Wapke Feenstra

conceptueel - dekolonisatie - DIY - ecologie - economie

Wapke Feenstra, woont en werkt sinds 1992 in Rotterdam. Ze was mede-oprichter van Myvillages in 2003 en startte in 2020 de Rural School of Economics - een infrastructuur in Myvillages.
Feenstra wil een nieuwe dynamiek creëren voor gestolde noties van en over het platteland. Aandachtspunten zijn lokale hulpbronnen en producties, landbouw en cultuur, interne en externe percepties. Recente opdrachten en tentoonstellingen zijn in 2019 The Rural, Whitechapel Gallery in London UK; Potato Growers op de Istanbul Biennale 2019, TR; Boerenzij in TENT-Rotterdam (met 140 Rotterdammers). Met de Rural School of Economics (sinds 2020) deed ze met Kathrin Böhm en vrouwelijke producententen uit Kassel mee aan Documenta fifteen. Sinds 2020 werkt Feenstra ook aan Koe en Landschap met ruraal socioloog Inez Dekker en als fellow van het Van Abbemuseum.

Koe en Landschap - The cow in the pasture is a national Dutch cliché. It is an image that has existed in the Netherlands for centuries and does not seem to be subject to change. But nothing is less true. Especially since the last four decades, the appearance of the cow, the cattle feed and, therefore, the landscape around the cow, has changed significantly due to agricultural industrialisation in the Netherlands. Biodiversity, different soils and how to stay focussed on the agricultural transitions that will build on a sustainable future is what we explore together with stake-holders and the general public. The Cow and Landscape started its research in 2020 and is ongoing - the project consist of (drawn) herbaria with grasses and herbs, plans of farmyards, animations of the economics, films made on the farms and photographs from personal archives. Recurring questions within the project are: 'what does your best cow look like, past and present', 'what grows in the meadow', 'what can we learn from the past' and 'what will the future of Cow and Landscape farming look like?'. We also go for Plein Air sessions to the meadows where the cows graze and will run a public program in cooperation with our partners. Involved so far are villages, farmers and migrants in Twente, Salland, Noord Brabant, we learn from a cooperation on the island of Schiermonnikoog and will over the public programs connect to more rural areas that are specialised in dairy farming and the landscapes that feed them. Cow and Landscape is an ongoing project of the Rural School of Economics, which is supported by Van Abbemuseum, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Vrienden Lotterij Fonds, Mondriaan Fund, De Melkbrouwerij, De Melktapperij, Erfgoed Bossem, Op Schier, De Hofstad, Genneper Hoeve, Op den Hoek, Kasteelboerdeij Waalre, Janmiekeshoeve, ecologist and nature fans, artists, passers-by and Drawing Center Diepenheim.
BOERENZIJ 2018-2020 - Boerenzij / The Rural Side takes the nickname of the Rotterdam-south-bank as a starting point. With Rotterdammers it questions the supposed contradiction between the countryside and the city that dominates not only popular perception but also urban and rural planning and politics. We consider urbanisation and urban culture as synonymous with progress. In public drawing lessons on the wharfs and allotments, Feenstra commissioned artists and invited residents to engage in slow looking – harking back to a tradition of ‘en plein-air’ landscape painting that was in vogue when industry and the harbour grew. The harbour city of Rotterdam was built by people who often came from elsewhere, mainly from the countryside. And rural migration goes on. Feenstra connected with them to share knowledge and to recall memories, revealing how a rural mindset is present within urban space. The exhibition resulting from this exchange invites us to reimagine our perceptions of the city and the countryside. Bottom-up approaches were central in this, acknowledging subjective and everyday forms of knowledge. With kale dinners, kitchen table discussions and visits to local farms, she brought people in contact with one another to exchange rural knowledge and memories of the countryside. A project and exhibition with TENT Rotterdam, support by Cultuurscouts Rotterdam and Mondriaan Fund. Photo Aad Hoogenboom - TENT-installation shot 1/16 The presentation Boerenzij consists of 2 films (1 geological animation (4 minutes) and a portrait-film (25 minutes)) - 240 drawingprints and 18 balconyscenes. The object are partly a loan and the installation can be rebuild and re-sized in order to fit your rooms). In MAY 2021 a book with 3 visual essays and 2 texts is compiled by Wapke Feenstra and published with Jap Sam Books. Made in cooperation Eleonoor Jap Sam, Maarten van Maanen and Kevser Güler. 2022 Boerenzij won the Brutus Award - 2023 Boerenzij is part of Soils in the Tarra Warra Museum in Victoria, Australia.
RURAL SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS - Rural School of Economics will be a trans-local learning structure with a focus on non-linguistic rural knowledge exchange. The set up started in 2020 and will be ongoing. We as Myvillages work in 2021 with our partners in the villages Lumsden in Scotland, Pushkino in Russia and Zburazh in Belarus. We work in Germany (Alfter, Kassel and Hoefen), Italy (Pollinaria and Donna Paola) and the Netherlands (Schiermonnikoog, Brabant en Groene Hart) from 2021 as well. The Van Abbe Museum and Dutch farmers were our partners to prepare first classrooms in the Netherlands in 2021. 2022 was occupied with Lumbung and documenta fifteen. In 2023 Twente, the South of Friesland and Brezoi in Rumenia were added. The focus of the Rural School of Economics is on: o The rural as a place, a mind-set, a memory and a trans-local geography. Rural Mindsets are mobile and not just geographically defined. The school explores and recognise rural mindsets as a source of knowledge for a cultural and economic survival, that is rooted in intersectionality and interdependence. o A School is any form of organised gathering where we learn and create mutually a place for recognising undervalued knowledge and sharing knowledge. Our “classrooms” can take many different forms, they can be informal and formal, on a field or around a table with food and drinks, they focus on localised knowledge and make trans-local connections. o Economy is etymologically and fundamentally a social and cultural phenomenon that is part of our everyday. The School is an attempt to recognise and practice a different economic reality that could work for all of us. The school is made by many.
