Part of Method Maker
29 June 2016, 6—8pm
The film Read the Masks. Tradition is not Given. is part of a larger project by Petra Bauer and Annette Krauss critically questioning the Dutch tradition of Zwarte Piete (Black Peter). Described as a companion of Sinterklass (Saint Nicholas), Black Peter is commonly depicted through blackface make-up, red lipstick, a dark curly wig and renaissance-style clothes. Celebrated nationally each November, marking Sinterklass' arrival from Spain on a steamboat with his black servants, the social and political implications of this tradition have rarely been debated publicly.
The project Read the Masks. Tradition is not Given. was commissioned by Van Abbemuseuem, Eindhoven, within the context of a two-year research programme concerned with Dutch national identity entitled Be(com)ing Dutch. Petra and Annette worked with local activists groups including Doorbraak and Untold, aiming to generate a space in which to debate the problematic facets of this tradition. As captured in the film through various methods including a choir, whom read from newspaper clippings and online comments, Read the Masks. Tradition is not Given triggered intense discussion in the media. The phenomenon and this subsequent debate circulate issues on national identity, racism, the ownership of culture and the right to speak.
This public screening is part of Collective's Summer School Method Maker and was introduced by artist and filmmaker Petra Bauer, forming a precursor to a day of activity exploring research methods within so-called documentary film practice.
Method Maker was a week-long collective enquiry that considered different research methodologies and how they inform artistic production.
This is an archived programme entry.