Tools for Action explores the intersection between art and activism. Tools for Action acts as a platform for collaboration between artists, educators and activists. The group uses the production of inflatable sculptures as a community-building element and as a means for intervention. Tools for Action aims to practice alternative forms of social engagement and resistance and open the way for experimentation.
Tools for Action is founded in 2012 by the artist Artúr van Balen. In 2017, Tools for Action received the Award for Cultural Education of the Federal Ministry of Culture and the Media for the project Mirror Barricade together with Schauspiel Dortmund.
The Stichting Tools for Action Foundation was founded in September 2019 in order to support the collaborative activities of Tools for Action artist group.
Tools for Action is directed by
Artúr van Balen (Creative director)
Shailoh Philips (Head of Research)
Research Agenda Tools for Action
The current activities of Tools for Action focus on generating space for rethinking our relationship to the past and the future. We are interested in tapping into historical narratives of resistance and contestation and finding ways of collective remembering and commemorating that do not fixate on a single dominant perspective. We focus on exploring and intervening in memory cultures, forgotten places and histories that need to be revisited, by creating site-specific interventions in contested urban space, such as squares, monuments, shrines. The research activities of Tools for Action will work in generating a deeper contextual understanding of such sites of contestation and reopening and activating layers of shared meaning connected to these places.
In the coming year, Tools For Action will work on evaluating past projects as we move forward. We will look at the following aspects of past interventions:
- CONTEXT: what was the cultural and site-specific context, issues and fields of tension? Which histories and contested narratives were addressed? Who were the partners and participants and how did they relate to this context?
- IMPACT: What was the residu, the aftermath, the effects on the short and long term of interventions? How did interventions circulate in public imagination, media and visual culture? Did any kind of shift occur in the participants or cultural discourse?
- ACTION: what happened during the intervention? How were things choreographed and planned in spontaneous ways?
- PREPARATION: what steps were taken in order to prepare? How were decisions made? How did the collaboration, training and negotiation of action in public space materialize? What parts were planned and how did the intentions turn out?
The aim of this preparation is to generate a clearer pedagogical, artistic and collaborative vision of how to prepare for collective action, to make the working process more transparent and to share the tools for action that we have developed in previous projects.
Videos of actions from 2012 -2018More Videos