Browsing Category


Art FILTERED RECOLLECTIONS - October 2018 Lennart Roos Valentina Gianera


Video by Valentina Gianera & Lennart Roos

The theme of this month’s issue can be approached from various angles. When crafting the idea for the movie, we chose for a very personal approach. We wanted to indulge in people’s memories, let ourselves be carried to distant moments and places. Moments and places only they themselves know about, because buddy, they’re alone.

Strangers asking people to share a moment of solitude is a strange thing.

You want them to feel comfortable. Not have them worry about their expression. Be able to get wound up in their memories without having to decide whether to look at the camera or into themselves. But you still want to catch a glimpse of their personality. And as Stefan Zweig noted in 24 Hours in the Life of a Woman (1927), there is no better way to do so than observing people’s hands perform.

Art Dee Hehewerth FILTERED RECOLLECTIONS - October 2018

Renee Turner: The Warp and Weft of Memory

Interview with Renee Turner

Dieuwertje Hehewerth: Dear Renee,

Perhaps it’s good to start by admitting that it was the title that drew me to the exhibition. Spending an off-afternoon updating myself on Amsterdam’s exhibitions, I read the words “The Warp and Weft of Memory” in the Amsterdam Art Calendar. My mind was imbued with thoughts about Filtered Recollections – due to Pandemic’s October theme – and so the title synced with my current preoccupations, leading my feet to Castrum Peregrini. I had no idea what the exhibition would be. But I had once spent a rainy afternoon there attending a talk, and the space was amazing – so what was there to lose?

My experience of Castrum Peregrini is colored by a person named Gisèle. A person who, from the moment of stepping through the door, becomes a household name: one I am embarrassed by not knowing about; one I slyly ask questions about until an approximate profile is commandeered. She was an artist, a traveler, and now patron of the arts, whose house, after her passing, has been dedicated to researching and encountering art.

A quick scan of the website tells me this is only part of the place’s story. But Gisèle’s story is the one that is currently on show: on the lips of the gallery attendant, on the cover of the recently written book, and on the floor of her studio where you have exhibited your research – a research that has been conducted through her left-behind clothes.

Printed publication, “The Warp and Weft of Memory” designed by Cristina Cochior, 2018

My visit led us into conversation, leading me to ask if I could continue this conversation, in the form of an interview, in relation to the topic that had brought me there: Filtered Recollections. So here we are.

Since visiting the exhibition, I’ve been looking at the online component of your project – reading the letters between yourself and Kate, between yourself and Frans-Willem; looking at your documentation of Gisèle’s clothes. I realize the research is about remembering a person you’ve never met, and I wonder how it has been for you to engage in this conversation? One where you ask questions but are never questioned back?

Renee Turner: I suppose in one way or another, history is that kind of encounter or dialogue – we speak to those people, things or events that cannot talk back. Fragments left behind are inevitably space for projection where the present and past are woven together.

DH: The more I engage with the project, the more it feels to be planted in – and growing from – Gisèle’s wardrobe, rather than being about it. Which leads me to ask, what is your relation with Gisèle now that the project is concluding? Is the project still about her memory, or has it grown in other directions?

screenshot detail, “Notes”, Development and Interface by Manufactura Independente, image © Stichting Castrum Peregrini

RT: One of the thoughts that was consoling to me was that while I was working on this project, Gisèle’s biography was being written by Annet Mooij. She covered that territory. As an artist, I’m not sure that’s where my area of expertise or interest is situated. From the beginning, I wanted to focus on the encounter with her wardrobe and the strangeness of going through her closet while not being a relative. We’ve all had the experience of going through a deceased loved one’s belongings and deciding what should be thrown out and what should be given to other family members or friends. But this was not the case – nonetheless, I was a woman going through another deceased woman’s closet. Her things reveal something about her as an individual, but also tell stories that many women would recognize.

DH: I find it really interesting how your research leaves the confines of Gisèle’s wardrobe in the form of letters – or emails posing as letters – as noted by Frans-Willem. This letter writing allows the research to expand – beyond yourself, beyond Gisèle – through musing on topics beyond her clothes. Is the letter as a form important to your research? Has this decision shaped it into a particular form?

screenshot detail, “Epistolary” with Kate Pullinger, image © Stichting Castrum Peregrini

RT: The choice for epistolary as a form arose for different reasons. Barring one letter, I chose not to read Gisèle’s correspondences. And she had loads of them – she not only kept the ones written to her, but also when her parents died, and later her husband, she inherited back the letters she had sent to them too. (To live longer means letters are returned to sender.) I knew if I immersed myself in her letters I would occupy both her “I” and “eye”. I wanted to write from my perspective – that’s why one section is called “notes”. To me, it was like taking field notes from her closet – I was journeying into her private space.

