Archiv für November 2014

The gallery is open. Nothing else. Day 15 – 21.

28. November 2014 - 13:29 Uhr

Previously on WeAreNotSisi:
The first edition of A Sound Night was the last event in a serious of happenings at the show. Apart from the few hours of sleep every day at night, I had been in the bunker almost constantly for 14 days. People talk about health risks if you are in the bunker for one full day, so I do not know what it has done to me – maybe if you stay there long enough it’s menace transforms into some kind of cure and the bunker thus into a sanatorium?
What if Hans Castorp had spent his 7 years together with all his fellow patients in a city-bunker? (Any novelists with too much time out there?) This question does pop up because what happened is that WeAreNotSisi de-activated time and space, it became another planet with it’s own flow. There were many ways how this became manifest, as in the way I did things and how people reacted on them. You are in an own universe and you are in there fully and so convinced, the even people outside think „This is the way it has to be.“ When you are in such a state you can do marvellous things, you have super-powers and who does not want to have super-powers once in a while? The important thing about it though – and this is what makes it a very personal challenge – is not to lose track of reality completely, to find your way back and in the best of all worlds even recognize what you see, hear, smell, feel on this way back. And to see how this way changed you. (This approach or mission was also formulated in the concept and this documentation became to be one of the central parts of that.)
But let’s talk about the positive flow and one of the many more easy to grasp hands-on examples of what I am talking about: When we needed a music stand for A Sound Night, it was obvious that I would just go to the Concertgebouw around the corner (I needed to get toilet paper from the supermarket anyway) to fetch one. And of course, after a few phone calls with the internal concertgebouw-landline in the friendly porters’ lodge at the stage door, a lady came along to give it to me, without asking any questions. She did ask me to bring it back at night though, as there is always somebody in the Concertgebouw to open the door for you. We did of course, we couldn’t wish for a sweeter end of A Sound Night than dropping by at the Concertgebouw to give back a music stand at the back door.

After „A Sound Night“ no more special events where planned and 6 days of usual gallery work lay ahead of me, open daily from 13:00 – 19:00.  I had no idea what this means. When I was beginning my research for WeAreNotSisi in Amsterdam I had to start from scratch in every sense. Not only did I not know the city at all one and a half years ago and was my dutch still a bit tipsy, I also did not have any clue about “the art world”. As I wanted to organize an exhibtion though and as the timeframe was quite short, I made up a crash course for myself, where I would have all at once – improving my dutch, getting to know the city, learning about “the art world”. So I made a map with 20 galleries on it and took some spare days in autumn 2013 to visit them and  ask some naive questions, where I honestly did not know the answer to. Questions like: What is a gallery? How do you make money? What do artists do apart from making art?  What are “independent art spaces? What are “project spaces”? What are art fares? … You get the point. The crash course worked out – I refused to speak English, so my dutch improved, I asked stupid questions – so I learned a lot, I was cycling and walking all around the city, from heart to periphery and back – so I got to know a better feeling for Amsterdam.
„What is usual gallery work now?“, you, dear reader, are asking? Well, let me answer this question with a little story:
In my crash course I already observed that first of all gallery-life means sitting in front of the computer. We know from office jobs that this does not automatically mean that something is actually happening, so I wanted to find out more about it. When I asked gallerist Oeke Witteveen about it, he as asked me to sit down.  I took the chance to bum a cigarette and he was telling me, that he was doing nothing, just clicking around randomly. Around the corner in another gallery, somebody about 40 years younger than Mr. Witteveen reacted rather differently on my question. Without offering me a seat, the chance was not missed, to underline how annoying it is, that gallery visitors so often do not understand that the people in galleries and in front of computers are ACTUALLY WORKING and do not have time for random chitchat for everybody that is dropping by in the opening hours.
That’s all I needed to know. After the big flood of building up, kicking off and hosting events, I was ready to go and to do everything right. I was looking forward to open my laptop, sit in the corner, look very busy and unapproachable and at the same very open for guests to have a chat. No need to to note, that with this air of professional ambiguity I fit the space and the expo perfectly.

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A Sound Night Vol.1

27. November 2014 - 15:03 Uhr

Previously on WeAreNotSisi: On the evening of September 26, we were honoured to host the closing event of the Parallel Forum of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples which was taking place on September 25 and September 26 in Amsterdam.

