Antwerp Art Weekend invited the Dutch guest curator Petra Heck to curate a program for De Studio. She presents ‘Conversing Motherboards’, a project consisting of video and performative works by the artists Josefin Arnell, Rory Pilgrim, Amber Vanluffelen and Raphaela Vogel. ‘Conversing Motherboards’ comes from a line of poetry by Carol R. Kallend, the central narrator to Rory Pilgrim’s music video album. Key themes that recur through his album ‘Software Garden’ include the boundaries between the human, artificial, organic, technological, political, poetic and spiritual. As Software Garden attempts to offer a meeting point where ‘all the hearts of our motherboards converse’, Petra took two words out as a title for the show since she is, like Rory, interested in the point in which these boundaries could touch. In ‘Conversing Motherboards’ she attempts to create an unstable platform by presenting these artists as a counter image towards dominating binary relations. How to be able to expand ideas around gender, behaviour and sex. Not trying to solve paradoxes or having multiple visions collapse, but to trouble oneself, their ideas and dreams. How to express the differences and similarities between everything and everyone (animals,nature, human beings), of ‘being in touch’ as the American feminist theorist Karen Barad would say. The video installations by Rory Pilgrim, Josefin Arnell, Raphaela Vogel, Janis Rafa and Valerie van Zuijlen will be visible throughout the Antwerp Art Weekend. The performances by Josefin Arnell and Amber Vanluffelen will take place on Saturday night during the Nacht van de Beeldende Kunsten (NBK).
Amber Vanluffelen (BE)
Vanluffelen wonders how she can relate to the here and now. This has led her to various (in-situ) works, including performances and installations, exhibited in art venues, festivals or public space. The artist tries to extend the framework of her interests and passions at hand; the public space, dance, but also basketbal or anime by isolating and incorporating choreographic, moving and aesthetic elements from popular culture and subculture. In doing this, she also minds and cares about the social constructions at work within the different fields. Vanluffelen is interested in translating some of the motives, attitudes and outlooks that mark these genres. As she often rehearses in public spaces, she started to integrate elements from voguing (as part of ballroom culture) and waacking – her two preferred dance styles - into her daily and artistic practice. Steadily and intuitively, Vanluffelen has identified transferable facets and elements to integrate them into her dancing, where she can communicate its narrative rather than its aesthetics. What speaks from her practice is primarily the energy and drive that underpin these styles, including the philosophy of “getting life”; of being totally in the moment, owning the situation.
Josefin Arnell (SE)
Working across different media on the border of fiction and documentary, Josefin navigates within the space of ‘exuberance and self-exploitation’. Antwerp Art Weekend commissioned Josefin Arnell for her latest piece: ‘Failure’ is a feeling that exists long before it comes; a performance and video installation. In this horror (infected love) story, blood sucking ticks have taken over the world. Together with a team of actresses and an opera singer Josefin plays with failure as a concept or emotion for trying to reflect on the darker side of humanity itself and our complicated coexistence with nature. A family drama breaks out between Mother earth, The humans, Fear, Mutated Ticks and its targets. Cast: Stina Fors & Jeannette Huizinga. In 2018 Josefin was awarded the Theodora Niemeijer Prijs for emerging women artists based in the Netherlands.
Raphaela Vogel (DE)
Raphaela Vogel often constructs video sculptures by using ready-made objects like dixi toilets, ashtrays and lion sculptures for works wherein we are no longer just men and women, we also tend to be animals or machines. In Prokon, an aggressively looking hay bale gripper is hung down from the ceiling, clenching a video projector in its teeth almost threatening to destroy it. The video shows the artist in her studio in a duel with a drone, whose camera is filming the dramatic and psychologically charged scene. Raphaela Vogel acts and steers the camera the camera at the same time, which creates a grotesque atmosphere between control and the loss of it. Vogel’s work makes you wonder about the intimate and personal access to technology but shows the instability and fragility of the seemingly perfect surfaces.
Rory Pilgrim (UK)
Centered on emancipatory concerns, Rory Pilgrim’s work aims to challenge the very nature of how we come together, speak, listen and strive for social change through sharing and voicing personal experience. Nurtured over 2 years of collaboration, workshops, and live concerts Rory Pilgrim released his first full length music album entitled Software Garden in 2018. The album unfolds over 11 tracks, each with an accompanying music video. Software Garden cultivates diverse musical influences to explore how a music album can be used as a political space to bring people together in a time of increasing nationalism and political isolationism. Focussing on the connections between technology, disability, and the systems that care for a society, the performance is narrated by poet and disability advocate Carol R. Kallend. Software Garden asks how we meet and create connection from both behind and beyond our screens. As digital and robotic technologies change the fabric of human systems, is it possible to create spaces that unite the human, ecological and technological with basic principles of empathy, care and kindness?