But sometimes this felt too diary-like and hermetic. The correspondence with Kate Pullinger, who is a fiction writer, and Frans-Willem Korsten, who is Professor of Literature, opened things up again. These letters, or electronic mails (AKA emails), were sent while on my voyage into Gisèle’s closet, and like any correspondence written while journeying, they tell something about travels past and present, daily banalities and also something about the sender and the recipient.

screenshot of Semantic Mediawiki designed and developed by Andre Castro and Cristina Cochior, which feeds into the interface of, image © Stichting Castrum Peregrini

Next to writing with Frans-Willem and Kate Pullinger, another way I broke out of my own insular thinking was having others involved who shaped and informed the narration. The backend of the site, which is a Semantic Mediawiki, was worked on extensively, and designed, by Andre Castro and Cristina Cochior. The database, containing around a thousand items, is much like Gisèle’s archiving: it has its own idiosyncratic logic. The frontend interface and development was designed by Manufactura Independente, who made the different registers legible. I also worked with Cesare Davolio who did the illustrations for the notes. He created an almost dream-like space through his drawings.

screenshot detail of an illustration by Cesare Davolio for “Semantics Matter”

DH: This letter-writing, paired with the focus on clothes, makes the research focus on, and work through, ephemeral forms. They are objects that have a transitory quality – a quality of carrying and covering – of existing as an in between. I’m curious if you see these relations? And more directly in relation to the project, what it is about these ephemeral objects/forms that catch your attention? What have you learned by exploring these mediums as a way to remember and engage?

RT: It is precisely the ephemerality that fascinates me. Like the body, Gisèle’s clothes will turn to dust, photographs taken to preserve memories will fade, or lose relevance, simply because those represented are no longer remembered. But there are always echoes. I thought often of Virginia Woolf’s line in To the Lighthouse where she says: “how once hands were busy with hooks and buttons; how once the looking-glass had held a face; had held a world hollowed out in which a figure turned.” I think by going into the intimate space of her closet, I imagined her figure. And I say imagined, because there is always an element of fiction in remembering, especially with things you have never known.

screenshot detail, “Semantic Tapestry”, Development and Interface by Manufactura Independente, image © Stichting Castrum Peregrini

DH: For me, the interesting thing about the exhibition has been how it dives into history, only be projected back into the present/future. But I’m curious what is it about the research that you really enjoy? Is there some unexpected part of the process that you learned greatly from, but is so obscure – or seemingly insignificant – that nobody thinks to ask?

RT: I think there are almost too many surprises I encountered to focus on one. Perhaps a list:

*Gisèle was a complex figure – her history is plural and contradictory – in 100 years one can live many lives, and it is a life that will be re-written by many. Lives are full of sediment to be excavated by future archeologists.

*She wore corseted dresses as a young woman, tattered and worn clothes during the war, went braless on the beach while wearing a kaftan in the seventies, and she wrapped herself in a warm woolen sweater in her twilight years.

*Her closet is representative of many women, but her cataloging is unique, obsessive if not pathological. I wondered if she suffered from some form of hypergraphia. She has closet inventories going back for decades.

Detail of Gisèle’s wardrobe inventories, “Semantic Tapestry”, image © Stichting Castrum Peregrini

*One of the challenges of representing textile digitally is how to show its tactility. The revelation for me was the simple act of folding the clothes on video. You hear the sound and the weight of the cloth. This is how touch came into the project. Go to the Semantic Tapestry and look under Theme: Folding.

Screenshot “Semantic Tapestry”, Theme: Folding, Development and Interfacffe by Manufactura Independente


*When I look in Gisèle’s mirror, I expect to see her posing in front of it as she so often did before, but instead I only see myself.

Gisèle’s mirror, 2018

FILTERED RECOLLECTIONS - October 2018 Max Muller

In Memoriam Ourselves

Written by Max Muller

You may think our disposition towards having a good reputation and being remembered fondly is the foundation upon which we base our actions. In this article, however, I will argue that this is not necessarily the case. I aim to show that it is not so much the idea of being remembered well that guides us through life, but that we are in actuality more concerned with being remembered. Period.

