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Stedelijk Statements: Patricia Pisters – Worlding the Brain

Museums/Institutes Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Museumplein 10
1071 DJ Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 5732911

Open Daily 10-18 hrs
Fri 10-22 hrs

Event 3 Nov

Time 3 Nov, 18:45-21:30 hrs


Patricia Pisters, photo: Bas Losekoot

Stedelijk Statements: Patricia Pisters – Worlding the Brain is the fourth edition of Stedelijk Statements, a program series in which a scholar, artist, critic, or cultural entrepreneur composes an evening at the museum. The organizer of the program is given the floor to share his or her views on visual art and design. New research and both artistic and academic projects will be presented during an evening program consisting of lectures, debates, performances, and film screenings. In this edition, Professor of Film Patricia Pisters (Media Studies, University of Amsterdam) shows how art translates subjective experiences that take place in our brain.


This evening I want to take visitors of the Stedelijk Museum on a “journey through the brain” where neuroscientist, psychiatrists, artists, patients, and philosophers are equal partners in dialogue. Objective knowledge about synapsis and brain functions is important, but does not give us insights into the subjective experiences of mental processes, which is the domain of the arts and humanities. Objective and subjective disciplinary fields about the brain could act more as “trusted strangers” and create a more synergetic and integral understanding of the brain. This Stedelijk Statement is connected to a conference at the University of Amsterdam entitled “Worlding the Brain: Affect, Care, Engagement” where we propose to take the brain out of the scientific lab and put it back into the chaotic rich complexity of the world by exchanging findings, observations, and thoughts about the emotions and care for our synaptic processes and mental (dis)orders.

- Patricia Pisters


6:45 pm enter
7:00 welcome | by Patricia Pisters; screening of Phi, short film by neuroscientist Guillaume Dumas
7:15 talk | Trusted Strangers / New Amsterdam Park (NAP), architecture art project by RAAAF with introduction by Ronald and Erik Rietveld (RAAAF) and response by philosopher Alva Noë
7:40 talk | Emotions Go To Work, presentation by artist Zoe Beloff about her recent installation work. Beloff’s videos Future Emoji and The Cognitive Erawill be on display during the evening
8:00 column | There is Something About Nothing by writer Femke Schavemaker
8:15 break | with images by The Art of Neuroscience
8:30 interactive installations | EEG Kiss by Lancel & Maat and If You Are Not There, Where Are You? by Maartje Nevejan 
9:15 column | Mental Music by psychiatrist and violinist Esther van Fenema
9:30 closing words and images


Patricia Pisters is a professor of film in the Department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam and the director of the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis (ASCA). She teaches film philosophy and writes about the role of film and media with respect to (collective) consciousness; her books include The Neuro-Image (2012). Her book Filming for the Future won the Louis Hartlooper Prize for Best Film Publication 2016. Currently she is working on a book project about cinema, madness, and the psychopathologies of contemporary media culture; and on a multimedia project about the filmmaker as metallurgist and alchemist of our times. For her articles, blog, audio-visual material, and other information, visit

Guillaume Dumas is a research fellow of the Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Laboratory in the Institut Pasteur, and an affiliate member of the Human Brain and Behavior Laboratory in the Center for Complex Systems and Brains Sciences of Florida Atlantic University. He is the co-founder of the HackYourPhD community, which advocates the use of openness in science and knowledge as a common good in society, and is co-founder and president of ARTEMC, the French Association of Transdisciplinary research on Altered States of Cognition.

RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances] is a multidisciplinary studio that operates at the crossroads of architecture, art, and philosophy. RAAAF makes location and context specific works which derives from the respective backgrounds of the founding partners: Prix de Rome Architecture laureate Ronald Rietveld and philosopher Erik Rietveld. Through a unique working method based on research with scientists and other specialists, they link local qualities with long-term strategies. For RAAAF every project is a manifesto in itself. Their interventions are the result of an independent attitude and research agenda, starting from their own fascinations while confronting them with urgent societal issues.

Alva Noë is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Center for New Media. He works on the nature of mind and human experience, insisting on the embodied nature of cognition and the enactive nature of interactions between body, mind, and world. He is the author of Action in Perception (2004), Out of Our Heads (2009), Varieties of Presence(2012), and Strange Tools (2015). He has been philosopher-in-residence with The Forsythe Company and has also collaborated with a number of dance artists.

Zoe Beloff is an artist and professor in the media studies and art departments at Queens College CUNY. She works with a wide range of media including film, installation, and drawing. She considers herself a medium, an interface between the living and the dead, the real and the imaginary. Each project aims to connect the present to past so that it might illuminate the future in new ways. Her work has been featured in international exhibitions and screenings; venues include the Whitney Museum of American Art, the M HKA museum in Antwerp, and the Pompidou Center in Paris. She has been awarded fellowships from The Graham Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Femke Schavemaker works as a copywriter, creative director, and columnist. She studied philosophy and later she followed a writing course at the Rietveld Academy. In April 2017, her debut novel Karkas appeared. Karkas follows the main character Nora's alienating life, in a psychic state in which she can barely function. There are freaks who bang their heads into the back entrance of the neighboring supermarket, and there are people maneuvering through their learning and working life and being successful with seeming ease, despite their neural dysfunctions. Karkas evolves around the latter.

Lancel & Maat is an artist duo, exploring the tension between embodied presence, intimacy, privacy, and our trust in current social-technological systems. They turn upside down automated control technologies, bio-feedback, and sensory perception, to create “trust-systems.” They call their intimate, visually seductive meeting places in public space “Artistic Social Labs,” with the public serving as “co-researchers.” Participants are invited to reflect on their perception of social mirror processes and on their embodied understanding of transhuman relations. Their performances and installations were presented at international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale 2015 and TASIE Millennium Museum Beijing. Lancel is a PhD researcher at the Technical University Delft.

The Art of Neuroscience

Maartje Nevejan is an award-winning independent filmmaker based in Amsterdam with a background in theater and multimedia. Her work researches and expresses the raw poetic quality of reality. She loves to bring together people with opposing views and apparent opposing needs and capture their insightful, intimate, and sometimes wild co-operations on film. Her projects include the television series Couscous & Cola (2004), The Third Eye (2010), and Het Nationaal Canta Ballet (2012). I’m Not Here Right Now (Ik ben er even niet) is a documentary in the making as one of the projects in If You Are Not There, Where Are You?

Esther van Fenema is a psychiatrist at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) as well as a violist and columnist. She initiated the first Depression Gala to raise more awareness about depression.


The interactive installation EEG KISS has been made possible with generous support and in collaboration with: Mondriaan Fonds; Baltan Laboratories, Fourtress Eindhoven, Holst Center, Waag Society, TASML Tsinghua University Art, Science Media Lab Beijing; University of Applied Sciences Vienna, Tijs Ham (STEIM), Alexander von Lühmann (University of Berlin).

The installation If You Are Not There, Where Are You? is produced in collaboration with Monobanda ( and Willemijn Cerutti (Cerutti Film,

More info on the conference Worlding the Brain: Affect, Care, Engagement:


€3 with museumcard, tickets via


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