Avondklok – Very Special

Charlie Birch

Avondklok

Sale price Price €25,00 Regular price

Format: Soft Cover, 230 x 170 mm, hand-bound, 25 pp.

Cover: Risography with gel medium coating

Self Published.

Produced in Amsterdam

First edition: July 2021

 

‘Avondklok’: the Dutch word for curfew, captures a unique time at the beginning of 2021 that engulfed many and challenged existing notions of citizens' opinions towards governmental decision making. After tasting a return to normalcy during summer of 2020, governments began to lock down once again, only this time with more force and new tactics. Taking lead from countries such as France and Belgium, the Netherlands decided to impose a curfew, 9:30pm till 4:30am, which wasn’t received lightly. The incompatibility of blanket decision-making and representing the views of its people became starkly apparent. The question of democracy sat beneath the surface; ostensibly decisions were made beyond the power of elected individuals. Some found that to be a bitter pill to swallow.

Protests against a perceived infringement of rights sparked city-wide protests. A dystopian atmosphere began to emerge: designer shops were boarded up to protect supposedly valuable stock; flash grenades were thrown at peaceful protesters; and social media platforms such as Telegram, Snapchat, Youtube and Tiktok were used to organise meeting points, document and sometimes flaunt damages caused. 

The artist utilised the platforms to research and document the events as they unfolded, allowing him to track the protests on the ground, whilst simultaneously keeping a birds eye view across the country. Through a camouflaged immersion into these provoked groups of individuals on said platforms, the artist is able to convey his first hand experience of the uproar, whilst using social media content, to show a multifaceted depiction of the chaos.

The hedonic treadmill of daily life may cause these events to be forgotten but the questions raised by the riots should be remembered. The project serves as a reminder of this.