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The Arts of Logistics


Admission requirements

There are no admission requirements for this course.

Apply by registering for the course in Osiris or uSis.

The course is intended for 2nd, 3rd and 4th year BA students from all departments of the KABK. The course also welcomes students from Leiden University.

A maximum of 15 students in total (Leiden University and KABK) can participate in the programme.
The course will be taught in English.


In this course, students will look at and explore how logistics and logistical codes are made and manifest themselves in our daily life. We will look at how these systems can act as a privileged observatory for grasping the mutations of power, profit and production. How can your artistic practice be used to explicate the systems that envelop us? How might artistic interventions shift how we perceive our deep connections to logistical systems, and how, in turn, do these logistical systems shape who we are today? How does your artistic practice and production offer a vision of the world you want to live in?

During the course we will make use of both scientific as artistic modes of inquiry including recording, mapping, poetic and scientific sensing, visualization, and photography (and more). This is a multi-sensory process to not just make something visible, but rather, sense-able.


We will discuss the various aspects of the course including themes, topics, class debates and analyses and methods of documentation and develop a conceptual vocabulary for our semester’s exploration.
Rather than establishing fixed definitions, we want to consider how these concepts exist in various kinds of relationships with each other, and how those relationships depend on context.
Class will be structured as a lecture and intervision groups for class discussion.
Required preparation:
Students will have read the following:
Ashley Carse, “Keyword: Infrastructure” in Penny Harvey, Casper Bruun Jensen, and Atsuro Morita, eds., Infrastructures and Social Complexity: A Companion (Routledge, 2016): 27-39. 
Liam Young, ed., Machine Landscapes: Architectures of the Post-Anthropocene, Architectural Design 89 (2019)

Now that we have a general understanding of ‘logistical life,’ in this class we will start to orient ourselves – literally – by looking at maps and mapmaking techniques. We will see how the map offers far more than just an objective representation of a stable reality. We’ll use the map as a method to understand a myriad of geographic and cultural contexts. The map, in this class, is cultural artifact, political tool, and rhetorical object. You will be introduced to creative and critical mapping projects which, ultimately, will help you to supplement your field work and creative pursuits. You will start to see how maps reveal, delineate, verify, orient, navigate, anticipate, historicize, conceal, persuade, and, of course, lie.
This class will be a combined lecture and practical lesson. All readings and examples will be shown in class.
To Read:
Laura Bliss and Jessica Martin, “Your Year in Maps,” CityLab (December 21, 2020) [check out CityLab’s MapLab, and sign up for their newsletter!]
Louíse Druhle, “Critical Atlas of the Internet.” 
Uncharted [mapping the infrastructure behind cartography]. 
To Watch:
Gary Hustwit, “The Map” (2020) [film: 10:00]

This session will be based on acquiring new ‘sensing’ techniques that you will use later in the course. Here, we focus on that which can be seen, attuning ourselves to the things that we normally take for granted. Therefore, we will use a variety of different methods: photography, video, notetaking, observations, all of which can be easily felt and seen through what your eyes show you.
You will split into small groups for a “walkshop,” and venture in and through the KABK, and the surroundings of The Hague. We’ll meet briefly in the classroom to discuss the method, then send you off into the academy and its environs to observe and document various logistical and infrastructural ‘thresholds’ that you will detect, trying out the learned methods. You will choose a medium(s) of choice, and, through the act of walking, determine the infrastructural or logistical component you want to address. You will choose one logistical or infrastructural component, and ‘map’ it using an ocular-centric medium of your choosing.
This same logistical infrastructure will be used again in the following week’s class.
This work may come back in Session 6.
Required preparation prior to class:
Students will have taken a look at:
Look for networks evidenced through mundane objects: Anna Shteynshleyger and Mariana Mogilevich, “Latchkey Living,” Urban Omnibus (September 4, 2019).
Look at yourself looking: Check out Selena Kimball and Pascal Glissmann’s Observational Practices Lab at Parsons.
Look for what’s looking at you: Bettine Josties, Sensing at The New School: A Field Guide to Unattended Technologies that Pay Attention to Us (2019).

Last week, we trusted our eyes as our form of sensing. This week, our focus will be on non-visual modes of ‘seeing’ and sensing the infrastructures that are visible.
What are the larger regional networks that KABK infrastructures are connected with? What makes up these systems and where are they located? This week, we will work in a similar manner to the previous week, but this time our senses are tuned to any other form of sensing other than sight. Taste, touch, smell.
Often, when exploring logistical sites, photography and video are not allowed, but do permit sound recording. Given this ocular sensitivity, you are to use field recording techniques to document the sound of your chosen system (or its touch, taste, or smell) that you documented last week through sight.
From your recordings, produce a sound work that responds to your chosen system and sites relevant to its function. Your sound work should be 3-5 minutes long. You should also give careful consideration as to how you will share your piece. You might choose specify it as site specific or to frame it in a simple way in the academy.
This work may come back in Session 6.
Required preparation:
Explore and research other works of sound ethnography created by artists:
Christina Kubisch, Electrical Walks
Invisible 5, Audio Guide (2006)
Ernst Karel, Materials Recovery Facility (2012)
Kevin T Allen, American Transit (2006)
Paweł Wojtasik, Toby Lee, Ernst Karel, Single Stream (2014)
Lucas Ilhein, Small Soundworks for the Sleepy (2011)
Acoustic Infrastructure Issue, Continent Magazine, 2016.

