Cultural Matter

A Platform for Presentation, Documentation & Communication.

27 September 2017 - 10 March 2021

Cultural Matter was a public programme by LI-MA that explored digital art through curated exhibitions and events, and showcases digital artists and their works. It aimed to engage a diverse audience through site-specific exhibitions, lectures, and discussions, expanding the reach and impact of digital art. 

In our reality, digital technologies have become an omnipresent part of our lives, influencing the way we think, communicate, and exist. Artists play a vital role in this process, expanding the boundaries of traditional and new media along with reflections on society and cultures into the realm of technological transition. Cultural Matter, LI-MA’s public programme launched in 2017, is at the forefront of this intersection, serving as an international platform for the discussion and exploration of digital art. Through curated exhibitions and public events, Cultural Matter showcases prominent digital artists and their works, offering the audience insights into their materiality and significance in the ever-evolving landscape of digital art.


The first two editions of Cultural Matter were successfully held in 2017-18 and 2019-20, which featured solo exhibitions for 13 digital artists and art groups respectively Their artworks were given a new physical site-specific presentation, or a rebuilt online model by LI-MA, within the framework of Cultural Matter. The exhibitions were accompanied by a series of engaging events like lectures, talks and screening programmes which shed light on the works, and more importantly, their cultural and material implications. The leading artworks presented in Cultural Matter explored a range of compelling topics, such as consumerism of the internet, fake identities, algorithms, online culture of selfies and followers, game cheats and more. They took various creative forms, including research project, installation, video projection, GIF animation and website. At Cultural Matter, some of the works were presented for the first time outside of the museum framework, in solo exhibitions dedicated to the piece.

Site-Specific Presentation and Collaboration with Artists

In the edition of 2017-2018, Cultural Matter created a physical show and two live events for each artist. However, in face of the COVID-19 outbreak, some of the exhibitions and live events between 2019 and 2020 were moved online and thus curating strategy was adjusted accordingly. For example, an online exhibition site was set up for Rafaël Rozendaal’s recent works, deliberately designed as a novel way to exhibit the selection while taking reference from presentation in a physical exhibition space. The online model presented ten of his websites in four parallel instances, visualizing their variations to emphasize the procedural uniqueness of every instance of his works. At the same time, this presentation became a multichannel new work in itself, with each instance playing and relating to the others. To address with the unforeseen challenges brought by the pandemic, online space was created and fully utilized, allowing artists, speakers and audience to meet and discuss without crossing border.

The works selected for the series collectively address the most significant themes in the realms of technology, society, and contemporary art. Since some of the chosen works had not been previously exhibited in the Netherlands, Cultural Matter provided them with a site-specific presentation within the Dutch context. This involved close collaboration with the artists, along with the participation of numerous art critics, curators, and other experts.

Evening Events

The evening events associated with the exhibition highlighted the character of the Cultural Matter. The first evening served as an opening event, featuring an interview between the present artist and a selected expert, which offered a broader and more extensive audience engagement. The second evening involved a guest speaker who shared their in-depth personal and critical reflections, attracting a more specialized audience. With Cultural Matter emphasizing the interplay between concept and materiality, LI-MA took a step forward in terms of artistic quality, ultimately reaching a larger audience over the course of the programme. 


Sanneke Huisman and Jan Robert Leegte

For the curatorial concept and selection idea behind Cultural Matter, please read this q&a with the curators.

Promotional Materials Design

Lisa Arkhangelskaya (Rietveld Academy), Pablo Bardinet (Rietveld Academy), Alix Chauvet (Rietveld Academy), Bin Koh, Sankrit Kulmanochawong (Rietveld Academy), Sander Molenaar (ArtEZ), Marcel Nrejen (Rietveld Academy), Stefán Hjálmtýr Stefánsson (Rietveld Academy), Samuel Snyder (ArtEZ), Julie Boschat Thorez (Piet Zwart Institute), and Alice Trimouille (Rietveld Academy).

Participating Artists

  • UBERMORGEN (27 September - 8 November 2017)
  • Olia Lialina (24 November 2017 - 3 January 2018)
  • Nicholas O’Brien (17 January - 28 February 2018)
  • Harm van den Dorpel (14 March - 25 April 2018)
  • Constant Dullaart (9 May - 20 June 2018)
  • Petra Cortright (12 September - 24 October 2018) 
  • Juha van Ingen (7 November - 12 December 2018) 
  • Jonas Lund (18 September - 30 October 2019)
  • JODI (20 November 2019 - 8 January 2020)
  • Martine Neddam (19 February - 5 April  2020)
  • Rafaël Rozendaal (6 May - 27 June 2020)
  • Amalia Ulman (21 October - 2 December 2020) 
  • Jeremy Bailey (27 January - 10 March at 2021)
All events
This project was made possible with the generous support of

Header image: Olia Lialina, Summer, 2013 (installation view)