The Piet Zwart Institute’s Master Lens Based Media is a master-level course within the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam committed to lens-based image-making as an art and craft.
The program focuses on approaching animation, photography, and the full range of contemporary cinematic forms as a single expanded field. We support new forms of analysis and creative practice that treat images as plastic, open to recombination, manipulation and shaping. Master level researchers explore the myriad ways that lens-based media art might use these new potentials in innovative ways to engage contemporary audiences.
In recent decades, our engagement with the world has become increasingly virtual. This shift has profoundly affected our relationship with and understanding of images. The global pandemic has exacerbated the situation: we now interact with the world almost exclusively through images on screens. In discussions of how the new reality is affecting people’s everyday lives, however, surprisingly little attention is paid to the role of the lens in shaping our new virtualized “being in the world.”
The artworks brought together in the exhibition Performing the Lens, all produced by 2020 graduates of the Piet Zwart Institute either as part of their degree projects or shortly after graduation, signal a re-engagement by artists with the formative power of lenses. Through reinvestigating and expanding established lens-based practices and discourse, these works explore the lens as an active tool in the construction and perpetuation of reality. Focusing on the choreography, algorithms and materiality of contemporary imagemaking, Performing the Lens stimulates new ways of being, seeing and imagining that ground us in the world again.
The exhibition Performing the Lens is curated, produced, and hosted by V2_Lab for the Unstable Media.