The Minotaur visits Lapland

Dear Insider,

This week The Minotaur and I are visiting Lapland. The Minotaur loves exploring and thinks there is a lot of snow. I will be posting his explorations here.

Exploration # 1: Eat snow

Exploration # 2: Be Stubborn

Exploration # 3: Find path

Exploration # 4: Refuse to come out

Exploration # 5: Observe forest culture

Exploration # 6: Make a snow demon

Exploration # 7: Meditate

The Minotaur schizophrenia

Dear Insider,

It turns out that my labyrinths of thoughts contain a great treasure: an inhabitant!
He is called the Minotaur and he is part of me. We don’t know each other very well, but we like exploring the unknown, so that is a common place to start from. The unknown is sometimes dark, sometimes playful and most of all, very open and free.  It an be a quite terrifying place, so it is good to have the Minotaur as a companion. Together we travel to the unknown and back, using the scriptures of “the labyrinths of thoughts” as our map to get lost with.

Maybe I can tell you al little bit more about my travel companion.
The Minotaur had his ‘coming out’ in the performance “The Minotaur schizophrenia”. Since then he occasionally appears in my life. During these encounters I discover more about the nature of this creature.

Encounter #2: Metro Minotaur
One day,  the Minotaur and I took the metro together. The Minotaur carried a print with his image. Children seemed to like him and he liked them. Grown ups where less fond of him. Most of the time they ignored him and sometimes they where annoyed. It was during this trip that I found out that the Minotaur cannot speak, only trough images.
metromini3 metromini2 metromini

Encounter #3: Breakfast at Anja
In the performance “breakfast for two” with Anja Sauer, the Minotaur and I visit our friend Anja, who wanted to study him by capturing his image on her laptop. As you can see, his image is not always the same. During the visit he was wearing horns made out of paper. The Minotaur did not really know how this ‘visiting’ thing worked, but he tried his best. Unfortunately, it turned out that the Minotaur does not eat, which made having breakfast complicated.
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Encounter #4: Mini vlog
On a very special occasion the Minotaur visited my room and left a video message. In this video I am trying to make some sense out of what he was trying to say.

If I happen to have more encounters with the Minotaur, I will let you know!

The labyrinth contradiction

Dear Insider,

To function in every day life we build structures in our heads. Structures like laws, morals, religions. Invisible walls to find and maintain order, to come to some kind of understanding about the world.
We draw boarders on our map of this world. But what if these boarders are incomplete, incorrect, or even dysfunctional? Can a map turn into a labyrinth?

A labyrinth has a contradiction in itself. It is a structure. Usually structures are created to get more clearance and overview. A labyrinth is a structure intended to get us disoriented. It is a structure designed to get lost in. But there is a possibility to find a way out.
What happens if I try to capture the map of the world I have build in my head into a visual images? And what if I treat this map like a labyrinth? Can I find a way out trough performances?

Here are some sketches I made during my first days in Helsinki. An attempt to capture the systems in my thoughts into a labyrinth.
Click to enlarge.

The hurricane of change

Dear Insider,

I am delighted to let you know that I have started my master degree: Life Art and Performance Studies at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts, Helsinki. It is one of very few free Masters programs in the world that focuses on the intersection of Performance Studies and the practice of Live Art/Performance Art. I am looking forward to deepen my artistic practice trough this master.

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All of this did mean that I had to leave the Netherlands and move to Finland. I also had to abandon my studio’s (the one in the forest and the one Amsterdam), including my lovely studio mates Charlie and Isa. But I am sure we will meet again.

The wind of change is blowing! Well, sometimes it feels more like a hurricane…

 

 

 

The work that failed into place

1. dirtylaundryscreenshots

Taking out the dirty laundry (Video)

A raw landscape fades in. Somebody is walking. Close up: a woman is walking with a white cloth and a washing board under her arms. Wind is howling, snow is falling, it looks very cold.
The woman walks towards the frozen water. There is an open space with a light source near. She places her washing board into the source and sits down in the freezing water. She starts to wash the already white cloth in the light. Meanwhile, the snow turns into a blizzard.
The camera comes closer while she is furiously washing. Showing her skin, red from the cold, her hands getting stiff from the long exposure from the icy water and her clothes slowly turning white from the snow. She is cold, but keeps on washing with rigid determination. But then, after a while, she carefully spreads the cloth over the light source, places it gently and walks away. She shakes her arms, like she is trying to get rid of something. Then she walks back to where she came from.

Meaning & Making
Why fixing something that is not broken? It seems absurdist. Still the deed of washing a clean cloth is done with ridged determination. The phrase “taking out the dirty laundry implies that there is something dirty that needs to be exposed, that needs to be confessed. Confession often implies guilt. And guilt, unfortunately, is not easy to come clean with. Sometimes we lose the struggle with ourselves. And sometimes we have to admit that the only one standing in our way to continue our path is our self.

When I finished shooting the video I could not look at it at first. It touched something so close and painful that I could not bear to face it. Eventually I managed to get a clean cut and finished the movie.

The white cloth is actually one of my mandala cut outs. The light source is a lamp under water. As a starting point a thought of this image of a light source in the water, and the act of purifying something by washing it in the light. Then I wondered if I could spread the mandala cut out on to the light source and let the light shine trough, creating a beautiful, circular, peaceful pattern.

EPIC FAILURE

During the shooting my camerawoman nearly fainted because of the cold. The blizzard was not planned and kept getting worse. The mandala did not unfold properly.
Despite the failing, I still like the piece. The original thought got a bit mutilated, but that’s what happens when you try to shape your dreams into reality. They mutate into creatures of their own.

 

5 voor 12 (Time waits for no one)

Dear Insider,

I am experimenting with my alarm clock collection. It is an on-going project, and I am not sure where it is going to end. This causes an eternal need for alarm clocks; so if you have a spare one, please donate!

Every time when I find an alarm clock, for example in a second hand store, I make a copy of it. This copy is made of transparent plastic, but the real copy is the shadow it forms when light falls trough the plastic. The shadows formed on the floor are like echoes of time.

You have this saying in Dutch: “5 minutes before 12”. It means that time is almost up. The clocks are ticking, time is passing and shadows are forming. What are you waiting for?

The other studio

Dear Insider,

How many artists have the luxury of having two studios? Since two weeks, I share a studio in Amsterdam with Charlie Citron in Amsterdam. I did not have my own studio in years! It feels weird to have a studio that actually has walls and a fixed location. I am very happy to have a place for myself, where I can test-drive my ideas and experiment with materials.

studio

Creativity should always flow without any obstructions. But in order to learn, sometimes we need to run into walls.

When I grow up, I want to reincarnate as a tree

Dear insider,

I am very pleased to inform you that my studio is now located in a forest. The following weeks I am allowed to work at the beautiful Wickenburgh estate: http://landgoedwickenburgh.nl/. Thank you, Marijn and Otto, for having me!

I will be working on the project “When I grow up, I want to reincarnate as a tree” (working title). Starting point is a vague idea for a performance, involving a forest, some seriously grounded roots, and a corny sketch.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

 

The first post

Inside the studio
Things are made. Stories are told. Hunches will be chased. Truth gets stumbled on. Lies are born. Tea is consumed. Mess is made. Confusion rules. Failure is priceless. Lessons are unravelled. Healing sets in. Experiments explode. Concepts implode. Sometimes everything falls apart. Sometimes art unfolds.

Dear Insider
Trough this blog I will share some glimpses of my creative process. My studio does not have a fixed location, but it is always possible to get inside.
Nice to meet you,

Jolijn