In this class, we now turn our attention to looking relationally. That is, we will learn how to create an investigation into the supply chain, by looking at techniques and tactics from all different disciplines, from the humanities to human rights investigations, to artists. You will be given an introduction to supply chain investigations including an overview of the main tools, techniques, data resources and essential precautions to take. It focuses on the main actors, stages and processes of a supply chain and includes a hypothetical step-by-step investigation.
By the end of the day, you will have created your own supply chain investigation.
Required preparation:
You will choose your own object to trace.

We have been spending a few weeks getting to know the various systems of infrastructure that support us at the KABK and how they appear. Now, we want to take a little time to developing our observations and research further. In this class, we will learn about the Field Guide as an artistic vehicle for helping to gather all of your material into a comprehensive, engaging, and artistic form. The Field Guide helps us to explore and document the components, interfaces and affordances of the systems we have identified in previous classes, and functions as an artistic tool for documenting. Field Guides or manuals are published forms that simplify, catalogue and demystify complex systems.
In small groups you are to produce a field guide of your chosen system. Research and review field guides made by other artists and designers and decide how to catalogue your chosen system, how to document it and how to ultimately publish it. 
You are to write a short text(s) to be included in your guide in response to your research. These texts should contextualise your system and guide your reader through your manual.
The Field Guide will be presented during our Field Trip.
Required preparation:
Students should get familiar with artist-made Field Guides, such as:
Smudge Studio, A Typological Guide to America's Ephemeral Nuclear Infrastructure (2012)
Los Angeles Urban Rangers, Field Guide to the American Road Trip (2006)
Ingrid Burrington, Seeing Networks (2014)
Amy Balkin, The Atmosphere: A Guide(2013)
Situated Systems, Experimental Zine (2016)
Center for Land Use Interpretation, Land Use Database
Brooke Singer, Toxic Sites (2015)
Brett Milligan, Urban Field Manuals, (2013)
Jenny Odell, Power Trip, (2013)

The final two sessions will be devoted to working more extensively on your projects, an opportunity to share them within the academy, and to review what we have learned.

SESSION #8: This week we’ll design our lesson to reflect your interests. We can dig more deeply into a topic we glossed over earlier in the semester, explore an issue that’s emerged in your individual projects, organize a workshop, or welcome a guest speaker.

SESSION #9: Today we’ll briefly share our final projects in small groups, then reflect on our semester’s work.

Required preparation:

Final projects presented to group

Course objectives

Introduction of the topic and key terms: Just over fifty years ago, the invention of a single object – the shipping container – has dramatically reconfigured our daily life for what can be called ‘logistical life.’ That is, we have come to expect with the click of a mouse button that the goods we ordered will be delivered within a day or two, or the ease in which we move through the world should be as smooth as possible. A logistical life, though, is more than the fast circulation of goods. It lies at the heart of underlying transformations of our everyday life in which the extension of managerial processes have reached beyond a single sphere of economic activity, and now orders space, governs populations, and enables our daily existence as a procedural flow. In other words, logistical life seeks to flatten, lubricate, connect and smooth out the irregularities of a messy life. It is a fantasy of control that has become all too real. The question we explore in this class, is: In what ways does our integration as artists into logistical apparatuses of production provide opportunities for asserting critical attitudes, all the while enabling a disentanglement of logistical life from a life we want?
The power of art is that it can envision other worlds – alternative worlds – as a challenge to the linear trajectory that neoliberalism has laid out for us. We have to dare to imagine – but before we can, we have to situate and recognize ourselves in the entangled web of relations that logistical life creates for us.

How do we go about this? Logistics is found everywhere. Factory farms and fulfilment centres, prisons and hospitals, archives and ports, borders and mines, smart cities and big box retailers are exemplary of logistics. But so is a school. For our purposes, we will use the KABK (and all its relations) as our an initial site of investigation to conduct field research, a space that applies to everyone in this class. Based on the progress of the semester and where student interest lies, we will jointly propose a field trip to a location such as the Port of Rotterdam or a waste incineration plant.

To become attuned to the various systems that entangle us, you will be introduced to both scientific and artistic modes of inquiry including recording, mapping, poetic and scientific sensing, visualization, and photography (and more). This is a multi-sensory process to not just make something visible, but rather, sense-able.

