Disco isn’t dead. It has gone to war.

The world through the eyes of visual artist Tony Cokes

Programme Editor

Bright colours, in your face text and thumping beats. This surprising combination of text, colour and sound, has been characteristic for the unique and striking video art of the American artist Tony Cokes. Since the 1980’s he has aimed to capture the complexity of our contemporary, capitalist society, and the role of art and pop culture in it. How do prisons like Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib use Western pop music to torture prisoners? What role do artists play in the gentrification of the city? And how should we understand the transformation of Michael Jackson? This evening we will speak with Tony Cokes about his work and his perspective on the role of art in society.

From December 22 to January 8, Cokes’ work will be exhibited. Not in a museum, but throughout the building of De Balie.

Tony Cokes

In his work, Cokes interweaves ideas from thinkers such as James Baldwin, Tino Seghal and Paul Gilroy with music by Kraftwerk, Morissey and Nancy Sinatra. His art practice reflects his vision of art. Art never stands alone, but each time acquires new meanings in political-social contexts.

Tony Cokes lives and works in Providence, Rhode
Island, where he serves as Professor in the
Department of Modern Culture and Media at
Brown University. His work has been exhibited by MoMA, the Guggenheim, Whitney Museum of American Art and Documenta, among others.

Edwin Carels

Edwin Carels is curator, writer, and lecturer and researcher at School of Arts KASK/HoGent. Carels has been active for many years as senior programmer and curator for IFFR (International Film Festival Rotterdam), where he not only coordinated the section Deep Focus, but also created thematic programmes on visual arts, music documentaries and film history. As an author, Carel publishes essays related to media archaeology, visual arts, film and animation. He was also connected to the M HKA, for whom he curated multiple exhibitions.

Maarten van Hinte

Maarten Van Hinte is actor, hiphop artist, writer and director. Together with his wife, Marjorie Boston, he is the creative brain behind productionhouse RIGHTABOUTNOW. He is inspired by African diaspora in his work and has a great fascination for language and rythm.
Van Hinte teaches cultural history and dramaturgy at the Amsterdam School of the Arts and is a guest lecturer and speaker at multiple art courses.


Tony Cokes interview De Balie
Tony CokesArtist, professor at Brown University
Edwin CarelsCurator, writer & teacher
Maarten van HinteCreative director RIGHTABOUTNOW Inc.