Reporter: Johan Nederpel
TodaysArt is a multi-disciplinary festival in The Hague (The Netherlands) with a focus on experimental art in its widest form. From lectures to techno and from public stagings to confined performances.
This year it was held at the Spuiplein, Theater aan het Spui and Filmhuis. While it used to be much larger and included a lot more places in the city it was now concentrated in a small area, mostly due to the govermental cutback on artsupport. This made planning for the locations a lot easier, but didn’t allow for a lot of different forms of art as there used to be.
Matthias Oostrik – plplpl.pl::scrutiny
After getting the wristband for access to the festival, you where directly confronted by a set-up of Matthias Oostrik.
It is one of the many set-ups that deal with the intervention of modern technology with everyday life. Underneath the formation there are cameras that tape you and directly identify you as a person on one of the screens. Then the image, or short videoloop, will run on different screens so everybody can see what you where doing.
While some people where a bit shocked by this direct influence, others did a little dance in front of a camera and watched themselves on every monitor.
Mike Rijnierse + Rob Bothof – Cube
In a small studio of the Filmhuis (a really good place if you want to see some arthouse movies), there was an exhibit by TodaysArt local Mike Rijnierse (and Rob Bothof). In the middle of the entirely dark studio a was cube placed on a standard of one meter in height. It emitted light from its edges which created beautiful patterns on all sides of the studio.
The cube was accompanied by a soundtrack that ranged between drones and extreme sound explosions making it an emmersive hypnotizing experience. The Cube suckes you in a singularity of light and sound.
After this impressive and immersive exposition I went to the Theater aan het Spui again and witnessed a very perculiar performance in the foyer by Limpe Fuchs. She’s an experimentalist in the purest form. Using only handmade instruments like drums and a xylofoon made of slate. Her performance started rather suddenly when she grabbed some bamboo sticks and threw them in front of the spectators. It probably was to create some interaction but the public wasn’t prepared for it. She then took a coconut and started to play ball with it. This brought more tension to the public as they didn’t know what to do with it. There was even a cheer when someone finally got the ball back to her.
After this intro she started playing some rythmic figures on drums and later on her xylofoon and two huge steel pipes that where suspended from high positioned drums. In between she mumbled in a nonexcisting language which resembled the arguing of birds. Then it was time for me to witness one of the biggest surprises of the festival.
Myriam Bleau – autopsy.glass
This was a very intens performance by glass musician Myriam Bleau. The artist was exhausted after het performance. It consisted of approx. 10 columns of whineglasses with contactmics on them which where in rows with two other whineglasses. Beneath every glass there was a light emitting platter. By the use of the rining of the glasses, which she played by rubbing her own saliva onto it, she triggered a sample or a highly processed sound from the glass itself.
About halfway into the performance she took a little camera and pointed it at a specific glass she had put down onto its side. With a extremely sharp knife she cut into the glass, which had a contactmic, and generated some bizarre sounds.
At the very end of the perfomance she had a glass which was put into a vise. She applied a little bit of pressure until the glass snapped. As a explosive end she threw a couple of glasses onto a plate which was connected to her soundsystem.
After these performances I went to have a beer at the Spuiplein and there was DJ playing some ritual music à la This Morn’ Omina.
In the middle was a exhibition by ESTEC with a couple of telescopes and some landingvehicles.
There was also a suitcase standing at the edge of the terrain. When you picked it up a huge sirene went of, confusing some passersby if there really was something getting stolen.
When my beer was finished I went home with a satisfied feeling and couldn’t wait for the second day of this great festival.