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FLAG OF COMPASSION

History

The artwork Flag of Compassion is driven by the question: how are life, art and politics related to each other nowadays? The conceptual artwork Flag of Compassion is investigating this issue by practical and theoretical research. With the object, the Flag, as well as with the word compassion itself, the artwork tries to activate different communities and individuals to express and show their ideas about the concept.

Since Flag of Compassion is mainly functioning in public space, Rini Hurkmans (the initiator) started an extensive research project, within the LAPS research group of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, in 2010 with the artwork as starting point.

SSG (Small Science Group)
Period of existence: April 2011 up to December 2012
Theoretical research that investigates the functioning of the artwork Flag of compassion.
Average of 9 members, 1st meeting 21-04-2011, 10 meetings

As part of LAPS research, Rini Hurkmans brought together a group of students and alumni of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the University of Amsterdam, the SSG, to analyze and discuss together several point of views of the artwork. This resulted amongst others in the refining of the Manifest and the Atlas Flag of Compassion.
The Atlas, an overview or map that reveals how the artwork functions, shows the topics, questions and contradictions that the work touches upon. To finalize the research all participants of SSG wrote an essay or made a visual presentation.

The final Atlas Flag of Compassion, designed by SSG, serves as the backbone for the next step of the research. Several thinkers, writers and artists discussed and researched from philosophical, ethical, aesthetical and sociological perspectives what Flag of Compassion is about.
This gave rise to the book Compassion, A Paradox in Art and Society. This book is compiled by Jeroen Boomgaard (lecturer LAPS), Rini Hurkmans (also initiator of the book) and Judith Westerveld (artist, alumnus GRA) and in 2017 it is published by Valiz as part of the series Making Public. Three participants of the SSG developed and deepened their essays and these are included in the book.

Working Group of the Flag of Compassion
Period of existence: January 2016 up to March 2017
The artwork Flag of Compassion as meeting point to induce a critical dialogue.
Average of 17 members of which 9 actively engaged, 1st brainstorm session 31-03-2016, 10 meetings

In January 2016 the Working Group Flag of Compassion was established. The members of the Working Group are young people from different nationalities and backgrounds. The group consists of philosophers, designers, radio makers, students, artists, political scientists, management consultants, cultural analysts and musicians. Once a month they meet each other at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.
During these meetings they talk about the topics, strategies and paradoxes that exist within the artwork. The members discuss about the concept of compassion and the Flag. They are also thinking about the question how the Flag can keep functioning. The Working Group is appointed to study and report on the artwork Flag of Compassion and make recommendations based on its findings. Together they initiate, each with their own expertise, projects and they invite a diverse group of people and parties. The Working Group tries to activate and stimulate people and groupings to contemplate the meaning of compassion and to voice their interpretation by means of the Flag.

These meetings resulted in several acts/events, like the act during the referendum, about the association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, and De Parade of Ieder 1.
During the brainstorm sessions several guests were present as well, for example:
- Henkjan Laats, director of Cultural Bridges, who received his PhD in conflict transformations.
- Mohannad Sharrouf, he fled from Syria where he studied English language and literature. Now he is an intercultural communicator and he gives lectures about the relation between Syria and The Netherlands.
- Marjolein Frijling, editor in chief of AmsterdamFM. The radio station is always live from the OBA and they had a conversation with the Working Group about the even 180 Amsterdammers.
- Tanja Karremans en Agnes Voskamp are, respectively, director and coordinator of Nieuw Dakota, platform for contemporary art in Amsterdam North. They invited the Working Group for a collaboration.
After several meetings and discussions within the Working Group the idea for Making Waves developed.

A subgroup of the Working Group Flag of Compassion set up the first edition of Making Waves. During the preparations of Making Waves 1 the meetings of the Working Group Flag of Compassion stopped.

Making Waves 1
Period of existence: December 2016 – June 2017
Making Waves is a nomadic movement involving Flag of Compassion. With new collaborations it tries to influence the process of awareness of ethical questions within society.
1st meeting 13-12-2016
Coordinator Didi Lehnhausen, Tanja Karreman, Rini Hurkmans

Making Waves 1 is a collaboration between Nieuw Dakota and the Unda Foundation (manager of the artwork Flag of Compassion). The artists Didi Lehnhausen and Suzanne Bernhardt invited young makers, Wave Makers, to make works that were connected to Flag of Compassion.
The event takes place 2-3-4 June 2017 at Nieuw Dakota. During this Whitsun weekend there were a lot of things to see and experience with an exhibition and a peripheral program, consisting of: several performances, films, artworks, lectures, a roundtable talk, a radio program, and a special dinner.

The intention of Making Waves is to create a space for meetings, dialogues, and confrontations. The Flag challenges to reflect and makes happenings and the exchange of experiences possible. Making Waves brings Flag of Compassion in a new phase, to go in more depth by connecting the Flag to new surroundings, instead of an individual or occasion. Making Waves doesn’t work with a fixed ‘format’, but it exists within a varied group of people who, adjusted to the situation, together with the concerned group, community or institute discover and develop a new interesting program.

The Making Waves Team is currently looking for new collaborations.