Fluid Rhythms: Urban Networks and Living Patterns

Open Set Programme 2018-2019, Amsterdam Zuidoost | Summer School, Labs, Seminars and Symposiums

“The crowd is a body, the body is a crowd” — Henri Lefebvre

Life in the city both repeats itself, and is constantly changing. Situated in the Bijlmer, one of Amsterdam's most vibrant neighborhoods, Open Set launches a new programme, dedicated to exploring the potential of rhythm in the city. The movement of bodies in space; financial transactions; the circulation of sounds, cells, and smells; changing social constructs that divide and connect people; the flow of microscopic substances—such looping patterns generate dynamic complex structures, or ‘rhythms’, that shift over time. In the words of Caroline Nevejan: “Where there is rhythm, there is life”. Understanding and working with such dynamic complexities requires careful attunement to the interactions between social, imagined, and physical realms.

The participants of this international and interdisciplinary programme will be engaged in the exploration on the potential of rhythm-led practices as common ground for research and artistic work. This means both providing tools to perceive rhythms, as well as tools to tap into their generative potential. Rhythms occur on multiple levels at the same time, in the macro-level structures of the city, within the cells of bodies, and in the interconnections between mind, emotion, brain and heartbeats. By investigating the intertwined patterns of change, a world of subtle complexity starts to reveal itself to us in how humans, machines, animals, and microbes interact and coexist. 

Artistic interventions can take on any form, whether they are sound, food or image-based formats, performances or digital applications — offering the opportunity to discover new, invisible or forgotten rhythms, to find the points of friction and blind spots and to transform and harness the power for social and ecological change. Eventually, working with rhythms is a way of synchronizing our efforts in acting and living together in a network society.

Read about the programme on Open Set website:


Summer School: Fluid Rhythms

15—25 Aug 2018
Amsterdam Zuidoost (South East)

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The Summer School is the catalyst for a seven-month programme ‘Fluid Rhythms’ in the fields of arts, design, urban planning, performance, and humanities. This intense programme provides a unique opportunity to experience a diverse set of concepts and methods related to ‘rhythm’, within the context of the Bijlmer, — one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Amsterdam, once envisioned as an urban utopia and (in)famous for being called the "city of the future".

LAB: Practicing Rhythm

Oct 2018–Feb 2019
Amsterdam Zuidoost (South East)

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The LAB offers a context to develop new practice-based research projects within a seven-month programme ‘Fluid Rhythms’. The Lab aims to address the key practices and methods of ‘rhythm’ in the fields of arts, design, urban planning, performance, and humanities. Being situated in Amsterdam Zuidoost, Bijlmer neighborhood, supported by the local cultural institutions, and informed by people actively involved in the life of local communities, the programme provides a unique opportunity to work within the context of one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Amsterdam, once envisioned as an urban utopia and (in)famous for being called the "city of the future".


Seminar: Rhythmanalysis in Context


21 Aug 2018–9 Feb 2019
In Amsterdam Zuidoost, or join online from anywhere

The Seminar offers both theoretical and practical context to the theme of ‘rhythm’, as part of the seven-month programme in design, art and humanities Fluid Rhythms, which consists of a Summer School and LAB as well. The Seminar aims to address the key concept of ‘rhythm’ in the fields of arts, urban planning, performance, and humanities and will be hosted in collaboration with the scientific consortium Designing Rhythm for Social Resilience

. Together we investigate rhythm-led practices as common ground for research and artistic practice. The seminar is open to practicing artists and designers, as well as researchers from different disciplines, interested members of the local community, activists, educators, curators and social servants, who are curious to discover the relevance of rhythms for their practice.


Symposium Fluid Rhythms

16 August 2018, 16.00–20.00
Location: Imagine IC

This symposium is a public launch of the seven-month programme 'Fluid Rhythms'. It aims to explore the potential of rhythm as a lens through which we look at the complex urban fabric — the tunings and frictions between multiple elements of a city.

Invited Experts

  • Nadia Christidi — writer, artist, PhD researcher at MIT: 'Bird Song in Bijlmermeer: The Poetry and Politics of Intimate Entanglements' 
  • Satinder P. Gill — researcher, University of Cambridge: 'Rhythm in Human Sense-making'
  • Anton Kats — artist, musician: 'Radio Delo'
  • Pinar Sefkatli — architect, PhD researcher, University of Amsterdam: 'Designing with Rhythms'
  • Mike Thompson — art, design & research collective Thought Collider: 'Making Waves'
  • Noam Toran — artist: 'The Natives are Restless'


Symposium Fluid Memory

27 January 2018
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

While presenting the development of the Open Set Lab program we aim to inspire new debates and artistic research around archival matters. We invite the audience to engage in a conversation about the subjects and questions that have been at stake during the program: What are the conditions for rethinking our contemporary relations to the historical material, or reshaping public debates around it? What is the role of artists in this process and if / how it can be done through artistic means? Is there an artistic practice of remembering that can determine our relation to the present and future? At the same time, we highlight the potentials for collectively building and re-shaping archives – and (collective or individual) memory – from the bottom up. In particular, we focus on the use of digital tools to activate archival processes and records, and, how archiving or appropriating archives in general can be used as tools in social movements, as ways to collectively (re)shape public debates.

Our special guests to address these questions include:

  • Ernst van Alphen | Professor of Literary Studies, Department of Film and Literary Studies, Leiden University;
  • Tina Bastajian | Media Artist, Archival/cross-media Dramaturge, Educator;
  • Carolyn Birdsall | Assistant Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam;
  • Annet Dekker | Assistant Professor Archival Science, University of Amsterdam, and Curator;
  • Matteo Marangoni | Artist and Curator, Instrument Inventors Initiative.

Alongside the presentation of the selected research projects and themes developed during Open Set Lab, this conference also sees the launch of the new edition of the Open Set Reader. The Reader has been developed by the students of the Master in Design Curating & Writing at the Design Academy Eindhoven.



The programme is made possible by the support of the City of Amsterdam Zuidoost, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Het Pauwhof Fonds, CBK Zuidoost, and has been organized in collaboration with the research group Designing Rhythm for Social Resilience (2018–2022). The visit of Nadia Christidi is made possible by Het Nieuwe Instituut with support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Afbeelding credits

Header afbeelding: openset_fluid_rhythms_symposium_2018.jpg