Veem's future is here

After a year of constant adaptation, filled with uncertainties and immense flexibility of our artists, audience and team, it is time for a little break. To spend some time offline, to re-energize, reflect and prepare for a hopefully better 2021.


We are more than grateful that within the current restrictions, we were able to continue telling the 10 stories of Veem's future in June, September, October and November. We were able to safely invite artists and give them the stage to create and present.  


We Produced 

We Interacted 

We invited a Polyphony of Voices 

We created Space

We continued Discourse online

We Tried Out

We honored Hybridity of skills

We Exchanged Internationally

We Moved


Thank you to all the artists we worked with, who shared their vulnerability and were committed to keep on going in these uncertain times. 

Thank you audience, Housemates and friends of Veem House for your dedication and ever lasting interest. Despite a thinned tribune and a closed foyer, almost all activities were sold out and you kept adapting to the new regulations.

Thank you partners, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunsten, DOEN, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Goethe Institut and the city of Amsterdam for your support and trust when we had to change our plans.

Thank you all for joining us in this journey! This motivated us to keep on going.

We will be back with a new program at the beginning of 2021 and we already feel inspired to start this future. Curious how we will proceed? Read the interview with artistic director Marga Kroodsma and business manager Martha van Meegen! 


We'll stay in touch. 

Sending you warmth,


Team Veem House

Interview: meet the co-curators of the November 10x10 program

During our November 10x10 program, choreographers and performers Antonia Steffens (DE) and Keerthi Basavarajaiah (IN) will not only present their work in Veem House for Performance, but share their voice as co-curator’s as well. We invited Keerthi and Antonia to co-curate our November program about Movement. Both aregraduates from SNDO and while they carry quite different biographies, they share an interest for the spaces in-between, that are often left unseen. Their curation is informed by the need to create a shared space, both off and on stage: ‘We understand movement as an integrated practice out of what you experience through life.’ 

By Lies Mensink

You were invited to co-curate our program about ‘dance’, but decided to use the word ‘movement’ instead. Why movement?

Keerthi Basavarajaiah: ‘Dance has such a strong imposition of what it is and it should be. When Antonia and I speak of our own ‘dance background’ we tend to abandon that word and use ‘movement’ instead. I come from an Indian classical dance background, though it is not considered mainstream dance here, I went to a very disciplined systematic training for almost 7 to 8 years to study it. Now I don’t really carry it in the way it was thought to me as a form of dance but definitely carry the learning’s across mediums’ 

‘For me “Dance” is emerging its in nature with the relation-scapes. I perceive movement in and across every aspect. I’m so fascinated by certain quirks that people carry in their daily manners of moving around. Some of the most amazing dancers that I’ve seen are not the ones that are trained in the conventional ways, their bodies are thriving in how they relate to their own vocabulary itself.’

What was important for you in creating this program?

Antonia Steffens: ‘‘When Veem House approached us to curate this 10x10 edition we were in the midst of the Black Live Matters protests and right after the shock of the first Covid-19 peak. At the same time, we were also in a creative process working on Keerthi’s graduation work “Luring Whispers”. Being inside of the artistic work while dealing with the repercussions of the protests, the health crisis and the emotional and physical implications this had on our work, we challenged our curatorial line to be informed by the difficult realities inside of the November 10 x 10. We felt a need to look at how we share space in the first place and how different artists from different realities and practices find different ways to stay close to their work.

Keerthi Basavarajaiah: ‘There is usually this gap between who is inviting and dividing these platforms, and who is presenting – a lot of in-between dialogue, engagement is missing. Our cu ration was informed by the need to acknowledge the spaces we share in its diversity. We were really thinking about: what is it to make works these days? And what is it to make work as an immigrant, as a body that is challenged in so many ways on a day to day basis?’

‘The other people in this program Raoni Muzho Saleh, Nico Roses, Mami Kang, Matthew Day propose a strata of movement vocabularies through their works. That is where I think we found the shared quest: carrying movement without having the burden of a specific form, specific aesthetics or certain ways.’

Antonia Steffens: In choosing the artists we were also thinking about resilience: how does one keep on working with the practice that showed to be important? A practice that makes sense/ sensitivity and gives meaning to one’s artistic identity and development despite specific political agendas inside the cultural sector or funding criteria. We understand movement as an integrated practice out of what you experience through life. Anyone who is working in this field carries their biography. This integration of certain kinds of aspects of their life and how these artists relate to movement into their practice is really interesting to us.’

You see movement as an integrated practice: how do you carry your biographies in your practice?

Antonia Steffens: ‘I am working with my family’s history : I was born in Germany two years after the wall fell, I grew up in a newly “reunited” country, having a mom that has Jewish descent; a grandmother who survived the holocaust. My father’s mother was a painter and my father’s father an architect building up, what was destroyed after war. As I grew up hearing their stories and getting curious about their practices and ways and attempts of making a living, I looked for their traces inside of my own artistic work. My practice is very much informed by their biographies as well, so it is not just my own: you can find them in how I approach materials, colours, sounds and movements - It’s not about showcasing them but to carry them in the imperceptible. In fact, they help me to find relation to space and time.’

Keerthi Basavarajaiah: ‘For me carrying a biography is a very dual thing because the minute people look at me they project that I’m not from “here” or attribute narratives with an “exotic” gaze. A biography is ahead of me even without having to say anything about it. While I still carry my ethnicity very strongly, also trying to see how it can exceed these impositions- presuppositions. My biography is a web of relations.

I left India mainly because of the patriarchal nature of the surrounding I grew up in - I had to leave to really find the movements beyond the suppressive structures. I think my work is highly influenced by a curiosity that breaks away from what was given, how else? My practice emerges through these vectors of biographical fields.

Keerthi, how did that biography inform your performance Luring Whispers?

Keerthi Basavarajaiah: ‘I’m always looking for the multiplicities of being. In my performance Luring Whispers I create a space where multiple narratives can co-exist. I try to create the presence of many bodies without having to have them be wholly present. My research started with the mundane gestures that we move with on a day-to-day basis. Gestures that we recognize, reiterate, practice and share: a carrying, a touch, a holding. Gestures in their shapes and manners can trigger so much movement in perception and narratives. The work carries my biography in its gestural hints while foregrounding the field at play’ 

Luring Whispers is ‘a dance in the initiation of the senses’. How do you create a sensory performance when you need to keep 1,5 metres distance to the audience?

Keerthi Basavarajaiah: ‘Senses are synesthetic in nature: a sense can trigger others. Sounds for instance can trigger something very physical in you, certain sounds can give you goosebumps, a colour can be a feeling of warmth. I’m exploring how senses can be moved from a distance, where touch too is not only experienced through physical contact.’

Antonia, your performance An Attendee wills premier during 10x10 November. What fascinates you about attendance, and why did you decide to make a performance about it? 

Antonia Steffens: 'Attendance came as a word to acknowledge a state, where you do not yet know what to do, and where you neither necessarily act nor resign, but stay with it. 

In my previous research I have been fascinated with the relations of seeing and being seen. The gaze has a long history in the theatre, but I started to re-interrogate the bias of observer/observant. The notion of attendance somehow opens this dual idea and looks at the space of that relation, literally, in between: I try to give this space a personality in my work, even if I cannot slip into its role. It is about acknowledging that something is going on there in a co-emergent way. 

‘The notion of “space” and “making space'' became important in recent years. As a person who experiences a set of privileges, I try to not take my position and the way I “can'' move, for granted in space. To “leave” space, but on the other hand, to not withdraw from the conversation became a mode of potential becoming that I explore in ”An attendee". I needed to develop tools for carrying this moment in time that allow me to question my “space-being” but at the same time not deny it.'

Your program on movement comes from the need for a shared space, what movements and needs do you notice in the dance scene in Amsterdam?

Keerthi Basavarajaiah: ‘How the funding structures are established calls for certain strategic ways of coming together and tending to certain practices. That move can also have the tendency to become exclusive and protective.

In the Amsterdam scene I feel there is a strong sense to recognize that we all come from different sensibilities and needs. It almost becomes a need then, to think together in the relations we find to keep those practices going.’

‘Recently a friend asked me if I would still be making the same kind of work if I were back in India. I had to answer no: the surrounding I live in (Amsterdam) is informing me every day, in terms of what and how I relate to and what kind of work I create. Of course, I carry the qualities from being from a certain place, but with that I’m constantly affected by what I move with. Of having to recognize that people have multiple ways, multiple medium of expressions and existential calls even if we all seem to share a “common” ground.’

Antonia Steffens: ‘Precarity makes alliances emerge, which can be a good thing, but it also comes from a need that there is not enough attention and care for whatever different inclinations dance and performance can have. In Amsterdam there is not enough support for dance and performance, and while there are institutions that are really engaging and fighting for the space of dance continuously, they also have their own visions from the point of view of the institution only.'

‘The Netherlands and Amsterdam follow up quite neoliberal politics in their education and market. This impacts how development and practices are seen as commodities that are expected to keep up with new trends inside of academia or institutions. Sometimes this makes the artistic practices and discourse one sided and generates exclusivity. It also produces a scene that cannot really come together, we lack communal and self organised spaces where knowledge can emerge through trust and exchange. '

Maybe when we speak of “movement”, Amsterdam is limping a bit, as we have a problem of relations. I wish institutions and freelance artists were to engage much more and had honest and challenging conversations. It should be an ongoing conversation where we acknowledge that we need each other. We are in fact very dependent. For me Veem House for Performance has been exceptional in acknowledging this.'

‘I feel curation should always be collaborative in some way.’

You can attend Antonia Steffens’ An attendee on 26th, 27th and 28th of November.

Keerthi Basavarajaiah’s Luring Whispers is presented on 28th of november.

