Happenings are an exploration at the VogelLab in Amsterdam Noord's Vogelbuurt. Two guests are invited to "see what happens" when they bring their expression into one space at this particular moment in time.
The audience are passer's by, peering into the windows or turning their heads to see: what is that?
Tania Zountsa (composer/performer) and Lisa van der Zande (visual artist/performer) arrived and we drank some tea together. We found ourselves speaking about the same area, street and building in Utrecht - by coincidence they live in the same place! We were witnesses to an experiment all about meeting and asking how we communicate without words.
we couldn't suppress the hug.
are they really neighbours?
are these words really my words, or the recorder?
tape and tapes and papers and music
and we were witness to the beginning of friendship.
- Miriam's 5 lines
listening to one another, listening to what lies
in between attentive driven,
by purpose in a Non-binding space
liveliness powered by creation
Maya's 5 lines
hands surrounding ceramic,
talking about wild coincidences.
language made of folding and crumpling, keys,
stereo - pens - tape,
"today is a strange day".
Christine's 5 lines
In the fourth Happening we had to deal with many limitations due to the 'sudden' lockdown, which somehow out of necessity, the weather and the fine human material created freedom and space for music and conversation to be made. It's keeps surprising us how surprising every Happening is.
Many Thanks to Jonathan and Pietro for their open hearts and generous sounds.
.Often during the Happenings we are all in the space, getting to know each other and discussing our views on life. This time the restrictions made the event more about the music and the two artists in the space.
Not knowing all of the participants of the Happenings keeps it very exciting for us as curators - the duo of Jonathan Nagel and Pietro Friegato was a 'schot in de roos':
two guys with guitars and pedals, both studied jazz and other musics and shared a love for improvisation.
It became clear very soon after they plugged in that the space was theirs for the music to come as we remained outside and even listened to part of the concert through a zoom call from my house close by. The feeling was more intimate, as was the music that came out of the meeting. From soundscapes to dark grooves to melodically intertwined lines and fit beautifully with the setting sun. (it was a 'sun set!')
We had been in that room before, all of us, almost a year previously for an event with a room full! Now fast forward one year - there is still hope in the air and Pietro arrives with a bag of tricks (guitar pedals), to speak with us a bit about our hopes and dreams for the space, VogelLab for his upcoming festival Cataclisma.
He is also one of our guests for this Happening #4 ...it was especially unexpected because we suddenly had another electric entry - Jonathan with his own bag of tricks!
So then there were dueling banjos of sorts, one bass, one treble with a whole lot more punk energy than the original duel.
It was unusual to set up and then immediately leave the space, to sign in and add my own "streetview" from my phone to a laptop in the VogelLab as Miriam and I walked away.
The sounds from their musical introductions to each other echoed in the street and then from my phone into a street a little further away... silent dusk streets were the audience as the sky changed colour and their performance unfolded with it.
Streetview Collective is happy to present Happenings: random encounters between artists at the Vogellab. The studio's walls are all windows, so anyone who passes by can see everything that's going on inside.
In the spirit of these times, we don't invite the audience intentionally, but simply let the Happening happen and be experienced by the neighbourhood, by chance.
Happenings emerges from the reality we live in, surrounded by uncertainty while driven by the urge to create and make, to share live art with the public and to initiate and support dialogues between artists and the street.
Vogellab, our beloved studio, a part of the Vogelbuurt landscape, is the perfect location to continue and create bridges between artistic visions and everyday life.
You're welcome to follow our blog and keep updated about the different experiences Happenings create...
Happening #3 - 25.10.2020 with Robin Engelhard & Robert Nettleship
Sunday brunching blind date. None of us knew everyone, and most us did not know each other more than from a single meeting. But as we keep discovering in each of our Happenings, a shared moment in time can already bring out beautiful connections. A smell of coffee in the Vogellab accompanied us in our wandering conversations about the world, life, troubled minds and passions.
Robin Engelhard brought his guitar and bouncing balls, Robbert Nettleship surprised (and kept surprising) us with a bag full of bubblewrap. After our joint conversations the two artists went for a walk through the neighbourhood to set the mood. Who knows what they found on the road, it surely made for an incredibly fun, sometimes fragile but always playful connection in the most unexpected and inexplicable way.
Robert had tried all ways to walk in the bubblewrap, dance in the bubblewrap, jump in the bubblewrap, make shoes and hats and gloves from bubblewrap while Robin gently released landscapes and stories from his guitar...Robert decided to call this one the 'Bubble Piece' (I like the Dutch translation too, 'Bubbelstuk') and to me it took on a different meaning to the obvious. Both Robin and Robert found themselves on a journey between each others imagination, a back and forth of soundscapes and play, of dance and silence, of percussions meeting, creating their new world of wonder, their own new bubble.
- Miriam den Boer
We all agreed unanimously that especially in these times it is difficult to meet new people. Everyone is enclosed in their capsules, becoming more socially-selective. There is a longing, at least for some of us, for new social and musical encounters. It was nice to find out that the framework of Happenings meets these needs, even if in a very small way.
This is a blind-date for both us organisers and the artists. My personal pleasure from the whole situation is the privilege to meet, observe and listen. A private concert but one that is also in the public space. Mine and not just mine. And the joy of discovering how things, people, sounds, shapes and spaces connect. Guitar and bubble wrap. Who knew these sounds belonged to each other.
A body moving frantically, large movements; almost static body, fingers moving gently on strings. The Guitar has little movement and a lot of sound that fills the resonant space of the Vogellab and emanates from it out into the street. The body playing on it, almost does not move. The bubble wrap has truncated and loud noises, filling only one hundredth of a second. The body that plays on them constantly jumps in space in any direction.
The distance and difference between the two bodies and their sounds created a perfectly balanced experience that none of us could have foreseen.
People walked past the studio, looked inside, slowed down, stopped for a moment, watched. Few started the conversation. Something happened.
- Maya Felixbrodt
Many thanks to the devoted and dear artists - Robert Nettleship (Bubble-wrap) and Robin Engelhard (Guitar) who shared their time, thoughts and creative work with us.
More impressions will be available soon, so keep checking this platform for more on/offline Happenings. Much love!
Happening #2 - 09.10.2020 with Yung Tuan Ku & Larysa Bauge
Happening #1 - 22.09.2020 with Streetview Collective
A Beautiful late autumn sun shone into the Vogellab and the street, inviting us to open the window and reach out.
It was a first ‘happening’ and a first time meeting and playing for the three of us in a long time. Rarely did we experience such a direct connection with our neighbours, who passed us by smiling, commenting or sat down to listen.
Thank you Vogelbuurt, look out for the next encounter.
By Miriam den Boer
We started standing in the middle, resonating and when I looked up it was only my harmonic left that I could hear, bricks and sunshine, then we had a visitor to our outside moment with a white bag, filled with wishes we sent our voices up too, film passer by, applause made of leaves, barely a whisper, then sax over the way, reprise and then one last bow, back to the three.
Stream of memories from Happening #1, by Christine Cornwell