This can be inferred, in my opinion, by examining the lives and opinions of various historical figures and certain current cultural phenomena. I will try to unravel why being etched into our collective memory is so important to people.

A Lasting Legacy

First, let’s focus on the idea that everyone aims to leave behind a positive legacy. It can be illustrated well with the story of Alfred Nobel. As a precocious chemist and engineer, he invented dynamite in 1867. He patented his invention and made a fortune out of it.

When Alfred was 55 years old, his brother Ludvig Nobel passed away. Due to a misunderstanding, some writers for a French newspaper came to believe it was Alfred Nobel himself who had deceased. Thus they wrote an obituary of him, entitled “The Merchant of Death is Dead.” When he read it, he was appalled by the idea that he would be remembered as an opportunistic salesman of deadly weapons.

After he recovered from the shock of this discovery, he devised a plan to change his reputation. Alfred decided he would donate the majority of his wealth to the Nobel Prize (including, ironically, the peace prize). His legacy is nowadays largely viewed in positive light because of this generous decision.

A Higher Calling

Alfred Nobel was not alone in his aim to leave a positive legacy. Whole religions (with billions of followers) are centered around the idea of behaving well and reaping the benefits after death. In Christianity, for instance, sinners may redeem themselves to be allowed to go to heaven. Likewise, Hindus try to obtain good karma during their current lives in order to reincarnate as a better person in their next lives.

Thus, many people indeed wish to be remembered well, and will try to behave accordingly. They cherish the wish to have had a positive impact on the world. However, not everyone shares this kind of moral compass. Some are driven by other motives.

A Poète Maudit from Leeuwarden

Jan Jacob Slauerhoff (1898 — 1936) was arguably one of the most important Dutch poets of the 20th century. In addition to his literary qualities, he was also a notoriously difficult person. Tragedies and quarrels marked his life. Additionally, he was a womanizer of both married and unmarried women, and was chronically sick.

Towards the end of his life, he wrote his famous poem “In Memoriam Mijzelf” (“in Memoriam Myself”). The last two stanzas are worth quoting at length.


Ik laat geen gaven na,

Verniel wat ik volbracht;

Ik vraag om geen gena,

Vloek voor- en nageslacht;

Zij liggen waar ik sta,

Lachend den dood verwacht.

Ik deins niet voor de grens,

Nam afscheid van geen mensch,

Toch heb ik nog een wensch,

Dat men mij na zal geven:

‘Het goede deed hij slecht,

Beleed het kwaad oprecht,

Hij stierf in het gevecht,

Hij leidde recht en slecht

Een onverdraagzaam leven.’

I leave no last bequest,

Smash life’s work at a stroke;

No mercy I request,

Curse past and future folk;

Stand tall where they now rest,

And treat death as a joke.

I look fate in the eye,

Have said not one goodbye,

But want men when I die

To say just this of me:

‘He did good very ill,

Served bad with honest will,

Succumbed while battling still,

Undaunted, lived his fill,

Intolerant and free.’

Slauerhoff had come to the realization that he would probably be remembered as an insufferable person after death. What is interesting in this regard is that he did not seek forgiveness: “No mercy I request.” He did not strive to make one last attempt to redeem himself. He simply admitted he was essentially a villain throughout his life who “served bad with honest will.”

So in Slauerhoff we have found a person who wasn’t driven by the idea of leaving behind a positive legacy. And yet, the man was driven, and left behind a considerable body of literary work.

If he was not interested in leaving behind a good legacy, we could wonder what else drove him in life. In my estimation, the answer is embodied by the poem itself. Although he states that he leaves “no last bequest,” Slauerhoff is lying. The poem does not represent the idea of being remembered well, but of simply being remembered.

Slauerhoff aimed to solidify his legacy by means of his writings. In a sense, his malevolent ways endure through this poem.

Achieving Immortality

“Don’t forget me, I beg.” — Adele (Someone Like You, 2011)

We seek to extend ourselves to the future. As one of the few species that is aware of its own immortality, we aim to combat death by all means necessary. One of those means is having children. Our DNA is thereby passed on to the next generation, allowing us to, in a sense, continue to live on through a new body. Although we all die eventually, our genes are safeguarded this way.

However, the biological continuation of our being is not the only method through which we can “survive.” There are other ways to live on after we die. One of those is continuing on in the minds of others.

