Edwin Nasr

"Bijlmerbajes" by Tiemen Rapati, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Design by Bassem Saad.

We contend with the question of forced absence; of feeling blue, and of collecting rage, when the state of things, and when the state itself, foreclose comradeship and inflict enclosure. Likewise, we look towards, and co-imagine ways out of certain infrastructures, the type that usurp loved ones and loving strangers from gathering tables, that catch you off guard while breaking bread and disrupt continuity lines. ALI R U OK?* is an ongoing investigation initiated by Edwin Nasr, which summons artists, scholars, and cultural workers in and outside of the Netherlands committed to dismantling carceral systems. The project aims to pull into legibility the pernicious formations that capture and make disappear those among us deemed expendable—and thus orients itself to the future of October 22, 2007, a day when Bilal B., a twenty-two year old Dutch-Moroccan resident of Amsterdam Nieuw-West was savagely murdered by local police officers. Close-by, at de Appel, participants are invited to draw escape routes and articulate a poetics of abolition, i.e. what geographer Ruth Wilson Gilmore terms “a practical program of change rooted in how people sustain and improve their lives.”

*“ALI R U OK?” is the name of a track by rapper and producer M.I.A., featured as part of her 2016 album, AIM.

July 8, 16.00–19.30
Spatial intervention by Farah Fayyad and Ayman Hassan
Farah Fayyad (b. 1990) is a graphic designer and printmaker. Ayman Hassan (b. 1990) is a graphic designer and care labourer. They are both based between Beirut and Amsterdam, and are currently completing a Master’s Degree at the temporary Disarming Design department at the Sandberg Instituut.

July 9, 16.30–18.00
Carceral Politics in the Netherlands
Roundtable discussion with Julienne Weegels, Barak Kalir,
and Thijs Jeursen. All welcome in de Appel Aula.

This roundtable discussion interrogates the different discursive and performative regimes that carcerality is informed by in the Netherlands. First, Julienne Weegels will offer an entry point into the discursive realm of criminalization. Applying a critical carceral lens to the Dutch context, she will elucidate both the euphemistic and dehumanizing narratives used to render the criminal Other, securitizing ‘care’ in the process and producing predominantly young, brown and male ‘carceral subjects’. Then, Thijs Jeursen will reflect on the over-research of particular urban spaces, which produces a stereotyping white gaze and ‘carceral effect’ around particular youth and locales, based on his research in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. Finally, Barak Kalir will discuss neighborhood solidarity with and the massive police eviction of the first We Are Here camp, which was located on the Notweg only a couple of blocks from de Appel. Moving between the production of carceral subjects, effects, and regimes, we seek to envision how these may be imagined otherwise.

VIDEO RECORDING The guests of the panel are seated within een Kamer near het hart organized by Hera Chan as part of Formation Camp with Farida Sedoc's Niemand hat mij vertellen, 2021 in foreground and Lidwien van de Ven’s Amsterdam 01/06/2020 (Dam Square), 2021 [Digital prints on satin cloth at rear]

July 11, 18.00–19.30 (via Zoom*)
Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Lecture by Nicole R. Fleetwood

This lecture examines the impact of the carceral state on contemporary art and culture. Focusing on art made in US prisons and in collaboration with artists and activists across the nation, her presentation will discuss the archive of the visual culture of US prisons that she has amassed over the past decade. It will also consider the strategies and techniques that imprisoned artists employ to create visual documents about their captivity.
Nicole R. Fleetwood is a writer, curator, and professor of American Studies and Art History at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is the author of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (2020), winner of the National Book Critics Award in Criticism, the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award in art history, and the Frank Jewett Mather Award in art criticism. She is also curator of the exhibition Marking Time at MoMA PS1. Her other books are On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination (2015) and Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (2011).

*To sign up for this event, please send an email to aliruok [​at​]