Rotterdam–Sensitive Times - Lidwien van de Ven

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Lidwien van de Ven’s Rotterdam–Sensitive Times is the fourth publication in a series of portraits, in book form, of the city of Rotterdam, that Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art has been producing in collaboration with artists who are particularly concerned with photographic medium.

Lidwien van de Ven is an artist who works in a realm parallel to the world of photo-journalism. In this politically inquisitive publication, Van de Ven chose to reverse the city-specific mandate of the project and approaches it by taking Rotterdam as a microcosm of global developments at the intersection of politics and religions, where her journey has rather taken her outside of the city borders.

Beginning with the highly polarizing murders of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and the subsequent murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh – events which have contributed to the rise of an internationally-networked right-wing populist movement whose polarizing effects on Rotterdam and the Netherlands reverberate internationally in the aftermath of 9/11 – she travelled to places such as Antwerp, Berlin, New York and Oslo to trace the resonances of the ensuing social struggle and political opportunism. The resulting photographs cast a meditative view onto a world where sensitivity to what is visible and what is invisible is continually mediated by political forces.


—Year Published


Lidwien van de Ven

Amira Gad, Nicolaus Schafhausen

English Copy-Editor
Quinn Latimer

Amira Gad, Sven Lütticken, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Monika Szewczyk, Carla Tjon

Translation into Dutch
Walter van der Star

Dutch Editors
Solange de Boer, Marjolein Geraedts

Amira Gad, Lidwien van de Ven

Maren von Stockhausen

Johann Hausstetter

PögeDruck, Leipzig, Germany

Buchbinderei Mönch OHG, Leipzig, Germany


Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

All rights reserved. © Lidwien van de Ven, authors and Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2012.

“The Political Emancipation of the Bourgeoisie” from The Origins of Totalitarism by Hannah Arendt.
© 1968 by Hannah Arendt and renewed 1996 by Lotte Kohler. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Special thanks to
Monika Szewczyk and the Witte de With staff.