This book is dedicated to subculture in Amsterdam, which it aims not only to document, but also to give a future to. It portrays the OT301’s collective struggle with major questions and changes, in society as well as within their own organization, but also their militant fervor and their optimism.
It is, then, a report of a quest and an investigation, an archival document and a reference work, a place of exchange for knowledge and experiences, that seeks new ways to combine subculture, experiment and radical politics.
Amount of pages: 368
Format: 17 x 24 cm
Language: Bilangual (Dutch & English)
Release date: April 2014
Concept and coordination: Nienke Jansen and Ivo Schmetz
This book is dedicated to subculture in Amsterdam, which it aims not only to document, but also to give a future to. It portrays our collective struggle with major questions and changes, in society as well as within our own organization, but also our militant fervor and our optimism. It is, then, a report of a quest and an investigation, an archival document and a reference work, a place of exchange for knowledge and experiences, that seeks new ways to combine subculture, experiment and radical politics.
The book consists of three parts, which by and large correspond to three moments in time: the first part describes the place in which we find ourselves now, the second part describes where we might be in thirty years’ time, and the third part describes our origins.
The first part of the book covers the period from 2011 to 2013, during which we have labored towards the professionalization of our organization and the broadening and deepening of our collective’s philosophy, as part of the ‘Overhaul’ process. What do concepts such as ‘autonomy’, ‘self-organization’, ‘collective property’ mean for us, and how can we integrate them into our vision and organization? What does subculture look like in New York, in Hamburg and in Bern? What can we learn from other spaces in Amsterdam? These questions and more have been looked at by us over the past three years as a collective, in brainstorm sessions and debates, in which people from outside our association took part alongside ourselves. Applying some recent directions in political theory, we give a critical interpretation of all these talks, tracing what notions of autonomy, self-organization and collective property might be useful in the future for OT301 and other collective projects. We close this part by making the rounds of various alternative spaces in Amsterdam, which describe their relationship to OT301, and sketch how they see themselves inside Amsterdam’s subculture, today and in the future.
In the second part of the book we look ahead. We have approached a number of authors, artists and thinkers to elaborate a vision of the future. In what direction is society developing, what does this mean for OT301, and how can we act upon these developments?
Geert Lovink, associate professor in New Media at the University of Amsterdam, posits that claiming physical space is no longer the front line, now that modern means of communication – and control – have changed not only urban space around us, but us ourselves, as well. He calls for abandoning all forms of nostalgia, and to invent and implement progressive forms of organization. As a first proposition, Lovink himself develops his concept of ‘orgnet’.
Writer Daniel Rovers did field research at OT301 and around, and wrote a short story. In ‘1 very big dissonance, or, how OT301 met its end’ he shows what might happen to OT301 should commercialization and gentrification advance further, but also how it could remain a dissonance within an over-regulated urban landscape.
Bart Stuart and Klaar van de Lippe, an artist’s duo that have their workshop at the NDSM terrain, put the question as well what it means to have an unpolished spot like OT301 in the middle of a real estate paradise.
Finally, Elke Uitentuis, departing from her own experiences in Cairo and with the We Are Here collective, describes the effects of privatization of public space on the actions of individuals. She, too, proposes a new form within which autonomy, self-organization and collective property could find their place.
In the third and last part of the book, the history is sketched of the Eerste Hulp Bij Kunst association and the OT301 space. It takes the reader back to the squatting in 1999, the first rental contract, and finally, the purchase of the building in 2006, and the difficult choices that the association has had to face during this period, sometimes at the cost of ideological positions. The text has been appended with short interviews with people who have been involved with the process in its diverse phases from a diversity of perspectives, including politics, the Bureau Broedplaatsen, the Triodos Bank, and with a rich selection of charts and figures from the period from 1999 to 2014. We close the book with an extensive report in images of almost fifteen years of EHBK and OT301.
This book is being published in the year that OT301 celebrates its fifteenth year. We hope it will be an inspiration for individuals and collectives who dream of a space that deviates from the standard, that is not driven by financial motives and within which autonomy, self-organization and collective property are decisive values.