The sound of authorities

Exhibition, 3-7 July, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
The artist Diego Tonus created a project 'Processing Authorities', based on the unique collection of gavels belonging to the International Institute of Social History. These hammers were used in assemblies of Dutch emancipatory movements in the 19th and 20th centuries for calling the meeting to order or marking the conclusion of collective decisions. The Institute collected the hammers over the years when they became redundant as the organizations dissolved.

Diego Tonus’s Processing Authorities concentrates on gavels as symbolic instruments used to install and process authority. As Tonus explains:
"Every hammer blow evokes a memory of the past, while simultaneously connecting to all other forms of decision-making processes that have been formalized with the rather arbitrary ritual of hitting a hammer on a wooden block."

The original gavels and the film Soundtracks for Revolutions, which includes recordings of their sound, will be part of an exhibition in Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, 3-7 July 2013.