Living dangerously with the enfant terrible behind TodaysArt, the Netherlands' key interdisciplinary arts and music festival.
Few European festival directors can claim to have been arrested by their nation's secret service. But exactly that happened to Olof Van Winden in 2009. After running a thought-provoking promotional campaign in the lead up to TodaysArt festival, he was accused of "inciting terrorism." It was also no surprise that the same campaign was nominated for the Dutch Design Awards the following year—while Van Winden's festival direction can prove controversial to the establishment, he's a key cultural figure in the Netherlands.
Born in Kenya and coming of age in The Hague's squat scene, Van Winden helped put the city on the map in the '00s, fusing club culture with the then emerging field of media and digital arts. He's of the view that culture should move out of institutions and into the public domain, and he's often organised works that disrupt and alter public space in fascinating ways.
Speaking to RA's Holly Dicker on the eve of this year's edition of TodaysArt, Van Winden tells the story of his transformation from DIY instigator to a vital part of today's European festival landscape.