Quote from the organizers: In conjunction with the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples being held at the United Nations in New York City on 22-23 September, we are proud to present a parallel forum in Amsterdam. Over a two-day period, we will host conferences, foster debates, give workshops and screen segments of the official New York conference, seeking to reflect the discussions taking place right now about the rights of Indigenous Peoples worldwide. We aim to bring those issues into the public debate and, moreover, to raise awareness of the parties involved in decision-making processes. Our full program is listed here.

A SOUND NIGHT. Actually the title and the program of the evening says it all.  Many thanks to the STEIM|Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music for connecting us with Dan Gibson and thanks to Wally B. Fonseca for being all sound!

1. das Punkt, ComanDante, Wanorde, MR Awkward do it loud and speedy.

2. Dan Gibson will explore the dualism between precision and ambiguity and the intermingling of intentions and presence between the cello, computer and performer.
3. fri_bar (Friedrich Neubarth and Barbara Haider) take music from the 13th to 17th century as basis for improvisation, while Bernhard Loibner transforms, complements and augments with live electronics.

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Day Off – Eating. Not Sculpting

25. November 2014 - 07:59 Uhr

Previously on WeAreNotSisi: As usual, we did cook too much for the “Club Dauerwurst”, as we called the evening in the Bunker on Wednesday, September 24 and as usual this was exactly what we wanted…

The next day was the second day the exhibition in the bunker was closed. This did not mean, naturally, that we did not go there. After a relaxed first half of the day in the city, Götz and me went to the Vondelbunker to get the food that was not eaten the day before. Luckily Maks gave us a golden hint on where to deliver it, so in an again adventurous way we fixed the bowls and casks on our bikes and off we went to the Spinhuis, a space within the premises of the University of Amsterdam that has been occupied by students since September 09 – as can be read in this article in HetParool. As it turned out, we just arrived while a meeting was going on, so it was a good moment to bring an unexpected load of delicious food. We had a last drink in the former meeting place for students of anthropology, sociology and the rest which turned into a kraakpand and headed off for more quality time outside the bunker.

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Sculpting. Not Eating. Götz Bury at “Club Dauerwurst”. Sunset Performance #3

24. November 2014 - 20:49 Uhr

Previously on WeAreNotSisi: We opened the gallery as usual on time at 13:00 and while the first guests where coming in we were getting rid of the Molton to open up the room again for a normal exhibition day. Lia of Autonomia Promotions was somewhere in Amsterdam Noord to prepare wonderful spinach+tofu pasties with tabbouleh salad and pack the ingredients for the coconut, curry and lentil soup to send over to the bunker in the afternoon. So while the soup was sizzling in the pot, we took Götz’ two rubbish bins out of the storage room, unpacked the trophies he sent over from Austria to present them, and he started preparing for his show.

This is what I wrote about Götz Bury to convince people to come: “The one and only chance to see Götz Bury in de Vondelbunker with one of his fantastic culinary performances. At the beginning it appears to be harmless; you think you are safe and feel relaxed. Then, Götz uses this state of being to hit you in the most humorous and non-violent way you can ever imagine. It’s unforgettable…”

And this is what he said about his performances himself in the interview next day: I make performances where I pretend to be a double of Paul Bocuse and where I pretend to be cooking. But of course I am not cooking. And I tell everyone, you can’t talk with me about recipes, this doesn’t make any sense, I don’t care about that. Because it is sculpting, the performance is sculpting as well, extended sculpting, experimental sculpting. There might be as a highlight a juicy sawdust-bread, but basically there is no cooking or eating, it is about the facilities and how they develop in an adventurous manner.

And unforgettable and adventurous it was!

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WORK FOR FREE – Live Clash, Day 8-9, September 21.

22. November 2014 - 20:38 Uhr

Previously on WeAreNotSisi: The Vondelbunker is a shared space. So when We Are Not Sisi got the permission to use the Bunker for 3 weeks (which is unusually long), it was clear, that this wouldn’t go without sharing. As we never wanted to not-share, this fit into the concept perfectly. The idea was to find a space that made it possible to interact with the scene in Amsterdam, amongst other things to make people see the show that would otherwise never end up in an art-exhibtion. This meant that a mellow version of the usual program set up by collective Schijnheilig in the bunker was going on while We Are Not Sisi was on. So on Saturday, Edwin Suer and Sander Veenhof came along to pick up several interested people that met at the Vondelbunker to go on a Amsterdam Augmented Tour as one event of the Amsterdam Pop Up Week. They had a look at the show, sat together in the sun to built their devices to enjoy virtual reality in the open space – sitting in a tram or on a bike.

