The pandemic as collective liminality?

Text by Olga Mink4pages
Handwriting by Nao (Tokyo, Japan)

Text by Olga Mink

Olga Mink is currently Artistic Director of Future of Work Foundation (The Netherlands) and works as researcher for The Center of Expertise Sustainable Business at Avans University of Applied sciences.

Future of Work Foundation (FoW) is a hybrid platform for artistic research and collaborative action, with the aim of questioning the current economic system from an ideological and an everyday perspective. FoW brings new forms of collaboration around work and economy, and proposes visions, stories and practices to stimulate dialogue about what economy looks like when our needs become secondary to the demands for a healthy ecosystem and a just society. Previously, Olga worked as the director of Baltan Laboratories in The Netherlands, and co-founded several initiatives in which new economy and social innovation played a key role in bringing together art and interdisciplinary practices with communities globally. For example the program Economia, a festival about economy without the economist (on stage) and the four year global exchange program called 'Age of Wonderland’ developed together with ngo Hivos, in which collaborative projects were aimed at empowering young creative professionals and their local communities.

Handwriting by Nao from Tokyo, Japan 🇯🇵

  • How did you feel about reading the text you're assigned? Is there anything you (un)learned after re-writing it?

    The online residency may have had the disadvantage that the artists were not able to do the research in each other's countries and get to know the locals as they normally would have been able to do. On the other hand, because the physical experience was not possible, I felt that the artists could enjoy the "unknown" and "uncertain" elements and carefully draw on each other's interests. Even if artists can travel again in the future, I believe that the enjoyment of such "unknowability" as a sensation should be preserved.

  • Is there any change in your work and/or life during this continuing pandemic?

    There was a lot of preparation and response to the unpredictable. However, I also developed a tolerance for the unpredictable. I also realized that the surrounding environment (work and real life) is flexible and accepting of this, and that we have a cooperative relationship with each other.

  • Have you had any new discoveries or encounters as a result of the pandemic? If yes, what are they?

    I could discover a new community that I could not (or would not) see when I was busily commuting back and forth between work and home.

  • Have you ever felt you were imposed to follow any rule (and you don't want to follow) in your society? If yes, what and when was it?

    One of the very personal experiences was the job hunting as a college student, where a homogeneous attitude and dress (called ‘recruit-suits’) was required (or I felt required). I found no meaning or value in it, and it was one of the most resistant experiences in my immediate life.

  • During the residency with Seira and Teresa, we also spent some time thinking about how "patriarchy" in Japan and The Netherlands is considered. How is "patriarchy" considered or discussed in where you live (or your country)?

    Even if the patriarchy is not named, I think the idea of it may remain in every family, company, and society. However, on the other hand, I think there are more and more people who can say ‘no’ to that atmosphere or do not hesitate to say that they feel uncomfortable about it.

  • Similarly, how is "feminism" considered or discussed in where you live (or your country)?

    For some reason, I still find it difficult to talk about feminism casually, although I believe it is a concept that has all kinds of flexibility and tolerance and is more comfortable and accessible to talk about.

  • What does "home" mean to you? Can you consider someone who is not blood-related but still as your "family"?

    I'm always looking for ways to create an extended family that is not limited to blood relations. I believe that the diversity of ideas and ways of thinking about "home" has the potential to create peace of mind for children as well as their guardians, and to alleviate isolation and loneliness.

  • What are your (unpaid) care responsibilities at home or at work in your society as a whole? What is your first impression when you hear the word "care" (to give a hand to someone, to have sympathy)?

    Care is not something that is inherently given or expected from caregivers, but is a reciprocal process.