Theory — 27 Mar 2020

Curated by Ola Hassanain and Casco Art Institute (with Nina bell F.).

€ 3,- (excl. museum entrance) / Rietveld students free with registration

Teijin Auditorium, livestream in studio A
27 Mar, 10 am until 6 pm
Main language
In line with national policy relating to the coronavirus, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam will be temporarily closed for visitors until April 6 2020.

Colour... is new each time

— Roland Barthes

If colour is fixed, does it reflect a lack of world, or others’ impotence when it comes to inhabiting it? To ‘relate’ to colour implies there is a ‘common’ and objective understanding in play that we are outside of. Its fixity is synonymous with generating the iconography of speaking on behalf of others. Further, to be able to ‘relate’ requires a willingness to labour from within the fixity of colour. This day is a composition in which multiple positions interrogate contemporary world-making views built on fixed genealogies of colour. Colour and a ‘habitable world’ are often in conflict; composition here offers an imagining, an assemblage of bits of representations and practices whose work is the world worked on – through. The intention is to linger and become orientated when ways of inhabiting the world have been deactivated on a structural level. There, inquiry is set aside, while the processes of a world predicated on the fixed space of colour perseveres and insists that we follow suit. Is it possible to meander through that which is fixed? How can we identify it, who does the labour of navigating the fixity of colour, and how can we eradicate the violence enabled by the structures rooted in this fixity? How can we give way for inquiry to align with a habitable world? Can this be done from within institutions? Instead of the word ‘colour’ as fixed quotidian environment, let’s consider the analytical frameworks and conversations that arise from the unwillingness of colour. Contributors highlight means of inhabiting in their research in a dialectic between a world predicated on colour and one we can live in.

Talks, videos, and performances by Nermin Elsherif, Quinsy Gario, Egbert Alejandro Martina, Ying Que, and Simone Zeefuik.

With thanks to Adeola Enigbokan for insightful conversations.


Since early on in her architectural career, Ola Hassanain has utilized a growing sense of frustration over the gulf between academia’s architectural theory and real-world actualities of the built environment. As she pursued advanced degrees, she trained her focus on the subtle politics of space – namely, the ways built spaces react to and reinforce violence against certain bodies in space. Her interests centre around public space, public policy, and government regulation. When her family was forced out of Sudan by crisis-fuelled diaspora, her fascination with the relationship between architecture and the landscape, territories, and ways the built environment reflects, responds to, and shapes the lives of those who inhabit it, increased. Her most recent work explores the idea of ‘space as discourse’ – a launch point for discussions around an expanded sense of space, encompassing the influence of politics and the environmental needs of citizens.

ABOUT Nina bell F. / Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons

Nina bell F. are many with multiple heads, hearts, and bodies, made up of those who are in, with and beyond Casco Art Institute in the front and in the back, near and far, past and future. Therefore, Nina’s pronouns are she/they. They are a constellation connected but also under and outside this organization. As a feminist figuration, Nina works towards the institution’s most radical, collective imagination. Better than us all even when combined as a team, Nina are an ethical entity to live up to, and at the very least, a proposition. The collective figure of Nina bell Federici (Nina bell F.) stems from the shared admiration for the artistic, Black, feminist, and political engagements of Nina Simone, bell hooks, and Silvia Federici. Nina emerged in the context of the Site for Unlearning (Art Organisation) project convened by the Casco team and artist Annette Krauss, and, among others, lives on through the study line at Casco, which questions social norms and structures and takes on the process of unlearning oppressive institutional habits for a more commoning practice. Nina bell F. challenge the team to think beyond (institutional) frameworks of Casco and artist, and inspire work towards relationalities that support the fight against social injustices in the here and now. On this occasion, Nina is represented by Binna Choi (director Casco Art Institute, Utrecht), Annette Krauss (artist and course leader, MA Fine Art, HKU, Utrecht), Yolande van der Heide (exhibition curator, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven), and Ying Que (anthropologist and freelancer, Utrecht).


Studium Generale Rietveld 2019—2020 focuses on histories, politics, and perceptions of colour in the creation and understanding aesthetic forms, social structures, and embodied experiences. Colour structures our daily life and our actions, our relationships with others and the spaces in which we live. Within different historical and cultural contexts, however, colours have very different symbolic, psychological, material, and socio-political meanings. Relating (to) Colour wants to see colour in art, science, technology, and life beyond the purely symbolic and aesthetic and not as self-evident or universal, but as a physical, material, cultural, and political phenomenon. We try to understand colour not only as visual, sensual, or textual but especially as a lived experience and relational concept that creates affect and agency.

Guest curators: Stefano Harney, Patricia Pisters, Ola Hassanain & Casco Art Institute, Taka Taka.

More information and a detailed program online soon.

Website Relating (to) Colour: