10X10 Day House. Ten stories of Veems Future.

Ten times, spread throughout the season and the city, we will manifest ourselves as the house for Dance and Performance in Amsterdam – for its artists, for its audiences, for Amsterdam and for the international community. As a follow-up of the 100 Days statement and the desire to be present all year in the future. 

The first 10 days will run 14 through 23 November 2019, when we will be showing work by Paula Chaves, Ogutu Muraya and Anne Lise le Gac, among others. 

The 100 Day House is – as you are probably aware – a statement, an enforced action through which we want to reveal a problem. We have been able to move and touch a lot and. We’ve also had to let some things go. During the past two editions we connected, investigated and entered into dialogue with our audience. There is a great demand for continuity, commitment, community, care and solidarity.

The 10 times 10 days as a way of investigating what a House for Dance and Performance can be, now and in the future. In this time – but also in this place. What is this house in relation to the changing city? How can we be even more of a house/home, as well as a place where talent can develop? 

Each ten days will have its own particular perspective, as well as some of the regular ingredients you can expect from Veem House. We show artists and developments that are important to Veem House for Performance, now and in the future. We work with various co-curators, including affiliated partners and artists. Together, we create space for imagination, interaction and discourse. 

The first 10 days will run 14 – 23 November 2019.

We look forward to welcoming you back to our House very soon.

POLYPHONIC SONGS 1-2-3 | Igor Dobričić


On the last days of November 2018 a get together of both emerging and established generations of the dance and performance scene in Amsterdam took place in Veem House for Performance, co-organised with Keren Levi | Neverlike, Nicole Beutler Projects and BAU. The program – that included an exchange of practices and work in progress, performances and thoughts featured many female performance artists that all worked in different ways with voice, sound, song – carried the title POLYPHONIC SONGS. Dramaturge Igor Dobričić was asked to follow the 3 days event and share his observations on the last evening with the present audience. The text in which he reflected on the notion of Polyphonic Songs for a local scene can be read here. 

1. Polyphony

So here he is:

The master synthesizer, a man of a certain age and experience, bringing together the voices that spoke before him, making sense in the midst of a clamor and flashing out the wise word. Is this really where polyphony resides; in the hands of a conductor who levels up the many distinct voices into one god-fearing Sunday song? Or do we need to conclude that ‘song’ is masculine but that ‘songs’ are feminine? Maybe that’s why, even unintentionally,  the title of this program Polyphonic Songs uses the plural form. Polyphonic songs are many voices that are coexisting and care about each other unconsciously, at distance, without taking possession of one another. Plenum. It is a beautiful word, plenum; a meeting of a deliberative assembly in which everybody is present autonomously, yet in solidarity. 

So again, it should not be him (me) - the elderly white man - who should be offering this interpretation to the others. Plenum is not in front of - but with you. With all of you. Or, if you allow me to join, we could be together in plenum right now. Then my voice is just one among many. Maybe that’s what polyphony is all about: The joyful collapse of the binary - of you and me, them and us, male and female – that makes it possible to finally listen to each other. A polyphony of all ages and genders and ways of being that puts an end to all of this binary rubbish, once and for all. They are singing utopia; a prophecy for a different kind of ecosystem.

In the BAU meeting two days ago young artists from the local scene were sharing with each other what they are currently busy with and passionate about in short pitches. One of them, Leela May Stockholm said at one point something that stuck in my mind (I am paraphrasing): ‘Just think about it, right now there is somewhere a waterfall - falling.’ Just think about it. And although I don’t really know what to exactly think about it I do hear a particular waterfall in Iceland – falling right now. That is to say; there is no polyphony without taking into account the voices of those who are not here. Of those - humans and non-humans - whom we need to imagine outside of this room, this city, and this continent. Imagining here means tuning into a different kind of sound, listening - not as to music - but to the noise of the multitude that exists beyond ‘our’ community. Hear: screams and laughter and whispers, unintended harmonies between complete strangers, everyday stories, all in the same time. Listen to the gentle roar of a fluid assemblage, loudly celebrating the proliferation of distinction and incongruence. Maybe that’s another name for Polyphonic Songs: WATER FALLING SOMEWHERE ELSE - NOW. 

2. Assemblage

Nothing fits, yet everything is still taking place in relation to one another. Subjects that become objects to other subjects in temporary ecologies of chance encounters. Artful accidents that no-body can own but every-body can celebrate. Wherever we are, we partake in the experience of the exuberance of this moment, we gather in the midst of the trouble, while elsewhere the waterfall is still falling. The inexhaustible luxury of the present moment does not make a distinction between presence and absence. What is not here still is. So let the voiceless walk among us who sing. I often say to myself: better learn how to befriend ghosts since one day you become a ghost yourself. Let’s keep assembling what is disassembled because only in the assemblage everything, both present and absent, will be accounted for. Assemblage is Plenum. Plenum is polyphony. Polyphony is always now but not necessarily here. In a moment of listening far away can become our home when we hear guests finally knocking on our door, it is them who will host us. Not here but there, where we are - not. I know; it is confusing. Just remember: confusion is good as long as one is not afraid. Fearless confusion sings on it is own and in many voices, beautifully.

3. Voice

In his Moralia the 1st century Greek scholar Plutarch observes: A man plucked a nightingale and, finding but little to eat, said: “You are just a voice and nothing more”. Just a voice and nothing more: a ghost inside the shell; a guest knocking on our door, welcoming us into our own house. Alien spirits taking possession of our faculties, making us speak in languages that we do not know. Maybe that’s why so many artists are at the moment obsessively opening their attention to voices. It is kind of obvious that we are badly in a need of prophecy. Yet, we certainly do not need another prophet. So lets remind ourselves once again that we are just voices and nothing more. Polyphony is our destiny.

Igor Dobričić

The ghost’s of Anna Tsing’s ‘The Mushroom at the End of the World’, of Gilles Deleuze’s ‘Thousand Plateaus ’ and of Louis Althusser’s ‘Philosophy of the Encounter’, are absentmindedly hovering over this text as it’s unintentional guardian spirits.

Veem House Newspaper #3 | Day 100

31st December | Day 100 | end of the 100 Day House #2

Click here to read our last and final newspaper of the seires!

1st January | beginning of the 265 Days of Darkness #3 | Excercises to Embody the Darkness

We are anticipating the next performance: the third blackout, otherwise known as Veem House for Performance. The turning-off of the lights will take place at midnight on 31 December, and so – after a hundred days of open doors, public programs and a vibrantly busy house – will begin a 265-day period of darkness.

We could call it a period of no public programs, a period of non-work, a problem made visible, a house disappearing for two-thirds of the year, a countdown, a silence, a form of resistance, you name it.

It is a situation that disorients your senses and demands that you do things differently.

You might prepare for it and still it’s sudden.

So, in anticipation, we are exploring how to approach this period of time, how to be, and stay, in the dark. How can we work with the materiality of darkness? How can we be a spectator of darkness? How can we discuss with the dark? How can we read (in) the dark? How can we make propositions with it? Collaborate with it?

In this third and last issue of our newspaper, we speculate on the

potential practices that can be used to face or to relate to this upcoming performance of the blackout – practices that, however, still need to be explored and developed further (in due course).

A conversation with Sarah Vanhee: "The dark is not a place to be afraid of" by Lies Mensink

Before the screening of her film The Making of Justice in Veem House, Sarah Vanhee shows me how fiction can reframe realities, why we should actively embrace the not knowing, and should not be afraid of the dark.

As Veem House, the 100 Day House, afterwards, approaches 265 days of darkness; the words of Sarah Vanhee sound reassuring: “The dark is the place where everything is still possible. I think darkness is not a place to be afraid of.”

Sarah Vanhee is an artist whose interdisciplinary work sheds light on what in society is kept hidden. In her stage performance Unforetold this is the dark itself; in her performance Oblivion it is the waste we create and leave behind; in her film The Making of Justice it is the imagination of seven long term detainees, convicted for murder. Sarah: “What is visible is always what is part of the dominant regime, so in the hierarchies of power what is ‘out there’, is what the dominant power wants us to see. Since I don’t necessarily agree with what the dominant power says we should see. I’m interested in what is kept hidden from us or what is not being shown.”

Sarah wants to move beyond the dominant realities that have been imposed on us, and does this by using fiction: “I believe that fiction is not only what allows me as a person, but also others, to reinvent themselves and reinvent society.” Sarah makes this visible in her film The Making of Justice, she takes the audience behind the walls of a prison, we see seven convicted murderers working on a crime movie script with Sarah. In The Making of Justice we notice that although the detainees have been locked up for a long time, their imagination remains free. “Fiction serves as a tool for emancipation so to not constantly coincide with the biography they have already told and reiterated over and over again. Through fiction, they can reinvent themselves.” Sarah Vanhee uses fiction similar to how French philosopher Jacques Rancière sees it: not as something opposed to reality, but as a tool to reframe the real: “For me art is a place of transformation: you can transform yourself and you transform a world. But in order for that to happen, you need to let go of what you already know.” For Sarah, fiction comes from a place of uncertainty, sometimes even a place before language. “It’s really like an active embracing of the ‘knowing not’, I would say.”