10x10 November: Movement

From the 26th of November till the 5th of December it is time for our last 10x10 edition. Exactly one year ago we started to unfold the 10 stories of Veem’s Future by hosting a monthly 10-day program. This last edition is all about movement. From dance to discours, through workshops and activism you can enjoy the works & practices of:


Antonia Steffens / Keerthi Basavarajaiah / Raoni Muzho Saleh / Nico Roses / Mami Kang / Matthew Day / Paula Chaves

The November 10x10 program is co-curated by Amsterdam based choreographers/performers Antonia Steffens and Keerthi Basavarajaiah. Read more about how they put together the program here. Co-curation will form a recurring part of our methodology as we work to embed new perspectives into the internal structures.


Antonia Steffens (DE) & Keerthi Basavarajaiah (IN) are both graduates from SNDO (School for New Dance Development) and share a history of working with movement and materials in their non-linear nature. Through this program, they would like to curate a shared space which is not a mere job of the artists themselves but of everyone engaged in it. During these times, our curation attempts to respond to the need for a joint space. With respect to that we are looking at/looking for/looking with the community around us.


We will stick to the corona measures during all of our activities to ensure your wellbeing in our care. Read more about our regulations in our safety protocol

Interview: Exchange across borders with Evelien Cammaert

By Lies Mensink

For our October 10x10 program on International Exchange we invited international artists and professionals to share their work in a new context and to exchange with us and each other. With COVID-19 cases rising, exchanging across borders no longer seemed feasible. As an Internationally oriented production house we continue to search for alternative ways. That’s why we asked each artist who was supposed to perform during the 10x10 October program to share their thoughts on international exchange in these trying times.

We invited wpZimmer and Workspacebrussels to each bring two distinctive artists to our 10x10 October program. Evelien Cammaert was curated by Workspacebrussels. She is a transdisciplinary artist, who makes performances and installations. Photography is usually the starting point of her research. She investigates the relation between images, landscape, nature and the experiencing body. Cammaert: ‘My work is often an attempt to bring the outside inside. Which is often not possible, but in this impossibility, I think there is a potential for a new kind of space. A space where you start questioning the relationship between outside and in.’

What were you supposed to show in Veem House? 

‘I was going to show Glowachrome Garden an installation with slide projectors, screens, and projected images in space. For this installation I worked with analogue photographs. The audience walks in and out and can witness a compositional process. Images, sounds and spatial elements are placed next to each other, they do or don’t relate, the audience walks through it.’

What to you is a fruitful exchange?

‘I think there are many aspects and levels of exchange. In the first place I think about the exchange between the audience and a work. Not even the artist involved, just the work and the people who see it. Then of course there are production houses and venues that facilitate that exchange. How artists get paid can be of influence to the fruitfulness of an exchange, I think good communication is key. This is very difficult and where it often goes wrong, and exchanges are cut short.’ 

‘There can also be an interesting exchange between artists. That has a lot to do with zeitgeist: what is happening now in the world to all of us? Artists work collectively, or individually, but at the same time. We’re not alone in how we are moving through life in this time. Everyone is reacting in their own way and is managing crises differently - more or less consciously. We should exchange with each other about that. Also in this corona crisis, I think the more consciously we react on this, the more there is potential for a fruitful exchange.’


How did you react to the corona crisis?

‘I found it super interesting to learn in a ‘slap-in-the-face’ kind of way that nothing is fixed and everything can change overnight. There’s a lot of pressure on me as an artist, to plan my creation process: finding spaces to work in, people to collaborate with, and financial support. With the lockdown all the plans I had been working on were suddenly cancelled. It was difficult and I know it is going to be difficult after this… but in a way I loved all the time that was freed up.’ 

‘The underlying current in my work is always time. I’m trying to create space to look at life in a slower way. For me that is also a mechanism to cope with acceleration. If I make a work about slowing down I give myself and the audience the chance to actually slow down- at least when I present it. This lockdown slowed us down on the level of daily life, which is something special and different.’

‘When everything started up again, I found that difficult. I understand this tendency to go as fast as possible, I also have that in me. But I would love to stop for a longer period of time and really take this moment to reconsider the system and what is wrong with it. Who is excluded; how is the money divided; how are we working and communicating with each other? This would be such a good moment to re-orientate and take the new reality of the pandemic into account, since it will probably continue for a while.’

How can we enable exchange across borders, now that travel is restricted? 

‘It’s very difficult, seeing each other live is so much more holistic than this 2D situation. For instance, I find writing emails in the way we do extremely tiring, it doesn’t open up exchange, it closes it. If we need to communicate via email I would love to write letters. It’s a slower, deeper way of thinking and another way of reading. It has the potential to open up a fruitful conversation.’ 

‘Honestly, I think exchange is about creating time for each other - time that does not have to have a specific purpose. Time is limited, and everyone wants a lot, all the time. Houses want to show a lot of artists -the more the better. It comes from a standpoint of enthusiasm, but this muchness of wanting everything to happen is creating too much pressure, I think, and it makes contacts shallower. I kind of believe in exchange for the exchange, and not for anything else. Throwing away all the organization and agendas sometimes can be extremely fruitful. It allows for things to emerge that you could not possibly have thought of in advance.’

Is there something you would like to share? 

‘A book that has inspired me is Juhani Pallasmaa’s The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Pallasmaa is a Finnish architect and architectural theoretician who has written inspiringly on the rich sensory impact of architecture on our experience. He questions how vision is centred as the dominant sense in all that we do. We have other senses, touch, smell, hearing, that are at least as important, all are connected. For me as a photographer it is interesting to think about this. For me photography is not only two dimensional, but something you can experience in your entire body. That’s what I search for and try to create in my work.’ 

Interview: Exchange across borders with Venuri Perera & Zwoisy Mears-Clarke

by Lies Mensink

For our October 10x10 program on International Exchange we invited international artists and professionals to share their work in a new context and to exchange with us and each other. With COVID-19 cases rising, physically exchanging across borders is not always feasible. Venuri Perera and Zwoisy Mears-Clarke are able to physically share time and space at Veem House for Performance and will show their film Porcelain White: The Conversation followed by a conversation moderated by Quinsy Gario on the 31st of October. With Mears-Clarke and Perera we reflect on what international exchange means.

Choreographers and performers Venuri Perera and Zwoisy Mears-Clarke were born oceans apart in former British colony’s. In Porcelain White: The Conversation they discuss their shared ‘whitened’ inheritance. Both were brought up in the English-speaking middle class which maintains certain practices adopted from the former colonial masters. While working on the intended performance Porcelain White travel restrictions forced Perera and Mears-Clarke to look for a different artistic form. Perera worked from Colombo Sri Lanka, Mears-Clarke from Rösrath Germany, and working towards completing the performance concluded with the making of a film.

During the making of Porcelain White you were unable to travel, and rehearse together how did you deal with that inability?

Venuri Perera: ‘You could say we were ahead of the game! We did not have the money to come together to work on the performance after 2018, where we presented a work-in-progress in Colombo. We had decided to create two separate solo’s, a sort of diptych, and then that we would come together for two weeks in Germany to find out where we could connect the works. But of course, when COVID-19 happened we did not get to meet at all. The dramaturgical framework of the performance Porcelain White was the conversation between us. But in the final presentation, we took out most of that conversation. Since we could not rehearse together, this film became an opportunity to bring that conversation back, and go even further with it.’

‘One of the great things about making this film is that I was able to stay in my context. I did not have to be displaced. And I could reflect together with my friends and collaborators who had shared questions. I was able to bring the world into the context of my family home. Although we could not travel, we could go deeper and respond to the places we were in. We then met in this third space of the visual medium.’

Has international exchange been important for your artistic career?

Zwoisy Mears-Clarke: ‘For me international exchange enters more into my work on a political level. When I think about the people who I’m choosing to be on stage, I’m thinking about the history that is stamped on their bodies: the visual signals. Those are part of international conversations because of (neo-)colonialism and therein capitalism.’


‘As a choreographer the body is your material, so these conversations are part of every single work in which a body is presented. What are the international or (neo-)colonialist codes that are projected onto me and the other performers right now? That is something I must know as a choreographer if I’m trying to make choices about how my body and other bodies are presented. This has always been a layer in every work I’ve ever made. Now working with Venuri, it came to the forefront as the centre point of the theme of the work.’

Venuri Perera: ‘International exchange has definitely affected a major part of who I am as an artist. But I think it is important to be aware of the power dynamics involved. My first International ‘exchange’ was in 2005, when I was part of a promenade theatre production, with an English director and Sri Lankan cast, that was shown at the Edinburgh Festival. When you’re young you think of it as a great opportunity, and of course the exposure has made me who I am. But later on, I started to be weary of the power dynamics that are present in international collaborations. I tried to look for more equal platforms: just two makers that come together and figure things out collectively. Instead of a choreographer or director coming to Sri Lanka for a brief period, taking the artists from there, and telling their stories back in Europe. Making a work with the aesthetics of a European production, and then people back home not being able to see it. Of course power dynamics still come into play because often the money is coming from Europe.’

What to you is a fruitful exchange?

Zwoisy Mears-Clarke: ‘When on both sides there is an impact, but that impact is self-defined by the receivers such that the encounter avoids being a charitable or exploitative exchange.’

Venuri Perera: ‘Not that you feel like you’ve given everything away and are not sure what you are left with. It can happen, when the stories come from you but you don’t have the power of deciding who is telling the story or how it is told. I think an exchange is fruitful when there is a shared interest and curiosity, where you want to explore something together. And where there is mutual sense of learning and growth at the end of it.’ 

How can we keep enabling exchange across borders now that travel is restricted due to COVID-19? 

Venuri Perera: ‘When you say people cannot be mobile anymore: who is not able to be mobile and who was mobile before? People with Sri Lankan passports were not easily mobile anyway. For the first time we seem to be on an equal platform, where nobody can go anywhere. Now, mobility is more in terms of who has access to technology and the internet.’

‘Normally I make performances for small audiences. Because we made this film which was accessible online, suddenly, a large cross section of people saw it. It was extremely vulnerable and exposing, but it created conversations we thought we would never have. When you talk about this post-covid time, a lot of things are going online, there are pro’s and con’s of that. Sometimes artists get uprooted from their locality. Maybe this is an opportunity to be hyper local while still being connected globally?’

