The Dutch Art Institute a.k.a. DAI, a.k.a. DAI ROAMING ACADEMY, is an itinerant program that fosters a variety of praxes at the intersections of art and theory (both seen as un-disciplines), and invigorates (collective) thinking, researching, voicing, making, roaming, curating, performing, writing and publishing. DAI is acclaimed for its inventive modus operandi, its generous semi-public program and the transformative potentiality of its curriculum, developed in long time co-operation with a precise selection of imaginative cultural organisations as well as with individual practitioners and researchers at the forefront of artistic and intellectual inquiry, context, production and distribution.
Not so long ago the Dutch Art Institute radicalised its chain of meaningful transformations, evolving from an ongoing process of (un)learning: as off September 2017 we have said farewell to bricks and walls, by shutting the doors of our venue in Arnhem behind us. DAI as Roaming Academy is now welcoming its students, tutors and staff at various, changing locations in and around Europe, with recurring moorings at selected stations in the East and (rural) South Netherlands (click Calendar for an overview of our upcoming landings and note that our homebase-office continues to be located in Arnhem).
Not to be compared to any studio-based program and certainly not to the notorious edu-factories in the capitals of capitalism, DAI offers a small scale program with a highly experimental and agile profile that in many ways exceeds the limits of conventional art education.
Nine times per year (+ DAI week 10, 4 extension-to-the COOP days), students and tutors plug into the so-called DAI week: an experimental learning environment/think tank/networking platform/theory camp, a quite funky temporary art commune, a spaceship landing at a changing variety of locations in-and outside the Netherlands.
Structured by a dense weaving of seminars, face to face conversations, cooperative study groups, walks, communal meals, work-outs, guest-curated as well as tutor-or student-led seminars, presentations and performances, these monthly, one week-long conclaves last from early morning until late at night.
The highly concentrated time of the DAI week functions as a pressure cooker for an exchange of authorised and unauthorised, vernacular and academic knowledges, that accumulate throughout the year, with every month's gathering. Students are expected to continue developing their independent research while simultaneously engaging with the DAI's discursive input, co-operative methodologies and support structure. During DAI weeks everybody involved is accommodated in (youth)hostels and other group housing facilities. Lunches and dinners with students, faculty and guests are important shared moments which mark the DAI's communal aspirations. Conviviality is at the heart of the program: infrastructures can be artworks too.
DAI positions itself as a left-leaning program with a feminist, intersectional, anti-capitalist and decolonial orientation. This is of course easy said, but much harder to practice; DAI came into existence as (and continues to be) an integral part of the Dutch/European cultural and educational fabric.
We are very proud of how, over the course of many years, we have been able to keep up our appetite for creative resistance to meaningless bureaucratization and the systemic attempts to discipline us as well as to the so-called neutrality of prevailing discourses within governing bodies in (art) education. Over the past decades, neo-liberalism has invaded education at all levels just as much as it has overturned what were formerly considered public infrastructures: from health care to the protection of rights and resources. Art, and in particular its role in the emergence of the notion of the "çreative industries" with their proclaimed characteristics such as individual freedom of expression, flexible performativity and global entrepreneurship has for long been welcomed as an inspirational model to the neo-liberal make over of capitalism. It is within the tension of being both opposed to this role as well as being aware of the cheer unlimited capacities of capitalism to capture and condition its opponents, that our research community tries to build and empower its resilience and to claim its agency.
Without the unflagging, queering spirit of many of our students, tutors and partners, without their critical awareness, their endurance and their willingness to educate the educational institution they inhabit, DAI would not be able to embrace the intellectual and material transgressions that are needed to first understand, and then break with the tyranny of "the market" and the limiting, exclusive, oppressive and violent patriarchical, hetero-normative and eurocentric tendencies in the dominant cultural and economic ideologies that nearly all of us humans, have been born into, regardless of where we come from in terms of class, gender, geography, race, age, or religion.
Positions (in no particular order) that DAI, as an institution is committed to "curate", to care for:
*our strong focus on content driven research and meaningful production.
*our progressive orientation allowing for an inspirational and thought provoking variety of artistic, political and theoretical positions; from 'commonist' engagement with the rural, to Xenofeminism's (conditional) embrace of technology and science-fiction.
*our desire to co-develop and co-promote new perspectives on collaboration and exchange, production and distribution, ethics and aesthetics.
*our functioning as a largely self-organised para-institution, rather than a cog in the machine of the overriding University.
*our 'porous' curriculum with its annual transformations, grounded in ongoing productive dialogue between students, tutors, and the world.
*our inclination towards unorthodox teaching methods, thus in many ways exceeding the limits of conventional art education.
*our un-disciplinary study groups through which the poetical and the political can be fueled by research and collectively and individually explored.
*our rejection of the "private studio space + studio visit" as a pedagogical tool.
*our DAI week's holistic point of departure: living, roaming, studying and working together during one full week per month.
*our communal meals, student-led feed back sessions, nightly karaoke parties, curated city-walks, yoga classes and "campsite" workouts; all considered integral constituents of our modus operandi.
*our funky student body, its transnational and diverse**composition, based on our intuitive understanding of “elective affinities”(as in the romantic notion of "Wahlverwandschaften").
*our thriving, interconnected alumni community and our aspiration to support affective, self-steering "live after DAI-relationships" and to co-develop effective strategies to empower them.
*our pioneering, long-standing collaborations and partnerships with art organizations that continue to constitute “interfaces” between 'academy' and (art)world, offering our students (and alumni) close involvement with other institutional practices, outside of the educational framework.
*our worldwide intellectual linkages and exchanges with friends and allies, powered by our 'Planetary Campus'.
*our fleeting community of brilliant, devoted, candid, anti-hierarchical, independent tutors, where a deep commitment to the notion of 'complexity' is shared by all.
*our responsibility towards individual needs, temperaments and temporalities, in the context of a permeable, non-homogeneous, anti-fascist, plurivocal WE (perhaps).
** Note: although the word is immensely popular within the promotional lingo of many European edu-ministries as well as boards of universities, a "diversity" that truly reflects the social fabric of our planet unfortunatedly continues to be seriously restrained by systemic injustices: with the deeply exclusionist and politicised, ever changing regulations around tuition fees as perhaps the most regressive.