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A long-term research project on the politics of contemporary video culture

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For the Record investigates how contemporary video culture operates as a public space for consumerism, activism and emancipation, by exposing existing realities and by imagining alternatives. The project seeks to document and reflect upon the technologies, spatial design and forms of representation deployed in video culture and live events, and uses public programs and video production as the main research methodology.

Starting with a series of Thursday Night Live events in Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, as well as a public program in New York City, the project engages with both local and global issues and dimensions in video culture, involving  a broad network of set and stage designers, architects, artists, filmmakers, musicians, choreographers, media producers, cultural critics and institutions.

For the Record is envisioned as a live and open ended research in which its research questions will be updated and reformulated by the team, the audience and collaborating partners as the project evolves.

(Post)producing Realities

With more than 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, online video culture operates as one of today’s main discursive spaces. Popular videos and live streamed events allow viewers and listeners to retreat from everyday life, but also tell stories drawn from that world, and imagine alternative realities. Moreover, they actively produce and transform critical discourse, language, fashion and public opinion. Through online circulation, popular videos offer a platform for discussion about transforming identities and political realities.

Since the early days of film production, techniques have been invented to create fictional worlds. In the creation of story spaces: the mise-en-scene, including the film set, lightning, props and costumes. In cinematography: the type of shots, defining what happens in and outside the screen space, at what speed and in which level of resolution. And finally, in the process of post-production, through editing, sound and visual effects, and distribution in cinema or television.

These traditionally separated processes of production, post-production and distribution have become increasingly intertwined by the use of digital technologies and online media platforms. It has become almost impossible to dissect which voice, effect, sound or object has been added or manipulated in a certain (post)production stage, by which actors, and to know the underlying motivations. How can we develop a literacy to gain a better understanding of these mediated realities? What are the spatial techniques, design tools and technologies deployed in the creation and circulation of video?

Politics of Media Production

With For the Record Het Nieuwe Instituut builds on its existing research in to the politics of media production. The exhibition Steve Bannon: A Propaganda Retrospective looked at the design of propaganda through the films and cultural and political work of Stephen K. Bannon. For the Record will shift the focus to the role of designers and cultural practitioners in the production of video culture and live events. The For the Record series of Thursday Night Live! investigates forms of representation in popular videos.  A first article Justin’s Super Bowl was published by Guus Beumer, detecting a new role for the audience, with far-reaching consequences for design disciplines.

Other related projects: The Contents by Simone Niquille; Visualising Race/Decolonising Design by Ramon Amaro; BotClub, a series of events and workshops on algorithmic culture.


'Reading ...' series, Rotterdam

The For the Record series of Thursday Night Live! investigates forms of representation in popular videos.

Screen Spaces, New York

Screen Spaces, a geography of moving image is an exhibition, exhibition and lecture series in New York from 1 to 7 December 2018. 

Marina Otero Verzier, Director of Research Katía Truijen, Senior Researcher
Vere van Gool, curator Emma Macdonald, curatorial assistant
Shay Kreuger, moderator Koos Breen, set design and graphic design Jeannette Slütter, set design Tanja Busking, film production