Rafa’s films are located at the intersection between fiction and documentary. In consequence, her work is realistic and yet has an intangible air to it. Amid a vast and largely abandoned landscape, Rafa introduces simple but dramatic situations. Without words or music, Rafa creates associative and fictional visual stories in which she reverses the positions between beings of different species. She examines the usual ranking order between humans and non-humans and subjects it to poetic disruption. Here we find, for instance, a dog tending a deceased human being. And a hybrid woman with six nipples suckling young puppies. By using mythological or religious symbols and metaphors, Rafa invokes the collective memory of her viewers. Rafa has a cinematographic gaze and uses light-dark contrasts to convey a post-apocalyptic atmosphere of mourning. The film is part of the project Three Farewells (2013), a film-trilogy of burials.
Valerie van Zuijlen
As a digital artist she explores her personal relationship with technology. She sees her desktop screen as an electronic mirror of her physical environment, where elements from nature are translated into a digital realm with its very own standards. ‘Scrolling Into The Deep’ is a piece of desktop cinema, in which she infiltrates this wonderland by scrolling deeper and deeper into the digital rabbit hole. ‘If I could have a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is. Because everything would be what it isn’t. And computer wise, what is, wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be it would. You see?’ – Alice in Wonderland to Mission control: Hello, World!
Image: Rory Pilgrim, Software Garden
The Nacht van de Beeldende Kunst or Night of the Visual Arts is our celebratory art party and each year we invite an organisation with one foot in music and one in the arts. For the fifth Antwerp Art Weekend, Subbacultcha Belgium puts together a musical program that mingles with the ideas of Petra Heck’s exhibition, ‘Conversing Motherboards’, also visible in De Studio during NBK on Saturday 18 May, and includes performances by the artists Amber Vanluffelen and Josefin Arnell.
Subbacultcha is an independent community, based in both Belgium and Amsterdam, hopelessly devoted to emerging music and art. At the heart of Subbacultcha you’ll find a membership. Members get access to the most exciting concerts and events for just €8 a month. Together with this dedicated community, Subbacultcha is supporting artists from the start and give them the audience they deserve. The community also doubles as a meeting place. Members become part of a very exciting family; small scale but custom made, the perfect place to hear new music first-hand, hang with interesting people and witness new developments front row.
South East London singer and DJ Shygirl has become an established name in the experimental club scene. Her 5-track EP ‘Cruel Practice’ explores the juxtaposition between what society expects women to be, when and how women communicate sexual needs and who women like Shygirl are. The project was released on NUXXE, a label she runs together with Sega Bodega, coucou chloe and Oklou.
Now signed to Lorenzo Senni’s imprint Presto!?, Mechatok first gained attention as a member of post-club internet collective STAYCORE and an affiliate of London crew BALA CLUB. Contrary to lots of his peers who’re often more percussion-oriented, Mechatok continued refining his own distinct pop-sensible melodic sound, soaked in melancholic euphoria. His last single ‘All I Want’, together with Swedish trapper Bladee, sounds very promising for the near future.
Romi Luna (BE)
Romi Luna is an up-and-coming DJ based in the city of Antwerp. This urbaneer’s wide range of influences, ranging from Soulection tracks to J-Dilla and Erykah Badu, brings forth a soulful and refreshing selection. She’ll hit the decks with an eclectic mix and knows how to make your feet move for sure.
Another talented DJ hailing from Antwerp. Bringing the trap to the club, Yunobi will be turning up the place. Get ready to crank to 808’s of Gunna, Migos and Travis Scott. Check out his DJ-mixtapes on his Soundcloud profile to get into the mood. If you haven’t already, of course.
Belgian techno DJ 9M-MRJ might not be the most visible, but absolutely not one to be overlooked. Although the MØRSK resident mostly plays in Antwerp, he isn’t timid of crossing the border. Having played at Signal in Moscow and Interzone in Berlin, 9M-MRJ is ready to bring off the right vibe for the right moment.
21h00 doors are open
21h15 – 22h00 Josefin Arnell (curated by Petra Heck) Performance
22h30 – 23h00 Shygirl Live
23u30 – 00h00 Amber Vanluffelen (curated by Petra Heck) Performance
00h00 – 01h00 Romi Luna Deejay
01h00 – 02h00 Yunobi Deejay
02h00 – 03h00 Mechatok Deejay
03h00 – end 9M-MRJ Deejay
The Night of the Visual Arts takes place on Saturday, May 18 and starts at 21h. The exhibition 'Conversing Motherboards' by Petra Heck will be on view until 1am that night.
Entrance is 10 €.
Maarschalk Gerardstraat 4, 2000 Antwerpen
telephone +32 3 260 96 10
Image: Subbacultcha Belgium, Photo by Lara Gasparotto