Zwoisy Mears-Clarke: ‘Having worked in film suddenly allowed me to present something in Jamaica. That opened up conversations that I thought would have never happened - especially with my family, and within my own community - that is magical. Maybe there hasn’t been enough of a push before to consider different strategies of how to transport dance across borders. Something I’ve been thinking about is if a dance can be transported without a body moving outside its locality? What if a choreographer organizes local dancers a laptop and internet access? They rehearse and then perform it for the local audience. Why hasn’t that been a normative model so far?’

Venuri Perera: ‘Yes! But still I think we cannot let go and should insist on the beauty and magic that happens when people are actually in the same space. And when different people physically come together that’s when things like othering and prejudices can shift.’ 

What did you learn from your international collaboration?

Venuri Perera: ‘Because of Zwoisy I was able to ask certain questions that I may not have asked otherwise. The exchange created the conditions to go to a place where I may not have gone by myself. 

Coming from English speaking middle class, we don’t really critique ourselves. We are there to raise the voices of the marginalized. But we never really question what it means to be in that position, and how we got there. Because of our common history across continents Zwoisy and I started to question that. I had the strength to say these things in Colombo to that audience because I had the support of Zwoisy.’

Zwoisy Mears-Clarke: ‘As part of the privileged Middle class you are taught to be generous, but questioning and critiquing yourself is another thing. Not having ever been encouraged to do so by family it was nice to do that to each other. It is definitely something I would not have done as well by myself or with someone who can’t easily relate to the context that I come from.’

Is there something you would like to share?

Venuri Perera: I would like to share the book No Archive Will Restore You by Julietta Singh. It’s a book that everyone should read! She has also written Unthinking Mastery: dehumanism and decolonial entanglements, in which she has an interesting critique on Fanon and Gandhi. In No Archive Will Restore You she writes very personally and beautifully about the body as an archive. It is super inspiring, and still in the ‘back room’ - I don’t know how it is affecting my work yet.

Zwoisy Mears-Clarke:  I would recommend Gids Slavernijverleden Amsterdam/Slavery Heritage Guide by Dienke Hondius, Dineke Stam, Jennifer Tosch, Nancy Jouwe, Annemarie de Wildt. It is available in both Dutch and English. The people that wrote it also do a black heritage tour around Amsterdam. I went on it when I was in residency at Veem in 2016 as a part of my research, I can recommend that too!

Interview: Exchange across borders with Gosie Vervloessem

by Lies Mensink


For our October 10x10 program on International Exchange we invited international artists and professionals to share their work in a new context and to exchange with us and each other. With COVID-19 cases rising, exchanging across borders no longer seems feasible. As an Internationally oriented production house we continue to search for alternative ways. That’s why we asked each artist who was supposed to perform during the 10x10 October program to share their thoughts on international exchange in these trying times. Today we speak with Gosie Vervloessem.


We invited wpZimmer and Workspacebrussels to each bring two distinctive artists to our 10x10 October program. Gosie Vervloessem was curated by wpZimmer and was supposed to perform the first chapter of her performance The Horror Garden. Vervloessem creates lecture performances in which she focuses on our relationship with nature. She observes and questions natural phenomena and reconstructs them on a micro scale.


What were you supposed to present in Veem House for Performance?


‘A piece called The Horror Garden. I’m a huge fan of horror movies, and there is a specific niche in horror movies about plants. I discovered that these movies tell us a lot about our relations to plants and our relation to nature. The Horror Garden is an exploration of that field. I was supposed to show the first chapter which is about the botanical garden. I perceive horror as another way of thinking the unthinkable: where philosophy cannot go, the imaginary of horror can bring us.’


Why is international exchange important?


‘I think there is something in this choosing of the word exchange, I prefer the term sharing. Exchange has this connotation in which I give you something, and you have to give something back. Whereas in sharing we put it all in the same pot. Two weeks ago, I was in Berlin for a conference which was set up for an ‘exchange’ between artists. We talked about our work with an audience. It is super beautiful to exchange with people who are not your own crowd. Belgium is very little, there is a lot to discover beyond.’


‘When I present a performance abroad, I always try to link it to a residency. I look specifically for collective residencies, where artists meet. Residencies where you are not put into a black box or white cube. Where the organization that hosts actively creates links between people in the city and in the environment where the residency takes place.’ 


‘I see exchange more as collaborations and sharing: what are the times we are living in? What problematics are we tackling? You always see in artistic communities that there is something in the air. Maybe now more literally: it is the corona virus that is in the air.’ 


How can we keep enabling exchange across borders?


‘It is very hard I think, there is a lot that is shared across borders anyway. Before, when you had a meeting with somebody far away, you did it on good old fashioned Skype. I’m very interested in sharing through other means than the digital. I was in a workshop about telepathic exchange for instance - which was very nice. I’m very eager to explore exchange on the level of something more esoteric than a zoom meeting. We can learn a lot from plants, they communicate through smell, chemicals through their roots and this has no borders.’ 


How do you as an artist deal with these times of insecurity?


‘I can still continue my research, though there are less opportunities to show. We artist create our own opportunities: I have a studio here, and we do an open house. I think it is important that we create our own platforms to show our work. We are much more flexible to adjust to certain situations than institutions or organizations. What I see around me is that everybody keeps on creating, and institutions are on the same side with the artists. We have to keep on showing works and be present in society. The danger of the situation we are living in now is being pushed in a corner. That suddenly we wake up and ‘oh the general public thinks that art is not so necessary after all.’ We have to be present.’

Is there something you would like to share?

A book that inspired me: In the Dust of This Planet by Eugene Thacker and the film The Secret Life of Plants by Wallon Green with music by Stevie Wonder.

Interview: Exchange across borders with Wouter Krokaert

Text by Lies Mensink

Photo by Marc Coudrais

For our October 10x10 program on International Exchange we invited international artists and professionals to share their work in a new context and to exchange with us and each other. With COVID-19 cases rising, physically exchanging across borders no longer seems feasible. As an Internationally oriented production house we continue to search for alternative ways. We asked each artist who was supposed to perform during the 10x10 October program to share thoughts on international exchange in these trying times. Today we speak with Wouter Krokaert. 


We invited wpZimmer and Workspacebrussels to each bring two distinctive artists to our 10x10 October program. Wouter Krokaert was curated by Workspacebrussels and supposed to present his Composities in het Wilde Weg. For Krokaert everything started from his need to draw. During his studies as a graphic designer Krokaert discovered contemporary dance: ‘For me being on stage as a performer is also a way of drawing, physically in space.’ 


What were you supposed to show in Veem House for Performance?


‘I was going to show Composities in het Wilde Weg which I translate as “savage compositions”. There is something contradictory in the title because it suggests a composition at random. Yet everything I do is very much decided, each element is put in a specific spot. In making a composition I do not use symmetry, or repetitive rhythms. I study the shapes of plants and the way things come together in nature, the rhythm present in it: spaces where coincidences are very present.’


‘I use the theatre as a space where things are very much composed and pre-decided. How can we stay connected with this seemingly randomness of nature? This balance between coincidence and decisiveness I use.’


‘At the start of the performance there are human bodies on stage, on a rectangular sheet of paper. We make compositions using just these bodies and little by little the image becomes more complex. I start adding objects, and colours. There is always this tension: is this becoming too much or do we go on? When do you decide if something is finished? In my work in general I balance between this almost nothing and already too much.’


Why is international exchange important?


‘I can’t imagine my life without it. I can’t imagine it without all these films I saw, the books I read, the music I listened to. I think in Brussels the art scene in any way is very international. People I worked with throughout my career and that were based in Belgium were often not from there originally. I started with Meg Stuart for instance who is American but has worked in Brussels for a long time. And I’ve been working for ten years on a project with Mette Edvardsen who is originally from Norway.’


How can we keep enabling exchange?


‘There are a lot of people who think that what we are doing right now -talking through zoom- is a solution. It may be a solution to a certain degree. We can still exchange things, but something is lost. The work you do with people in a studio or classroom you can’t do through a screen. There is no physical nearness, there can be no physical contact... The way people act, react, the fact you can look each other in the eyes. It is just not the same when you see someone on a screen.’ 


‘In performance the real presence of a body is very important, and that is complicated. You could translate a book or read it, watch a film, listen to music that comes from the other side of the world, but you can’t show a performance on video. You have to see it live. There is no way to bring the work somewhere else if you cannot bring the people with it – I think. We can still share things, but not the core of a performance: not the human presence.’ 


Is there something you would like to share?

I would like to share the musical piece Rhapsody No. 1 by E.Petrovics, performed by Antal Szalaï, the sound I use in Composities in het Wilde Weg is inspired by this piece. In the performance I use sound to give space to coincidence. It is an extra layer that influences what is seen. Click here to listen to it.

Click here for a visual impression of Composities in het Wilde Weg.

Interview: Exchange across borders with Liv Schellander

by Lies Mensink

For our October 10x10 program on International Exchange we invited international artists and professionals to share their work in a new context and to exchange with us and each other. With COVID-19 cases rising, physically exchanging across borders no longer seems feasible. As an Internationally oriented production house we continue to search for alternative ways. That’s why we ask each artist who was supposed to perform during the 10x10 October program to share their thoughts on international exchange in these trying times. First up: Liv Schellander.

Choreographer Liv Schellander received a Life Long Burning residency and would have started working in our studio this Thursday. Liv has been working as a performer and choreographer for ten years. She studied Contemporary Dance in London and returned to her homeland Austria for an MA in Choreography. She has been based in Vienna ever since.


You were supposed to be in residence at Veem House during 10x10 October, what are you busy with and what would you have been working on?


‘I currently work on a solo performance called Strange Natures (working title). I have an interest in looking at ways of communication and interrelations between the human and more-than-human world. With Strange Natures I search for the potential and friction of whispering bodies and loud urgencies. I started with solely dedicating to my body and voice as an archive to draw from lived memories, desires and sensations of communing with others. As well as to explore the perspective of proposing myself as a domesticated, conditioned human animal.’


