Our cultural archive
In the 2017 Dutch election campaigns, politicians from the whole political spectrum, were talking about the Dutch national identity crisis. With quotes like “ losing the Dutch identity” and “ the normal Dutch citizen” listening to these politicians you sense a cultural bias. They take their personal idea of the Dutch identity, which is influenced by childhood, religion and the place and date of birth, and use it as the base of their opinion. This is of course a subjective approach and showcases an identity that not everyone can relay to. Of course this bias does not just occur with politicians. We all have a cultural archive in your brain making it impossible for anyone, to be a hundred percent subjective when it comes to the topic of national identity. But an important step towards objectivity could actually be acknowledging the influences that this cultural archive has on your opinion.
As a group of students with a traditional Dutch background, we investigated our own cultural archive and tried to visualize it by using childhood memories like national holidays, visiting theme parks and
watching Dutch television. These images and videos are shown in an installation that evokes the idea of a control room. Inside this room the visitor can listen to two audio files. One headset provides
statements made by politicians about a national identity. On the other headphone the same statements are being made, but narrated by a Dutch citizen with, for example a Surinamese
background. The Dutch/Surinamese accent that you can hear though his/her voice, contradicts the political statement and shows the exclusive effect it can have. These two audio tracks provide a
different approach towards the images of the Dutch identity that are presented on the screen.