Symposium: What You Don't See


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Het Nieuwe Instituut

25 Museumpark

3015 CB Rotterdam


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Symposium What You Don't See: Saturday 12 October, 14:00 - 18:00

Exhibition I See That I See What You Don’t See: 5 October - 29 December 2019 (official opening 12 October at 18.00)

Curated by: Angela Rui, Marina Otero Verzier and Francien van Westrenen

On Saturday 12 October, prior to the opening of the exhibition, I See That I See What You Don’t See, the What You Don’t See symposium takes place. Artists, designers, researchers and theorists reflect on the influence and potential of darkness. The speakers view darkness not so much as an absence of light, but as a quality in itself to be considered in relation to technology, health, landscape and culture.

Programme and Speakers

Ramon Amaro

Philosopher and researcher

Ramon Amaro presents darkness as an afterimage, or an image that returns to our vision after the original stimulus. Most importantly represented as optical illusions, afterimages suggest that what we see in the present is not actual reality, but fragments from the past that have made their way into our current view of reality as misleading and inaccurate representations, which Amaro also relates to blackness.

Ramon Amaro is a lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London and a researcher in the areas of machine learning, the philosophy of mathematics, black ontologies, and philosophies of being.

Dele Adeyemo

Architect and urban theorist

Positioning slavery as the ghost in the machine of logistics, Dele Adeyemo explores how circulations established in transatlantic slavery, at the foundation of modernity, live on in the contemporary production of space. For his presentation he collaborates with performer Hermes Iyele.

Dele Adeyemo is an architect and urban theorist conducting a Chase/AHRC funded PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research intersects Black studies with urban studies to question how the rise of logistics is driving processes of urbanisation. His work mobilises a Black aesthetics through writing, film, and attention to movement and aural sensation in order to unsettle the machinic fantasies of logistics to reveal its fleshy underpinnings. Adeyemo is currently a fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Andrei Bocin-Dumitriu

Geologist, with a background in Earth Sciences, Geosciences and Environmental Geology

What remains hidden, and therefore what we do and do not see, relates not only to our ability to look, but also to political choices and cultural prejudices. Geologist Andrei Bocin-Dumitriu shows that what we see through satellites is the result of specific choices made when translating the digital input of the satellite into visuals.

Since he moved to the Netherlands in 2010, Andrei Bocin-Dumitriu has been working in global and regional science-based policy, remote sensing and geographical information projects. In 2018 Andrei joined Space4Good, a start-up that uses space technology for social and environmental impact.

Marjolijn Dijkman


In her film Reclaiming Vision (made in collaboration with Toril Johannesen), artist Marjolijn Dijkman shows an existing reality that is invisible to human eyes and therefore 'does not exist' – a world of microbes without which the earth would be uninhabitable.

Marjolijn Dijkman’s practice evolved from a wide variety of interests which are often entangling different temporalities and geographies. Her works can be seen as a form of science-fiction; partly based on facts and research but often brought into the realm of fiction, abstraction and speculation.

Bert van der Horst

Professor Chronobiology & Health at the Department of Molecular Genetics, Erasmus MC.

Bert van der Horst shows the serious consequences of artificial light and night work on our metabolisms, behaviour and physical well-being.

By applying state of the art technology, Bert van der Horst aims at obtaining fundamental knowledge on the biological/medical impact of the circadian system, which drives near (circa) 24 hour (diem) rhythms in behavior, physiology and metabolism. To keep pace with the day-night cycle, this circadian clock is daily reset by light. As such, excessive presence of artificial light in modern society (referred to as light pollution) has a huge impact on our body clock and thus our health.

Momtaza Mehri

Poet, essayist and meme activist

Momtaza Mehri is the co-winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Her work has been widely anthologized, appearing in Granta, Artforum, Poetry International, Vogue and Real Life Mag. She is the Young People’s Laureate for London and columnist-in-residence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Open Space. Her chapbook Sugah Lump Prayer was published in 2017. She wrote an essay on the participation of young Eastern African women in K-pop culture as part of For the Record – an ongoing research project of Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Melvin Moti


Melvin Moti tells a short story about the prisoner’s effect: the total deprivation of the possibility to see.

Melvin Moti has produced several films along with artist books, objects and drawings, which have been featured in international exhibitions such as the 55th Venice Biennale and the Yokohama Triennale in 2014. He is a participant in I See That I See What You Don’t See.

Paolo Patelli

Spatial practitioner and researcher

Paolo Patelli weaves together a suite of differential, multiple, visual ethnographies, and three sites in the Netherlands in which life and death intertwine with multispecies formations, soil and landscape forms.

Paolo Patelli is a spatial practitioner and researcher. Moving across spatial design, artistic and academic research, and education, he engages critically and by design with the materialities, scenes and atmospheres at the intersections of space and technology, nature and society. Patelli is currently a fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Claudia Rot

Designer and urban ecology enthusiast

Claudia Rot will elaborate on the fact that there is no term for environmental justice in the Dutch language. The notion of sustainability in the Netherlands is limited to finding technocratic solutions, ignoring the intersectionality of environmental problems, and the societal aspect of sustainability.

Because of her interdisciplinary education in climate and environmental sciences and urban design, Claudia Rot values the use of intersectional systems approaches to tackle complex problems. She uses cartography, graphic design, linguistics, and community science as learning tools for environmental justice advocacy. Rot is currently a fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Helga Schmid

Artist, designer, researcher

Currently, ‘clock time’ structures direct human behaviour. But what happens when our activities are guided by cycles of light and darkness, rather than clock time? Artist and designer Dr. Helga Schmid researches aspects of atemporality, investigating a new time system and ways of living, based on light and darkness.

In her work, dr. Helga Schmid opens up a new world of temporality (lived time) situated at the intersection of design, sociology and chronobiology. She is the founder of Uchronia, a platform for critical and imaginative thought on our contemporary time crisis, challenging current perceptions and offering alternative ways of being in time. Helga is a resident at Somerset House and Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art in London.

Dirk Sijmons

Landscape architect

Dirk Sijmons will take us on a journey along 4 possible philosophical attitudes that may inform designers take on the landscapes they’re creating.

Dirk Sijmons (1949) is one of the three founders of H+N+S Landscape-architects in 1990. Climate emergency, energy transition, the layered landscape and the influence of man on the design of our landscapes are recurrent themes in his work and books. Sijmons worked on numerous landscape projects, such as Museumkwartier Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg, Ruimte voor de Rivier and the second Maasvlakte. Sijmons was appointed first State Landscape Architect of the Netherlands (2004-2008). He held the chair of Environmental Design (2008-2011) and that of Landscape Architecture (2011-2015) at TU-Delft. He was curator of IABR--2014 themed Urban-by-Nature.

Leanne Wijnsma


Without microbes, the Earth would be uninhabitable for humans. Designer Leanne Wijnsma simulates this invisible reality by exploring the effect of microbes on our emotions based on specific scents. In a dialogue with researcher Agnieszka Wolodsko, and sourdough baker Eline Ex she will explore this practice further.

Leanne Wijnsma’s work uses instinct as design, exploring the relationship between freedom and technology through smell design and subterranean explorations. The immersive nature of her work lends itself to an investigation into human awareness and the impact of new technologies on individual and collective behaviour. Wijnsma is interested in addressing the instinctual within us by creating experiences for our senses, trusting that instinct evokes an inherent truth and freedom of mind through action.


Full price: 22.50 euro
Students: 11.25 euro

The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
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Datum en tijd


Het Nieuwe Instituut

25 Museumpark

3015 CB Rotterdam


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