Introducing Veem’s House Artists: meet ROTOR!
29 March 2021
For the coming three years Veem House will dedicate a part of its time, space and attention to three House Artists; performance collective ROTOR is one of them. The collective consists of performers Hidde Aans-Verkade & Koen van der Heijden and creative producer Rick Busscher. In their work ROTOR uses repetitive movements to give the feeling of time being stretched and to create a trance-like state, making us in turn more attentive to the time and space of the present moment.
Hidde: “We work as a collective so as performance makers our working process is a constant dialogue between two different minds that work differently, but when combined they add on to each other. I think Koen for instance is really good at creating a world: what is the architecture of the space; how does the human body relate to the space it is in? Whereas I work more from the body itself with directly physical exercises. From the logic of the space a certain movement evolves.”
Koen: “Time is very important in our work. How you perceive time can be very subjective, and that’s what we play with. We work with repetition, and repeat actions, so that you get in a state of trance where you lose the sense of time. We use this as a tool to make you more present in that temporary moment, and try to show the beauty of that.”
Hidde: “That’s the state we try to reach with the audience: to be in the here and now. In repetition we give that which is happening, space to happen, instead of filling it with meaning, or making it spectacular. That way you can really look for the details or suddenly be overcome by it. In our performances we don’t illustrate something, but wave around it and look for the poetry in movement. We start from quite specific themes but in the end, it is more the spaces in-between that tell the story.”
You try to be a ‘circular organization’ why?
Hidde: “There is a climate crisis and we want to organize ourselves in such a way that we work climate neutral and have zero impact. Or even better do more to give back to nature. But working circular is also a thought that relates to Kung Fu. In our artistic practice we work with repetition, our performances end, where they could start again, maybe there is a transformation but never an end point. It connects to kung fu, which embraces repetition.”
“One could also translate Kung Fu as ‘mastery through endless repetition’. By doing something over and over again, you’re mastering something. Kung Fu is not only about the martial arts, a chef cook or a carpenter can also have Kung Fu. We try to question our own mastery: what is it we train in ourselves during our everyday lives? It’s more about patterns or habits, and how can we break out of them. I notice it too for me in Kung Fu there’s this tendency to become rigid in the repetition making it difficult to move differently. But it is important in this repetition of movement to create a deepness and openness.”
What does being a ‘House Artist’ mean to you?
Koen: “Today (March 15) is the first day of this year that we’re physically here. The connotation I have with a ‘House’ is a place where you can always go to. In these times that is not always possible. But even though we cannot be physically present in Veem House all the time, being a House Artist still gives us space to manifest ourselves. Plus we are a House Artist, together with other House Artists. The opportunity to have conversations with each other, and hopefully inspire and even question each other’s work, that is really valuable to me.”
Hidde: “It is not just me Koen and Rick anymore, you become part of a bigger family. It is amazing that they literally care for us in making sure we have the space and means for making what we want. And we can have the conversations to search for what it actually is that we want. As makers we are in the beginning of that search and it feels as a privilege to get be supported in that research.”
What are you busy with right now?
Koen: “Right now we work on our first performance as House Artists: Erosion. We are interested in the relationship of the human body and of the human in its environment. Geographically speaking erosion is disintegration. Rocks or mountains disintegrate because of external forces that work against it; there’s heat and cold that makes it shrink and expand. Water and wind goes through it and shapes it like a sculptor. The paths it carves change the movement of the water or wind again, and this changes the environment again.”
Koen: “Everything is constantly moving and restructuring itself as time passes by. By showing this process, as we try to in Erosion, you show time, and how everything is finite. That’s what we are now researching in this residency now: how do we want to give form to that? Last year we also did two weeks of research in Veem House and shared a work in progress; we were spinning around each other, holding hands. But in the end it became too tiring to maintain this movement. We’re constantly trying to reconstruct the form in order to keep the movement going for as long as possible.”
What will you be working on as House Artists?
Koen: “After Erosion we will also make a new performative work and we want to make a more performative installation. During our time as House Artists we want to include other people by giving workshops; to other makers in Amsterdam but basically to anyone who feels the need to move. It will not only be about learning to move better, but about finding this state of receptive consciousness that is so important in our work.”
Hidde: “How we share ‘our method’, is still an exploration for us, by doing so we will also define it more. We have the idea we are quite specific in what we do, but we still need to discover what actually makes it that specific. Hidde laughs: “It is not going to be ‘here are the ten steps to become Koen and Hidde’, we ourselves learn a lot from giving these workshops and we also wish to invite other makers who can inspire us with their practice.”
Hidde Aans-Verkade & Koen van der Heijden will share their research on erosion in movement during an online Open Studio on the 1st of April. Join them as they further explore this continuous dialogue in movement between the human body and its surrounding!
About Veem’s House Artists
We commit to three-year trajectories with our House Artists. Our aim is to help them develop an artistic, independent and sustainable practice over these three years, regardless of the outcome of a project or performance. Every trajectory is customized to the needs of the specific artist. All of them relate to movement, whether that’s through the body or by activating social movements. At the same time, their voices form a mirror to us which leads us to reflect, rethink and sometimes reinvent.
Open Studio: Erosie