recensie | artikel | essay

2021

‘Full interview with Van Berckel and Herenda about their performance ALL THAT FOLLOWS. A Symphony’ (MRT)

‘A performance that feels like a hug’, fragments of an interview with Mart van Berckel and Angela Herenda about their performance All that follows. A symphony for OPEN NITES. (FEBR)

‘De ruimte tussen jou en mij: In gesprek met SIGN en de kunstenaars van PROPS, langer artikel waarvoor ik de directie van SIGN, Groningen en de exposerende kunstenaars interviewde over het maakproces en de presentatie van werk in relatie tot Covid-19. (FEBR)

‘In de categorie rennen of reserveren: Beelden lezen’, preview bij de beeldboeken Cicade (Tan) en Zwerveling (Van Den Ende) door middel van een gedicht en digitale collage. (FEBR)

‘Thuiskijktip: De Zaak Shell | De Correspondent’, preview met fragmenten uit de voorstelling. (JAN)

‘Maartjes drie van 2020. Voor de worriers en de warriors’, terugblik op drie ecokunstprojecten van vorig jaar: Zwemlessen voor later (poëzie), IMPAKT 2020: ZERO FOOTPRINT (online festival) en Voorland Groningen, wandelingen door het Antropoceen (podcastwandeling). (JAN)

‘In de bres op de bank: Feminisme’, artikel over Wie is er bang voor Simone de Beauvoir? Over feminisme, existentialisme, god, liefde en seks en Feminisme voor de 99%. (JAN)


2020

Werken aan een artistiek zelfbeeld van de Antropos. Van een complexe verwikkeling met het antropoceen naar de creatieve ontwikkeling van post-antropogeen denken, voelen en doen door middel van ecokunst

De klimaatcrisis stelt ons voor zulke ingewikkelde cognitieve, affectieve en praktische uitdagingen dat deze met hoofd, hart en hand benaderd moet worden. Deze masterscriptie bevat een studie naar de verbeelding van de klimaatcrisis en rol de van ‘de mens’ door te kijken naar de posities van kunstenaars ten opzichte van klimaatproblematiek. Dit onderzoek biedt ijkpunten voor een progressieve en creatieve ontwikkeling van het ecologisch discours voorbij het verhaal dat de term Antropoceen biedt. De focus ligt op de instrumentele waarde van ecokunst in het creëren van een post-antropogeen bewustzijn. Vanuit de metafoor van cognitieve gedragstherapie laat ik zien hoe we met behulp van ecokunst de kloof zouden kunnen overbruggen van filosofisch inzicht naar ethisch handelen. De kern bevat drie hoofdstukken met allen een uitgebreide theoretische uiteenzetting van ecofilosofische en kunsttheoretische literatuur en een casestudie. In deze hoofdstukken worden respectievelijk ‘kunst als onderzoeksmethode’, ‘kunst als zelfreflectie’ en ‘kunst als activisme’ behandeld met interviews met kunstenaars van De Ambassade van de Noordzee, Wellness Centre Future Proof en Fossil Free Culture NL. Van denken via voelen naar doen worden de besproken kunstwerken actiever, relationeler en interrelationeler.

Kunsteducatieblog: Ecologie is ingewikkeld en daarmee uit?

In 2020 liep ik stage bij Mediamatic te Amsterdam. Ik bestierde de educatieafdeling. Daarnaast nam ik het initiatief om korte stukken te posten op de website, een educatieblog: In de serie ‘Ecologie is ingewikkeld en daarmee uit?’ schrijf ik blogs over uitdagende theorieën uit de ecofilosofie. Ik introduceer de ideeën, ter informatie of inspiratie. Daarna zullen er voorstellen opborrelen in de categorie infotainment: onwelgeformuleerde kunstzinnig georiënteerde oefeningen.