‘What inspires me in general are unconventional ways of creating encounters and closeness – for example the movement of sexecology, an artistic and activist strategy which conceives of the earth as a lover (rather than an infinite resource). I’m above all intrigued in how our human relations to the non-human reflect back on our interhuman relationships as well. This is something in the background that keeps inspiring me in my physicality, behaviour and movement research for Strange Natures.’


Why is international exchange important for you as an artist?


‘There are of course personal reasons: it takes me out of my comfort zone. I think it is very important to get out of the dynamic and thinking of a particular scene you come from. There are things that are very established there, it gives stability that you can relate to them. But there are other places and spheres that work and feel very differently. I think for artistic work it is very important to engage with what you don’t yet know.’


‘My first international exchange happened when I decided to leave my home at 18 and study elsewhere. I would have had a completely different development if I hadn’t. There is something potential and magical about leaving the place and bubble where you are based. It is different to temporarily live and be affected by the environment of Amsterdam instead of Vienna.’


‘I still think it is a privilege and a luxury to have a lot of international exchange. I’m not an artist who tours or travels all the time - Amsterdam would have been my main international exchange this year. The city is not completely unknown to me: I’ve visited two times performing there, I have some colleagues and know people from Vienna who have studied there. The residency in Veem House would have been a solo residency, but I would have invited a couple of these artist colleagues to meet me and engage with my process.’ 


How can we keep enabling international exchange in times of COVID-19 when travel is restricted?


‘To keep enabling and inventing formats of dialogue and encounter. To think anew about how locality and international exchange can relate to each other. If I would have been in Amsterdam now, I would have had a studio available. But the intention for me was not to come to Veem House and hide in the studio to research for ten days. That alone you could do anywhere. I wanted to exchange, share my process and meet other professionals.’


‘Very fortunately, I can still continue with my process as a residency here in Vienna. I’m really excited to have online exchanges and share my process with Hannah de Meyer, Kamila Wolszczak de Loo and other artist colleagues. I would like to keep this spirit of exchange and see what I and we will come up with.’

- This collaboration is made possible by the Life Long Burning Network supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union -

10x10 October: International Exchange

Collaborations for our 10x10 October program have launched with enthusiasm, paused with reluctance, taken a different turn or have gradually became impossible due to COVID-19 restrictions, but we remained agile. While we’ve made countless adaptations, we're happy to announce that we will indeed create 10 days of International Exchange from the 22nd - 31st of October! Of course taking all the safety measures in consideration.


This 10x10 edition is all about International Exchange as Veem House for Performance has been an international production house for more then three decades. Over the past 30 years, Veem-productions could be seen all over the world and many international artists were welcomed and programmed in our house.

Within this 10x10 edition, one of our aims was to exchange experiences with our Belgian neighbours Workspacebrussels and wpZimmer, but COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works. BUT we’re still continuing a part of this exchange online and there will also be some (international) exchange happening in our theatre so read on quickly!

Open Studio with Timothy Nouzak - 22 & 23 October

Timothy Nouzak, an Austrian performance maker currently attending P.A.R.T.S STUDIOS, has been in residence at Veem House for two weeks. He will share the residency outcome and process of ,Common-Works' in our Open Studio on the 22nd and 23rd of October. The “score-practice” Timothy has been developing over several years, explores the intersection of culture, identity, norm, narrative and embodied history/memory. Each draft of the score can be seen as a ‘common ground’ and in this case includes 9 performers from Amsterdam. Read more...


A moment of Exchange - 30 October

In our original program we had organized a weekend full of meetups between artists and the organizations of wpZimmer and Workspacebrussels. While many of our proposed plans have shapeshifted, we are still able to bring you some manifestations of this exchange. On Friday the 30th of October we will share a moderated online talk with Elke Decoker (Workspacebrussels), Helga Baert (wpZimmer) and Marga Kroodsma (Veem House for Performance). Asking: How does a contemporary House for artists function? What is the role of the artist in these institutions? What do we aim for? We welcome your involvement as an audience. Read more...


Porcelain White: The Conversation - 31 October

On Saturday 31st we will do a screening of Venuri Perera and Zwoisy Mears-Clarke’s film Porcelain White. Venuri and Zwoisy were both brought up in the English-speaking middle class, which maintains certain practices adopted from the former colonial masters, that protect their social status. Conversing across continents, they probe their complicity. In this film, they unravel the complexities and limits of their inherited privilege as they inhabit neocolonial spaces. 

After the screening we will have a conversation with Venuri and Zwoisy hosted by Quinsy Gario. This event can be attended live in our theater or online. Read more...

Next to that we will host an online Veem House Dinner by MOHA, you can join the Reading Group on Acts and Imagination and Long Now Lab #3 has it’s second session! 

In addition, we will also be sharing portraits of artists that were supposed to perform during our 10x10 October program through our blog, Facebook and Instagram.


We kindly ask you to wear face masks for your visits to us this month. 

Veem's Future: Time, Space and Attention: moving against the current

In 2017 Veem House for Performance became the 100 Day House, choosing quality over quantity. A concept conceived with Anne Breure to respond to budget changes. Since 2019, Veem House chose for continuity and to be visible throughout the year. In keeping with the 100 day concept, they decided to instead spread one hundred days across ten months and researched a possible future with Ten Stories of Veem’s Future (10x10: ten times, ten days). Now that the new ‘kunstenplan’ has been given the green light, that future is approaching. Artistic director Marga Kroodsma and business manager Martha van Meegen share their plans for a House for Performance that once again places quality over quantity; focusing on giving time, space and attention. 


With the 100 Day House, Veem House chose quality instead of quantity in 2017. In the new kunstenplan you want to remain open throughout the year. How do you sustain quality above quantity?


Marga Kroodsma: ‘Time, space and attention are the themes of the new kunstenplan. We chose these themes because we see and experience ourselves how easy it is to over produce. Time, space and attention are continuously under pressure. Not just in the arts but in society as a whole. Doing more than is healthy, or than resources allow, losing attention and distance as a consequence. Space has become scarce in an ever growing city. We are a development institution, and to be able to develop something you need time, space and attention. Prioritising time, space and attention means that we choose to work with a few makers and to give them our full attention.'


'By centralizing these theme’s, we challenge and confront ourselves. In the arts we are all so engaged, we want to make anything possible even when resources are limited. It is in our nature – and I'm not just talking about myself. It is important to keep reflecting on this: let’s try to take time and move against the current.'


Veem will once again receive subsidy from Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (AFK) but you will receive less than needed. What does this mean for the plans?


Martha van Meegen: ‘We asked for €335.000, just like we did four years ago in the last policy period. This is the amount with which we can continue to build a House for Performance. We will receive financial support from AFK, but less than needed: €270.000. It may sound like a lot, but it isn’t if you want to keep a house running whilst producing artists. We will need to change our plans and research what we can realize with this amount of money.'


'The AFK has expressed its faith in the future plans of Veem House, it acknowledges us and provides the support that enables us to continue building in 2021. The total budget for Dance and Performance in Amsterdam is insufficient. This is visible in our own institution. We cannot do everything we would wish to do and be for the city, its audience, and its makers.'


Who are the Veem House Artists?


Marga Kroodsma: 'Veem House produces in many different ways. We co-produce, we offer residencies and offer long term trajectories. The latter involves our ‘House Artists’. We have already been working with Paula Chaves, in January we will start collaborating with ROTOR Performance and offer MOHA Project more space within our organization. We commit ourselves to these House Artists for three years: no matter what happens. They are able to experiment, create with or without us, collaborate with others, but in us they will find a conversation partner for the coming three years - guaranteed. The idea is that we help them to create and further develop their own artistic practice. With Paula Chaves we create a new work and give space for her activism: she will curate the new Long Now Lab: Art and Activism. We’ve asked MOHA to strengthen our interaction program. They will be taking on the Veem House Dinners. ROTOR Performance will get space to develop new work that we will support along with Schweigman&. ROTOR wants to share its fascination for movement, not just by making performances about it, but also by offering movement classes to our audience.'


Martha van Meegen: 'For each House Artist the starting point is movement. It can take on different forms. The movement of Paula Chaves departs from the body, but it also expresses itself in activism. MOHA moves into the neighborhood and involves our neighbors in Veem House. The movement of ROTOR really starts from the body and the way in which the performers challenge each other.'


Marga Kroodsma: 'The House Artists form a mirror, they continuously question the house, inform and challenge our curating and how we run the house. We cannot invent everything ourselves, we are aware of this. We need other voices. Maybe even people that we do not yet know, that we haven’t thought of. We want to challenge our thinking, and give a stage to other people. That is why we left a spot open for a fourth House Artist. Next to that we produce performances of other makers, do coproductions with international partners, and offer residencies.'


What will Veem House take from 10x10 to its future?


Marga Kroodsma: 'We will offer continuity again, and will be active throughout the year. Within that year we will be open for an audience in a recognizable rhythm – just like during the 10x10 program. In the spaces in-between we give room to process, to produce, and to experiment. The times that we are open for audiences gives us the opportunity to share the works with the right attention and context.'


'During 10x10 we were able to experiment with co-curators. It came from the thought that we cannot think of everything ourselves, and shouldn’t want to think of everything ourselves, let alone do. We have blind spots, and are curious for other perspectives.'


Martha van Meegen: 'Veem House has a double role: it both produces and presents works. We try to take time and give attention for the ways in which we present work. How do you invite the audience into the artist's line of thinking? We use the format of an Open Studio, where we invite people for a moment of exchange while the artist is still in a delicate part of the creation process. Or we organize a book launch that is thematically related to a performance, engaging in conversation with interesting thinkers.'


Marga Kroodsma: 'Every artist wants to share a story, you don’t just do that with a performance, but also through sharing your practice and research. We also try to involve artists as co-curators in our program: are their peers you wish to invite? Are there themes that you want to further investigate? Are there writers that can offer more depth to your process? With whom do you want to engage in dialogue? The conversation takes place between maker and audience, but also with other thinkers. It is important that we not only work from the inside out but also invite the outside world in, to get to know other perspectives.'