CO-FOUNDER OF MYVILLAGES 2003-NOW - Feenstra founded Myvillages with artists Antje Schiffers (DE) and Kathrin Böhm (UK/DE) in 2003. Myvillages’ work addresses the relationship between the rural and the urban, looking at different forms of production, pre-conceptions and power relationships, whilst passionately questioning the cultural hegemony of the urban. The three artists, who met in the late 1990s, develop art concepts, implement them and co-create in (mainly) rural settings. Myvillages works trans-local and in international projects which range from informal presentations to long-term collaborations, from work in private spaces to museum exhibitions, from personal questions to multidisciplinary research and publications, from foraging to building permanent infrastructures. They have set up networks between rural cultures, where they themselves come from, and the urban culture where they studied art and run a studio. The collective works worldwide and usually publishes in English or German. Wapke Feenstra is the farmer's daughter in the group. She is a co-editor of Images of Farming (Jap Sam Books 2011). And more recently The Rural - published by MIT / Whitechapel Gallery in 2019, in which she, together with Kathrin Böhm, pleads for a revision of the relationship between urban and rural areas. In March 2020, this question shifted from a principled to an existential one. Myvillages intends to use its art practices and networks in the coming years to contribute to a post-corona scenario. We will focus on formal and informal rural adaptation strategies in times of crisis, with a special focus on changing land use, food production and related skills. WEBSITES: www.wapke.nl AND www.myvillages.org THE PHOTO is made by Olga Gartman during a visit in 2019 to meet and greet the village-committee of the project Made in Zvizzchi (2012-15).
FARMERS and RANCHERS 2012-2015 - Farmers and Ranchers is a transatlantic exchange project initiated and produced with young farmers from two typical rural clichés: cowboy-land Colorado in the United States and the Dutch dairy-farming province of Friesland. Both groups enter their adult farming lives as the landscapes they work undergo tremendous change: the Frisians farm small scale below sea-level, and the sea dykes are rising, while the endless plains of Colorado suffer drought as the snow in the winter is too less to welcome enough melting water in the dry seaeson. We learn about their daily works like checking the milk-robot or roping a young steer that needs to come over to the ranch. Also seasonal tasks are shared when they clean a canal to protect the Frisian water systems or harvest American corn driving on a huge harvester. www.farmersandranchers.nl (Farmers and Ranchers consist of a film and a series of foto's and a photo-curtain. The project is a co-operation with the M12-collective in Colorado USA.) In installations the project was presented in e.g.: The Rural Side, Boerenzij, TENT Rotterdam, Rotterdam NL (solo WF); Setting the Table … , Whitechapel Gallery, London UK (solo MYV); Arts Maebashi, Maebashi JP 2015; International Village Show, 1/8 - 8/8, Museum for Contemporary Art (GFZK), Leipzig DE (solo MYV); Farmers and Ranchers, Fries Museum, Leeuwarden NL (solo WF). Part of public collections e.g.: Arts Maebashi Museum Japan Fries Museum Leeuwarden Screenings on request.
WHITECHAPEL GALLERY and THE RURAL by MYVILLAGES - A SOLO AND A BOOK (2019) Gallery 5 and 6 from 7 May – 18 August 2019 ‘The rural is a multitude and it is dynamic, it can be attached or detached from a geography, it can be a mindset, a certain practice or a shared identity.’ Myvillages (2019). Sliced rocks, frog butter spoons, bottled spirits and tractor parts are imported by artist collective Myvillages (Kathrin Böhm, Wapke Feenstra and Antje Schiffers) to reimagine the Gallery as a mental and physical space to access the rural, allowing multiple voices, experiences and expectations to meet each other. Working internationally for more than fifteen years, Myvillages collaborate with rural communities in ways that reflect and engage local cultures, economies and resources. Negotiating differences and marginalised positions, the group proposes a transnational model of self-organisation – from developing and selling products to making exhibitions, films and books. In times of deep social and political fracture Myvillages challenge preconceptions about the meaning of ‘the rural’ today, towards a new political imagination and a culture of radical solidarity and care. AND IN 2019 ALSO "THE RURAL" BOOK IN THE DoCA SERIES by MIT PRESS and WHITECHAPEL GALLERY. Wapke Feenstra is with Kathrin Böhm the editor of this book. The editing proces stems from our own practice, from working as artists in the rural while raising questions about art in general. We are passionate about questioning the cultural dominance of the urban and advocate making space and time to understand the rural as a place of contemporary culture. Artists surveyed include Lara Almarcegui, Lina Bo Bardi, Ruth Ewan, Forensic Architecture, Amy Franceschini, Fernando García-Dory, Grizedale Arts, Sigrid Holmwood, Huit Façettes, Brian Jungen, M12, Renzo Martens, Lala Meredith-Vula, Grace Ndiritu, OHO Group, RobertSmithson, Rirkrit Tiravanja, Andrea Zittel, Stephen Willats, Bedwyr Williams, Franciska Zolyom Writers include Homi K. Bhabha, Okwui Enwezor, Hal Foster, Freeyad Ibrahim, Julia Kristeva, Henri Lefebvre, Marco Marcon, Georgy Nikich, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Paul ONeill, Mike Pearson, Doina Petrescu, Tomasz Rakowski, Natalie Robertson, Marco Scotini, Vandana Shiva, Monika Szewczyk, David Teh, Colin Ward, Grit Weber, Stephen Wright.