and Camouflage, the Campaign and Infiltrators – opening the project to historical and contemporary issues, from ecology to warfare, internet developments and information terrorism, ownership and collectivity. The manifestation consists an exhibition and public program mediated by an imbedded publicity campaign, in the fort and its surroundings, with lectures, film screenings, installations, performances, and more.

The accompanying film program curated by Vincent Stroep is structured around the themes of Military architecture (Knut Asdam, Brian Doyle, Amir Yatzivs); the Infiltrator (Mads Brügger, Walyer Heynowski/Gerhard Sheumann, Zelimir Zilnik) and National Identity (Zachary Formwalt, Elias Grootaers, Robert Oey)

Opening: Saturday June 11, 11 am – 5 pm
11 am: opening and The First International Pigeon Race for the Cup of Fort Asperen, by Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas
2 – 5 pm: Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge, License no. 4/2011 'Defense Lines', Hannah Hurtzig/Mobile Academy, organized under license by Bik Van der Pol, Anne Beeksma and Susan de Heer.

16 July, 4 pm
Un-drum 3 (2010), performance by Tarek Atoui.
In the week following his performance Tarek Atoui will give a weeklong workshop Building Instruments. Open to participants in the ages 16 – 30 years.

18 September, 3 – 6 pm
Harvesting event of Potato Perspective, by Åsa Sonjasdotter.

Please see the website for the full program of activities.

Production team: Nathalie Hartjes, Anne Beeksma, Gerbrand Burger, Susan de Heer, Ad Pontier

Design: David Bennewith

A Dutch language publication will appear with texts by Ramsey Nasr, Colet van der Ven, Wouter Vanstiphout, Rindert de Groot, Koert Debeuf, Bas Heijne en Ebru Umar. Design: David Bennewith. Chief editor: Farid Tabarki.

Too late, too little, (and how) to fail gracefully
Location: Kunstfort Asperen, Langedijk 60, 4151 BR Acquoy, The Netherlands.
Acquoy is a small town in the proximity of Utrecht.
Open: Tuesday-sunday 10 am – 5 pm
More information:

For press material, please conatct
Luc Deleau / Tel. + 31(0)6 52472990 /