But the collaboration between Not Sisi and Schijnheilig went beyond that. There was obviously program going on inside the bunker and also stuff that was not especially created for fitting an exhibtion space or gallery. Well, actually, in an exhibition space you would not want any program to happen at all, don`t you? In this case you do, but this meant constant adaption of the space, constant change for a short periode of time and of course – re-creating the original exhibition after that, because the gallery had to go open again and it had to be as if nothing ever happened.

What did it mean for the evening of September 21? Just after Julia Seyr and Michael Bürgermeister were finished with making almost every sign of their performances disappear in the bunker, the guys of Great Communicators, of Slow Worries and of Apneu began to come along to prepare for their performances that evening as another Live Clash was programmed for that night. For us it meant to think of a way to protect the art, to make the exhibition space into the “real bunker” again, but at the same time give the possibility for everybody to see the expo – in a different light. And as everybody knows from theater, there is nothing Molton and Gaffer can`t do and so we created a fine concert space with an extra-inspiring backstage area exactly in the corner where Julia Seyr and me conducted the interview a couple of hours before.

It was a fantastic tranformation that was born out of our imagined necessity to “protect” the art (from whom? Bad Ass Anarchists?) but went far beyond that without us realizing it at the beginning. At this point it became obvious, that this project was evolving in something like a controlled chain reaction. A reaction that was dependent on so many variables that it was impossible to predict what would happen next. Nonetheless – and only because of the trustful people involved – it was clear that it would just work out right, no matter how daring this balancing act was executed on the edge of catastrophe from time to time. While the bands where playing you had the chance to sneak behind the curtain and suddenly you were completely cut off from the rest of the room, even though just a few millimeter of Molton were seperating you from the concert taking place “outside”. You found yourself in a fantastic space (see secessionist artspace on the map above), alone with and literally very close to … art! And if you were brave enough to follow the path around the corner, into the dark room with the three TVs, the fresh-air-chamber and the motor-room in the very back…. ach, you just can`t describe it, but it was fabulous. I made pictures of some of the pieces of art with my mobile (to be found among other pictures of the exhibiton here on the website) and Kasper Vogelzang made some real photos. I hope to be able see them one day.

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Julia Seyr and Michael Bürgermeister in the Vondelbunker. Day 6,7,8

21. November 2014 - 07:03 Uhr

Previously on WeAreNotSisi: It was – until  September 2014 – the most impressive artistic performance I have ever witnessed in my live: Julia Seyrs „The Capitalistic Innocence of Tastelessness“ (between fans and admirers simply known as „Die Rouladenperformance“) that  took place in 2007 in the Wichtelgasse in Vienna. It was very slow, it took very long, it was never boring, it was very colourful, it was very quiet and the sound that was heard was intriguing. There was a lot of smell, there was a lot of humour, there was a lot of tragedy, there was a fantastic story around it. There was not a movement too much and not a movement too little. It was perfect. (The end of the 1 hour performance you can see HERE – so you get a tiny tiny little glimpse of it).

I never saw work of Julia Seyr again, I did not follow what she was doing further, I even forgot her name. I  did hear some good stories, though, once in a while from Bibi Lukitsch who brought me to the Wichtelgasse back in 2007. That’s why I knew Julia Seyr was still working as an artist. So when I made the decision to organize an exhibition one thing was clear: I would try everything that Julia Seyr would be part of it. Things had changed a bit and so not only Julia Seyr, but Julia Seyr and Michael Bürgermeister agreed to perform three consecutive days in a row in the first week of WeAreNotSisi. Very exciting indeed.

So 7 years after I’ve seen her in the Roulade (we never actually talked or met), Julia and me shook hands and had lunch together with Michael Bürgermeister on the day of the Kick Off, met to prepare the performances the day after and were ready to go! on Friday for the first run.

Sunset Performance NR 1 and 2 and a Sunday Performance.

