In-Between Identities (2019) 3h
The Liberating Power of Nudity in Performance Opera: In-Between Identities
Our stance is that performance should always remain open to the unpredictability of the process, even though methodologically well-reflected and organized led by Marilyn Arsem and artist duo VestAndPage (Verena Stenke and Andrea Pagnes). As it was for the alchemists engaging in their philosophical quest, a performance opera is a vision and the result of a creative process, there is the space where it takes place, the laboratory to play out new challenges.
Our firm belief is that performance must remain open to the unpredictable, even within methodological reflection. Performance opera is not merely a spectacle but an artistic vision realized through creative exploration. The stage becomes a sacred laboratory, fearlessly embracing new challenges.
Within the unpredictability of performance opera emerges a unique and empowering medium that delves deep into characters’ and artists’ in-between identities. Nudity as an artistic choice liberates performers, laying bare not just their bodies but also their emotions and thoughts. This raw vulnerability forges a profound connection with the audience, transcending barriers and leaving a lasting impact.
The intricacies of performance opera lead to a profound exploration of identity. Characters embody dualities, mirroring artists’ transformative journeys. Like alchemists turning metals into gold, performance opera transforms vulnerability into strength and authenticity into inspiration, creating a new realm of artistic expression.
As we celebrate performance artists’ bravery and vulnerability on the grand stage, open-mindedness and acceptance among audiences are paramount. Nudity in performance opera is not for shock value but as a powerful means of expressing emotions and challenging societal norms.
The liberating power of nudity in performance opera intertwines with embracing unpredictability and in-between identities. By granting space Maakhaven, The Hauge for serendipity, performance opera transcends conventional boundaries, captivating performers and audiences alike. Let us wholeheartedly immerse ourselves in this mesmerizing art form, celebrating its visionary nature and the courage of those baring not just their bodies, but their souls in pursuit of authentic artistic expression.
July 5th 2019, 8:00 -11:00 pm at Maakhaven, 1e Lulofsdwarsstraat 60, the Hague.
With the expression performance opera, we don’t intend to define performances, which are mainly choreographed or structured a priori in every part.
PROJECT ID – In Between Identities – July 5 till July 7, 2019
• Performance Opera: July 5, 2019, 7:30 to 11:00 PM, Maakhaven The Hague;
• Live Performances: July 6, 2019, 7:00 to 11:30 PM, De Helena The Hague;
• Live Performances: July 7, 2019, 7:00 to 11:30 PM, De Barhkapel The Hague;
• Study Movie Room: July 5, 2019, 12:00 to 6:00 PM, July 6 and July 7, 2019, 12:00 to 11:30 PM, Ruimtevaart The Hague.
Saturday February 16th 2019
Location: Helena van Doeverenplantsoen 3, Den Haag, Nederland
VestAndPage: Andrea Pagnes and Verena Stenke will visit us to present the cooperation project ID that will run from June 24th till July 7th in The Hague. Project ID is a temporary creative community working with global issues of ‘identity Crisis’. Together with VestAndPage we will create a visual save space to create live solo and group performances. Marilyn Arsem will be our guest artist working with VestAndPage on the project.
From the investigation of the notion of ‘identity crisis’ in our social systems, our urgency is to identify new life perspectives collectively through art and performance art-making processes. The aim is to stimulate and intertwine proactive dialogues among artists, people, and cultural communities in general, considering art as a foremost sensitizing tool of communication.
Our mission is therefore to favor independent, temporarily binding relationships among artists, people, and different cultural communities, which can lead to long-term networks existing, growing, and lasting even after the conclusion of the project itself
Danielle Brans (NL), Carmen Lafran (DE/IT), Andrea van Gelder (NL), Albert Smith (South Africa), Hsiang-Yun Huang (Taiwan), Gamze Ozturk (Turkey), Ingrid Adriaans (NL), Lise BOUCON (FR/UK), Fay Burnett (UK), Tess Martens (Canada), Philemon Mukarno (Indonesia/NL), Larysa Bauge (BY/NL), Yvette Teeuwen (NL), Carol Montealegre (Bogotá/ Colombia), Yuki Kobayashi / 小林勇輝n (Japan), Carole Novak (FR), Emilio Rojas (US), Oozing Gloop (UK).