“Sometimes I don’t even know what reality is”, Sarah says, referring to her performance Unforetold, which takes place almost in complete darkness. Sarah worked with ‘seven small beings’ on stage, aged from seven to nine. “We worked with darkness. Where everything is possible, but what is possible is also what we do not know yet. We would have to work with another intelligence, which I would connect to ‘the magic’. The magic that children of that age are still very much connected to, but as an adult you’ve lost your connection a little bit.” Moving to a place of uncertainty, Sarah chooses ‘unlikely’ experts - unlikely from the perspective of dominant society. “I like to doubt who the experts are,” Sarah says. She works with murderers as experts in writing a crime scenario, and as society usually speaks of little children in terms of less, Sarah sees them as more and approaches them as ‘small beings’. According to Sarah, these very young beings can still imagine ‘what is possible’ in the dark. Whereas “adults can no longer imagine it, being oversaturated as we have been overexposed.”

Sarah’s performance Unforetold would have fitted perfectly into the narrative of Veem’s theme last year, The future is dark which is the best thing the future can be by Virginia Woolf, however, she says, she also feels very connected to this year’s theme Sta(ying) with the Trouble: “I feel that we live in a time in which we need engagement, where we need to show up. Stay with one another and indeed be in touch with what is difficult, and find ways to overcome it instead of looking for escapes.” Yet,” she says, ”we should also remain close to what is flowering and what we fondly give our energy to.” Sarah explains: “I’m reading a lot of literature from indigenous nations and what I learnt from them, is this movement of turning inward.” She immediately adds that she does not mean turning inwards in the sense that Dutch philosopher Thijs Lijster uses it, in De grote vlucht inwaarts (The Great Leap Inward) in which one turns inwards at the expense of collective action. But “to turn inward in order to find out what needs nurturing and what you want to dedicate your energy to. There is for instance a lot of lamenting on how bad capitalism is, which keeps us fragmented. There are also many positive movements and uplifting stories.” ‘Staying with the Trouble’ for Sarah doesn't just literally mean that, but also to stay “with what is flowering and what we fondly give our energy to.” 

Maybe turning inwards is also turning to darkness. Sarah: “We live in an age of overexposure, where we are constantly exposed to lights from screens. We are constantly out there. You constantly have to put your insides out, to perform; to be someone. I feel that takes us away from this turning inwards, towards what it is we want to grow in.” 

After a hundred days in the light, Veem will turn to 265 days of darkness.

Listening to Sarah speak, is like a welcome bed time story: “The dark is a place where everything is still possible. I think darkness is not a place to be afraid of. I think it’s something we need to go back to...

To find each other.”

Science Fiction Towards Uncommon Entries and Exits - essay by Helena Grande

During the first half of the 100 Day House we hosted a Reading & Research group in collaboration with nY - website and magazine for literature, critique and amusement -, where we read theory, fiction and poetry about - and discussed the potential of - new kinds of 'universalisms' as political horizons. At the end of this RR series participants were invited to write an essay in respons. Helena Grande took this chance and with the editorial support of nY editor Samuel Vriezen she created a beautiful text about the power of dreams and a (universal?) "being-out-of-synchness that matters." 

We are very proud to present Helena's texts 'Science Fiction Towards Uncommon Entries and Exits'!

Science Fiction Towards Uncommon Entries and Exits

by Helena Grande

We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark, and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night. 

—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Language of the Night

For me, fantasy is in realism. What is possible, what is probable, what an action might do, and the scale and the scope of the possible effects of things, that’s all about fantasy, projection, and attachment. 

—Lauren Berlant, “On the Risk of a New Relationality”

A few nights ago I couldn’t sleep. I had an interview the next morning and my bodymind decided not to sleep and for me to be rather exhausted for this important event. A friend I talked with suggested listening to relaxing music, watching some easy digestible TV series or a film, as a means to trick insomnia. Nothing really helped, so at around three in the morning the only option was to stay in bed. In the darkness of the room and with my sole body under the blanket, I became aware of the rhythm of my heartbeat. As my muscle would enter into complete relaxation as if about to fall asleep, my heartbeat would accelerate and just didn't let me doze in the slightest. The heartbeat, – I later learnt this type of heartbeat is called palpitations –, shook my entire body as if affecting it with an internal wave that dragged me out of rest. At one point, – I guess I was kind of hallucinating due to the lack of sleep –, I started seeing this wave like a circle around me. It was purple and it expanded in concentric circles from my heart. 

Sleeping is like entering into another gravitational zone that non-stop thinking can easily prevent one from entering. Sleeping has its own gravity, and falling asleep might feel like falling into its orbit. One cannot think “I want to sleep”, and then do so, – well, maybe some people can, but in general, there is no rest mode button on a human body. It is like jumping or falling, it happens somehow automatically or by mistake. Sorry, I fell asleep on the shoulder of a stranger in the bus. People with insomnia might know about this: the more one enters into the gravitational zone of thinking, the more one falls out of the gravitational zone of sleeping. And the more difficult it is to fall asleep, the more difficult it is to think. 

Something similar happens to George Orr, the main character of The Lathe of Heaven (1971), a Science Fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin. Orr does not suffer from insomnia, but he is scared of falling asleep because he has effective dreams. His dreams become real, establishing a new reality every time. Similar to the insomniac, Orr lives an uncontrollable imbalance between different gravitational zones, in this case between what Le Guin calls world-time and dream-time. Both being real times, they can be in conflict if they enter into each other’s orbits. As pointed out by Frederic Jameson, this story is based on “one of the archetypal fairy tales of wish-fulfilment”, where the premise is that the world is a total self-sufficient system in which if something is changed, it alters the whole world. The balance is changed because effective dreaming means that dreams fall out of synch with dream-time and instead enter the orbit of world-time. 

Orr is passive towards change or creation regarding his dream-time. He knows his dreams are effective but he doesn't want to control them, instead he takes pills to try stop dreaming and this gets him sent to Voluntary Therapeutic Treatment with the Oneirology specialist Doctor William Haber. When Haber finds out the power of Orr's dreams, he develops a machine to control and study them, which allows him harness Orr's power to dream effectively. Haber manipulates Orr's dreams to his desire “to make the world better for humanity”. For Haber this means a world without war or racial difference. However, no change in the world comes without consequence. There is no solution to a previous dream, but an accumulation of different realities. For example, when Haber asks Orr to dream about peace on earth, wars end for humans, but aliens later on invade Earth. The aliens stay till the end of the story and become part of human life. Each dream that is materialised in the world stays in the world, creating but also changing and expanding reality. Haber's constant frustration, and at the same time his source of power to continue his endeavour, is precisely the fact that he will never be able to create one continuum that simply works as he wants it to work, – like a better world for humanity.

In Jameson's interpretation of this novel, Haber represents the will to power of imperializing liberalism. A kind of force that wants reform and that has projects to change everything so everything can be as it should, – i.e., a better world. An imperializing anthem that legitimates the manipulation of Orr's capacity to dream effectively, also becomes the hegemonic power of a cruel optimism. Haber is the kind of cruel optimist proposed by Berlant: he is attached to ideas such as the possibility of changing reality by creating a continuum, by eliminating discontinuities, ambivalences or incoherences, – a world where everything fits. Haber's common sense for the good is associated with successful changes, yet it carries a set of values that will never meet world-time. That is, Haber cannot understand the impossibility of a better world, because a better world is not of one continuum, but of multiple ones. At one point Haber tells Orr: “When you dream this time, you'll dream big, baby. Big enough to stop this crazy invasion, and get us clean over into another continuum, where we can start fresh. That's what you do, you know. You don't change things, or lives, you shift the whole continuum”. Orr does shift the continuum of the whole world, yet there is not one but multiple continuums that live together in a messy discontinuum. As in the words of Berlant, what Haber fails to appreciate is that “the out-of-synchness of being matters”.

Berlant's use of the concept of synchronisation is similar to what I propose by entering into an orbit or falling asleep. In a conversation with Michael Hardt about new relationalities, Berlant says: “I think a rhythm of life, a habit, all of the things that are affectively inculcated in one’s orientation towards the world are institutions. So one thing an institution is, is a set of norms and people who are responsible for enacting those norms or rules”. Breaking synchronisation, stepping out of the orbit, is a form of rejection or refusal of one's habits, while at the same time the step towards relationality. Entering or jumping into the wave of dream-time means managing the rhythms of one's relationship to others, critters, things and oneself. A broken synchronisation is the way into entering the sleep mode or the trick to stop dreaming effectively. All out-of-synchness involve forms of detachment from automatisms, which is not really a sign of liberation or freedom but rather a place of vulnerability. I have no clue where I stand now without my patterns, I have no clue how to create a new automatism. I get out of myself because without reaching out there is no relationality. Like hopeless Orr, one cannot simply forget or stop thinking; one falls into unknown gravitational zones, that will however activate some rest mode.

It seems that what would cure Orr is to dream that he doesn't have the power to dream. Chapter 3 starts with this quote:

Those whom heaven helps we call the sons of heaven. They do not learn this by learning. They do not work it by working. They do not reason it by using reason. To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven. —Chuang Tse: XXIII 

Orr's dreams should not take over reason but rather exist in balance with reason's gravitational zone. Taoist philosophy has had a great influence on the work of Le Guin, as she herself has commented on many times. The Taoist idea of the world is that, in Le Guin’s words: “true laws – ethical and aesthetic, as surely as scientific – are not imposed from above by any authority, but exist in things and are to be found”. Orr finds himself in relationality, he does not, contrary to Haber, create relations or try “to make the world better for humanity”. In this sense, Orr is what Berlant calls the subject of non-sovereignty. The non-sovereign, – and now I have in the back of my mind the accurate words of Karen Barad –, meets the world halfway, the world has never been given to them. Even though it seems very unreal that dream-time can affect world-time, taking control of any of them will only break the balance of it all.


