“Everything that would be good for the world”

Today we went to the Pietje Bell lecture of Tinkebell. The Pietje Bell lecture is an annual lecture organized by the Dutch newspaper NRC and the Kunsthal (which is a sort of museum). The aim of this lecture is to give people with remarkable or unusual opinions a stage to share their ideas. This year the lecture was given by Tinkebell, whom we love.

Most people who know me (or Anne) don’t really understand our love for Tinkebell, because on the face of it she seems to contradict everything we believe in. But the key element here – and also the key element in the work of Tinkebell – is to look deeper than the surface. What I love in Tinkebell is that her art makes me rethink the things I do and the things I think, it makes me critically reflect on the way I live my life and makes me very conscious about why I do certain things and make certain decisions. This doesn’t mean that we agree on everything, but it isn’t about that. It is about consciously living your life, and not settling for anything less. If you don’t have knowledge on certain things that are part of your life, then educate yourself. If you want to form an opinion and contribute to debates, if you want to change things in the world, but also if you want to live your life the best that you can: be critical. Be educated. Live conscious.

That is what I take from the art of Tinkebell, and that is also what her lecture tonight (at least to me) was about. The lecture consisted of two parts: one part was a film in which Tinkebell read a statement about a better Netherlands, and the second part was a speech in which the filmed statement was used to critically reflect on todays society. Tinkebell stated that in todays Dutch society, it has almost become a sin to be educated and to be intellectual. It is the authority of stupidity that rules. This plays a part on several levels. It starts with politics, where everything has to be understandable for everyone. Therefore statements are dumbed down. Also, political strategies and policies are more and more based on poor knowledge about what is actually going on (striking example is that the State secretary of Education, Culture and Science himself claimed not to know anything about art. He also claimed that it didn’t matter). Being ill informed is not only custom within politics, but has also become the standard within public debate: it doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about the subject, just make a swooping statement to your friends and you’re all good. The film Tinkebell made was for the larger part a collage of these kinds of swooping statements.

Tinkebell asked us tonight to go out into the world and share the knowledge we have and to motivate people to educate themselves. She closed the lecture with the following words (translated into English by myself): “Let knowledge reign our country again. Let knowledge reign our world again. Because that is a good thing. Good for us, but most of all good for the world.”

Thank you Tinkebell, for making awesome art that inspires me so much!

Words: Mirjam. Image is taken from the printed copy of the lecture.

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