October update

The 10x10 September program is over and what a great edition it was! Together we saw hybrid practices, had pleasant encounters, shared a meal or a drink, raised questions, moved and read together. Now it is time to prepare for the next edition:

The 10x10 Ocotober program will attempt to encourage, enable and present Exchange from 22 to 31 October, in spite of trying times.

Because of the evolving COVID-19 measures we will have to make some adjustments to our 10x10 October program. We initially invited several international makers and professionals to join us in Amsterdam, but with the new regulations it is too complicated to make this happen (live). But we will be open! Maybe with fewer activities than you're used to from us, but we'll put extra time and attention into the activities that will take place. So make sure to note the dates in your calendar!

In the meantime, join the second session of our Reading Group on fiction and (de)colonial narratives, read the interview with Marga Kroodsma and Martha van Meegen about our future plans or visit Keren Levi's performance THERE SHE IS at Frascati. 

Stay safe and hopefully see you soon at Veem House!

10x10 September: Hybridity

We are launching the new cultural season with 10 days exploring ‘Hybridity’ from September 17 - 26. By ‘hybridity’ we mean the multiplicity in which many artists operate - whether it describes working life, the multidisciplinary nature of their practice or lifestyle, hybridity is an inherent aspect of many artists working today. With the help of several artists who work at Veem House, we will shine a light on their artistic work while exploring the conditions of hybridity in today's cultural ecosystem.

The September programme will consist of multiple work-in-progress performances by artists working at Veem House, a Veem House Dinner, workshops, a new Long Now Lab, a Reading Group and more. Tickets are now on sale! Click here to see the full programme. 

About 10X10

As a follow-up of the 100 Days statement and with the desire to be present all year round, we remain open for 100 days but transform this statement into 10x10 - 10 day programs, 10 times throughout the year. Veem House is the home for Dance and Performance in Amsterdam – for artists and audiences with an international background and locals.

Each ten days has its own thematic focus, along with recurrent ingredients such as the Veem Dinner, Long Now Lab, Chi Kung and Open Studios. We show artists and developments pressing for our community, now and in the future and continue to develop modes of collaborations with co-curators and partners. Together, we create space for imagination, interaction and discourse.

As COVID-19 is not leaving anytime soon we have implemented a safety protocol to ensure both your and our safety and wellbeing in our care. We will keep you informed if anything changes.

Open Brief aan de Gemeente Amsterdam: Investeer in de dans en performance in Amsterdam!

Open Brief namens het veld van de Amsterdamse Dans en Performance aan de raadscommissie Kunst, Diversiteit en Democratisering van de Gemeente Amsterdam. Vergadering 26-08-2020 

Investeer in de dans en performance in Amsterdam! 

Na drie augustus kan de balans opgemaakt worden voor de dans en performance in Amsterdam voor de komende vier jaren na de beslissingen van het Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst en de Raad voor Cultuur. Conclusie: aandacht voor nieuwe aanwas en ontwikkeling in het veld van de dans en performance is enorm verzwakt, een samenhangende visie voor een gezond artistiek klimaat ontbreekt, ‘dans’ en ‘performance’ ontvangen structureel te weinig steun. 

Het ontwikkelplatform BAU, dat zich inzet voor de onafhankelijke makers in de dans en performance, wil namens en in het belang van de instellingen uit de dans en performance in Amsterdam, haar zorgen uiten over de toekomst van het gehele Amsterdamse dans- en performanceveld. 

De Gemeente Amsterdam heeft zich ooit bereid getoond het project 'Danshuis' te steunen en nadat het plan geen doorgang kreeg heeft het veld gewerkt aan een sterkere infrastructuur. Het initiatief 'Dansstad Amsterdam' werd ontwikkeld en er werd er op meerdere manieren gewerkt aan een gezamenlijke visie. Dat heeft uiteindelijk gezorgd voor veel positieve ontwikkelingen in het veld, maar echte verandering kon niet plaatsvinden. Simpelweg omdat het beschikbare budget voor de dans, na vele bezuinigingen op onze infrastructuur, gewoon al jaren te laag is om een goed ecosysteem op te bouwen. 

De vernieuwing en het experiment vindt het meest plaats bij de onafhankelijke makers, de kleine gezelschappen en de productiehuizen. Deze groep moet náást en mét de grote gezelschappen (die ook aan ontwikkeling werken) kunnen functioneren om te komen tot een gezond landschap. De uitkomsten van dit Kunstenplan 2021-2024 zorgen ervoor dat de toch al kwetsbare infrastructuur voor de dans en performance in Amsterdam in groot gevaar wordt gebracht en daarmee de ontwikkeling van de dans en performance. 

Knelpunten voor de ontwikkeling van dans en performance in Amsterdam door de uitkomsten van het Kunstenplan 2021-2024:

- Een te klein budget: er is in totaal voor € 39.568.070 aangevraagd bij het AFK en er was 19.680.000 beschikbaar. Het beschikbare budget is kortom nog geen 50% van wat is aangevraagd. In totaal was €1.800.000 voor de dans beschikbaar. Dat is nog geen 10% van het gehele beschikbare bedrag. In vergelijking, het budget voor theater is €5.225.000, 66% hoger dan het budget voor de dans.

- Het wegvallen van het productiehuis Frascati dat ondanks een positief advies van de Raad voor Cultuur geen subsidie gaat ontvangen. Frascati is voor ons veld een belangrijke plek waar makers in de dans- en performance zich binnen hun productiehuis kunnen ontwikkelen. Frascati co-produceert onder andere het evenement Come Together waar de Amsterdamse onafhankelijke dans- en performance scene jaarlijks haar werk toont en het veld bijeenkomt. 

- Het productiehuis en podium Veem House for Performance heeft ondanks een positief advies nog steeds niet voldoende middelen gekregen om hun visie vorm te geven terwijl de noodzaak van hun bestaan des te groter is geworden met het wegvallen van andere ontwikkelplekken in de stad.

- Drie makers die belangrijk zijn binnen de vernieuwing van de dans en performance, hebben een positief advies gekregen maar zijn vanwege een ontoereikend budget niet gehonoreerd: TILT/Andrea Božić & Julia Willms, NeverLike/Keren Levi en Bird productions/Dunja Jocić. Dit betekent een verarming van de diversiteit van het aanbod.

- Grote speler Danstheater Aya, die zorg draagt voor ontwikkeling in de jeugddans, ontvangt geen budget ondanks een positief advies.

- Henny Jurriens Studio, die de reguliere trainingen en een artistiek programma voor de freelance professionele dansers faciliteert, gaat met een positief advies fors minder subsidie ontvangen dan in voorgaande jaren.

- De ontwikkelinstelling BAU, platform voor Dans en Performance, de organisatie die zich inzet voor de onafhankelijke makers door de vertegenwoordiging van deze sector te doen, wordt door het AFK niet gesteund. Dat terwijl BAU zich actief inzet voor een betere infrastructuur, verbindingen legt tussen de grotere structureel gesubsidieerden en de onafhankelijk makers en evenementen organiseert ter ontwikkeling van de freelancers in het veld. BAU heeft, en zeker in deze onzekere tijden, een noodzakelijke functie.

- In Europa maar ook elders in de wereld, is er een grote ontwikkeling op het gebied van de dans en performancekunsten gaande. Interdisciplinaire performances op het grensgebied van de dans en de live-art hebben een belangrijke rol ingenomen binnen het veld van de dans. Deze nieuwe vorm heeft gezorgd voor een enorme verruiming van het publieksbereik omdat deze nu ook in de museale omgevingen wordt gepresenteerd. Er is echter geen sprake van uitbreiding van het budget voor de dans om deze nieuwe ontwikkelingen te voorzien. 

- We hebben het privilege dat Amsterdam mag beschikken over internationaal hoog aangeschreven opleidingen die aansluiten op deze ontwikkelingen in de dans en performance (DAS Choreography, DAS Theatre, SNDO, MTD, Mimeopleiding, DAS Third, DAS Research, DAS Creative Producing, Sandberg Instituut, Rijksakademie, ARIAS, Gerrit Rietveld Academie). We hebben de organisaties die goed inspelen op de nieuwe behoeftes en artistieke ontwikkelingen. De Gemeente Amsterdam heeft goud in handen met de aanwezige opleidingen, de spelers in het veld en hun geplande samenwerkingen. Dit potentieel moet door de Gemeente Amsterdam gezien worden zodat we kunnen bijdragen aan de internationale reputatie van Amsterdam als plek voor inspirerende en grensverleggende ontwikkelingen in de kunsten. Echter, grote talenten binnen de performance verlaten op dit moment Amsterdam/Nederland op zoek naar steden met een betere infrastructuur.

- Het plan voor samenwerking genaamd Greenhouse van Nicole Beutler Projects, Veem House for Performance, Boogaerd/VanderSchoot, BAU en NeverLike kan nu niet in voorgestelde vorm uitgevoerd worden. Het zou een substantiële bijdrage gaan geven aan de ontwikkeling van dans/performance en mime in Amsterdam. Dit plan zou ondersteund worden door Het Nationale Ballet, ICK, Frascati, de Academie voor Theater en Dans en Podium Mozaïek.

Wij vragen met klem: Investeer in deze discipline, laat de kansen niet liggen en maak gebruik van het kapitaal dat de stad reeds heeft. Formuleer een samenhangende visie voor het veld zodat Amsterdam mee kan gaan met de ontwikkelingen elders in de wereld. Daarvoor is een gezond ecosysteem een vereiste:

> Honoreer organisaties met een positief advies die onder de zaaglijn kwamen.

> Creëer ruimte voor nieuwe organisaties die nog géén grote speler zijn in ons veld, laat zien dat vernieuwing een wezenlijk onderdeel is van artistieke ontwikkeling. Veel gerenommeerde organisaties krijgen nu van twee fondsen hoge budgetten voor de komende vier jaar, terwijl de kleinere vernieuwende organisaties niet in het Kunstenplan terecht zijn gekomen.

