Dutch Delegation

Wooden Shoes
The Biennial festivities are finished and so am I. I’m completely exhausted and worn out from listening to long exposes on artist initiatives and long-winded explanations full of art world jargon concerning partnerships and project funding, networks and the like. On a good day I have a 15 minute tolerance capacity for that kind of conversation, but my good day was last Wednesday, and it’s gone downhill since then. Here are some words I can live without hearing for the rest of my life:

*Mobility
*Migration
*Initiative
*Transnational
*Collaboration
*Co-collaboration (well, ‘co’-anything)

That’s the short list. If I had any brain cells left I could think of more. Part of the problem was also the partying and socializing aspect of the Biennial. I’ve been to more openings in the last week than in the rest of my life put together. I saw one or two cool things, but nothing too striking. I spent most of the time doing what you do at openings—drinking wine (except I wasn’t drinking, so it was seltzer) and talking to cute boys. Or at least trying to. There were some real works of art among the Iranian contingent, if you know what I’m sayin’.

But, like every large event in any part of the world outside of the Netherlands (and excluding the U.S.) the place was crawling with the Dutch. That’s fine until they corner you at a meeting and try to make you justify your existence, even though you aren’t trying to prove anything to them. A Dutch contingent of artist initiatives wanted to meet other initiatives based in Istanbul so they could come and colonize it. So we went to the meeting, and while most of them were very nice and had interesting projects in their country, the first question a big, blond, ruddy-complexioned lady asked us was, “Why don’t you do this in your own country?” AS IF! As if the word “Dutch” wasn’t synonymous with imperialism. I wanted to shout, “Well, YOU ought to know!” They said they had looked at our website, but they obviously hadn’t read the part were we answered that very question. Julie politely described to them that we are doing Caravansarai here because this is her home and has been for a long time and I am just an opportunist. In any event, the girl sitting next to me was funny and in the end whispered, clandestinely, so the rest couldn’t hear, “I like what you are doing, when your building is ready, call me, I’d like to work with you.” She can be my token Dutch friend.

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