Meet the co-curators of the July program!
8 July 2021
The program in July is co-curated with Andrea Božić and Julia Willms (TILT). In their artistic work everything becomes part of the work of art. Not just the materials that are created, but the context, the parkours of the audience, the building, sometimes even the moon. Together with Veem House they created a program containing five parts that each in its own way deals with ‘unverifiable realities’.
How would you describe your artistic practice?
Andrea: “Attention is often referred to as something internal and space as something external, In our work we are busy with reorganizing attention and spatial relations so that there can be a kind of shift in the perception towards the habitual through an unusual mode of spectatorship.”
Julia: “A shift where everything can become part of the art work so it is not only the materials you use to create it, but also the context you’re in- the building, its history for instance. The new performance that we’re creating How To Exit a Reality (Attempt 1 of 19) works site responsively with the whole theatre space, not just the stage, but also the tribune, the backstage. We’re interested in the theatre as a location and at the same time as a place where spectatorship is already organized in a very specific way.”
Andrea: “And then we reorganize it by playing with it thematically. We develop performances and also larger audio-visual installations. Sometimes we combine them, or place them next to each other. You see one and then the other, and while they are very different in how they operate they start speaking to each other.”
You are the co-curators of this program in Veem House, how do the works in this program speak to each other, is there a central theme?
Andrea: “We were particularly interested in artists that have interdisciplinary practices that develop really strong positions and artistic languages that engage with the world: artistic practices that not only stay within the domain of art. We really did not want to impose a frame on top of other people’s work. The theme ‘Unverifiable Realities’, is something that we depart from in our work and we were intersted in how other artists deal with it from very different perspectives. We find it an interesting concept in the context of the pandemic, digitalization, and post truth. Unverifiable realities as a term is a contradiction of course, since every reality is unverifiable.”
Julia: If you look at the same thing through very different frames or contexts, it can produce very different readings. With the works in this program all artists are doing something of that kind to shift the gaze. It produces very interesting ways of looking. Questioning what is a performance; what is an art work; where does one begin; where does one end; and how fluid are these borders in between?
During the July program Billy Mullaney is in residence and will share his research during an Open Studio on Thursday the 8th, what is he researching?
Julia: “The performance he is working on in this residency proposes a paradox: it is the making of a trailer for the performance. In trailers the labour is cut down to seconds, everything goes fast and smooth. You enjoy the short steps to come to a product at the end. In Billy’s work 95 of the time it is about this process of all the steps you have to take, that is not cut out. It is nearly the opposite of what media is doing. As a viewer you realize the passing of time and how you zoom into details and the reality of how things are actually made. It shows a certain persistence and insistence in creating every little detail. Not only the gaze of us in the performance is addressed but also the gaze of us looking at the trailer – which is a completely different gaze. He uses everything from both worlds and places them against each other.”
You will also be your own research during an Open Studio. How To Exit a Reality (Attempt 1 of 19) is a research for a performance in collaboration with the moon, how does that work?
Andrea: “We work with the metonic cycle of the moon: every 19 years the moon appears at the exact same position in the night sky and against the exact same backdrop of the night stars. So we construct the performance as a space-time narrative where we travel between a number of fictions, imaginaries and dreams placed on this 19 years cycle into the far future and into the deep past all relating to the moon.”
“We like to work with existing materials in the world as part of our performance. Certain events, the cycle of the moon for instance. It is no longer clear what is and isn’t part of the performance, where is the beginning, where is the end: the gaze kind of leaks. For us it is interesting if you can install a performative environment or an artistic environment through which your gaze towards the world is always playing between the two, so that one undoes the other.”
“The performance is based on escape room principles. It is a follow-up of a line of work we have been doing for a while. We are interested in dream logic, how time and space work in dreams. How things relate to each other. If you start placing them in the here and now, they start undoing something towards the everyday logic. It is complicated to describe, because we don’t work with existing formats, we always develop our new formats… We always look for new forms. Not new for the sake of novelty, but to research how a specific interest that we look for translates into the performative set up. What does it need to do in relation to the audience? How can the audience experience a certain removed mode of spectatorship?”
“We’re very happy in this phase of research that Veem House offered us a possibility to work with the theatre space, the tribune, the lights – to work in the theatre and understand how the mechanics work.”
You will share your research during two Open Studio’s, what do you hope to learn during this open exchange with the audience?
Julia: “We want to gain knowledge of how some setups work and how they are being read by someone who knows nothing. When you’re so much in the process like we are now, it is always interesting if somebody comes in with no knowledge; what do they see?”
Can you share about the curatorial choices that are behind co-curated evenings on “Unverifiable Realities” on the 9th and 10th? You present the work of three artists, Tchelet Pearl Weisstub, Clara García Fraille, and Tom K. Kemp, what do they have in common?
Julia: “All three artists combine a visual art gaze (working with the history, references, contexts and relations of their used materialities) with a performing art gaze, a live event taking place in the here and now which develops in time.
Andrea: “Tchelet Pearl Weisstub presents a live installation ManHandled. She sets up an installation machinery with only the fragments of the horse- only its legs. The machine and the movement produce a very specific form of presence, an imagination of something that is neither animal, neither live nor machine. But the work is also about ownership: the elements she uses belong to the Rijksakademie archive. The legs were crafted in 17th century Paris in the Louvre. Every element of the work is somehow loaded with meaning and as an audience you can contemplate all of these layers as they unfold. The way Tchelet does it is really beautiful and I find it quite unique.”
“Clara García Fraille presents her film IN DEFENSE OF GAMUSINOS, she has staged a series of searches for the imaginary animals ‘gamusinos’ that are part of Spanish folk history, and that everybody knows locally. She made the film as part of a collaboration with the ethnographic museum in Barcelona, and they took this game of ‘unverifying’ the existence of these animals very seriously. These animals come to life through the imagination through different voices describing it.”
Julia: “I think what is beautiful is that these imaginary beings have been embedded in history for such a long time and for so many generations, but while everyone has one word for them, they take such different forms and formats when they are visualized. If you look at text it is only one word, but if you look at the materiality that it actually produces, a whole body of knowledge is created.”
Andrea: “Clara’s film takes something imaginary that in principle cannot be extinct – but talks about the extinction of these rare animals. Through placing it as part of the ethnographic museum exhibition it relates it to ecological questions to talk about the extinguishing of the imaginary.”
“We originally thought to present Tom Kemp’s game After the Maestro as a workshop but we realized the game is very performative in itself. Tom is using documentary material which presents the body as a factory, the idea of the body as an industrial city.”
Julia: “It is the knowledge and lingo of the past, the movies he refers to are from the end of seventies beginning of the 80s. They were established as the way of how the body works.”
Andrea: “By putting it into a Live Action Role Playing context and inviting experts from different fields to play this game, there is a really playful performative dismantling of this concept as fictional on some level. We are not interested to relativise everything as fictional and therefore nothing is real, rather in the levels of construction in how ideologies translate into our bodies, into our environment and how we perceive ourselves as part of the world.”
“These three works on the 9th and 10th are spread throughout the building, the parkour of the audience is for us also part of the work: how you move through the building; how you land in different spaces. Each of the works sets a proposal towards time, but you yourself can choose how long you stay with each of them.”