How would one know when to exit a gravitational zone? Actually, how one would even know if they are entering or exiting? In the case of the protagonist of The Lathe of Heaven, entering or leaving makes no difference, dream-time and world-time are the same. The only variation is the feeling. Entering feels like jumping into an unknown orbit, – out-of-synchness, exposing the self to the vulnerability of deactivating one's own automatisms –, while leaving feels like synchronising, or as I would like to conclude here thinking with Le Guin, Berlant and Donna Haraway; making kin and letting things hold together.

Once Haber allows Orr to dream that he doesn't have the capacity to have effective dreams, – and that only happens because Haber is ready to take over the power to dream effectively –, Orr wakes up in a world for whose discontinuity he is not responsible any more. He starts working at Kitchen Sink, run by the Alien E'nememen Asfah, designing kitchen equipment. One day his wife, whom he had lost in the mist of the different dreams, comes to the store. He helps her and, although she seems to have vague memories of what had happened, he doesn't explain anything to her. Instead of trying to disentangle the thick mixture of times created by his effective dreams, Orr simply asks her out for a cup of coffee. Orr, who had feared each night to fall asleep, now accepts the discontinuities between dream-time and world-time, such as meeting his wife as a stranger or anew. He makes peace with what is not logical. As Haraway explains, making kin is breaking relations based on familiar attachments, and caring for relatives without ties, or in her own words: “unfamiliar (outside what we thought was family or gens), uncanny, haunting, active”. For Orr to make kin with his own dream-time it is an odd matter. He doesn't only make friends with the Aliens – whose presence on earth was generated by his mind –, but also “all the stuff we carry around in us, all the horrors of childhood, the night fears, the nightmares”. 

If making kin is the exit door of a gravitational zone, it is also a way to enter into relationality with what is out there, whatever it might be. Le Guin reflects “A man can endure the entire weight of the universe for eighty years. It is unreality that he cannot bear”. Like the purple wave or the dream-time becoming world-time, – too weird to be real. Yet again, these are some uncommon places from where to stand with Berlant's notion of non-sovereignty: “Sovereignty, as a model for a heroic and successful being, nation, or body politics, presents the problem of not being able to deal with contradiction as constitutive to the productivity of life. When we start with non-sovereignty, those things on the table are not things to be repaired, but things about which the social should be capacious, and the political imaginary should also be capacious”. Orr continues to live and dream because he becomes capacious to hold together dream-time and world-time. Making kin is messy, dirty, incoherent and breaks logical relations. 

Orr does not stop dreaming and he is certainly not a hero, he has to make a new life in a wrecked world, – the affected by insomnia will not sleep better tonight. Le Guin's stories, as Haraway has beautifully pointed out, are “capacious bags for collecting, carrying, and telling the stuff of living”. Le Guin wrote that stories are like carrier bags where things are collected, contained or held together. A bag without heroes or solutions, but rather conflicts, Berlant's non-sovereign subjects, and lowly things like sleep, rhythms of places, entrances and exits to relations. As Haraway suggests, it matters what stories tell and think with other stories in order to expand, re-tell and reseed imaginaries. In the case of The Lathe of Heaven, it matters because it thinks the story of how to keep the dream-time and world-time together. Telling the stories of the humble and creeping, is the complex task of simply holding unreal, sometimes unbearable, stuff and beings in a continuous open-ended process; – like tidying up a room, making bed or doing dishes. “It's just one of those damned things you have to do in order to go on gathering wild oats and telling stories”, says Le Guin.

I think of Le Guin's carrier bag as a kind of sitting and walking companion whose stuff inside feel out-of-synchness when one is not looking at them. As one walks with the bag hanging from one's shoulder the things held inside get mixed and hit each other. At the bottom of the bag there might be fragments or lost parts from those objects that collided on the way. All messy and dirty, there is not a single critter in the bag that is not broken or about to be broken. Yet, as Haraway asks, it matters to keep wondering: How do such lowly things keep the story going? 


-Berlant, Lauren, Cruel Optimism, Duke University Press, Durham, 2011.

-Davis, Heather and Sarlin, Paige, “On the Risk of a New Relationality:” An Interview with Lauren Berlant and Michael Hardt, in Reviews In Cultural Theory, Issue 2.3., 2011.

-Halberstam, Judith, The Queer Art of Failure, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2011.

-Haraway, Donna, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Duke University Press, Durham, 2016.

-Jameson, Frederick, Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions, Verson, 2005.

-Le Guin, Ursula K., “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction”, in Dancing at the Edge of the World, Grove Press, US, 1989.

— The Lathe of Heaven, Orion Books, London, 2015

— “Dreams Must Explain Themselves.” New York: ALGOL, 1975.

— The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction, Putnam's Sons, 1979

Kansen voor alle nieuwe makers. Festival rond aankomende talenten - Jacq Algra voor Het Parool | 27th November 2018

Tijdens Polyphonic Songs in het Veem is werk te zien van gevestigde en aanstormende makers van dans of performance. Daarna gaan ze de discussie aan, met het publiek en met elkaar. 'Het idee is dat je elkaar aanscherpt.'

Het nieuwe programma voor honderd dagen was net rond toen Anne Breure, artistiek leidster van het Veem, na een lange werkdag omver werd gereden met een scooter. Veel gebroken botten, hersenen flink geschud. Nu revalideert ze, stap voor stap.

Haar team voert het programma uit, deels met partners Nicole Beutler Projects,

NeverLike/Keren Levi en BAU, platform voor dans- en performancemakers. Vanaf morgen presenteren zij het driedaagse festival rond dans en performance Polyphonic Songs, dat draait om nieuw talent.

"Als partners delen we een interesse in de discussie wat dans en performance allemaal kan zijn," zegt choreograaf Nicole Beutler, die zelf Songs uit 2009 nogmaals opvoert. "Het gaat ons om een onderzoekende en interdisciplinaire aanpak, inclusief beeldende kunst. Daarnaast om het discours: waarom maken we het werk dat we maken en wat heeft het met de wereld te maken? Maar ook: hoe organiseer je verbindingen tussen onafhankelijke makers van verschillende leeftijden, zodat je van elkaar leert en elkaar aanscherpt? 

Vooral nieuwe makers hebben het steeds moeilijker in Amsterdam, de laatste jaren zijn diverse podia verdwenen. Het Veem is een van de weinige plekken die hiervoor doelbewust ruimte biedt en een goed publiek heeft opgebouwd."

Dat alle makers in dit programma iets met stem doen en vrouwen zijn is voor een deel toeval volgens Beutler. "Het is echter ook een afspiegeling van het veld. Daarin zijn veel talentvolle vrouwen actief. Het is niet per se zo dat wij ons profileren als een vrouwenclub die op zoek is naar de vrouwelijke stem. Wel is het zo dat vrouwelijke energie van oudsher verbonden is met inclusiviteit en dingen bekijken vanuit een breder perspectief."

Nieuw Talent 1: Genevieve Murphy

Studeerde aan de conservatoria van Glasgow, Birmingham en Den Haag. Verbindt in haar werk muziek met beeldende kunst en performance. Presenteerde in W139 Walk and Drip for 12 hours, later in een andere versie uitgevoerd door het Concertgebouworkest, en tijdens het afgelopen Spring Festival Something In This Universe. In The One I Feed heeft het publiek zelf de touwtjes in handen.

"In mijn vorige stuk werkte ik al met dingen uit de keuken: een pak suiker, een schuursponsje, een magnetron. In dit werk luistert het publiek naar twee musici, terwijl ze van mij touwen krijgen die zijn verbonden aan een groot object van ventilatiebuizen. Ik vraag ze om in actie te komen en de sculptuur in leven te houden. Daarmee worden ze zelf verantwoordelijk voor wat ze wel of niet te zien krijgen."

Nieuw Talent 2: Cherish Menzo

Studeerde af aan de opleiding Jazz/Musical Dans in Amsterdam en danste daarna onder andere in werk van Jan Martens en Akram Khan. Presenteerde twee jaar geleden Efes, een duet met Nicole Geertruida op muziek van DJ Michael Nunes, en danst deze maanden in The Sea Within van Lisbeth Gruwez. In Live deelt ze de dansvloer met gitarist/componist Musfik Can Müftüoglu.

"Gitaar en lichaam benaderen we beiden als instrument en we gebruiken allebei onze stem. We hebben elkaar leren kennen tijdens een Splendor-lab. Ik was net begonnen met gitaarles, hij bleek supermooi te bewegen - we hebben een link. In dit nieuwe werk is ruimte voor improvisatie, alles is live. Dat maakt het fragiel maar we hebben ontdekt dat je zo publiek en performers echt samenbrengt."

