[t]he important thing is neither what was said (a content), nor the saying itself (an act), but rather the transformation, and the invention of still unsuspected mechanisms that will allow us to multiply the transformations.
— michel de certeau, practice of everyday life
intermission museum of art (ima) was founded in 2020 by rose van mierlo and john ros, in response to the cultural, social, environmental, economic and political fissures that make themselves evermore present during times of crisis and put stress on accepted systems of operation. ima provides a space for critical thinkers to respond to these moments of friction by investigating them as meaningful sites of production, instigating dialogues which will culminate in a public archive.
inspired by examples of institutional critique, ima carries forward meschac gaba’s suggestion that the museum is “not a model… it’s only a question.” its name references this question as open space: the flipping movement of a hand searching through archives, gaps in the pavement, performance interludes, tv-commercials, coffee breaks and silent pauses; all moments of unpoliced disruption that are typically un-institutional. at its core, ima therefore proposes the museum as a site of uncertainty; a building without walls; a non-hierarchical collection of interdisciplinary narratives and voices; both a guest and a host; and an exercise in cross-pollination. it resists the architectural premise of power that underwrites the white cube, democratizing the exhibition in terms of access. instead, its architectural premise is that of lateral networks; its vision decentralized and participatory.
year long collaborations culminate into physical programs at the end of each completed volume which present additional forms of collaboration with spaces creating co-agency within hospitable forms of engagement. as a fictional museum and performative project, ima challenges the status quo on the social role of museums by engaging with its fictional structures of operation. it explores the tangible effects fictionality has in the social and economic world and suggests alternative models of exhibiting while sparking meaningful conversations. its online form enables ima to exist in several places at once and reach multiple audiences. it is neither real nor unreal, but can be read as a critical text. its second form is performative: ima is both artwork and museum. it can only exist through the hospitality of others.