Heterotropics is an independent research and curatorial platform operating in Amsterdam since 2016. Unfolding through different chapters and collaborations, it looks at the immaterial and material remnants of colonial desire and exotic projection in the city. Arising from the linguistic intimacy between “trope” and “tropic,” Heterotropics is a fictitious concept relating language, space and
The première of a new lecture performance Heterotropics #3 by Colombian artists Milena Bonilla and Luisa Ungar at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Milena Bonilla and Luisa Ungar have been invited to develop a new version of their lecture performance Pavilion. Conceived as a site-specific intervention, the performance tackles the legacy of The International Colonial and Export Exhibition (“Internationale Koloniale en Uitvoerhandel Tentoonstelling”) that took place in Amsterdam in 1883.
The exhibition, the first international exposition with an official colonial theme, was organized in what is now Museumplein and on the ground floor of the Rijksmuseum — at the time under construction. Besides showing artifacts from the colonies, entire native dwellings from overseas were erected and inhabited by indigenous peoples, treating visitors to an encounter with the exotic. Allegedly, it was the great success of the fair –which attracted approximately 1 million visitors– that prompted the development of the area into the main cultural hub of the city, suggesting a continuity between colonial exhibitions and the establishment of modern museums.
Pavilion explores the traces left by a witness of the Internationale Koloniale en Uitvoerhandel Tentoonstelling on the sites of its historical materialization. Looking into images from the exhibition, the artists elaborate on the relationship between specific documents, objects and scenarios that this observer was reflecting upon while visiting the show. Blending archival material and fiction, this lecture performance follows the specters of colonial spectacles in a short-circuit between past and present.
Heterotropics' different chapters form an expanded performative exhibition, which attempts at disrupting the colonial apparatus of exhibition making and museological displays, as well as to unsettle the taxonomy of history and archives.