> Kijk met een overview en investeer in organisaties en initiatieven die de infrastructuur met ontwikkelingsmogelijkheden verrijken en het onafhankelijke veld versterken zodat we toe kunnen werken naar compleet ecosysteem.

> Maak meer budget vrij voor dans en performance, en overweeg ontschotting van het systeem. Zodat a) performance-makers een plaats krijgen binnen het kunstenplan. b) De verdeling niet plaatsvindt naar rato budget van betreffende discipline. c) De danssector zich weer met andere grote steden in Nederland en het buitenland kan meten. 

BAU Platform voor Dans en Performance / de onafhankelijke makers 

Academie voor Theater en Dans 

Andrea Božić en Julia Wilms|TILT 

Beppie Blankert Danceconcerts 

Bird Productions/Dunja Joçic 


Dancing on the Edge 

Danstheater Aya 

Festival WhyNot 

Flamenco Biënnale


Gaia Gonelli/Dadodans 

Henny Jurriëns Studio 

Het Nationale Ballet 

Holland Festival 


If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution 


Keren Levi |Neverlike




Nicole Beutler Projects

Over het IJ | Stichting IJ Producties


Plan d

Plein Theater

Podium Mozaïek

SHARP/Arno Schuitemaker

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Summer Dance Forever

Theater Bellevue

2 Turven Hoog

Veem House for Performance

Veem receives support from AFK | 2021-2024

We are thrilled to share the news that we received from Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (AFK) today: in the coming four years Veem will get financial support!

It means that we will be able to continue to build on being a house for performance and dance in Amsterdam. Our most important mission for the coming years will be to give time, space and attention to all the people we work with and welcome in our theatre.

However, despite the good news we received today, we’re experiencing mixed feelings. Today also shows the big gap between the budget our government is investing in arts and the true needs of the arts. We will receive less than needed, but a lot of colleagues will receive zero support. Even with positive advice. We support the call for extra money: we need more space for initiatives as AFK and Fonds Podiumkunsten to be able to support development in the arts field! Also as a backbone for the individual, independent artists that didn't apply. We can only flourish together! 

Photo: Ernst van Deursen

10x10 June: try-out

After being closed for more than 100 days, we’re happy to announce that we will open our doors from the 18th till the 27th of June. With a lot of warmth, love, the necessary precautions and an interesting programme! For 10 days Veem will be filled with a polyphony of voices again. Our program is all about try-outs: a try out for you to visit, for us to host and for artists to share works in progress in this new context


Entering a space created for collectivity holds new meaning after a period of quarantine and with all the many many issues facing the world right now, there is an enormous amount to talk about. That’s why we will start the 10-day programme with a Wendag (orientation event) to journey through the new ways of visiting Veem. With performative interventions of Maarten Heijnens & Anthony van Gog and MOHA Project. We will end with a celebratory drink to share our experience and toast to being able to gather again. 

During the first and second weekend theatre makers Rob Smorenberg and Francesca Lazzeri will join the programme. Both have been working in the shadow of COVID-19 and will try-out their new works. 

Safety protocol

Your and our health is extremely important to us, that's why we have developed protocols that will ensure your safety and wellbeing in our care.


We provide:

- hand disinfection;

- distance (we ensure 1,5 meter distance between audience, artists and staff);

- clear routing;

- a maximum capacity of 30 people;

- a clean space (we clean thoroughly before every performance);

- a health check upon entering Veem.

What we ask from you:

- to buy tickets online in advance;

- to stay home if you’re not feeling well*;

- to keep 1,5m distance to others;

- to always follow the instructions of our staff;

- to have fun!

Before visiting a performance at Veem you will receive an email with an overview of the new regulations in our theatre. If you still have questions, please contact

We can’t wait to reopen our doors and hope you do too. We look forward to welcoming you back in Veem!


* If you already have a ticket for our programme in June and develop one or more of the health complaints below, it is unfortunately not allowed to visit the performance. Please contact if that's the case.

- sneezing;

- a sore throat;

- a running nose;

- a cough;

- elevation of body temperature;

- sudden loss of smell or taste.

Reopening Veem

We’re happy to announce that we will open our doors on the 18th of June. Carefully and step by step. For 10 days Veem will be filled with a polyphony of voices again. Not just because we are allowed to, but because it feels like the right thing to do. 

And maybe because more than 80% of you wished for it in our questionnaire in May ;) 


Our program in June is all about try-outs: 

For the audience to return to the theatre. To gather in small groups. To experience live performance together.

For artists to try-out new work. In a safe atmosphere. In dialogue with the audience.


Soon we will tell you more about the program and the measures we will implement to ensure a safe visit. We’re working on it!  Sign up for our newsletter and/or follow us on Facebook and Instagram to be the first to know. The seating capacity will be lower, so tickets might sell out quickly.

We can’t wait to reopen our doors and hope you do too. We look forward to welcoming you back in Veem!

In graphs we trust

We are living in a time of uncertainty, continuously adjusting, and finding new routines. In times of insecurity we tend to cling to what we know: hard facts, numbers, and statistics. The graph is an image that can shape our experience and understanding: from increasing lines to flattening curves. But it can also be a poetic form, a way to communicate not just with words but through shapes, lines, waves and much more. We’ve decided to explore the discourse of the graph. We’ve asked some people in our community to reflect and communicate their experience through poetic graphs, to communicate their time and experience through an alternative imaginative form ✨. 

Graph #1 is from theater maker and performer Rob Smorenberg, who is currently in residence at Veem House working solely on his new performance '2020'. A coproduction of Veem House and De Warme Winkel.

We will be sharing more graphs in the coming weeks on Facebook and Instagram. Inspired? Please feel free to share your graph with us and the Veem-community!

A message from inside the unknown

Dear reader,


It’s been a while. In this new, wide field of the unknown, we wave to you with our arms wide open. How are you?

In the last two months we noticed that - just like the measures of our Government - our needs and feelings are changing week by week. On a personal level as well as on a creative/working level. I write to you from within the unknown, a greeting, hoping to see you again soon. 

Veem House for Performance is a theatre for ideas, artists and audiences to meet. A place to form new perspectives, together. And to form a new perspective you need a starting point. That's why we made a questionnaire to hear what your needs are. 

We are aware that we cannot provide a solution or prediction - but we do have experience in improvising. With adjusting to new situations. We have been embracing the unknown for quite some time now. We gain trust from that and will continue to be agile and considerate in this universal recalibration. And we are not alone. We are grateful to be part of a community of very involved artists, artworkers and audiences.


After the measures responding to COVID-19, we decided to slow down. To save resources, save hours, save space, save health. Creating space, time and attention to use in the near future. We hope to welcome a polyphony of voices again, entering Veem as curators, artists and audiences as soon as possible. But we are taking it step by step and will keep you updated about when our doors will reopen - we will do this when we think it's right and safe to, not just when we are allowed to.

It was strange to enter our theater again after being absent for more than a month; absent from a space designed for communal gathering. I was there for an intimate run through of a new performance by Rob Smorenberg, who worked alone in our theatre in April. It felt so odd to recreate 'normal', to see three people so close but uncomfortably far and saying "hi" from across an empty tribune. It felt like doing something in secret, but it was so nice to see each other and to watch a performance in the theater. I also noticed that I was observing the space with a renewed gaze. It made me think: returning to the theater will be strange for all of us. Re-entering a site for communal gathering is not going to be like flipping a switch after the new norms of social distancing, we will have to start again, with little steps. Maybe we will organize a contextualised 'Wendag'* for our community. We are so much looking forward to welcoming you again. 

We hope to see you soon, we hope you are safe and well. And for now, we are curious: what are your needs, thoughts and impressions about re-entering the theatre? Let us know.


Marga Kroodsma

Artistic Director

* a day of getting used to being in the theatre again

A Plea for Ambiguity and Aesthetic Being in the World: A conversation with Pascal Gielen

Text by Lies Mensink

Photo by Veda Tarik

On the 19th of March, we were supposed to begin our ten day program on Discourse with the lecture ‘On the art of getting beyond identity politics’ by Pascal Gielen. As many art institutions are, we are searching for other ways to share. We try, as Pascal names it, to ‘reinvent the social’. From his home quarantine in Antwerp and through the lens of recent developments with COVID-19, Pascal reveals some of the thoughts he had planned on sharing that Thursday night. 

"Instead of a model based on ‘identity politics’, you suggest a model based on so called ‘commonist politics’, what does that look like?"

“It relates to my research of the last five years on the commons. Let me give a very brief definition, but as it is brief it is not totally correct. ‘Commons’ is for me something you share; a building, the air we breathe, it can be immaterial or material. What is important is that it is not commodified. It cannot be something that is sold or rented on the market and neither subsidized or regulated by a government. So, there are people who share something and they need to find regulations in order to do this. The commons is a self-regulated system of sharing a resource.”

“Commoning politics refers to the practice of making regulations to share and manage your common resource, to try to collectively share a political or social sphere in which you are living and working. It can be a village, an organization, water, a language, a culture, etcetera. When you look at people who try to govern a common resource together you will discover a lot of discussions, dissensus, conflicts, and struggles between them – different from living in a harmonious community. This ongoing discussion is a typical characteristic that we discovered through research. In fact, it is the basis of the commons: self-governance is made through those discussions. Commoning politics is not about simply finding consensus, but about persisting in finding a consensus in dissensus - again and again. Nobel prize winner Elinor Östrom notes seven so-called ‘design principles’ to govern the commons. There is one basic principle I think you cannot violate if you want to develop a commoning practice; that is ‘the reciprocity principle’. You have to give to, otherwise you cannot get from the resource.”