2019

Direct Political Theatre: Extinction Rebellion and the Transnational Public Sphere

In this essay I regard the global ‘protestival’ in October 2019 of Extinction Rebellion (XR) as a form of direct theatre in the transnational public sphere. In this small study I focus on the relationship between the aesthetic means by which XR presents and represents its politics. In short, I want to deconstruct the relationship between entertainment and efficacy. The struggle and interplay between these two, as theorized by Richard Schechners study on theatre and ritual, is what constitutes performance. Based on Schechners theory, I argue that protests in general and XR’s specific can be studied as a ritualized performance: ‘They are ambivalent symbolic actions pointing at the real transactions even as they help people avoid too direct a confrontation with these events’. Protests have ideally a twofold effect: the transaction between antagonistic parties (citizen versus state) and the organization of individuals into a collective (the global public that demands climate justice). This essay shows the problems of these two ideals for XR.

Touch? Yes please: The Rules in a Game of Freedom

In this essay I will analyse the performative character Daan Roosegaarde’s solo exhibition in the Groninger Museum regarding the supposed transformation of the audience. Roosegaarde aims to transform the audience from mere museum visitors to what Erika Fisher-Lichte calls ‘co-subjects’. To deconstruct the relationship between artist, artwork and reception in Presence, I apply to it a form of critical thinking based on Bishop’s critique on the utopia of participatory art. Bishop notes that the artwork as an interactive situation is rather an ideal than an actualized reality. For a large institutional exhibition portrayed as interactive it is therefore pivotal to understand the possibilities and limitations regarding the participation. I use the theory of hauntology to analyse the overt but especially the covert presence of the artist in the exhibition, haunting the audience with neoliberal ethos and pedagogical nudges.


Blog series ‘Art will do’ for BA course Evaluating the arts

02-02-2019 | I SPY WITH MY SEVEN EYES: HYPED AND HAUNTED BY A ROCK
David Lynch: There is someone in my house @ Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht

My heart is already pounding the rhythm of pressured panic. There was an ample amount of stairs to climb before we open the great white doors to enter the retrospective exhibition of David Lynch’s visual art. Known for his surrealistic and horrific films, I must say I am quite nervous to immerse myself into Lynch’s world. Still a bit out of breath the threatening sounds and hazy airlessness creep at my throat – this is indeed full immersion. I’m getting dizzy and feeling sick. ‘Why, my dear?’ I ask myself in my most grown up inner voice, ‘this is not real; your boyfriend will protect you; you may leave anytime’.  

Well, I was wrong…

It was real! And I was so hooked I didn’t even think once of the world outside the museum, or about escaping, or my boyfriend. I don’t even know where he was those hours I meandered through this absurd fright-festival. It was like I could watch my own nightmares and they were way more beautiful than I always thought. Lynch let me wander about my own dark subconscious thoughts and fears without being ashamed because he wasn’t either. It felt like coming home, and I didn’t mind that there was someone in my house.

The exhibition showed paintings and drawings (from matchbox small to monumentally wall filling), lamp sculptures, lithographies, some music and a few video installations. Together the works displayed fragments, sequences and whole stories of horrific events. Most of them were grounded in household or family settings in which children often were a principle character – the effect was the feeling of constant threat. Many works were provided with text, in explicit titles but also integrated in the works themselves, having a cynically comic tone. Especially the gruesome three-dimensional paintings with mixed media were intriguingly similar to my nightmares: a surreal continuity of darkness, aggressive and uncanny textures that will evoke disgust, grim materials that indicate death or bloody violence and then the absurd transitions and contradictions that are potentially hilarious. Think black comedy, then go more eerie.

My favourite work was Rock with Seven Eyes from 1996, a mixed-media painting of 127×152 cm: smudgy ochre background, very crudely brushed (if he even used a brush, Lynch is known for rather using his hands) and then this big, bulgy lump of black paint in which there’s said to be chicken bones involved. While feeling at home, from this moment Lynch got me and I felt uncomfortable: ‘someone is in my house’. But who? Seven glass eyes stared from out this rock in different directions but sure as hell stared at me. Creepy, but then again, I stared back at them too. This longest stare-of of my life was at the same time maddening, amusing and spine-chilling. I felt as if this already piercing rock grew the size of the exhibition room and the eyes haunted me from work to work, leaving me bewitched and extremely self-aware. It was keeping track of me, and I was watching my back – or were these from now on the same thing? This rock activated a paranoid state of being haunted, while leaving room for creative playfulness. Happily ignoring the possible biblical reference to the stone with seven eyes, I think this exhibition (with my rock-friend as cornerstone) beautifully portrayed the dark side of human subconscious.