Nieuw Talent 3: Eva Susová

Studeerde aan het Conservatorium in Praag en de dansacademie in Stockholm en vervolgde haar traject in Amsterdam aan de School voor Nieuwe Dans Ontwikkeling en het Sandberg Instituut. Onderzoekt in haar werk de pluraliteit van de vrouwelijke stem. DoReMiFa so Faaar is een soloperformance waarin letterlijke en figuurlijke betekenissen elkaar kruisen.

"Ik belichaam een niet-alledaags personage: ik vertel dingen over haar en laat acties van haar zien. Het resultaat is een hybride voorstelling, waarin stem, beweging, klank en technologie samen een meervoudig beeld van facts en fictions oproepen. Het is een lecture-performance, bloedserieus en daardoor misschien af en toe licht komisch. Maar het is zeker geen burleske of stand-upcomedy wat ik maak."

Een huis in de stad | Artikel door Lies Mensink

Marianne Van Kerkhoven schreef in 1994 dat het theater in de stad ligt en die stad weer in de wereld: “De wanden zijn van huid, ze hebben poriën, ze ademen. Soms wordt dat vergeten.” Ook Veem staat midden in een stad, De studio waar de huismakers hun werk maken, biedt een prachtig uitzicht op de skyline van Amsterdam. Die studio is vier steile trappen omhoog, maar Veem wil niet in een ivoren toren blijven zitten: Veem is een huis voor Performance, maar als ik op 9 november bij het Veemdiner aan tafel schuif, blijkt het ook een huis voor de buurt. 


“We willen heel graag een huis vormen voor de belangrijke thema’s die spelen in de maatschappij, maar wat betekent het om in die maatschappij staan? We zien dat er soms best wel een gat is tussen performance en de buurtgenoten,” vertelt organisator Suze van Miltenburg, “Performance is niet een taal waarin iedereen zich veilig voelt, eten is dat wel!” 

Bij het ‘Veem Huis Diner’ staat de ontmoeting tussen kunstenaar en toeschouwer centraal, meer dan de ontmoeting tussen publiek en kunstwerk. Suze legt uit dat de diners verbonden zijn aan de thema’s waar de makers in Veem mee bezig zijn. Op de 49e dag van het 100 Dagen Huis is het Brusselse Bâtard festival te gast. De ontmoeting zelf wordt het thema van het derde Veem Huis Diner: ‘What binds us?’ is de centrale vraag en zoals bij elk diner is eten het bindmiddel van deze avond.

Net als bij een gemiddelde performance in Veem, gaat het bij een Veem Huis Diner niet alleen om ontspannen achteroverleunen in en wachten op het vermaak en eten. Nee, we worden geacht zelf mee te doen. Ik schuif aan bij tafel “team groente”; onder het toeziend oog van een vaste dinergast, snijd ik avocado’s; “Mag nog wel iets kleiner”, zegt ze terwijl zij haar kinderen af en toe tot stilte maant als die het weer iets te gezellig krijgen. Aan een andere tafel wordt rijst gekookt of worden loempia’s gerold, totdat alle ingrediënten samenkomen en de mensen daardoor ook. Ik ken niemand, maar de groep voelt na het koken vertrouwd. Als ik even sta te treuzelen bij een tafel, zegt een vrouw onmiddellijk: “Deze stoel is vrij hoor!”

Op de bierviltjes waar we ons antwoord op de vraag What binds us?  kunnen achterlaten schrijft een man: “Wij zijn allen ingrediënten in onze eigen sociale maaltijd.” Weer een ander: “A common goal: the need to not to be alone.” Het is het cliché van elk sociaal experiment: door samen te werken, word je een groep. Toch verbaast het me hoe goed het werkt. Ook Suze vertelt iedere keer toch opnieuw verrast te zijn: “Mensen willen elkaar graag ontmoeten, maar zoeken het zelf niet zo snel op of zijn daarvoor niet in de gelegenheid.” 

Of de eters straks wel of niet de vier trappen oplopen naar de voorstellingen van Bâtard maakt voor Suze niet uit: “Het is geen PR-stunt, of je wel of niet zin hebt in kunst, maakt ons niet uit, het diner is meer een gebaar ‘wees welkom!’” Belangrijkst is dat er een ruimte ontstaat, waar mensen elkaar kunnen ontmoeten zonder dat het kunstwerk centraal staat. Tegelijkertijd is het een ruimte waar ook de organisatie van Veem en zijn huismakers in gesprek raken met de buurt. Op het derde diner koken en eten ook de curatoren van Bâtard mee. Suze: “Ik denk dat het heel gezond is om op deze manier met ons publiek aan tafel te zitten.”

Veem is een huis zoals geen andere, een huis waar experimenteel en radicaal ander werk getoond kan worden; een huis waar verschillende kunstvormen elkaar ontmoeten en verschillende mensen met elkaar in gesprek raken. “De wanden zijn van huid, ze hebben poriën, ze ademen. Soms wordt dat vergeten.” Bij Veem niet.

Veem House Newspaper #2 | Day 50

To read online the newspaper #2 | Day 50, click here!

On Day 50 of the 100 Day House #2 it is time to reflect upon "How to stay with the trouble?"

How to face the complexity and resist easy solutions?

Trouble is a motor for change...

Allow yourself to feel anger...

How to on-going self-question yourself?

How can you see the trouble as your friend?

Discourses and instructions from the community and surrounding in Amsterdam!

Find them at

Veem House for Performance or around the town...

Or read online at: www.veem.house

Polyphonic Songs with BAU Amsterdam, Nicole Beutler Projects and Keren Levi | NeverLike

28th — 30th of November, 'Polyphonic Songs' 3-days program is presented by Veem House for Performance and curated in collaboration with BAU Dance & Perfromance Amsterdam, Keren Levi | NeverLike and Nicole Beutler Projects.

 This 3-days program embodies an on-going dialogue between established and non-established female artists in the dance and perfomance field in Amsterdam: it is the case for Nicole Beutler Projects inviting Genevieve Murphy and Cherish Menzo, and Keren Levi getting on board of the event Eva Susova. 

“New voices enter a song, both participating in this song and contributing to reinvent it.” - Isabelle Stengers

Everyone has their own voice.

How do we listen to all these voices?

How can we sing together with different voices?


Day 1: Wednesday 28 November 2018, from 20:00

1: SONGS by Nicole Beutler (NBprojects)

LIVE (a work in progress) by Cherish Menzo

— After-talk in the space with the artists together in dialogue...

— (from 17:00 till 19:30) OPEN BAU Meeting, only under reservation sending an email to info@bau.amsterdam

Day 2: Thursday 29 November 2018, from 19:30

The one I feed by Genevieve Murphy

Departing Landscapes by Keren Levi | NeverLike

1: SONGS by Nicole Beutler (NBprojects)

Day 3: Friday 30 November 2018, from 20:00

Departing Landscapes by Keren Levi | NeverLike

DoReMiFa so Faaar by Eva Šusová

— Reflection on 'Finding the Common Female Voice' by and with Igor Dobricic

The Past and Present Tense: An interview with Jaha Koo by Lies Mensink

When the South Korean performance artist Jaha Koo came to Amsterdam seven years ago to study at DasArts, he was unable to communicate with his fellow students: “For the first two years it was too heavy, I had to take time to improve my English. I decided to pause my education.” Jaha turned his frustrating journey of improving his English pronunciation into a performance piece: 'Lolling and Rolling' (2015). This Thursday, Jaha will perform 'Lolling and Rolling' for the very last time at Veem House for Performance.

Working as a theatre maker, music producer and as an audiovisual artist, Jaha has created an authentic performative language. His work oscillates between multimedia and performance, always incorporating his own music and video work. 'Lolling and Rolling' (2015) is the first piece of Jaha’s 'Hamartia Trilogy', and is followed by the well acclaimed 'Cuckoo' (2017). Jaha recently started working on the final piece of the trilogy 'The History of Korean Western Theatre' (working title) that will premiere in 2020. “The main theme of the trilogy is about how the past tragic issues affect our contemporary society.” It becomes quite clear why Veem relates his work to the #politicalmemory: “I try to find the root of the tragic issues. This means that I have to consider the past.” Each performance focuses on a different problem within a different timeframe and Jaha shifts between his personal problems and global concerns, between the past and the present. 'Lolling and Rolling' specifically focuses on the conflictive topic of English education in Korea. 

“Korean people invest lot of time and money to learn proper English, but somehow it is very difficult to find a fluent English speaker in the Korean society.” Jaha’s own struggle with English pronunciation, makes him wonder what the root of the problem is. During the creation of the piece he is reminded of a Korean news report on tongue surgery for better English pronunciation. “It was a big issue around 2005. In the Korean language, there is no ‘R’ pronunciation, parents thought that if their child had a longer tongue it would be better for the ‘R’ pronunciation. They forced their children to cut their tongue tie.” When people realized that this linguistic surgery was not helpful at all, they quickly began searching for other methods. “It’s crazy," Jaha says, “parents would force their children to speak English instead of Korean, even though Korean is their mother tongue. I was thinking that this kind of madness is related to colonialism: the Japanese colonial background and the American influence after the Korean war.”

Jaha began searching for the root of the problem in Korea’s colonial past and in this hidden power structures were revealed: “Japan forced the Korean people to learn Japanese, that’s why the Korean people have a big complex with the ‘R’ sound: they learnt Japanese pronunciation. Korean people feel that Japan forced their history. That they destroyed Korea’s culture.” Even though Jaha shares the histories of Korean issues, 'Lolling and Rolling' is not just for a Korean audience. “It’s related to global Issues. 'Lolling and Rolling' is about imperialism and post colonialism, related to Japan and America.” Jaha hopes that through his piece the audience starts to think about the bigger cultural strategies related to political power.