“Commoning politics is something different from national politics or nation-state politics. Nation-state politics is always made for a community and a community needs to have an identity. This is visible in integration policies. It is expected from refugees and immigrants that they share values and norms of the place they are in. They need to share the same identity in order to get full citizenship rights or to be allowed to use the ‘resources’ of a state. Nation-state politics starts from the necessity for a shared identity, shared values and norms in order to use a resource. And there we come back to identity politics! Commoning politics and the commons is not related to identity, it brings people together who just want to share a resource. If you for instance want to share a house or studio with other artists then you are interested in the resource, not in sharing the values of the others. You don’t need to have the same identity to share a resource. This requires a completely different way of thinking in politics. It is a completely different conception of citizenship as well. One that is not based on identity, values and norms, but based on the right to share. What if we would say to immigrants and refugees: ‘Yes you can share our ground, on the condition that you want to share the ground with us. But you don’t need to share our values and norms or our Dutch, our Belgian identity. The only thing you need to do is to respect the reciprocity principle.’” 

"Why do you criticize identity politics?"

“My critique of identity politics stems from my personal experience and - I have to be honest - frustration. I’m very interested in feminist theory since Butler’s Gender Trouble. However this last year, I’ve been confronted with a kind of feminist activism that I do not like. I think sometimes the strategies they follow, are the same power strategies as the enemies they try to combat. You can recognize this mechanism in other kinds of identity politics as well, like for subaltern or ethnic groups. Jean-Paul Sarte for instance observed the notion of ‘anti-racist racism’ when he wrote about Négritude. This problematic flip side of identity politics led me to think more critically about it.”

“One and a half year ago l was asked to give the keynote for the conference ‘Conflict Matters’. For the first time in my life, I was confronted with this idea of anti-racist racism. There was a protest against my lecture, not because of the content. One of the reasons for the protest was that I was a white middle-class man who they believed had no right to talk about decolonialization issues. It was not my thoughts that the protesters were protesting. They did not know what I was saying because they stood outside the room where I was lecturing. So, I was used as a kind of symbolic figure to protest against. I thought, now I understand really what racism is about: it’s not about what your ideas are, or what you are standing for. Regardless of your ideological position you are discriminated because of the colour of your skin or your origin. From then on, I started to think it was necessary to look at the complexities and contradictions of identity politics and also to look at the flip side of identity politics in general.” 

“I really believe in equality for all genders and people of different social or cultural backgrounds and I’m very convinced of the fact that on a structural level we have to reorganize our institutions based on that equality. But I believe the way to get there should be fought differently, the strategies are not nuanced enough. In this moment I observe a blind dogmatic radicalization that is not helpful in solving our social problems. I think we need not combat the enemy, the racist, the macho or the capitalist. You can only overcome racism, patriarchal societies and capitalism by convincing racists, macho’s and capitalist of other attitudes, of other and better ways of living. So, we need to ‘seduce’ them towards better principles, and not stigmatize them. If we do the latter, we get trapped in the same problematic attitudes as the enemy we are fighting.”

"In what way does the fight need to be fought?"

“With what I call ambiguity politics. I am aware that ambiguity politics has a bad name in policy sciences, because it means politicians say things they do not really mean in order to get elected again… etcetera. But what I mean by ambiguity politics, how I translate and transform it, is based on aesthetic ambiguity. From a phenomenological stance, the world is never black and white; it is all shades of grey. Everything is fundamentally ambiguous. As Bruno Latour says: we are living in the Empire of the Middle, it is always in between. Which means bluntly said: even an extreme right position has in itself some left ideas.” 

“There are two positions: You can try to fight the enemy, like a lot of activists do, which can certainly be a good thing, with protests for instance. I do not contest that. But you can also try to seduce your enemy… Seduce your enemy to other thoughts or to point to the paradoxes and contradictions in their own thoughts. This means you always need to go into dialogue with your enemy. It really is about making the enemy curious of your own position and your own thoughts. With curiosity you can make an opening for other political positions, which at first sight can seem completely in contradiction with your own.”

“We have to recognize the ambiguity constantly within ourselves, precisely to try and convince the other of a certain position. For me this is also a pure humanist position. We are all different identities within one person. One individual has multiple ways of being in life. People and societies are always gradual, not only black or only white. We are in fact all ‘in-between’. And, it is this gradual complexity we need to understand better. If we want to understand each other better we need to study those different shades of our own and of society at large."

“For how ambiguity politics can look like, you turn your gaze to artistic practices, why?”

“It has shown me the potency of ambiguity. In some artistic practices I see an interesting way of dealing with the world which for me is also related to the play between fiction and non-fiction. Artists can take on different positions, play with different identities, because they are able to stand above their own identity from an imaginary or fictional point of view. When you write a novel, you are playing with different identities and positions. It gives you the opportunity to come up with other ways of looking at the world and the ambiguity of all the things.”

“For me it is very important to look at art or aesthetics. Artists taught me, as a sociologist, that there is another way of understanding the world rather than just a scientific or empirical way. I define aesthetic as aesthesis as the possibility to feel the world with all your senses. Rational sciences are abstracting things, they analyse, categorize and segregate the world. From this perspective you can also, in a way, lose the holistic touch of its totality, maybe even its spirituality. At least you can say, that the scientific gaze requires distance. So, that means that you have to sacrifice the direct and sensuous contact with your social context or your natural environment. Just to make it less abstract, I will give an example. Navigating with GPS is a rational or scientific way of being in the world: finding the fastest and most efficient way to get from point A to B. But what an aesthetic way of being in the world teaches us is that while you walk on the path or drive down the road, you can experience the landscape. You can feel the landscape, you can smell it, you can touch it, you can feel the rolling of the tires on it. So, you get an impression of the landscape – the landscape ‘impresses’ you, it ‘presses’ on you. By this, you also become aware of the use value of the landscape. You use it and you can feel what you leave behind. GPS can never let you feel or smell the pollution of the landscape… The latter is just mathematics, it is an abstraction of the landscape even a ‘purification’ of it. I think an aesthetic being in the world is a being in which you are totally in touch with it. So, being aesthetically in the world, means you become aware of its complexities, its nuances, its heterogeneity, its dirt and its beauty at the same time. Indeed, you become aware of its fundamental ambiguity. The same can be said about an aesthetic relationship with other people. It means you almost viscerally ‘feel’ a person in their total complexity, their gradual being in the world. It’s a way to experience the fundamental ambiguity of the other as if it is your own ambiguity.” 

“You say artists can stand above identity, but often artists are labelled as having a certain identity by others.”

“An artistic intervention, an artwork is always outside identity. When an artist makes a real art work by which I mean something that is very singular, something so new, that no one knows what the artist has done. At that moment, the artwork doesn’t have an identity yet. It is before and beyond identity, because it is not yet identified. It does not yet have a fixed place in our symbolic and linguistic order. We try to give it an identity afterwards. We do this for instance by mentioning the background of the artist, ‘he is Turkish,’ or this is typical ‘female art’. It is what all art historians try to do with their ‘-ism’s’, they try to label it and give it an identity by relating an artefact or an artist to a certain time and a specific place. While I like this process of trying to find out what the art work ‘is’, I think a singular proposition always escapes from that. An artwork which sees the light of day for the first time is so to say ‘an unidentified object’. The wonderful thing of this, is that it provokes our thinking and we start trying to label it. This is what I call the performative power of an artistic intervention in the world: It provokes our thinking and imagination, it starts our quest to find words for it. This is why Antonio Negri says that the art work is not a conclusion, but a starting point.”

“Is being able to move beyond identity a privilege and not a given?”

“When you mean ethnical identity or social class identity, indeed some people are privileged to escape, while others are not. But I think even the most famous ‘white heterosexual male artists’ are often confronted with a kind of identity and labels that are put on their work. It is interesting that a lot of artists are trying to escape from their own artistic identity - to stay creative and to reinvent themselves. Because they get stuck to one idea as an identity. This labelling is a problematic disease of Western Society. Artists often try to avoid the theorizing of their work, they don’t want to be caught in words, because they are afraid this will block their creativity.”

“Speaking of problematic diseases… In Commonism you write that commoning practices are often born from crisis. Are we with COVID-19 in such a crisis? Do you see commoning practices rising up now?”

“The crisis I wrote about in the Commonism book was related to the financial crisis of 2008. When there is a financial crisis you see that people have to develop alternative ways of sharing. But ‘the commons’ was not something new, it was not an invention because of the crisis. The financial meltdown only led to the reinvention or rediscovery of it. Commoning practices existed long before we ever had a clue of what a state, a government or a so-called ‘free’ marked could be. Commoning practices were already discovered in the fourteenth century.” 

“The rise of commoning practices is indeed related to crisis, but to a very specific kind of crisis. I think the corona virus also points to this specific kind of crisis. It is what I call a ‘crisis of the social.’ When you are put under quarantine you immediately see what you miss: social relationships. I think the hunger for commoning practices is again pushed forward when our social relationships are in crisis. And I think this is one of the similarities with the former, financial crisis. This crisis too made us aware of the total social deprivation that a dogmatic free-market-thinking and neoliberalism brought us. The contemporary boom and ‘trendiness’ of the idea of the commons, has to do with this awareness. We realise we have to take care of our social relationships again.” 

“I think this is very interesting when you see for example what people are doing now as a response to the corona crisis: they reinvent the social. Exploring online possibilities to stay connected, but also to show solidarity again in completely different ways. In Belgium people are applauding every day for the health care workers. There you see commoning practices again, at least at the symbolic level. Even a liberal politician in Belgium said ‘we saved the banks in 2008, by giving them financial support, now we ask them to save our system.’ What this politician is pointing at is the principle of ‘reciprocity’. I think this crisis makes us at least aware of the possibility of other systems” 

“I hope that in the Netherlands too they start thinking more in depth because of this crisis. How to solve for instance the precarity problems of freelancers, the so called ‘ZZP-ers’? It is something I have criticized already for ten years. We need to organize ourselves much more collectively in a kind of solidarity that is structural. This means that you cannot trust on individual volunteering for solidarity by for instance a ‘Broodfonds’. On a voluntary basis it does not work, you really have to make regulations and laws to make collective solidarity and reciprocity possible. I hope at least that this crisis shows this and makes people act. A bad solution -a short term solution- could be to give financial credits to freelancers for a period of time. Because once again that is a regulation on the individual level. We really have to think about how we can structure this system for the long term to make it sustainable. And again, what can be helpful here is to understand the freelancers in an aesthetic way: as people that not only work, but also love, live, drink and have different beliefs and mental states. The freelancer is not just an economic figure, a homo economicus, but a total person, a homo faber in all its ambiguity. If we do not take this aesthetic approach serious, we will never come to sustainable solutions.” 