Do you have the guts to inspect your frightening fears and foul fantasies?


19-03-2019 | ODISSEIA: WHAT WILL BE LEFT BEHIND?
Odisseia by Cia. Hiato @ Explore Festival, ITA, Amsterdam

Hands-up for interactive theatre… No one?!! While my fellow students skipped this supposedly exhausting and awkward journey, I’ve had one of the best theatre nights of this year. Not only because of the backstage-entrance, warm welcome on stage with rum and a hug, but because of the whole immersion of body and mind in the telling and the told. Yesterday I went to the International Theatre of Amsterdam to see a production of the Brazilian ensemble Cia. Hiato, directed by Leonardo Moreira. It is part of the programming of the international Explore Festival, comparable to the Holland Festival but smaller. Ten Dutch theatres present international productions of politically engaged theatre and dance. On the flyer, Odisseia is described as highly unique, humoristic, feministic and hyper-actual. This will sure have something to do with its provocative duration of 4,5 hours and participatory format.

By friendly guidance we get trough the theatre wings at the back of the stage. The actors are kindly persuading everyone to try the liquor they brought for us from Brazil. One highly enthusiastic curly haired woman grabs me like it has been twenty years since I left. We are seated on tribunes on stage and a white chalked circle confines the theatrical space but from the very start is obvious how untenably abstract this border is – by interacting with the audience members, inviting and pushing individuals to participate, aloofness is ruled out. Not only is the circle a reference to endless travels of Odysseus, it wants us to reflect on the bizarre negligence and refusal of what’s outside our comfort zone. Moreira is know for his challenging performances an Odisseia does not let down. Not only are we witness to intense bodily and emotional performances, we are responsible to take part in this story: Who will hold Kalypso? Can someone film Circes tied-up naked body? Will someone shoot down Athena, please? Who grabs the ‘open mic’ to tell their own story, taunted by Poseidon? Honestly, I wasn’t that keen (or brave enough) to take the stage during the actual performance, though I enjoyed the festive breaks and danced my butt off to (Brazilian) party music. And sang my lungs out with the karaoke of Total Eclipse of the Heart (with on the back screen home videos of marines returning home and their dogs crazy of love).

‘Longing to belong’ is this year’s theme and described by the Explore Festival as the deep desire to feel at home, to find our place, to feel connection; to get away from hostile environments, or more figuratively, away from troubles within ourselves. We all know that Odysseus went away, but this story is not about him – it’s about the ones who stay while Odysseus leaves, and about the ones who love Odysseus, miss Odysseus, desire Odysseus, about the Kalypso’s, Penelope’s, Telemachos’, Athena’s and Circe’s. In this adaption we get the story of Homerus’ hero from the female perspective. What I loved most about the very intelligently written monologues weaved from the classical verses, critical references and very personal experiences, were the actors who spoke to me with their whole being. Raw and real, crawling and groaning the women addressed the issues of obsession and desire but also of rejection and abandonment. The scene in which Kalypso gives her whole body and soul to Odysseus is so heartbreakingly painful! This masturbation scene in which the actress rolls naked around the stage filming herself with her smartphone is so beautiful because of her disarming devotion to him and the foreseen ending of this chapter only greatens the heartbreak: despite her love he leaves after just one night. The rest of the women but also Odysseus’ fatherless son take the stage and each confront us with their lives.

After nearly five hours of provocative beauty, my mind and body were both evenly thrilled and tired. The emotions, images, thoughts and questions that linger in me are of great amount but also impressively in balance. The actors fought so hard for me, to reveal their selves in all their corporal and affective presence – and I feel… a bit guilty, maybe even ashamed. It is hard to admit but I do feel like Odysseus, lectured and loathed by Circe when she tells that nature is inexorable: ‘You visit an island, destroy it, and leave’.