Why/relevance for student practice: By asserting an attitude that is at once multi-sensory and sensitive, we can become attuned to the systems and structures that are a part of the everyday. In turn, we exert political awareness and agency in the artistic process, and its product.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

3 EC

Assessment method


Students will engage in a variety of working methods that span across artistic and the social sciences. Students will be exposed to a mixture of field trips, documentation, visual and aural concepts, class readings and engage with other artistic projects. Throughout the course, students will work on a variety of smaller exercises to give them a broad understanding of different tools and methods to investigate logistical life. Students engage with a critical approach to his/her/their own artistic practice in relation to systems/structures that they are able to identify themselves in or intertwined with. The student will gain insight on how to disentangle and potentially intervene/influence these systems/structures.

There are a series of short assignments with a longer final project requirement due at the completion of the course. The outcome, in consultation with the teacher, will be determined by the student. This could be a performance, audio project, photographic, film, etc. The final work must draw attention to, translate, communicate with or amplify the activities of logistical life which will then be shared with the group. In addition, students will submit a reflection of their work that contextualizes their practice in regards to a chosen logistical or infrastructural system.





Reading list


Ashley Carse, “Keyword: Infrastructure” in Penny Harvey, Casper Bruun Jensen, and Atsuro Morita, eds., Infrastructures and Social Complexity: A Companion (Routledge, 2016): 27-39. 
Bettine Josties, Sensing at The New School: A Field Guide to Unattended Technologies that Pay Attention to Us (2019).
Ingrid Burrington, Networks of New York an Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure. Brooklyn: Melville House, 2016. 
Jesse LeCavalier, “All Those Numbers: Logistics, Territory, and Walmart,” Places Journal (May 2010).
Victor M. Sanz, “Welcome to Futureland,” Volume 49 (2016): 33-38.
Allan Sekula, Fish Story. (MACK, 2018). 
Scott Shane, “Prime Mover: How Amazon Wove Itself Into the Life of an American City,” New York Times (November 30, 2019).
Anna Shteynshleyger and Mariana Mogilevich, “Latchkey Living,” Urban Omnibus (September 4, 2019).
Liam Young, ed., Machine Landscapes: Architectures of the Post-Anthropocene, Architectural Design 89 (2019).

Discard Studies. Accessed February 25, 2021. 
Selena Kimball, and Pascal Glissmann. Observational Practices Lab. Accessed February 25, 2021. 

Allan Sekula and Noel Burch, The Forgotten Space, directed by Allan Sekula and Noel Burch (2010; doc.eye Amsterdam), film.

Artistic Projects: “Kevin T. Allen: Sound Art.” Kevin T. Allen | Sound Art. Accessed February 25, 2021. 
Amy Balkin // atmosphere. Accessed February 25, 2021. 
Ingrid Burrington. Experimental Zine. Accessed February 25, 2021. 
The Center for Land Use Interpretation. Accessed February 25, 2021.  “Field Guide to the American Road Trip.” Field Guide To The American Road Trip | Los Angeles Urban Rangers. Accessed February 25, 2021.  “Invisible 5: Audio Project.” invisible5. Accessed February 25, 2021.  “Listen to Ernst Karel Recordings - The Wire.” The Wire Magazine - Adventures In Modern Music. Accessed February 25, 2021.  “Ernst Karel, Toby Lee, and Pawel Wojtasik, Single Stream.” e-flux. Accessed February 25, 2021. 
Christina, Kubisch. “WORKS / ELECTRICAL_WALKS.” Christina Kubisch. Accessed February 25, 2021. 
Brett, Milligan. “Urban Field Manuals.” Free Association Design, November 7, 2012. 
Jenny, Odell. jenny odell • power trip. Accessed February 25, 2021. 
Repository: A Typological Guide to America's Ephemeral Nuclear Infrastructure. Accessed February 25, 2021. 
Brooke Singer. ToxicSites. Accessed February 25, 2021.


There are no admission requirements for this elective course.

For KABK students: Register in OSIRIS before (date and time TBA).

For Leiden University students: register in uSis before (date and time TBA).

Max. 10-15 students can be admitted for the course.

Full attendance is obligatory in order to receive study points towards the Individual Study Trajectory (IST).

For questions Emily Huurdeman, coordinator of the lectorate, at

Leiden University students: Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


For questions about the courses in the Art Research Programme, please contact Emily Huurdeman, coordinator of the lectorate, at


About the lecturer
Prior to photography, Donald Weber (1973, Toronto) was educated at the Ontario College of Art and Design and worked as an architect with Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship. His diverse photography projects have been exhibited as installations, exhibitions and screenings worldwide, including the United Nations, Museum of the Army at Les Invalides in Paris, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum. 
He is head of the Master Photography & Society at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, and is a PhD candidate at Leiden University/PhDArts.