According to Amnesty International, “Demonstrations are important for healthy democratic, economic, and social development. Therefore, the right to demonstrate is enshrined in human rights treaties and Dutch constitutional law.” Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In recent years, we have seen an increase in violent police interventions. This raises important questions, such as: How sacred are our basic rights? Who safeguards these basic rights? And, most importantly: Who really has the power in the Netherlands?

The number of protest movements worldwide has more than tripled in less than 15 years, and they are not always peaceful. For example, in 2012, Leonard Menchiari found himself caught between protesters and the police in Italy’s Susa Valley. The demonstration was protesting the construction of a high-speed railway line that the local population also strongly opposed. The EU had issued the Italian government an injunction a year earlier to complete the work, leading to an increased police presence and more brutal measures to prevent protesters from reaching the site. To better understand the relationships between protesters and police, Menchiari has developed RIOT: Civil Unrest, a real-time strategy game that simulates demonstrations.

The exhibition “POWER OF WHO!” explores how games can be a mirror image of society and a means to demonstrate. To this end, Sebastiaan Hoogstraten initiated a dialogue with various parties involved and activists present at the Woonopstand (Residential Revolt) demonstration in Rotterdam on 17 October 2021 to gain insight into the event’s proceedings and atmosphere. He was particularly interested in understanding how the situation escalated despite its peaceful start. Together with Anna Sandri, Hoogstraten has created a new “Residential Revolt” level in RIOT: Civil Unrest. It can be played in several parts of the showroom. The work of Guido de Boer, also in the showroom, reveals different perspectives on the demonstration.

The right to demonstrate is one of the pillars of society. It is an opportunity for everyone to have a voice in the public debate. But how do we move on if this voice can be violently crushed by those who should protect it? Who makes the decision and takes responsibility for such actions?


Programme maker:
Sebastiaan Hoogstraten

Participating artists:
Anna Sandri
Guido de Boer

With contributions from:
Actiecoalitie Woonopstand
Leonard Menchiari

Image credit:
Anna Sandri


Open gallery
Opening of the exhibition POWER OF WHO!, Rotterdam, 2022. Photo: Hilde Speet.

Wednesday–Sunday: 14.00–19.00
Friday: 14.00–21.00

About HOME

HOME is the leitmotiv by which we encourage conversation about conceptions regarding belonging, representation and identification. HOME is a fundament, the place you return to and anchorpoint for the journey onward. HOME (offline as well as online) is the start of feeling connect to others. Under the name HOME we also present exhibitions in the showroom of MAMA. In collaboration with young makers we express interpretations about HOME | IN REAL LIFE | NETWORKS.


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