Courses almost finished

My courses are almost over now. The media history was quite a challenge with speaking through a microfone, but that proved to be relatively easy. More problematic were my discs with film clips, so I had to improvise sometimes. It was great to project Vidor’s Gilda and Antonioni’s La Notte again, two quite remarkable films, even if both a bit long. Next week the last lecture on Dutch cinema & the documentary tradition, with various short Dutch films afterwards. We will finish the course with a written exam in a megasized space within the new Law building: Initium.

My two master courses are also nearing their ends. The Crossmedial Exhibition this year was an intriguing edition, not only by tackling many new texts, such as those in the recent volume A Companion to Museum Studies, but also because of the inspiring meetings with the professionals involved the exhibition in focus: Amsterdam DNA. Curator Laura van Hasselt, Mark de Jong of KossmanndeJong, Bianca Schrauwen and Joost van de Weerd of the Amsterdam Museum, and Marcel Vrieswijk and Martijn Hogenkamp of PlusOne: many thanks for stimulating sessions and for answering all the questions posed by our students, my colleague Bert Hogenkamp and myself!

Finally, our Cinematic City is also almost coming to an end, with stimulating visits to the new EYE Film Institute building, a visit to Filmmuseum Düsseldorf (including a meeting with curator Mathias Knop), an inspiring talk with former Netherlands Filmmuseum director Rien Hagen and next week a discussion with Philip Beckmann of Delugan Meissl Associate Architects (thank you!). Meanwhile the students not only compared the new EYE Institute to other European film museums, but also did extensive research on Amsterdam cinemas now and in the past. The latter also included a city walk along the former entertainment axis of central Amsterdam, passing actual and former cinemas, such as Theater Tuschinski and Duiker’s Cineac,  and even locations of now gone cinema buildings on Amstelstraat, Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk.

The course had a special new media angle, for which we collaborated with various people such as Yolande Spoelder (VU Faculty of Arts), Maurice de Kleijn and Ronny Lessche (Spinlab VU, Geoplaza), Lidia Ruitinga (VU Cartography), Karel Dibbets (, and others, using a special made, georeferenced map with Amsterdam cinemas in four different decades, visible on VU Geoplaza. So thank you all! In the future four maps of four decades will be visible, enabling research on expansion and modification of the city in relation to the development of cinema exhibition over time. This year’s course has been centered around cinemas and their immediate surroundings, so their social stratification and their interconnectedness with other cinemas nearby. So students went to various archives and visites sites to gather written and visual information, used modules to gather their information, kept log journals to document their progress in research, and filled in presentation pages to analyze the Dutch cinemas, also in comparison with foreign cinemas and with the new EYE Film Institute; almost all of this within Wikispaces. Next year we will teach the Cinematic City course again, but then with a focus on programming and audiences of Amsterdam – and foreign – cinemas.

~ by Ivo Blom on March 13, 2012.

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