'Lolling and Rolling' focuses on the time when Jaha arrived in Amsterdam, seven years later the past has irrevocably changed the present once again. “The political environment has changed and my opinion has changed. I want to renew the work, and so I decided to stop Lolling and Rolling.” Seven years after Jaha entered DasArts he is confronted with a different reality: one where Trump is president and Kim Jong-un Supreme Leader. But Jaha’s personal identity has also shifted: “When I go to Korea I feel like a stranger there. Here, in Europe, I’m also a stranger, but I’m more comfortable. I don’t belong to any specific culture anymore.”

 Jaha will perform 'Lolling and Rolling' –in its original version- this Thursday for the very last time at Veem House for Performance. “The reason I decided to show this work in Veem is that it will be very valuable for me to show the ‘first piece’. Later the second piece of the trilogy is also shown in Amsterdam at Frascati Theater on the 21st and 22nd of November. I guess you can see the evolution: How I have developed my performance language from 'Lolling and Rolling' to 'Cuckoo'." 

In his further artistic development Jaha is supported by Veem House for Performance, De Balie and De Ateliers through AFK’s 3Package Deal and CAMPO. Jaha will focus on the final piece of the trilogy, which investigates the development of Korean theatre and his own artistic practice. The 1st of November, he will return to where it all began for one very last time and perform 'Lolling and Rolling': “It is like a turning point to talk about the next page in my life.”

Veem House Newspaper #1 | Day 0

To consult online the Newspaper #1 | Day 0 > click here!

Welcome to the 100 Day House #2!

Ahead of us are 100 Days to spend together. To watch, think, discuss, and do. 100 Days of performance art, bar talks, artists, lectures, bookshop grazing, chi kung, troubled waters, clear proposals, neighbours, heated discussion, action work groups, les Spectateurs, familiar and new faces, purple keys, and yet unknown surprises. Most of all, we hope you make this house your house, a place to imagine, to share, and to stay with. To stay with what matters. 

Last year, during the first 265 day period of blackout and the 100 Day house #1, we went with Virginia Woolf’s motto: “The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be.” Darkness stands for not knowing what will come and for the embrace of that; because in uncertainty there is room to act. This year we continue to act in that space of uncertainty. Even though we had a fruitful first edition, we don’t get used to the dark, it never becomes familiar, easy, foreseeable, or an accepted state of being. The 100 Days are not a model, but rather an attitude. An attitude of prioritizing the values we think should be fundamental for how we make and present art; for how we work and live together. 

The challenge, as put by Donna Haraway, will be “how to stay with the trouble.” To not forget, but to show, that something is at stake. To together attempt to relate to the present – and everything within it that asks us to notice it. Haraway: “A livable world needs to be composed collectively, bit by bit, or not at all.” 

So now turn and touch the pages of this newspaper and explore the trouble of the next 100 Days. Thematic lines and activity modes help you navigate and find your own preferred routes throughout the program, both here and on our website. There are 4 activity modes. Performance: new and existing performance works by daring artist from close by and afar. Discourse: worlds of thoughts are conjured up in reading groups, lectures, performances, and debates; they float like clouds from the tribune, via the bookshop and accumulate in the foyer before taken into the night. At Work: get active in Chi Kung training, Reading & Research groups, and the Long Now lab. Interaction: togetherness and exchange between the house and the neighbourhood.

As some of you might notice, we continue with the same main themes as last year. We find they are still or even more relevant today and are not fleshed out or unpacked enough. We are not done. So, we stick to them. We don't swallow, but keep chewing! We explore them further in different ways this time and you can recognize the themes by the following hashtags: #themultitude for Social Imaginary; #feministkilljoys for Feminism; #politcalmemory for Political Memory; #humanlandscapes for Human and non-Human Sustainability.


Coming out of the 265 days of darkness, we call today Day 1 – the first day of the last hundred, the first day we are in the light again, that we open our doors and we welcome you back. However, Day 1 is also day 266, since this is not a new start but a continuation. We stay with the trouble and you are greatly invited to stay with it, with us.

Team Veem House 

Bâtard Festival Amsterdam 2018

7—11 November at Veem House for Performance

For the third time in its existence, scattered among the last years, this Brussels festival extends its time and space from Beursschouwburg and Decoratelier in Brussels to travel and migrate into Veem House for Performance rooms.

A festival presenting international emerging makers and thinkers, but not only…

Bâtard Festival brings together a bewildering mix of theatre, dance, performance, film, plus discursive program.

Bâtard means bastard. But it also stands for hybrid, raw and cutting edge works. The title can never do justice, since Bâtard, just like the work it presents, will always try to work around labels and categories and question those labels instead.

What we can say is that this year again, Bâtard will show more than ten outspoken works in Brussels and Amsterdam. And that in both cities, the work will be varying from dance to cinema to go beyond them, exploring what is and can be the new festival in the future.

A festival that wields the trouble as a free possibility for a future which can be a supportive and unpacked platform for the art practitioners and a broader public.


Day 1: Wednesday 7 November 2018, from 19:00

— ACTION / TRADITION / COUVERCLE by Anne-Lise le Gac (performance)

— [A SEQUENCE III] by Mario Barrantes Espinoza (performance)

Day 2: Thursday 8 November 2018, from 19:00

— Échangeur by Anne Reijniers & Rob Jacobs (film)*

— Blue Skies Forever by buren (performance)*

Day 3: Friday 9 November 2018, from 19:00

— INDISPENSIBLE BLUE by Bryana Fritz (performance)

— In our eyes, a cascade. by Clara Amaral (lecture performance)*

Day 4: Saturday 10 November 2018, from 17:00

— SELF LIFE DRAWING by Eunkyung Jeong, from 17:00 (video installation)

— Veem Huis Diner #3, from 17:00 (interaction)

— Softcore – a Hardcore Encounter by Lisa Vereertbrugghen (performance)*

— Where Do You Wanna Go Today (Variations) by Mathias Ringgenberg aka PRICE (performance)

Day 5: Sunday 11 November 2018, from 15:30

— Words for the Future | completed series launch by Nienke Scholts (discourse)

— Wanderings of a Flaming Body by Sara Hamadeh (performance)*

— What is the new Festival | public talk by Lara Staal & other guest curators (discourse)

— Launch Newspaper #2 | Day 50 (discourse)

(*=Dutch premieres)

Bâtard Festival Amsterdam 2018 is made possible with the support of Fonds Podiumkunsten, Beursschouwburg and Bâtard Festival Brussels.

Mirroring Mystics - Channeling 'Het Begijnhof' through Sound and Body: an interview with Housemaker Margo van de Linde by Lies Mensink

“The world at large is in a very precarious state.” It’s Margo van de Linde’s second time as housemaker at Veem House for Performance within the frame of the 100 Day House #2 - Stay with the trouble where she will perform her new 'work in progress' 'Me, the Beguines and the Communion' after 'Improvised Ferminism' from last year, and she’s staying with the trouble! Margo: “Now more than ever, making work that is honest is how I stay with trouble. I don’t want to get caught up in the ideas of what might ‘do well’. I feel this is a time that needs authenticity, intimacy and truth.”

Margo and I meet in the Veem House for Performance Studio as she is working on her new piece 'Me, the Beguines and the Communion'. The floor is marked with black tape in a triangular shape. Margo explains: “We are working in this triangle, which could be a courtyard, though somebody commented yesterday that it is a vagina, which I also think is pretty awesome!” The triangular shape creates an acoustic space for Margo to compose in. Sharing the stage with a percussionist she creates an auditory experience: “I can place myself anywhere in accordance to the people, so they can get different experiences of my sound and body in relation to them.”

The main ingredient for the performance is a series of conversations she had with three of her neighbors in Het Begijnhof in Amsterdam. For six years Margo lived in this beautiful courtyard of houses, in which only women are allowed to live. It is a place laden with history, Margo could almost feel the spirits of the women that were there before her: “I remember when I just moved in it was almost too much! Am I allowed to be here? How can I honor this somehow and still be myself?” In her new piece 'Me, the Beguines and the Communion', she pays homage to the beguines.

She portrays three of her neighbors in this one woman show. It is an anarchistic quality, a certain stubbornness, that binds the stories of these different women. While one of them has never been married and the other left a life with a husband behind, they all made a specific choice of how to live their lives. “I only met women who have a very clear sense of how they want to practice their life and the rituals they want to create for themselves within that.”

Veem related Margo’s last piece Improvised Feminism to the theme #TheFutureIsFeminist. Her new work is similarly linked to #feministkilljoys. “I like relating to an ironic hashtag, I’m a comedian and there is also comedy in this work.” Margo agrees that it is a feminist piece, “To give a voice and a body to women who are, in my opinion, often not heard and seen is already a feminist act.” In fact, being a beguine is a somewhat rebellious act. Margo: “We call them ‘rebel nuns’ I think people go to beguinages and think ‘oh nuns live here.’ They’re not nuns! I don’t think people realize just how anarchistic a movement it was.” 

