(edited by) Sanneke Huisman, Marga van Mechelen – A Critical History Of Media Art In The Netherlands. Platforms, Policies, Technologies


Jap Sam Books, ISBN-13: 978-9492852144, English, 368 pages, 2019, The Netherland

The Netherlands have a specific history of media art, which is recounted in this perfectly laid out, full colour volume. Huisman and van Mechelen edit it through a few core people, able to reconstruct the parallel history of artists, organisations, venues and media in the country. One of the most original chapters is arguably “Government Policy”, which gives a public account of the relationships between the governmental funding institutions and the organisations over the years. It unveils the underlying, yet foreign, bureaucratic and financial infrastructure, which enabled almost all of the impressive outcomes that have been narrated, described and reported in the other chapters. In the unfolding of these subsequent chapters, a need to remark on the efforts and the accomplishments of the different entities, emerges. The editors consider the time period between 1985 and now, admitting that the purpose was not to write an omni-comprehensive history. Nonetheless, this is an important effort, and arguably an instructive reading for both those who have been present for at least some of the mentioned events and exhibitions, and those who have not. Eventually, the trajectory of this historical contribution acknowledges quite a few protagonists, who have supported in many different ways the scene over the years, including the memorable Alex Adriaansens (V2_).