08-02-2019 | A NITE WITH… EIGEN RISICO: RADICALLY RELAXED
Eigen Risico @ Machinefabriek, Groningen

Ever crashed a house party? Feeling pathetic and indebted to those who saved your lonely ass? Thank god it’s Friday: the doors of De Machinefabriek are open! And during the performance of Eigen Risico last monththe artists created a living room vibe where I could be the fly on the wall. The three guys enjoyed themselves on and offstage in such a natural way that I did not feel like a burden at all. Although it was not a life-changing event, it was certainly more stimulating than the common weekend set-up: to the couch transfixed, eating salty sticks, staring at Netflix.

Every Friday in Groningen you have the chance to mingle with the cool kids in De Machinefabriek, the home venue of the theatre company of the Northern Netherlands, the dancers of Club Guy&Roni and lately also the National Interdisciplinary Theatre Ensemble. NITE is a daring creation of artistic director Guy Weizman. In the cultural landscape of the Netherlands, financial funding is divided over divergent disciplines, but Weizman succeeded in his ambition of combining art forms under one name, one subsidy, one roof! Under this roof you can have a taste of this vision at FridayNITE, a weekly experimental evening from halve past seven to elevenish. The programming by Karina Bakx and Gijs Deddens mirrors the ambitions of NITE’s end-boss as it explores the boundaries of art forms and jumbles with genres: there’s been meta-theatre as well as animation film, noise-punk as well as jazz, performance art but also lectures. Since the kick-off one year ago this laboratory has embraced diversity and development, though maybe the greatest attraction is due to consistency: 19.00 ‘friet en sla’ for one euro.

This particular Friday we arrived early. Gijs was already playing his hip-hop records and it was obvious how this evening would start: beers. The lead singer of Eigen Risico was frisky frolicking through the building, drinking his own beers and smoking weed on the front porch while readying the merchandize. In contrast to this feisty filly, the other two guys were aloof awaiting the go-ahead. And it was a long wait, so plenty of time to catch up with friends and for the communal feast of fries and flow of beer. When the band finally started the vibe was already loose and festive. It was the third time these three guys performed in this formation, they come together whenever they feel like it – shout out to the programmers! The band name is the Dutch term for the excess of your health insurances, the amount you have to pay for the costs you make. It also could be translated as ‘at your own risk’. Eigen Risico confronts the audience with a crude, noisy and eclectic performance of electronic music accompanied with grunting, roaring, screaming and singing, against the background of the third guy charcoaling gigantic portraits, creating strongly accentuated deformed faces out of thick black lines with scratches of green, red and yellow. Aggressive electronic parts in the music are alternated with slow emotional guitar intervals and raw laments (could this beautiful hoarse voice be a specific Spanish talent of the singer?). These softer moments are truly beguiling, but beware the distortion in the music because this is a sign! In a blink of an eye the singer’s persona transforms from rolling on the stage of misery to gorging the mike, jumping around, shouting his texts in half-naked ecstasy. I loved this provocative energy, the whims and weirdness. Not to forget the contagious amicable interaction of the artists on stage. And the danceability of the act made me even more enthusiastic and hyper. But I was limited by a mass of mannequins. Exquisitely fashioned in normcore and retro sport outfits the audience stood there, motionless and expressionless. I don’t know if that means that they were too cool for me, but that’s not my kind of party…

After the performance the evening went on and I talked some more with the artists. The frontman felt his music to be really danceable too but doesn’t want to be responsible for the behaviour of the audience because he immerses himself in his performance completely. And when I later asked the painter if they did not intend to strike the spectators a bit more I got a lukewarm reaction: just doing my thing, minding my own business. He did appreciate my critical attempts to heathen the passion for attacking the audience but I had to settle with not everyone sharing the same internal flame. Lame! But then again, this attitude of ‘zero fucks given’ was also a really good thing. Firstly it was better than my suppressed anger at the other audience members. But more important, it induced the sweet feeling that I attended a super cool artistic happening and no one minded that I had crashed it. While the musical performance literally screamed, this whole NITE whispered ‘relaxation…’ Together with the food, drinks and make-up dancing afterwards it was a satisfying night out. See you next Friday!