Before living in Het Begijnhof Margo admits she too had some preconceptions about the women: “them being old and boring, which is totally not true! My preconceived notions about them radically changed and I want to share the women I’ve really come to know with a wider audience.” While she shares the history of the beguines in her performance, Margo wants to move beyond the rational: “I don’t want this to be a space where we sit and reflect intellectually on the concept, but rather a space where we are feeling something in our bodies.” This is why Margo is working with a percussionist: Henning Luther. Margo: “I think drums create texture and rhythm yet also leave space. I wanted the piece to be dynamic and open.” In the piece the two engage in an intuitive dialogue “I imagine he sometimes steers my characters or I influence him in how I’m speaking.” Working with her skills, spoken word, music and acoustics she creates an auditory piece.

Being a theatre maker and trained as an improviser Margo is keen on creating a space where there is a certain looseness, a fluidity. “I want an audience to feel that there may be imperfection, that they could engage in a different way, which is not saying that this is participatory theatre! I’m very bored with full frontal theatre and the strictness that it implies. I don’t want you to be super quiet and not shift your ass when you’re uncomfortable, you know?”

Margo describes improvising as a kind of channeling, and here she identifies with the beguines: “They were also women who -in the most extreme cases- were having very physical experiences of channeling spirits and channeling god.” She refers to the beguines scriptures that occasionally flow in and out of our conversation: “Being a beguine is about emptying yourself out and going through a kind of death: a transformation to have a rebirth. I believe I had this thing.” In showing herself going through this process Margo tries to transport or transform the audience much like herself: “a little bit…”Margo bursts into laughter, “I hope!”

Last Tuesday in Les Spectateurs several spectators were invited in the triangular rehearsal space of Margo. “My last piece Improvised Feminism was constantly made in conversation with an audience, but now after working so intimately, it was a little weird to open the doors. We felt like anything could happen: ‘This could somehow work or this could be an absolute disaster…’ but it somehow worked!”


“One of the ‘spectateurs’ said the performance is ‘like pieces of a mirror that got smashed open, but that you can piece them back together.’ Yeah! That’s what I want: I don’t want to tell you it’s about this, or that. I just want you to feel it and then decide for yourself what it means.” Margo sounds confident: “There’s still a shitload to be done of course, but yeah.. I feel it now.” 

Margo’s work is open and honest, “I keep saying everything that I really feel, instead of trying to make art that I think fits in to some kind of fashion. You can relate to it however you want. You can love it or hate it, its fine, but this is my work.” 

“That’s how I stay with the trouble.”

“Juist wij hebben de verantwoordelijkheid wel politiek te zijn.” State of the Youth 2017

Dinsdagmiddag vorige week werd ik gebeld. Ik zat op de fiets in Amsterdam. Een collega had me net daarvoor ge-sms’t dat Kathleen Treier om mijn nummer had gevraagd. Of ze die mocht geven. “Ja wel he?” Dus dat ik een telefoontje kon verwachten. “Ja nee natuurlijk”, had ik geantwoord. “Zal wel gaan over of ik een praatje wil houden. Voor een groep. Ofzo.” Sms’te ik terug. “Ja zoiets zal het wel zijn”, zei zij weer. “Ik zal eens horen”, ik weer. 

Die groep – zo bleek aan de telefoon – bent u. Dat praatje, is de State of the Youth. Ja ze ging maar gewoon heel eerlijk met me zijn. Er had iemand besloten het toch niet te doen – ik hoorde door de wind niet wie. Ik fietste verder en hoorde de biografieën van de sprekers van de State of the Union en de State of the Other, kwam aan bij het Veem, stapte af en zei dat ik er een nachtje over wilde slapen. 


“Oh wat goed. Doen!” 


“Natuurlijk moet je dat doen.” 

“Maar het is over een week!”

“Oja – uhm, wil je dat?” 

“Nee – ik denk dat je gelijk hebt, je moet het inderdaad niet doen. Ik denk dat het niet handig is.” 

“Je moet het wel doen – vrouwen moeten eens vaker ja zeggen in plaats van nadenken of het handig is. Straks staat er weer zo’n man.” 

“Ja inderdaad – maar het is ook een typical thing van patriarchy dat een vrouw het dan last minute mag oplossen.” 

“Maar niet bij Kathleen he?” “Nee niet bij Kathleen.” 


Goede avond, mijn naam is Anne Breure. Ik ben jong – maar dat is toeval – zoals Kathleen er direct bij zei toen ze me vroeg. Ik ben artistiek directeur van Veem Huis voor Performance in Amsterdam. En acht dagen geleden werd mij gevraagd om de State of the Youth uit te spreken. 

Toen ik vorige week woensdagmiddag na dat nachtje slapen zei dat ik wel een poging wilde doen, was mijn voorwaarde dat ik er – net als degenen die af hadden gezegd voor mij – ten alle tijden nog uit zou mogen stappen.

Ik wist namelijk niet of ik wel iets te zeggen had. Ik had vooral een hoop te doen. 

Het is vandaag een jaar en een maand geleden dat in Nederland de subsidie-uitslagen voor 2017-2020 bekend werden gemaakt. 

Ik was een kleine twee jaar daarvoor artistiek directeur geworden van een productiehuis voor dans en performance in Amsterdam, het Veem. Een productiehuis dat in 2013 ten tijde van de grote kunstbezuinigingen ruim de helft aan middelen was kwijtgeraakt. Het bleef overeind dankzij reserves, frictiegelden en interne bezuinigingen. Maar toen ik eind 2014 aantrad was de bodem in zicht. Op een gegeven moment kun je niet verder bezuinigen. En de reserves raakten op. 

We maakten moeilijke besluiten, werkten allemaal – van kunstenaar tot team – veel te veel, met veel te weinig voor veel te weinig. Op onderhoud bezuinigden we, vergaten we, en dankzij een heleboel passie stampten we met partners zo alsnog heel wat uit de grond. We hielden al met al een vrij stralende façade hoog; we ontwikkelden voorstellingen, ontwierpen ‘nieuwe innovatieve vormen’ en – in een monitorgesprek met het fonds toch het belangrijkst – overtroffen alle activiteiten en prestatie-eisen. Maar aan de achterkant was het op alle vlakken duidelijk dat het zo niet lang vol te houden was. Het moest veranderen. 

Het verhaal van het Veem is in het klein het verhaal van de Nederlandse cultuursector als totaal. Als sector waren we eveneens een derde aan middelen kwijtgeraakt, maar toen eind 2014 de balans op werd gemaakt, bleek dat we méér producties voortbrachten, méér toeschouwers bereikten en méér bezoekers hadden dan ooit tevoren. Het ging zó goed, dat de rechts-liberale VVD eiste dat de cultuursector excuses zou maken aan staatsecretaris Halbe Zijlstra die de bezuinigingen had doorgevoerd. We hadden destijds geschreeuwd op pleinen, een Mars der Beschaving georganiseerd, een grote mond gehad. Allemaal onzin, want – zo was nu bewezen – de bezuinigingen waren alleen maar voor onze eigen bestwil geweest. De cultuursector deed het beter dan ooit. 

In januari 2016 echter kwam de Sociaal-Economische Raad met een rapport over de positie van de kunstenaar op de arbeidsmarkt. Nu werd door een autoriteit van buiten de sector met cijfers zichtbaar gemaakt wat binnen de sector al lang voelbaar was: iemand compenseert de middelen die er niet meer zijn, iemand betaalt de rekening voor alles wat er desondanks nog wel gemaakt wordt – en dat is de kunstenaar en de cultuurwerker. Wiens positie uiterst zorgwekkend is, wat niet vol te houden is en wat moet veranderen. 

Met het Veem vroegen we voor 2017-2020 een groter subsidiebedrag aan. Een bedrag dat in de richting ging van wat we voor de bezuinigingen hadden. We zouden meer eigen inkomsten genereren, maar er moest wel een basis zijn om dat te kunnen doen. 

Op die dag, een jaar en een maand geleden was ik in Japan. In een klooster op een berg. Zeven uur vooruitlopend op de Nederlandse tijd zat ik aan het diner en kreeg het advies van het Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst op mijn telefoon binnen. Een heel positief advies. Artistiek uitstekend. Visie, inhoud, werkwijze, verbindingen: top. Ik scrolde naar de conclusie: We hadden het heel goed gedaan met het bedrag dat we de afgelopen jaren hadden, dus kregen we opnieuw precies hetzelfde bedrag toegekend. De status quo waarvan we aangaven dat deze niet houdbaar was, werd behouden. 

Van alle scenario’s was dit het nachtmerriescenario. ‘Niets’ was helder geweest; ‘alles’ was helder geweest. Maar houden wat we hadden, wetende dat het niet op dezelfde manier door kon gaan was een impasse. 

Ik had de maanden voorafgaand aan de uitslagen aangemoedigd door het SER-rapport bij allerlei gelegenheden gesproken over de noodzaak van een Fair Practice Label voor de kunsten. Een label dat oorspronkelijk hier in Brussel door State of the Arts werd bedacht en waarvoor ik met anderen pleitte in Nederland. Een label waarin wij als sector de waarden volgens welke we willen produceren zouden verankeren. Waarden waar we talloze voorstellingen en programma’s over maken, maar die we als het om onze eigen praktijk gaat dikwijls lijken te vergeten. Solidariteit, diversiteit, transparantie, duurzaamheid. Een label dat de waarden die we zo vaak aan de voorkant prediken, zou benoemen met de intentie ze aan de achterkant te praktiseren. Een label dat ons allemaal - kunstenaar, gezelschap, instelling, fonds, overheid - aanspreekt op onze verantwoordelijkheid hoe met de schaarse middelen om te gaan.

