Studium Generale Rietveld Academie is an extensive transdisciplinary theory programme that addresses students and faculty at all departments of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. It regularly opens up to broader audiences. Studium Generale wants to show how art and design are linked with other domains (from the personal to the political, from the vernacular to the academic), how our ‘now' is linked with past and future, our ‘here' with ‘elsewhere'. 

In the belief that art students can only learn to think independently when knowledge, imagination and reflection combine to work together in an unorthodox and critical way, Studium Generale Rietveld Academie embarks every year on slightly unruly and therefore always exciting research trajectories. Annually selected curators and numerous guest lecturers from all over the (art)world propose a wide variety of entry points to contemporary discourse.

Studium Generale Rietveld Academie 2021–2022:

Oceanic Imaginaries

How can we liquefy our ways of being? How can we think from and with the ocean?

image: Video still from: Dominique Knowles, Tahlequah (2019)

In 2021-2022 Studium Generale Rietveld Academie takes a deep dive into the ocean. Through the reflective surface and from our own liquid bodies, we imagine the ocean as a sensorium that feels, perceives, registers and creates.

Most of what happens in the ocean, we cannot perceive with our own senses. Yet we are doing enormous damage to it. The ocean should therefore also be considered a ‘critical zone’ threatened by human activities and greedy extractive economies.

If we take the ocean as a discontinuous and asynchronous time-space, this critical zone also includes histories of exploitation, fear and death: from transatlantic slave trade to contemporary boat refugees and coastal and islanders displaced by sea-level rise.

What is an ocean in terms of ideology? What kind of power relations are at work and how can we create a new sensitivity and awareness of what is outside our own sensory or biased system?

From another perspective, the ocean can also be experienced as a transformative and immersive space: a space of affect and metamorphosis in which bodies and identities become fluid, and in which human and non-human entities meet.

How can we liquefy our ways of being? How can we think from and with the ocean?


With talks, workshops, reading groups, a walking club, screenings, publications, an exhibition (Rietveld Uncut) and a multi-day conference festival in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Oceanic Imaginaries will explore our relationships with the ocean from different angles and disciplines and from different scales.


More about the conference festival

More about the exhibition Rietveld Uncut


Jorinde Seijdel (Head)
Jort van der Laan (Coordinator)

For updates on previous editions or upcoming events and activities, visit the Studium Generale Rietveld Academie website:

Archive: 2021, 2020, 20192018, 20172016 - 2000