Written by Viktor Vandervelde
Dimensional Sampling #1 by Yuxi Cao (James). Part of the inaugural exhibition at Nxt Museum Shifting Proximities. © Peter Tijhuis
As you can tell by the title, my name is Viktor, I am a Comparative Arts and Media student originally from Brussels. Besides studying how art and media collide, interact and work together I can also tell people all about it while working as a host in the Netherlands’ first museum dedicated to new media art: Nxt Museum.
At the end of my premaster CAMS, in the midst of the pandemic, a Canvas notification popped up and it turned out to be a call for students wanting to be part of the team at a new museum in Amsterdam-Noord. I had been working in a coffee and sandwich shop before to survive the Amsterdam cost of living, but of course this new job was a lot closer to my interests. The job interview was held in the museum that was still under construction, so we got a tour of the old television studio that they were remodeling to become an immersive museum with seven rooms, each filled with one immersive and large-scale artwork. Luckily, I was offered a job as host, which means that I provide guests with information on the artwork and the curation and that I control the crowd. The job turned out to be an absolute joy and here’s why:
Nxt Museum is an incredible experience-based museum that combines technology, (new) media, sculpture, architecture, social commentary, ecology and art in a way that I have never seen before. Their curators’ goal is to become the main knowledge center for new media art in Europe and maybe even the world. With no fixed collection, the museum will always stay relevant and about every year a whole new exhibition will be installed focusing on the newest trends in new media art. What also makes Nxt a great place to work is the people: even though the interview process was pretty competitive, they really succeeded in bringing together a lovely bunch of people with similar interests and a love for art. It is rare that I meet someone that knows what I’m talking about when I mention that I am studying Comparative Arts & Media Studies, but my colleagues nearly always do.
Nxt Museum opened at the end of August and has attracted over 12.500 visitors in a month (which is huge for a museum this size). It has been extremely interesting to be a part of the creation of a museum and seeing how they keep perfecting the experience for the visitor. A new museum is always susceptible to some hiccups in the beginning, but by doing surveys with the visitors, numerous of these hiccups have been solved (we now have phone free timeslots and the information on the artworks is stated in a simpler way to give two examples). As an Arts and Culture student, I am happy to get this inside information, not only about the museum but also about the artists and artworks, and the most fun thing is that I then get to share this knowledge with the visitors. In the future, Nxt will also host events and lectures, and as employees we of course get access to those so I am very much looking forward to that.
For everyone interested in the cross-over between arts and media, Nxt Museum is an extremely interesting institute to keep an eye on; and who knows, maybe after finishing my thesis I could give you a tour as a curator 😉