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Jan Rothuizen on Open-ended Graphic Stories as Humanistic Geography

Position 19.10.2021

CA Position Lecture

Tuesday 19.10.21, 16.30 – 18.00

Online Position
Requests for access via daria.ruettimann@hslu.ch

Lecture in English

BA Visual Communication – Camera Arts
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts
School of Art and Design

By developing open-ended graphic stories with illustrations, commentaries and annotations, Jan Rothuizen invites his viewers and readers into intimate private and public social, and urban situations he has encountered during field visits.

His approach is inspired by humanistic geography, that argues that the notion of place is the reflection of one’s subjective perspective and of one’s social background. The jumps in scale and detail allow the viewer to grasp a rough, yet dense idea of what a particular context, or someone’s life, is like, while maintaining a level of abstraction that is more difficult to achieve with photographs. The non-linear interplay between image and text enables the audience to enter the narratives at different starting points, and on their own terms.

PRISON (blue), Refugee shelter (red) in the samen building. Jan Rothuizen, 2017
Mural drawing Schilderswijk. Jan Rothuizen, 2018
The Soft Atlas of Amsterdam. Jan Rothuizen, 2009
Still from Club Colombia interactive. Jan Rothuizen, 2019

Jan Rothuizen

Jan Rothuizen (1968) is a visual artist. His work has been translated into English, Spanish and Chinese. He shows his work regularly at home and abroad, at film festivals and museums. He made the interactive award-winning documentary “Refugee Republic” about a refugee camp in Iraq and the VR animated film “Drawing Room”. He is currently working on a new book and film which takes place in Colombia.

Rothuizen’s drawings are best described as written maps or graphic reportages. As an artist he discovered that the confined space of a studio was not for him. Walking around the city streets, meeting people was his way of being an artist.
He started Soft Atlas project in 2009. The title Soft Atlas refers to ‘Soft City’, a book written in 1974 by British author Jonathan Raban. His idea is that the city is where the solid concrete reality of buildings and asphalt meets the malleable, subjective experience and expectation of the people who live and work there.

Rothuizen publishes books and exhibits his works internationally. His drawings are published monthly in The Dutch National newspaper ‘De Volkskrant’. He made the prize winning interactive Documentary ‘Refugee Republic” where he looks at a refugee camp in Northern Iraq as an emerging city that blossoms. And VR Movie ‘Drawing Room’.

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