Institute for Human Activities
Duncan Greenberg Yale World Fellow
Renzo is a Dutch artist and filmmaker and currently serves as director of the Institute for Human Activities, which runs an arts-based development program in Democratic Republic of Congo. In his first film, Episode 1, Renzo travels to Chechnya to adopt a rarely defined role in contemporary war: that of its spectator. Episode 3, also known as Enjoy Poverty, is a meditation on the political claims of contemporary art and the result of Renzo’s two-year journey in the Congo. In the film, aided by a giant, portable neon sign reading “Enjoy Poverty,” Renzo sets up an emancipation program to encourage local communities to think of their poverty as a resource. Renzo’s films have been shown at the 6th Berlin Biennial, Tate Modern in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Van Abbe Museum Eindhoven, Kunsthaus Graz, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, as well as at numerous film festivals and on public broadcast channels. Renzo co-founded the Institute for Human Activities in 2010 with legal structures in Amsterdam, Brussels and Kinshasa. The Institute has launched a five-year program in the Congolese interior, bringing together artists, thinkers and specialists. With a nod to precedents set in cities like New York and Berlin, the Institute aims to turn art production into an engine of economic growth in Congo, hoping to improve the lives of the people around its settlement. At Yale, Renzo is working with academics and entrepreneurs to further the Institute’s mission.