Processing Authorities
In collaboration with the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam (IISH)


Processing Authorities is a work in progress that evolves around an anonymous and singular group of hammers owned by the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam. These gavels belonged to chairmen and heads of commissions of revolutionary and emancipatory movements mainly related to Dutch Trade Unions - labour movements, propaganda actions, agricultural organizations, religious groups, anti-alcoholism commissions, Esperanto movements, sport associations, feminist movements to name some of them. They were accidentally grouped over the years by the Institute, without full knowledge of their histories and derivations. In the attempt to show them for the first time to the public as a collection - or as a fragment of a collection that doesn’t exist yet as such, but that could be particularly rich because of the variety and the number of the objects involved in it - I’m researching their micro- or macro-histories and their shifting symbolic meanings, to shed some light on Western cultural decision-making processes and on the visual representation of authorities. I’m studying the shape, history and potentiality of these hammers - dating back from the Nineteenth Century to nowadays - to turn them into objects of observation and discussion throughout their anthropological, psychoanalytical, social and political perspectives, re-thinking their meaning and questioning them in relation to nowadays. 



With the support of