Na de uitslag in augustus hadden we twee maanden om een aangepast activiteitenschema en begroting in te dienen. Ergens in die twee maanden sprak ik op het Nederlands Theaterfestival opnieuw over dat Fair Practice Label. Na de eerste PowerPoint-slide viel ik stil. Ik kon dit praatje in honderd variaties dromen. Maar ineens. Ik was het kwijt. Black-out. Ik had al die tijd bevlogen gesproken. Vol overgave. Over waarden. En over hoe wij als instellingen, kunstenaars, onszelf daaraan moesten proberen te houden. Maar hoe ging ik dat in deze situatie nu in hemelsnaam doen? Hoe kon ik de waarden waarover ik steeds sprak praktiseren als de middelen ons nauwelijks in staat stelden überhaupt overeind te blijven? 

Een paar dagen later stond ik bij een vriendin in de keuken. Ze was ziek, hoewel ze dat niet had willen toegeven. Ze had net nog op een podium gestaan, maar lag nu op de bank en ik had gezegd haar opgestapelde afwas wel even weg te werken. Ergens daar – tussen een lichaam dat stop zei – en een eindeloze stapel borden van snelle maaltijden, zei ik het voor het eerst:

“We gaan gewoon niet het hele jaar open. Het kan niet. We hebben om en nabij een derde van de gelden gekregen die we nodig denken te hebben, dus we gaan een derde doen.” 

“Hoe bedoel je dat?” Zei ze vanaf de bank. 

“We worden een 100-Dagen Huis.” Zei ik. 

“Kwaliteit boven kwantiteit. We sluiten geen inhoudelijke compromissen.

Honderd dagen lang zijn we een huis – met alles erop en eraan. 

De andere 265 dagen zijn we er niet. 265 dagen black-out. 265 dagen staking.” 

En zo geschiedde: we schreven een plan, stuurden een persbericht uit en kregen uiteindelijk rond kerst akkoord van het fonds. We hielden een ‘closings dinner’ en op 1 januari deden we het licht uit. 

Nu is er al 243 dagen lang geen publieke werking. En zijn er nog 22 dagen over. 

Over 22 dagen beginnen de laatste honderd dagen van het jaar. 

En gaat het Veem als het 100 Dagen Huis open. 
Voor honderd dagen zijn we een huis dat in werking is. Waar gerepeteerd, geresideerd, getraind, gepresenteerd, gedeeld, gegeten, gesproken, onderzocht, geprobeerd, gekeken, uitgewisseld, gediscussieerd, gelezen, ontmoet, geproduceerd, gepremiered wordt. 

Dat wat er 265 dagen lang niet is gedaan, begint dan.

Afgelopen seizoen zat ik ik bij een symposium in een kunstinstelling over dekolonisatie. Een vrouw hield een presentatie over de geschiedschrijving van Bonaire en hoe daarin de oorspronkelijke bevolking geheel niet erkend werd als mensen. Laat staan dat hun geschiedenis en cultuur daarin een plek kreeg. Over hoe het woord ‘slaven’ vervangen zou moeten worden door ‘tot slaaf gemaakte mensen’. Een Nederlandse witte jongen op de eerste rij reageerde na haar presentatie: “Dankjewel, ik wist hier niets van. Ik ben ook niet zo politiek,” en vervolgde, “denk je dat er meer aandacht voor is nu er politieke partijen zijn die het expliciet op de agenda plaatsen?” “Nou voor mij is het niet een kwestie van agenda,” antwoordde de vrouw, “het is mijn leven.” Een vrouw van kleur uit het publiek nam het woord en richtte zich tot de witte jongen: “Hoe durf je te zeggen ‘ik weet hier niet zoveel van’ en zo publiekelijk ignorant te zijn; en hoe durf je te zeggen ik ben niet politiek, voor ons is het geen optie om niet-politiek te zijn.” 

De moderator greep in en zei: “Laten we even een moment stil zijn en nadenken over wat er zojuist is gebeurd.” Het was stil en we zaten in het donker, dachten na, misschien. Het was ongemakkelijk en oncomfortabel. Maar goed, dat was het ook – en dat donkere moment zinderde nog lang na. “De keuze niet hebben om niet-politiek te zijn,” herhaalde ik.

Het is een voorrecht politiek te zijn, omdat je er tijd voor moet (kunnen) nemen en je het idee moet hebben dat je gehoord wordt. Maar het is een nog groter voorrecht om niet politiek te kunnen zijn. En juist ik, wij, met dat voorrecht – wit, Nederlands, hoogopgeleid, gesubsidieerd – hebben de verantwoordelijkheid wél politiek te zijn. 

Het Veem blijft in de kunstenplanperiode 2017-2020 op hetzelfde niveau. Er werden ook instellingen opnieuw gekort. Toen ik om mij heen naar het Amsterdamse dansveld keek, zag ik vooral brokstukken. Ik dacht: nu is het echt crisis. Na de eerste bezuinigingsslag, is het veld nu vier jaar later definitief kapot. Ergens voelde dat bevrijdend: het was crisis en never waste a good crisis had ik in de politiek geleerd. Je kunt dan iets weggooien, of juist dan denken – laten we het beter maken. Ik hoefde mijn baan niet te houden, mijn instelling niet koste wat kost overeind te houden. Mijn zorg was: hoe dat waarvoor we staan opnieuw plek te geven. En mijn vraag was vooral: wat gaan we samen van deze brokstukken bouwen? Maar ondertussen leek het alsof iedereen vooral bezig was met zijn eigen brokstuk; zijn eigen organisatie. Hoe dat ene brokstuk te behouden. En daarvoor het beste te lobbyen.  

Een vriend vertelde me over een reportage over de binnenvaart, die hij op de radio had gehoord. Hoe schippers koste wat kost door bleven gaan met het vervoeren van vrachten. Dat het bijvoorbeeld 13.000 euro kost om de vracht van A naar B te brengen, terwijl ze er maar 10.000 euro voor krijgen. Maar dat ze er dan zelf gewoon 3.000 euro op toe leggen, in de hoop dat anderen over de kop gaan, of dat ‘het’ wel weer aan zou trekken. 

De schippers zijn verknocht aan hun schepen, er zit bloed, zweet en tranen in. Ze wonen erop. Ze leven erop. Ze zíjn hun schepen. Het deed hem denken aan ons; de cultuursector. Ontroerend mooi, maar ook heel pijnlijk – want hoe lang hield je zoiets vol? 

Waarom gaan we niet van die schepen af? Voor even. Staan we aan wal. Om te kijken of we het anders zouden kunnen doen. Misschien geeft iemand een schip op. Voor het grotere geheel. Zodat niet iedereen noodlijdend is. Of delen we een schip. Of gebruiken we helemaal geen schepen meer. En gaan we de vracht anders vervoeren. 

Dit is niet iemand die de State of the Youth uitspreekt en roept dat de generatie voor mij er mee op moet houden. Maar ik wil wel zeggen: Het gaat om de vracht. Hoe vervoeren we die? Het gaat er niet om schepen te behouden – instituten te behouden – maar de vracht.  

Soms lijkt het alsof we instituten als het weer zijn gaan zien. Als fenomenen. Als iets wat ons overkomt. Als iets waar we geen invloed op hebben. Maar wij zijn het instituut. Wijzelf. Wij zijn dat systeem. Samen. Dus als de manier waarop het instituut werkt, niet strookt met wat we zeggen, dan moeten we proberen het anders te doen. Ons ‘doen’ veranderen.   

“Maar zo is het overal, ook buiten de kunsten”, zei de man die al heel wat langer mee loopt in de sector dan ik. “Dat de voorkant niet altijd strookt met de achterkant.” 

“Ja”, zei ik, “Dat is zo. Maar is dat niet precies de reden dat wij het anders moeten doen?” Hebben wij, juist wij de kunsten, niet de verantwoordelijkheid om vanuit onze gesubsidieerde positie – hoe precair zo nu en dan ook – te laten zien dat het ook anders kan? Is dat niet waar de kunst over gaat? Is dat niet waar wij over zouden moeten gaan?  Laten zien dat het anders kan. Zelfs als we daarin falen, het op zijn minst proberen? Als we programma’s over feminisme maken, moeten we dan niet kijken wat dat betekent in onze eigen instelling. En ons afvragen waarom in 27 jaar State of the Union pas vijf keer een vrouw aan het woord kwam? Als we performances maken over nieuwe samenlevingsvormen, moeten we dan niet kijken naar onze eigen organisatievormen? En als we voorstellingen maken over klimaatverandering, moeten we dan niet kijken hoe duurzaam we eigenlijk zelf zijn? Juist omdat wij zien en zeggen dat het anders kán, moeten we dat in onze werking doortrekken. Hetzelfde risico nemen als op de vloer en dezelfde vragen stellen als in het repetitielokaal. We mogen niet niet-politiek zijn. We mogen het ons zelf niet (zo) comfortabel maken. 

