What would you do if your university program includes an educational trip abroad, but you are neither allowed to travel abroad nor hang out in large groups, and museums and art galleries are closed?
These were the most significant obstacles encountered for the MA course Study Trip, which usually consisted of a trip abroad during which students present their research on artworks directly on-site, in art galleries or museums. Due to the Covid-19 limitations, Katja Kwastek, Daantje Meuwissen, and Angela Bartholomew changed the course’s program, shifting its focus on art in public spaces in the Netherlands. Each student was assigned an artwork on which to realise a research paper and a podcast. In line with the ongoing discussion regarding implementing digital tools in education, podcasts are now rising both as a teaching resource and practical learning tools. In the following, students Martine Bontjes, Sjors Hermans, and Maria Chiara Miccoli present their own podcasts.
Martine Bontjes, MA student in Art, Market and Connoisseurship, on Theresia van der Pant’s Equestrian Statue Queen Wilhelmina in Amsterdam
Did you ever notice the hidden bronze gem in one of the busiest streets in Amsterdam? Between the metro station of the Rokin and the Amsterdam shipping company Kooij, you can detect one of the very rare big bronze statues that the city of Amsterdam has placed. The Society of Women’s Organizations in Amsterdam took the initiative for this statue as a tribute for Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. As you stand in front of it right now, you can see the statue of a young queen sitting on her horse, overlooking the traffic in the city centre of Amsterdam. Is this the image you recall when thinking of the Dutch Queen? In this podcast you will listen to the discrepancy between the initial plans for this statue and the actual outcome. I start with an explanation of the historical context of the bronze statue, followed by explanation of the political context in which the statue was made. Further on you will listen to a description of the material, style and composition in which will be reflected on the quality of the statue.
Sjors Hermans, MA student in Art, Market and Connoisseurship, on James Turrell’s Celestial Vault at Kijkduin.
When walking in the dunes at Kijkduin, it is not unthinkable that you’ll unexpectedly encounter an artwork by the important Californian artist James Turrell. Turrell’s artwork, Celestial Vault, consists of a 40 by 30 meter eclipsed shaped crater and blends in naturally with the overgrown slopes around it. You wouldn’t be the first one to not immediately identify the Celestial Vault as an artwork, as it needs some explanation. But when diving deeper into the intentions and ideas of the artist and the purpose of the artwork, this can lead into an experience that leaves you puzzled. The artwork is about creating your own reality and being more aware of the world that is surrounding you, principles that are leading throughout Turrell’s extensive oeuvre.
In this podcast, I guide you through experiencing the extensive artwork, which is all about fooling one’s own perception. After having listened to the podcast and having learned more about Turrell, his oeuvre and his philosophy you will see that you are able to create your own reality through Turrell’s Celestial Vault.
Maria Chiara Miccoli, MA student in Contemporary Art History on Gerald Van Der Kaap’s I Want A Permanent Wave in Amsterdam
For the Study Trip course, I have been assigned the artwork I Want A Permanent Wave by Gerald Van Der Kaap, located in Amsterdam’s Europaplein metro station. Since I feel particularly related to stations as sites of encounters, goodbyes, and dreams of new beginnings, I was immediately intrigued by the story this artwork could have told. Finished in 2018, the artwork has been thought to play with the train’s movement to transform the travellers’ perception of stillness and mobility. In this light, I wanted my podcast to be a proper journey, from the departure platform to the arrival one where to finally discover and deeply describe the artwork’s gigantic panels and their multiple layers of meaning.
Despite the initial scepticism towards the medium, I admit that the podcast allowed me to include evocative sounds, music, and a fragment of the interview with the artist that have enriched the overall storytelling line. For those who love storytelling, I believe podcasts are an excellent tool for practising it! Furthermore, I believe that podcasts can be an efficient alternative learning method that also increases students’ technological skills and creativity in communication. If you are curious about listening to a story intertwining a brief encounter between two strangers in a metro station, the Greek myth of Europa, and a 1990s VJ performance, my podcast it’s right for you!