THE INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL MURDERS QUARTET GAME
Arjan Onderdenwijngaard 2009/2011
The International Political Murders Quartet game is composed of 15 quartets of murdered politicians and people who were murdered for reasons of birth, religious or political faith, because of their opinion or the right of freedom of speech or press.
Besides that there is one quartet consisting of people who are severely under threat because of their opinions or publications.
The game consist of 64 playing cards (74 mm X 105 mm). The work was specially made for the group exhibition ‘Democracy in Action, an artist point of view’, organized by the Eutopia Foundation in Amsterdam and was firstly exhibited as a single copy, in a small, black, enamelled coffin in the city hall of The Hague in September 2009.
The message I want to convey with my work is that people all over the world and throughout history, regardless of race, age or gender have been assassinated because they stood up for what they believed in, or because they were in a position of power, or because they dissented from the ruling majority. The individual is often a victim of the situation, the time he lives in and the choices he makes at that moment or doesn’t make, conscious or not.
As the game shows, anywhere in this world both dictators as well as revolutionaries are assassinated. Both freedom fighters and opposition leaders as well as heads of state. Some of them became icons for generations to come, others were forgotten soon. Offender and victim are often the same. Heroes to some of us, crooks to others. It’s in the eye of the beholder. Everything has two sides: one dark and one bright. It’s up to the public to decide. Standing up for one’s idea’s, rights, religious or political faith or against the ruling political power is still a dangerous affair. One can be threatened or murdered for it.
Most of us chose to stay out of the spotlights of politics and power and prefer a trouble free life and only comment (mostly anonymous and in safe surroundings) from a distance. Only a few of us take up (political) responsibility and make choices and speak out, with all the risks attached.
Early 2011 Oscar Motuloh, curator of Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara, the gallery of Indonesia’s National Photo Press Agency was the first to recognize the strength of the message I want to convey and invited me to exhibit the game again. In the autumn of that year Rumah Kahanan produced a totally adjusted version under the supervision of Prita Indrarini. The quartets were graphically altered by me, two replaceable Dutch quartets were turned into Indonesian quartets and recently murdered people entered the game and replaced others.
For a impression of the exhibition and the opening, please see this report by Antara TV Links to reviews you can find at the end of this page
In stead of exhibiting a real size game, we decided to print the 16 quartets poster size on cardboard and picked out 8 cards to blow them up as well.
The exhibition was opened on the 2nd of December 2011 by human rights activist, journalist and publicist Goenawan Mohammed and at the International Human Rights day on December 10th a discussion was held with representatives of the National Commission on Human Rights and journalists.
A real size playable version of the game was printed in a 500 copies edition as the catalogue for the exhibition. Besides that T-shirts with the complete game on it were sold to the public.
This way of presenting and exhibiting my quartet game has become standard from now on. It’s a very dynamic and adjustable game. Two quartets are totally adjustable and individual cards can be replaced by others to adapt to the present and country of exhibition.
I hope to exhibit my International Political Murders Game in as many countries as possible in the years to come. Will you be the next to make it possible and join me to spread the Pro Human Rights Virus in your country and amongst your friends?
Links to reviews of the exhibition: