Reboot digital art Luna Maurer & Roel Wouters, Emoji is all we have, 2023(Credit Pieter Kers,

Pioneering Digital Art at Nieuwe Instituut

Digital technologies rapidly reshape our lives and societies. With REBOOT. Pioneering Digital Art the Nieuwe Instituut celebrates the pioneering history of digital art and culture in the Netherlands. Curators Sanneke Huisman (LI-MA) and Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (Nieuwe Instituut) created an exhibition around twenty ground-breaking digital artworks. All from the Netherlands from the period 1960-2000. In addition, they commissioned new work from nine contemporary makers, who took inspiration from these classics to explore how the debates they prompted remain relevant today. The expo is on display until 1 April 2024

In the late twentieth century, the Netherlands had a reputation as an adventurous pioneer in the field of digital art and culture. From the beginning of the computer revolution, Dutch artists played a crucial role in the development of digital culture. The artistic questions they raised contain the seeds of the big questions about the fundamental influence of digital technology on today’s society.

 Curators Sanneke Huisman of LI-MA and Klaas Kuitenbrouwer of the Nieuwe Instituut created REBOOT. Pioneering Digital Art to ‘reboot’ the dialogue between the past and present of digital art and culture from the Netherlands, revealing the lasting relevance of the questions asked by the artists of that time. REBOOT is therefore not just a retrospective, but an invitation to think about the future.

 Key works

Huisman and Kuitenbrouwer selected twenty ground-breaking ‘key works’ from previous decades. And nine new works by contemporary makers who were inspired by those key works. In the exhibition, four storylines take visitors along the artistic questions of the past and the techno-social questions of today: about the utopia of the internet, online identity, aesthetic development and the collaboration between humans and computers.

 The twenty key works are from the Digital Canon (1960-2000), a non-exhaustive, unfixed overview of influential digital art, which was commissioned by LI-MA in 2019. Among others on display are: video and sound painting Moiré by video art pioneers Livinus and Jeep van de Bundt (1975); Dick Raaijmakers’ large-scale loudspeaker installation Ideofoon I (1968); the animal-like cybernetic sculpture The Senster by Edward Ihnatowicz (1968-1970); the algorithmic sculpture series Breed by Driessens & Verstappen; The Hands, the series of hand instruments made by Michel Waisvisz (1984-2000); internet artwork the_living by Debra Solomon (1998); the sometimes menacing, sometimes seductive interactive audio installation Spatial Sounds (100dB at 100km/h) by Marnix De Nijs and Edwin van der Heide (2000); and the Scrollbar Composition by Jan Robert Leegte (2000).

New works

In addition, the curators asked nine makers to create a new work. A vision of the future that examines the role of technology in society, inspired by one of the key works. These makers come from an unexpected range of disciplines. To emphasize that the impact of digital culture now extends far beyond just digital art.



Photo: Pieter Kers,

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