Rob Ritzen (Maastricht, 1985) works as an curator, exhibition maker and writer. He holds a BA in Museology from the Amsterdam University of the Arts (Reinwardt), a MA in Philosophy and Ethics from the Free University of Brussels, and he participated in the research master in philosophy at the KU Leuven. He has worked at a number of institutions including Museum de Paviljoens, SALT, VanAbbemuseum, Onomatopee, and Extra City. Currently he is an associate researcher at a.pass institute for artistic research.
His curatorial practice though mainly goes out from self-organised and co-operative formats in close association with cultural practitioners. On the margin of established institutions and outside of market oriented spaces, but in the middle of communities of cultural practitioners. Together with Paoletta Holst he initiated That Might Be Right, an organisation run by cultural practitioners dedicated to (re)searching, developing and supporting alternatives to the present. He is a founding member of Level Five a cooperative studio floor in Brussel, and was influential in shaping its organisational, social and political form.
Recent projects include Forms of Life of Forms (2019), M’ (2018), All Work No Pay (2018), the video installation Borderscapes: From the Margin to the Centre (2017) at PeriFeria, Brussels; the series of cultural assemblies Between the Sheets (2017) at That Might Be Right, Brussels; the initiative to visit places of work eavesdropping (2017-ongoing); the evening of reading performances TMBR reading performance event (2017) at WOLKE, Brussels; the educational summercamp UTOPIA Camp (2016) at ArtEZ, Zwolle; the mobile commons print lab MANE’FESTO (2015) at Nuit Debout, Brussels; the group exhibition Frame of Mind (2015) at Corridor, Amsterdam; the group exhibition The Stone That Was a Bone (2015) at Corridor, Amsterdam; the audio installation Reflecting on the Edge (2015), at État des Lieux, Brussel; the group exhibition We Tell Stories (2012) at DE KIJKDOOS, Amsterdam; the group exhibition When Squares [Re]Frame Meaning (2011) at DE KIJKDOOS, Amsterdam.
He has contributed to a number of magazines and journals such as Archined, Krisis, Mister Motley, Tubelight.
In my curating and writing practice I am mostly concerned with social and political constellations that have a hold on everyday life. Cultural practices are a way to dislodge the hold the present has on us and enable the exploration and experimentation with alternative forms of life and the organistions of things around us. This can be done by reappropriating the past, reshuffling the present, and reclaiming the time to come. For this a living thought and culture is fundamental, that is to say the way we produce and mediate as cultural practitioners should aim at an collective and co-operative form rather than individuative and exploitative forms of the market. Exhibitions in this way have to become moments of productive withdrawels in which alternative ways of being and seeing can prefiguratively be explored and experimented with. The aim of my curatorial practice is the assembly of an cultural and social ecology that goes beyond art.
Herein my basic units of interest and research trajectories include: alienation, anarchism, anthropocene, biopolitics, biopower, capitalism, (neo)-colonialism, constituent power, commons, cosmopolitics, cyborgs, (neo)-facism, extraction, imagination, imaginal, individuation, marxism, metabolism, migration, movement, multitude, primitive accumulation, prefigurative, singularity, situationist, technoscience. More recently I have taken interest in developing projects around the idea of what it means to jointly conceive of alternative ‘forms of life’ in a moment where the present constellation of power (technical, political, and economic) have become microscopic and cerebral; Seeing the whole meshwork of the world as an ecology and the role cultural practices can play as moments of freedom.