“PROJECT ID – In Between Identities” is the brainchild of performance artist and organizer Jolanda Jansen and P.S. Performance Site. P.S. Performance Site aims to promote the practice of performance art in The Hague and facilitate better access to the art form. With the project almost two years in the making, Jansen and P.S. Performance Site invited Marilyn Arsem and artist duo VestAndPage (Verena Stenke and Andrea Pagnes) to collaborate in The Hague. Arsem is a renowned artist and a member and founder of Mobius, Inc., an interdisciplinary collaboration of artists. She arrived in The Hague directly from a durational performance at Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam. VestAndPage have backgrounds in philosophy, visual arts, and theatre, and have been actively exploring performance art as collaborators, researchers, and organizers since 2006.
Over the past two weeks, a temporary artist community has been created with the project culminating in a collective performance opera. The organizers emphasize that the collective performance opera, which is frequently employed by VestAndPage, aims to keep a methodological approach while remaining open to unpredictability. According to the organizers, each performance opera in the past has been completely different, due to the backgrounds of participants. They stress that it is always a work in progress, never a final result, and is one moment of a process. The collaboration between Arsem, referred to as the godmother of the team, and VestAndPage has been an experiment so far. The edges of their practices are revealed in the separation of the instruction of the workshop, with the first three days led by VestAndPage, the following three days led by Arsem, and then coming to a head in the creation of the collective performance opera. This year, the theme focuses on our own concepts of identity.
Stuart Hall outlines in the essay “Cultural Identity and Diaspora” (1990) that modern identities are no longer fixed but emerge as “unstable points of identification or suture, which are made within the discourses of history and culture.” In his words, life stories are not determined exclusively by class, race, gender, and religion, but instead, there is a mixed ancestry; an identification with diversity in countries, traditions, values, and beliefs. While the raised global interactions are causing a re-evaluation of traditions and lifestyles, an awareness of individual and collective change springs from the urgency to find new modes of shaping our identities and life stories. Performativity as a language calls for continuous transformation and functions as a form of social action, while contemporary performance art as a logical art form shapes, communicates, confirms, and honors the value of different life stories in multiple contexts.
Over the past two weeks, they have been involved in the creation of, in their own words, a temporary artist community with the project culminating in a collective performance opera. I was able to observe a small piece of the first day, held at Maakhaven, located just outside the city center of The Hague, and was struck by the vulnerability shared. Within a short amount of time, organizers were able to build trust within the participants themselves and those around them. With such a diverse group of performers, the process from idea to actual work felt sacred. Witnessing the energy the first day and then again the third, it was evident how radically the group’s energy had morphed. Instead of a workshop, it felt to me like the facilitation of the many possibilities of collective expression.
This collaboration between Arsem, affectionately referred to as the godmother of the team, and VestAndPage, has been an experiment thus far. The edges of Arsem and VestAndPage’s practices are revealed in the separation of the instruction of the workshop, with the first three days led by VestAndPage, the following three days led by Arsem, and then coming to a head in the creation of the collective performance opera. This year, the theme focuses on our own concepts of identity.
The collective performance opera, a process frequently employed by VestAndPage, aims to keep a methodological approach while staying open to unpredictability. Each performance opera is an experiment because it is founded on the labor (which comes from the Latin noun of the word of opera, work) of a group of artists that try to find a moment of dialogue with different styles/languages that they bring into the performance space, the common ground. According to the organizers, each performance opera in the past has been completely different due to the backgrounds of the participants. They stress it is always a work in progress and never a final result. Counter to our antiquated ideas of a finished work of art, it is only one moment of a process.
While conducting interviews throughout the last few weeks, I found myself frequently calling the aforementioned program a festival because of its packed schedule, located throughout The Hague. Speaking to VestAndPage, there was a clear distinction in the choice of words concerning our particular connotations involving the role of performance art in our lives. The program runs until the 7th of July. In the words of Jansen, “Just experience it!”