Ik heb veel gesproken over het 100 Dagen Huis het afgelopen seizoen. En telkens heb ik benadrukt dat we geen model zijn, maar dat het 100 Dagen Huis voortkomt uit een houding. Elke context vraagt om een ander antwoord. We zijn geen ‘fantastisch instituut’. We zijn geen oplossing. Het 100 Dagen Huis is een probleem. Want we zijn er 265 dagen niet. En de kunst zal zijn: “to stay with the trouble”, om met filosofe Donna Haraway te spreken. Om niet de oplossing te zijn die doet vergeten dat er iets mis zit. Maar juist te laten zien dat er iets mis zit. Dat is oncomfortabel. Dat is onhandig. We weten veel niet. We omarmen het instituut als fictie en lopen tegen realiteiten aan. Het zit vol paradoxen. We gingen tegen het kapitalistisch gegeven van ‘als maar meer voor als maar minder’ in. En tegelijkertijd kun je zeggen dat het 100 Dagen Huis onze beste PR-stunt ooit is. 

Iemand vroeg me in een interview, of het 100 Dagen Huis invloed heeft op de kunst die we nu programmeren, of het andere kunst zou zijn. Maar het is andersom: de kunst heeft invloed op ons, op onze werking. We proberen iets van de radicaliteit, iets van de waarden, iets van het continue opnieuw denken van onze kunstenaars, door te voeren in ons werk.

Kunst laat ons zien dat er meerdere werkelijkheden zijn. Dat zoals het is, niet gegeven is, maar altijd kan veranderen. Het maakt pijn zichtbaar, maar ook hoop. Het plaatst ons in een context en bevraagt die context. En het spreekt ons altijd aan op ons mens zijn. Confronteert ons met onze eigen waarden en onze vragen. Zet ons aan het denken, doet ons fantaseren, laat ons bevragen. Het is meer dan eens ongemakkelijk. Oncomfortabel. Het maakt ons politiek. 

Ons motto werd: ‘The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be.’ Een citaat van Virginia Woolf. Ze schreef het in de jaren ’30. Toen de toekomst zeker donker was. Net zoals ze dat vandaag – met aanslag na aanslag, Trump, overstromingen, Myanmar – lijkt te zijn. 

Voor Woolf stond de donkerte voor het niet weten wat gaat komen; voor de onzekerheid over hoe de toekomst eruit ziet. Over donkerte die ruimte biedt voor fantasie, voor nieuwe dingen, over donkerte als daar waar de liefde wordt bedreven, waar nieuwe gedachten ontstaan… Juist omdat we het niet zien, niet weten. 

De Amerikaanse essayiste Rebecca Solnit refereert naar Woolf’s ‘donkerte als onzekerheid’ en schrijft: “An optimist thinks everything will be fine no matter what, and that justifies to do nothing. But hopefullness as I define it means that we don’t know what is going to happen. And in that uncertainty there is room to act.”

Is er ruimte. Om iets te doen. 

Kathleen belde en ik sliep er een nacht over. De volgende ochtend begonnen we met het team de theaterruimte van Veem te schilderen. De theaterruimte, die al heel lang niet onderhouden was. Maar die we nu samen onder handen namen. Op naar duurzaamheid. Naar aandacht geven aan de dingen. Zorgen voor de omgeving. Tegen uitholling en opbranden. Hoe groot de paradox dan uiteindelijk mijn State of the Youth in een paar nachten te schrijven. 

Over 22 dagen beginnen we. En dan? Dan gaat het licht aan en wordt het donker. 

Ik wist niet of ik wel iets te zeggen had. U en ik – we hebben vooral een hoop te doen. 

Ik wens u een heel mooi, donker seizoen. 

Met dank aan het team van het Veem (Nienke, Anne, Martha, Lyndsey, Suze, Pablo, Gwenda, Jasiek, Andrea), het Transitiebureau (Marijke, Anoek, Lara), het bestuur van het Veem, Dennis Molendijk, Dries Douibi en de inspirerende teksten van onder meer Daniel Blanga-Gubbay en Rebecca Solnit. 

En aan Kathleen voor de onmogelijke vraag. 

Veem draws on vision and fair practice to transform into the '100-Day House'

Press Release  13 October 2016

In the next four-year arts funding cycle, Veem House for Performance has taken the radical step to – instead of being open the whole year – become a House for Performance for one hundred consecutive days per year. This amendment to the business plan, which takes effect from 1 January 2017, will allow Veem House for Performance to maintain its high standards despite restricted funding. In this way Veem will manifest itself in condensed form without compromising on quality and while staying true to the vision it outlined in its submitted plans. Artistic Director Anne Breure explains: ‘The 100-Day House will allow us to develop rather than shrink; to move forward instead of cutting back. With the strong links and healthy collaborative relationships, we have in the national and international dance and performing arts world, as well as in the Amsterdam arts scene, Veem will for the coming years recurrently position itself as an indispensable art-house in the city.’

In its allocation of subsidies for 2017-2020, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK) rated Veem very highly as production house for dance and performance, and acknowledged its importance as an innovative establishment on account of its new leadership and its curatorial proposals. However, despite this recognition, the Veem was allocated only a minimal increase in funding in the coming years – a substantially lower amount than was requested. Although the Veem was pleased with the acknowledgment for its activities and to suddenly find itself the biggest dance and production house in Amsterdam, Veem is also concerned about how with the limited financial resources it is going to continue delivering in accordance with the approved vision and proposed working methods and to the high standards for which it’s known. So in response to the AFK’s decision Veem decided to transform itself into the 100-Day House, as of 2017. Veem presented this revised plan to the fund before the 3 October deadline.

The house as a proposal

The revised plan emphasises and harnesses the force of Veem’s artistic vision and intrinsic strength as a driver of innovative and acclaimed dance and performance. The 100-Day House is a space for artists and spectators to meet, inspire one another and exchange thoughts. Every year, Veem will be a place for art, politics, ideas and people to meet. The 100-Day House will be a recurring House for Performance that operates during an intensive and suitable period of the year, and is based on fair practice. This proposal allows the organisation to choose quality over quantity without compromising the production and working conditions of artists and professionals in the cultural field. It also means Veem will cease to exist in its current form, and become project-based. Throughout the rest of the year the space will be used by artists and become an incubator for the development of new ideas.

Amsterdam’s dance and performance sector

Although Veem remains deeply concerned about the circumstances of the dance and performance sector in Amsterdam – and in particular the scope for the development of talent and the production of internationally oriented, contemporary and cutting-edge work – this transformation will allow Veem to face the future with purpose and commitment. Starting from 2017, Veem will organise a series of expert meetings in collaboration with partners, the purpose of which will be to bring together the sector (artists, audiences and relevant institutions) to discuss ideas and the possibilities of a house for dance and performance as a public institution. For the duration of the four-year arts funding period, Veem will be uncompromising in its operations as the 100-Day House and demonstrate the potential for an institution of this kind and in these times: firmly linked to the sector and the city, and to our local, national and international partners.

Reading & Research group #3

In October we start a new Reading & Research group. After RR-series on Art & Labour and Accelerationism, this fall/winter we’ll look into the issues concerning Post-Colonialism.

For this RR#3 we are interested in the broader question why certain ways of thinking dominate (within society, the west, science), and how such paradigms could shift or break. Within this context we look specifically at prevailing views concerning colonialism and the discourse on post- and de-colonialism that try to bend these views into other shapes.

The RR group is open to Post-graduates, MA students and professionals from all fields interested in the topic and engaged to work with a small collaborative group; led by those who participate. A few guests will be invited, to inspire us along the way, providing introductions or specific insights on the scope of issues.

RR#3 takes place at Veem House for Performance in two-weekly sessions from the last Wednesday of September until 7 December. September 28th, October 12th - 26th, November 9th - 23rd and December 7th.

Costs: 25,- (reader). Interested? Sign-up by sending an email to: nienke@veem.house.

Moving Meetings Dance 2016

On Saturday 9 July the third and last day Moving Meetings Dance 2016 will be curated and hosted by Veem House for Performance, focussing on the new generation interdisciplinary dance makers and creative exchange. After being approached by Julidans to organize one day of the programme, Veem sought for new ways to give form to this showcase-day in order to create a sustainable conversation between programmers and artists. We proposed a model that creates room for discussion and dialogue, by inviting makers and programmers to join around tables in conversations and where small groups of programmers will be guided to different types of presentations on different locations in the building by Anne Breure (Artistic Director Veem), Lara Staal (Programmer Frascati) and Karlien Vanhoonacker (Artistic Coordinator Pianofabriek). Nine inspiring artists from the Dutch dance- and performance field will share their projects,  fragments of performances and practices; Florentina Holzinger, Julian Hetzel, Noha Ramadan, Ola Maciejewska, Oneka von Schrader, Orion Maxted, Rodrigo Sobarzo, Schwalbe and Wild Vlees (Tamar Blom and Francesca Lazzeri).

Moving Meetings Dance 2016 presents emerging choreographers from the Netherlands during a divers day programmes on different locations throughout Amsterdam. This event (invitation only) gives international programmers and artists and gives an insight on the newest developments of dance: contemporary and interdisciplinary, edgy and exciting. Moving Meetings Dance is a project of Dutch Performing Arts and is organised by Julidans and the Dutch Dance Festival.