The Protest Supplies Store (PSS) is an artist-run organisation erected in 2017. The PSS develops subversive protest utilities and offers those - non-profit - in an online web shop, and on occasion in pop-up stores.
The store has a growing range of products which respond and correspond to different forms of protest, either as an alternative method to protest or as an supportive structure. the PSS's aim is to unlock new domains for protest; to emancipate the discourse into the contemporary - adapting to new issues and new ways of engagement in our politically complex contemporary world. The term 'protest' delineates one of the most important means of political engagement and stems from the linguistic expression of "witnessing, declaring publicly" and almost always takes place in the public space. "The public space is designed, organised and maintained by the government, and that government and its policy is precisely against which most protests are organised." (Eef Veldkamp) This makes the public domain important for protest, but at the same time problematic: it encapsulates protest within a realm completely designated by current-affairs politics.
In order to open up new, more intimate spaces in which political engagement can take place and thrive, this organisation, the Protest Supplies Store, had to take shape where protest in its current form would never work: a store. Not only because for protest one needs materials, in the same manner as one need the hardware store for construction, and as a supportive platform to the practice, but more importantly because the form 'store' is the contemporary gateway to the private, and it is in the realm of the private where opinions are shaped, politics is discussed, and the social is related to one's own life. Home, for example, is the equinox of political formulation. Henceforth it is a domain with great political potential, that in our current form of protest (massive amounts of people, publicly) is often negated, even though it houses the essential engagement that gives birth to the necessity for protest.
Following this thought - and many more - The PSS offers a wide ranges of products, workshops and texts subverting and investigating protest, unveiling new forms and utilities to perform protest otherwise. The PSS is occasionally kindly supported by public funding. Currently (2020-2021) by Stichting Stokroos, Provincie Gelderland and Stroomversneller Arnhem. www.protestsuppliesstore.co.uk
Eef Veldkamp (1993) is an artist, researcher and a lecturer at ArtEZ University of the Arts (Netherlands). By intermingling artistic and philosophical research methods, he brings about subversive textual interventions, hinging around contemporary philosophical bottlenecks ranging from the ontology of fire to mnemonic devices of negative histories. The insights of his writing simultaneously function as the point of departure for his artistic practice, in which Veldkamp develops what he terms ‘counter-systems’. These are organisations specifically erected to engage with actualities that occupy society, among which the Protest Supplies Store (PSS). The PSS came about during his year living in London, where very often all types of protests took place. He started investigating the powers of activist life, and delved into the discourse of social change. Veldkamp realised that protest is one of our most important (democratic) rights to political change, even though as a discourse in itself it often does not receive the attention it deserves. Hence the artist took it upon himself to find an organisational form that would take as its goal to develop the discourse of protest through a multiform of subversive activities, amongst which the development of new protest utilities, which became the PSS's main activity. www.eefveldkamp.nl
Every year the PSS works with another team on another set of topics. This year's wonderful team includes Mirthe Schuurman (left), Pam Plaschek (middle), Rachel Baas (right), Mina Schneider and Ina Ortega.
This teams focussed on algorithmic feminism, that is, the question whereto (digital) censorship is applied to female bodies and not to male bodies. This problem is underpinned by structural misogynic tendencies handed down from patriarchic histories using sexualisation as its apparatus, and our question thus became 'how can we subvert this issue?'. This team developed 'Borrow-a-Nip' (2021) where borrowed man nipples are utilised to both show and temporarily counter the problem sketched above until the female nipples is freed of its algorithmic oppression. The booklet contains nipple stickers printed with male nipples that female users can paste over theirs, so that their naked picture are accepted by social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, because the male nipple is allowed by their algorithms but the female is not.
Every year the PSS works with another team on another set of topics. This year's wonderful team includes Lena van Montfoort, Leroy Spelt, Maite Levy and Arda van Tiggelen (text writer).This team focussed on anonymity and protest. Anonymity can be a very important element to protest, especially when that protest has been declared illegal by officials. In order to pursue it in such conditions, the veiling of identities is essential to prevent juridical implications. Nevertheless, protest these days is founded on the idea of personal necessity, meaning that anonymising can take away exactly that personal approach that gives reason to do protests: protest, above all, is about quantifying motive that is regarded superfluous within the political establishment by giving it a face. This team developed as a counter structure to this issue a work that attempts at making these two conflicting elements compatible, Personalised Anonymity (2020) (or, 'Custom Balaclava'). This type of balaclava is based on a person's portrait, but because it is a balaclava veils the face of the wearer underneath thereby it is both personalising and anonymising.
Marit van Dijk is an inspired vegan and social geographer, who works at the Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam. She is interested in questions surrounding public space, memory and dealing with our colonial past and she has a great sense of humour - the perfect combination as a researcher for the PSS. Marit currently investigates our intimate but very odd relation to 'nature'.
Floris de Vries is our go-to specialist in regards to product development, photography and videography. He assits in multiple projects to think through process and production questions, and supports us with taking wonderful photos and video's of our events.
In collaboration with the PSS Dutch artist Willem de Haan developed our 'MalieveldGras'. With the product, Willem tries to stimulate alternative forms of (local) protest. Currently, the Malieveld is seen as the go-to location for any type of protest in the Netherlands. Though, the COVID-19 virus (including lockdown measures) made it harder for big groups of people to get together on this specific piece of grass. Especially when living far away. The product MalieveldGras offers a possible solution: spreading the political value this famous grass adds to any protest, throughout the whole country.