Remember the Rebel

Pop-up exposition

Pop-up Museum

“A rebel is a participant in society who actively questions the status quo and aims to change it”

Rebels see the world through a different lens
than most people. In everyday reality,
they see things that others don't notice.
And they don't like it one bit.

They have visions of something unimaginable,another world.
And for this they are willing to defy convention,
to fight, sometimes even to risk their lives.

Are they crazy? They certainly are.
Dangerous? Some think so.
Are they always right? Not always, no.

Are they hated? They often are, especially in the beginning.
But sometimes it turns out that they were right from the start.
Then they become heroes.

Fanny Blankers-Koen


Elisabeta Rizea

Fought against the communist regime from the mountains

Jerry Afriyie

blackface is no fun

Franca Viola

refused marry the man who raped her


Ján Kuciak

killed for doing his job

Waldemar Fydrych

dwarves and toilet paper against the oppressor

Carmen Gheorghe

prevents Roma women from all ending up as housewives

Melina Mercouri

the movie star who risked everything to fight the Greek junta

Ildikó Juhász

lesbian icon in communist Hungary

Rebel with a Cause - Game

The Dominant Dictator has been in power in your country for decades now. Nobody has any freedom to say or do what they want. All forms of rebellion are harshly suppressed. But you feel you must rebel! Can you knock the Dominant Dictator off his pedestal? He will try to stop you by sending his paramilitary police after you and inciting citizens to betray you. But luckily there is a way to convince all citizens – and even opponents – of your ideals, so that they will join your fight. Good luck!

Start the game

The importance of being rebellious

“A rebel is a member of society who actively questions the status quo, with the aim of changing it”

Definition established in collaboration with students from Radboud University Nijmegen

Those who want to fight injustice have to recognise it first. That may sound obvious, but cultural norms, ingrained patterns, enforced and unwritten rules turn us into ‘fish in water’. We only notice the water once someone makes us aware of it. Many things that we now find absurd and unjust were perfectly normal a few generations ago, or even more recently: the dominance of men over women, the denial and rejection of homosexuality, discrimination against people of colour and ethnic minorities, and so on.

To notice and change the status quo, one needs a healthy dose of rebellion. The first to stand up to injustice can expect to be met with a good deal of resistance. They end up in arguments, are declared crazy, are opposed, and in the worst cases are threatened or even killed.

We live in a time when democratic values are challenged, wars are waged and new authoritarian leaders are on the rise. Facts are opinions and disinformation is deliberately spread. The water is murky. All while there are enormous problems in store for humanity.

High time to study rebels. The social movements that shaped Europe were born out of rebellion. Rebels brought about democratisation and fought for equality and freedom.

What can they teach us? How do rebels achieve their autonomy of thought? What strategies do they adopt, and how do they keep going? What do they accomplish? Are they always ‘good’, or are there bad ones too? In your view, who are today's rebels? And what would you want to change, if you could?

An Autres Directions and Iron Curtain Project production
Concept: Aldus’ producties
Creative direction: Tijl Akkermans and Emmie Kollau
Text and research: Catrien Spijkerman and Emmie Kollau, in collaboration with students from the Radboud University Honours Programme
Design: Tijl Akkermans and Kars van den Heuvel
Illustrations and artwork: Mart Veldhuis
Special production: Hans Jansen
Game design and development: BlewScreen
Music: Bram Kniest
Web development: Joeri Wetters
English translation and copy-editing: Heleen Schröde

Special thanks to:
Hugo Cid, Kaja Gorczyca, Yoram Kremers, Lisa Lanius, Eva Pogosyan, Roy Schieven, Lennart Slagter, Tessa Schuerman, Susan Weghorst, Elise van Zijst

This project was initiated by Autres Directions Foundation (NL) in collaboration with IoDeposito (IT), Krzyzowa Foundation (PL) and Polylogos (RO) .

Co-funded by the European Commission.

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