Pascal Gielen (1970) is professor of sociology of art and politics at the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (Antwerp University - Belgium) where he leads the Culture Commons Quest Office (CCQO). In 2016 he became laureate of the Odysseus grant for excellent international scientific research of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders in Belgium. His research focuses on creative labour, the common, urban and cultural politics. 

Gielen is editor of the international book series Antennae-Arts in Society. You can buy these at our book store, next time you're able to visit our house. Just like his  (sill to be published) volume: The Arts of Ambiguity: Addressing and Understanding Monoculture (Valiz, 2020).

Update March 10X10

‘Hope is an embrace of the unknown’

Rebecca Solnit

We hope this message finds you well and in good health. 


We are grateful for all the solidarity and support. We notice it online, but also in response and support of artists, audiences and colleagues we’ve been in contact with. We are aware that so many people in our community are suffering because of the unforeseen repercussions due to Covid-19, be it financially, mentally or because of the inability to visit your (vulnerable) loved ones. Let’s hear each other and support each other as best as we can. Our heart goes out to all the people affected during this time.


Our 10-day program in March was supposed to depart from the idea of Discourse. We wanted to use discourse as a launch pad, using the theatre as a space of exchange and reciprocity. Because of the current developments we had to cancel. But we would like to keep in touch with you and continue to exchange in adaptive ways. We would like to continue to transfer ideas, to share resources, share knowledge and engage in collective care. Check out the website and social media for updates about our improvised activities. We will use the social networks as a solidarity network, a place to come together or share knowledge.

Take care! 

Team Veem House

10X10 March: discourse

From the 19th to the 28th of March, our 10X10 program will depart from the idea of Discourse. In March we propose to use discourse as a launch pad, to go beyond discussions and towards manifestation, using the theatre as a space of exchange and reciprocity. With a special interest in “doing discourse”, we will offer constellations that propose to think together through doing as well as events that allow a deeper dive into a subject. Including workshops, a temporary choir, lectures, reading groups and an intergenerational conversation over distance.

We are thrilled to have contributors: Pascal Gielen, Samara Hersch, ARIAS, Margo van de Linde (Subculture Cabaret), Chris Tonelli, and a text by Ogutu Muraya for a reading group.

We hope you will join us in purposeful moments to think together, and to join arms with partners in the city who concern themselves with discursive exchange. 

About 10X10

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. 

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. 

10X10 February: space

Our 10 x 10 in February foregrounds the need for time and space. Time and space often make the difference, both in art and in daily life. Everything that has the capacity to grow, prospers and benefits from it. During our February 10 x 10 days, we are opening our doors and schedules for two residencies: Sigrid Stigsdatter Mathiassen & Antonia Steffens and Hidde Aans-Verkade & Koen van der Heijden. Each at a different point in a working process, they will take time to further investigate their subject matter and its staging. Next to this we invite Billy Mullaney to take time for his durational performance Never Never Never Ever Never Never Ever Never Ever Ever EVER Ever EVER Give Up Unless It Gets Too Hard.

To embed these residencies and the theme of the 10 Days at Veem House, we give space to Pankaj Tiwari to host the Veem Dinner, we organize an Open Studio and two Work in Progress Double Bills in the end of the residence. Again MOHA will host the Long Now Lab about care as a recurring element of our 10 day program.

10X10 January: Polyphonic Songs

In January, our 10X10 days invites back and extends on Polyphonic Songs, a collaborative program with BAU Dance & Performance Amsterdam, Keren Levi | NeverLike, Nicole Beutler Projects, Boogaerdt/VanderSchoot & Veem House for Performance which began in 2018. 

Combining works in progress alongside established works, we locate inspiration in conversation and discoveries amongst new and familiar voices. This 10-day program embodies on-going dialogue concerning the development of the Amsterdam dance, mime and performance field. 

Please come, join and discover Polyphonic songs together with us January 16 - 25!

10X10 December: Interaction

“The theatre is in the city and the city is in the world and its walls are of skin”

Marianne Van Kerkhoven.

Veem House for Performance is a place for art, politics, ideas and people to meet. It’s a house in the middle of a changing city. 

The 10x10 program in December is all about interaction. Through performances, the Veem House Dinner, the Long Now Lab and many encounters with artists and audience, we investigate how an 'Art House' relates to the changing city and its stories. Co-curator of this 10-days is the MOHA Project. They will complete their series of Unfolding Routines, this time giving a special insight to themselves. We will be welcoming fellow art houses ZK/U from Berlin, CCA Glasgow and Globe Aroma from Brussels reflect and talk with us. 

Art as an Explosive Device: An Interview with Paula Chaves

by Lies Mensink

For director, choreographer and activist Paula Chaves art and politics are inextricably entwined. As part of the 3Package Deal between Veem House for Performance, De Balie, and De Ateliers Chaves works under the coalition of ‘Engaged Art’. Chaves: “Here I make ‘engaged art’. Coming from my history I was like: ‘oh I did not know that art is disengaged’. I want to twist it around: I am doing art, and there is such a thing as disengaged art.” Chaves’ new work OMNI TOXICA is an elaborate socio-political reflection. Through researching the history of the coca plant, this piece addresses neocolonialism, capitalism, and what they speak of as the “Coca Cocaine Complex.”

Chaves creates the work OMNI TOXICA with performer and choreographer Thais Di Marco. They met in Amsterdam one year ago. Both coming from a legacy of politicized art movements in Latin America, Chaves from Bogotá and Marco from São Paulo, they fell in love with each others art practice at first sight. Chaves: “I was fascinated and could totally relate to the way in which Thais deals with art making and aesthetics. Her position as an artist, her vision. I think she felt the same, we were like: ‘Oy, I see myself in you.’ That’s so weird and special you know...”

OMNI TOXICA traces the history of coca: from the magical green plant of the indigenous people to the whitewashed and capitalist daughter, cocaine. “There is a beautiful analogy between the coca plant and colonialism, because the coca is a plant that has gone through this process of colonization: of being stolen, extracted, killed and white-washed for the sake of profit.” Through the history of coca, Chaves shows how neocolonialism works: “how illegal economies and legal economies are intertwined, connected and maybe not so different.” 

The history of coca crosses the distance between two seemingly different worlds and links them as one. “This plant contains all this complex history. It really manages to connect the power relation between the North and the South, that I often find really hard to make in my work. It brings in a reflection that is honoring where I come from and being very valid and important within this context of Europe and the Netherlands. Because the Netherlands has a huge role in this...” Chaves suddenly stops: “But you have to come and see the show to get to know more.” 

For OMNI TOXICA Chaves and Marco are working with a method called: performative journalism, which Chaves has developed. “Recovering memories 

is an important part of the battle that we are fighting within the counter culture movements in Colombia, Brazil, and the Netherlands. Bringing the histories that are not being told by mainstream media.” Chaves speaks of public interest, which is disguised, or complexified, and thereby the people don't have the information to be able to determine what in fact is in the publics' interest. Her aim is to let the audience reclaim a sense of agency: “in that sense it is a political act to say that this information belongs to everyone, giving the right for people to hold the knowledge that belongs to them, that frame and dictates their modes of existence.” 

“Raising socio-political awareness, allowing for critical autonomous thinking that’s what I fantasize upon. This is what drives me to reclaiming the space of the theatre, of art making, of performance. To look for ways of activating the audience.” Chaves is an activist, it inspires her art making, but she sees it as a practice she does parallel to art. For Chaves the theatre is a space that has an activating potential: “it is one of the only few spaces that is not mediatized. There is a really beautiful opportunity to brew things collectively and think about modes of existence collectively to break the individuality we are subjugated to within neo-liberal thinking.” 

In the theatre space Chaves is able to link the micro to the macro realms of life. The micro as the personal, the macro as society. Chaves too is involved on a personal level: “I do a movement in the piece: I put a gun to myself and I put a gun to the audience. I’m also putting out there how dirty I sometimes feel, how unethical, how frustrated I feel that no matter what I do I’m complicit of a system I don’t want to support. Locked inside neoliberal logics at times. Intoxicated by this system... that’s the TOXICA of the piece! 

OMNI TOXICA is not the cliché lecture of a stereotypical activist, says Chaves. “It is not that at all, it is full of humor, confrontation, there are entertainment aspects. It is doing several movements in the same time. Attacking different fronts simultaneously. I think it creates an experience that activates political thinking in the audience not just from a cognitive political perspective but from an affective and embodied one. It is combining things so that it creates a bomb as Thais beautifully articulated during one of our rehearsals.” Chaves' desire of art as an explosive device shines through. Art that radically transforms. Art that is above all engaged. 

November. The first ten days of 10x10

In November Veem House for Performance invites people back within its walls, back into its hospitality and to rejoin as a community. November marks the first month in an extension to the 100 Day house, we are still open for 100 days, but rather 100 days spread over 10 months, to create 10 x 10 stories of Veem’s future. 

Our first story is to be told through the Productions that Veem undertakes; presenting artists Ogutu Muraya, Paula Chaves and Anne Lise Le Gac and with Setareh Fatehi working at Veem during this time. Each artist creates connective tissue between far away localities and the theatre. 

Veem invites you to help build connection between people, ideas and artists this November. Join us for premieres, The Veem House dinner’s, working sessions with artists and conversations. Feel welcome each night to celebrate the opening of Veem’s season.

Let’s meet again!

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. 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:

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

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:

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.