Two or three things I know about Provo,
a small and personal archive of the Provotarian movement in Amsterdam (1965-1967),
as installed by Experimental Jetset

Provo was an Amsterdam anarchist movement that existed for just two years (1965-1967), although its existence resonated for years to come, in the Netherlands and abroad. Through conceptual (so-called ‘ludiek’) activism and speculative political proposals (the ‘white plans’), the Provo movement captured the imagination of a generation, and forever shaped the Dutch political and cultural landscape.

One of the founding members of Provo was Rob Stolk. In 1965, he co-founded Provo, together with Roel van Duyn and a handful of others. Rob Stolk’s involvement in Provo forced him to become a printer; since mainstream printers refused to handle the subversive and sometimes illegal Provo material, he had no other option than to print these publications himself. Reflecting on this situation, Stolk often quoted American journalist A. J. Liebling: “Freedom of the press is for those who own one”.

During the ’70s, Rob Stolk focused more and more on his practice as a printer, gradually transforming himself from an activist printer to a professional printer, shifting his attention from political causes to cultural matters. He became one of the most prolific cultural printers in Amsterdam.

In December 2010, Tim Voss, the director of Amsterdam art space W139, approached Marieke Stolk, Rob’s oldest daughter, in an attempt to learn more about Provo. Marieke Stolk also happens to be one of the three members of Experimental Jetset. During this meeting, plans were being made to present, in W139, an installation revolving around the theme of Provo. A small, personal (and ultimately incomplete) archive, displaying graphic documentation related to the Provotarian movement, accompanied by some film screenings, and a couple of (yet-to-be-confirmed) lectures. Through this impromptu installation, Experimental Jetset will not only attempt to interpret (in a subjective way) the history of Provo, but will also focus on the role of Rob Stolk herein, and will try to reflect on the archetype of the printer as a ‘practical utopist’, or, to quote the French writer RĂ©gis Debray, the printer as “the quintessential worker intellectual or intellectual worker”.

All informations here.

February 18 – March 14, 2011
Opening: Thursday 17, 8pm
Artist Talk: Friday 18, 4pm
W139, Amsterdam

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