Rural Art Space

May 1, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — ruralartspace @ 8:41 am

Member of and creator of the Bibliobox
A brief introduction into creating a space for display and discurs


Ditchling “Village Convention”, was a gathering of 40 practitioners from mainly North West Europe, which took place from 20th to 22nd May 2005 in Ditchling, East Sussex, UK, to address contextual art practice in rural environments
They all brought documentation of their own art practises. I asked them at the end of the convention to give the documentation to set up a bibliobox, and Ditchling became the first collecting point for the archive. The present content is a collection via contacts from 2003 till now. More than 50 different art projects from 11 European Countries are presented and represented in the box.
On location and in action, the Bibliobox facilitates exchange and comparison of ideas in regards to the production of contextual art in the rural environment. All books, DVD’s and audio documentation in the box is about arts projects that engage actively with the context and a rural public, and the nature of the box reflects those facts.

The box itself is made from plywood and coated with polyester finish.
The Bibliobox is a travelling archive; it contains information about art projects in the rural context. To bring it somewhere it needs a host, a table and a plug.
It is a small box with big ideas and comes and goes as a mobile unit to the countryside. Like myself right now.
On invitation by a local host, the box can travel to a village and be opened up for presentations. The programme of the presentation lies within the responsibility of the host. The host may be a local artist, an art institute, a farmer, the local fire department or a village group.

In a rural context, the box offers a broader view of people living in similar situations in other rural areas. It presents an opportunity for people to share experiences from art periphery to art periphery, also through the website. The box informs on the diversity of village life and art. It invites people to make their own contribution to contemporary art. Inhabitants of rural areas are being inundated with floods of images when the countryside tries to develop new functions, but are rarely considered a potential audience for contemporary art. The Bibliobox can change this outlook.


Every country represented in the box has a small booklet in which the projects from that country are described. There is also short information about how the artists interacted with the village or rural environment. It’s the same text as on the website.

Why organize it geographically and not by artist or date or commissioner? A retired acquaintance who had worked for more than 20 years in an architecture library advised me to do this, because the box is about rural places, and what is happening there.

There are also postcards in the box to be sent around, and information sheets about the box in the local language. Today got an English information sheet in the conference map

Go to the website.
Download the contract, sign it and sent it to me.
Having the box around is for free, you only pay for the transport and insurance.
Download the manual.
The box is easier to pack out and is easier to set up than a simple camping tent.

Most people who order the box also order me or the whole group.
This costs a bit more of course.

At KCO, a cultural organization in the East of Holland, I spent for example an afternoon with six men from the cultural board of the local government. We had a workshop with rural background drawings, films from the box and me reading poetry.
At the Creative Rural Economy Conference in Lancaster we met Swedish ecological farmers and artists called Kultivator they talked about their planned Harvest Feast and asked if the BBBox could go there. Then BBBox went from Lancaster straight to Sweden – without us this time.

In the contract the host agrees to take pictures of the different presentations with the BBBox.
Pictures from each location are online, together with a small report written by the host. The report tells about the occasion, the context and an online a link to the host’s website, and we ask eachg host to suggest new entries for the BBBox.

The idea of the box is to extend the network of and connect art periphery to art periphery – spread and collect experiences and create possibilities to meet and talk about the rural art space. Inform each other about locations and local knowledge used in that area, and above all we are just curious on what happens elsewhere. So this box also has a own story and is roaming the rural for us and sometimes with us.

Wapke Feenstra is a Rotterdam based artits and member of and creator of the Bibliobox.

Contact to order the Bibliobox at info(at)

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