TRACER is a collaborative project by TENT. and Witte de With on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of TENT.
Based on observations and reflections on art in Rotterdam, TRACER is composed of a variety of specific sub-exhibitions, projects, and a program of activities. TRACER draws together various visions for the future of art in Rotterdam and for the role played by art institutions.

In recent months, six curators have ‘traced’ contemporary art in the city. Their exploration of Rotterdam’s urban centre, the Port of Rotterdam and the Maasvlakte area for port-related industrial activities resulted in six thought-provoking visualizations.

Six curators from various countries have been invited to study the prevailing cultural climate in Rotterdam and to share their thoughts and reactions to it. The central concerns are artistic production, the municipal arts policy, and also the local and (inter)national position of TENT. and Witte de With.

Andreas Broeckmann, Ritsaert ten Cate, Annie Fletcher / Sarah Pierce, Thomas Michelon, Pelin Tan, and waanja present their personal responses in various subsections of the exhibition, in a series of debates, and in music, film and video programs, to be held throughout the building and beyond.

Andreas Broeckmann (Germany, 1964) fixes attention on the massive strategic oil reserve in the Port of Rotterdam, intended for international crises. For his exhibition Neuralgic, 90 Days to Shake the World, Broeckmann uses this oil reserve as a metaphorical starting point.

Artists: Marnix de Nijs, Joe Cillen, Ursula Biemann, Joost Conijn, Heidrun Holzfeind, Dick el Demasiado, Knowbotic Research and AGF aka antye greie.

Ritsaert ten Cate (The Netherlands, 1938) opted for a highly personal approach. An inventory of his direct contacts with, among others, policy-makers, ‘officials’ and directors in the Rotterdam art world forms the core of a ‘family tree’. The works of art selected by these people constitute the newest branches of this tree. It gives a personal face to Rotterdam’s art policy over recent decades. Ten Cate’s own selection is De Verwoeste Stad (‘The Destroyed City’) by Ossip Zadkine. In his motivation, Ten Cate concisely explains the present-day relevance of this monument.

Artists: Anna (Verweij – Verschuure), Cathrin Boer, Axel van der Kraan, Daan van Golden, bram van Waardenburg, Jeanne van Heeswijk/ Marten Winters, Erik van Lieshout, Joep van Lieshout, Willem Oorebeek and Ben Zegers.

Annie Fletcher (Ireland, 1971) and Sarah Pierce (U.S.A., 1968) have established the semi-permanent Paraeducation Department, which is inserted between the Witte de With and TENT. organizations. The Paraeducation Department is situated on the first floor of the building, where the administrative offices of both organizations are to be found. Analogous to the regular education activities, The Paraeducation Department creates a physical and organizational structure where informal groups, personal encounters and impulsive gatherings facilitate a learning process. As a model of practice, the department might serve an exemplary function.

Thomas Michelon (France, 1971) invited the artists Bojan ‘arcevic', Matti Braun and Melvin Moti, as well as anthropologists and sociologists, to contribute to Cultural Transfers: Histories and Sharings, analyzing both the contradictory interpretations of collective symbolic spaces and the condition of the system of a (political) community.

Pelin Tan (Turkey, 1974), as a ‘foreigner’ in Rotterdam, carries her Turkish background with her like baggage. For her project Luggage from Another Climate she researched the artistic climate, the artists’ initiatives and the formal infrastructure from the perspective of the situation in Istanbul.

Artists: The Buggers, Libia Perez/ Olafur Olafsson and Jan Konings.
Her interviews resulted in a documentary film and two debates. In the first of these, on Rhizomatic Cities (Friday, September 10), Siebe Thissen, Esra Ersen, Hou Hanru and Jochen Becker discuss urban space and identity.

waanja (Czech Republic, 1966) has drawn together a presentation of subsidized and tolerated public art in Rotterdam. His particular interest is the non-representative and engaged art that occupies the border zone between private and public space.

Artists: ZEDZ, MVM, Nafer, Bibo, Nicoline van Harskamp, Hieke Pars, Robin van 't Haar, presentation model: Artists’ initiatives and projects in Charlois Rotterdam 2001-2003.

TRACER is coordinated by Arno van Roosmalen (TENT.), Catherine David (Witte de With) and Renske Janssen (Witte de With).