Ever since the invention of writing, human beings have had the unique capacity to precisely transmit vast amounts of complex information to future generations. Our values, fantasies, and even identities can be recorded efficiently for posteriority. Every writer seeks to endure through his or her literary creations. They extend and preserve a part of themselves through their writings.

Photo: Jonas Guigonnat

A Common Desire

It’s not just writers who seek to be remembered. The desire for endurance is arguably the most primal drive of all creative endeavors. Scientists hope their theories replace the old ones and that they are forever acknowledged for their discoveries. Rulers demand the erection of statues and other monuments as a solidified sign of their dominance. Graffiti artists leave their mark on walls to pay an enduring homage to themselves and their ideas.

The will to be remembered is not even restricted to those with creative or coercive powers. Everyone seeks to endure in the minds of others to a certain degree…most of us shiver at the prospect of being forgotten.

In Hannah Arendt’s treatment “On the Nature of Totalitarianism: An Essay in Understanding” she mentions that some tyrants acknowledged the terror of being discarded by history, and utilized it themselves. For instance, prisons under despotic rulers were often called places of oblivion and at times forbid the family and friends of a convict from even mentioning his or her name – to the extent that they could even be punished for breaking this rule.

Now that the possibility of materializing memories of oneself has become democratized, the fear of being forgotten has become more visible. Many immortalize even the most remotely interesting events of their lives with pictures on Instagram or bite-sized stories on Twitter. Furthermore, in the early 1990s, the memoirs written by “ordinary” people experienced an upsurge. Even more recently, people have started frantically tracing their heritage with DNA ancestry tests, such as 23andme. People wish to pass down their own heritage and legacy due to a fear of being forgotten amid a society filled with technological advances and increasingly rapid development. At the same time, these tools aid people in finding their place in a confusing, fast-changing world.

Thus it seems there is a one-to-one correspondence between our desire to be remembered, and the preservation and extension of ourselves in various forms. It is connected to the idea of making an impact on the world. We wish to to make a dent in the universe, a mark that will forever be connected to ourselves. It’s not just a dent, it’s our dent.

Contributor FILTERED RECOLLECTIONS - October 2018


Footage Curated by Julian Bell

Pandemic: What do you remember from the day on which you found the film?

Julian: I don’t remember much about finding it at the charity store actually, but I do remember when I started to investigate what I had got. It was amongst a pile of other films, and it took a long time of course to view it all.

This particular family, from Amsterdam North, recorded films from 1962 to 1978. And it was all real home movies. But it was only when I started to project it and looked at what I had got that I started to realize that it was pretty good.

I’ve found quite a few old films, but there was a lot of people who didn’t know how to film – they take their cameras with them on holiday and they’re waving it about – zoom lenses were just invented so they’re zooming.

Pandemic: – Making you feel seasick.

Julian: Yeah. But back then there were the film clubs that people went to. This was a more social thing. It was in ’65 that super8 was invented – or brought to the market – and before that, it was old-fashioned 8mm, But in the ‘60s Kodak was trying to sell everything and so they were encouraging these film clubs and competitions (same as with photography) – it was all a big thing.

And at these film clubs, some people did learn how to film with a steady hand – and not make you feel seasick – and some people were really good. So I recognized this.

This film is from a box from this one family – there’s about 40 films I think.

One thing that you never see in the film is Father – he’s always behind the camera – which is a specialty of these films.

And the people in the film: I recognize one of the girls, she’s one of twins, but the other girl is not the other twin – she’s somebody else’s daughter. But then you’ve also got policemen in it – they’re filmed at the police bureau there; they’ve got a nun in there also – it’s all very social; when neighborhoods were much closer. I mean it was a whole different, nice thing in a way – out of the past.

Uit from Julian Bell on Vimeo.
Contributing Writers Creative Pieces FILTERED RECOLLECTIONS - October 2018

Distilled Into Fractions

Written by Nynke Nina


going over and over

keeping them sharp

keeping them vivid


every second

slowly fading

slowly less specific


the sound of your voice

the looks on your face

our interactions


sharing laughs

sharing thoughts

distilled into fractions


pieces of a reality

attempt of the mind

going back to events


and my thoughts wander and wander

making it a cracked mirror

to what it represents


the blueprint

of our experiences

is far away from me



but all I get

is a sample of reality


the connection we had

your sound

your face



but time

is blurring the trace


*You can find more of Nynke’s work at Mevalia.