The official opening times of WeAreNotSisi where “Every day except Thursday from 12-18″, but as for so many other days of the show we made overtime these days.  The sun on day 1 set around 19:45, so that was where we set up the first third of the performance.  Three monitors where standing in front of the  area where Julia Seyr was working. In the three monitors the Video „Vondel 1 – Homage to Joost van den Vondel“ by Michael Bürgermeister was screening simultanously. The Video was a view into a melancholic paradise with bits of Vondels’ huge and diverse Oeuvre read by the Michael Bürgermeister. During the performance he stood by the side, filming without moving. On the following days we heard more Vondel and saw more caleidoscopic glimpses of for instance market-beauties or wedding sadness.

We did not know how many guests to expect, so while Julia started the show, I brought all the design-mobiliaer standing around in the Bunker to make it comfortable for those who were there to see her assembling i.e. paper, spraypaint, egg, flour, confetti, glitter, wire, string, plastic flowers on the floor without saying a word.

Time to Zoom Out: The sun is setting. We are in the Vondelbunker. The Vondelbunker is an air raid shelter built during the Cold War in the Vondelbrug that is bypassing the Vondelpark. Many of such shelters were built all around Amsterdam in the 50s and 60s, but very soon the municipality realized that the case of emergency seemed to have been postponed for quite a while and so they were looking for new ways of using it. So at some point it became a youth center, where some of the now old or dead Amsterdammers had their first experiences with drugs and intense live (music)-performances. Naturally this couldn`t be tolerated for too long so after one or the other scandal the youth center/club/disco was closed down and the bunker left behind for some more exclusive usage. Until 3 years ago, when the Amsterdam-based collective Schijnheilig took over the space as a “broedplaats” from the municipality to create an open space for all sorts of highly political initiatives.

Time to Zoom In: After we finished to clean up the rests of the performance, I made an interview with Julia Seyr at the spot where the performance took place – surrounded by Micha Willes’ “Joseph Beuys’ Bericht an die Akademie” (2014), by Garaceks’ untitled assembly of PO-foam plofkippen (made in the Bunker while we were building up the show) by Hari Schütz’ triptychon “Roma Napoli” (1986) and the rest of Julia Seyrs performance hanging on a wire just in front of us. She told me, that, on the third day performing, she realized,there was something very personal she worked off in the performance and that on the last day she realized what the performance actually is about.

Starting point, Julia Seyr further explained, was a myth of a girl imprisoned in a palace,  who is forced to live in superabundance there. She is bored and thus is punished by the gods because of her boredom. The performance was about ingratitude and perishableness – a reason why she used the symbols “cross”, “egg”, “flower”. While working on this text, recollecting the three performances for days, I realized that Julia Seyr and Michael Bürgermeister created a deeply melancholic and utterly beautiful vaccuum out of over abundance in this little corner of a brutal space called Vondelbunker. Clearly that was exactly the plan, which is very, very & very impressive. And furthermore mercilessly radical in our age reigned by an all-encompassing horror vacui. Chapeau!

Time to Zoom Out: It’s dark in the Vondelpark, there is people sitting under the Vondelbrug and around it, playing music, talking, hanging out. Sometimes, the really brave ones even light a fire. As most of the other parks in Amsterdam the Vondelpark is also not closed and shut at night. So you can use it as a highway or hangout all through the night. The park was founded by some rich industrials and bankers 150 years ago. They erected a statue of Joost van den Vondel there, so people started to call the park Vondelpark and in 1880 the name was made official.  Mr. van den Vondel was a poet who pulished his work in the 17th century.

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We Are Closed, but We Are Working. Day 5 – September 18, 2014

18. November 2014 - 22:16 Uhr

Previously on WeAreNotSisi: We were working very concentrated and very smoothly, we reached the point where we knew – we will make it. At the end of the day, the night before the Kick Off, the guys from came along – all the way from Den Haag! – to bring the 3 TVs for the performances at the weekend (and for the Video Installation that will follow the performances). On the next day we had a delightful Kick Off of the show, with the art where it belongs and an interested crowd to look at it. Not to forget my personal highlight on the Kick-Off-Day: I organized, that the Gemeente Amsterdam picked up the grofvuil from the Vondelbunker. After 4 or 5 phonecalls, some een moment geduld alstublieft en a lot of very nice municipial-conversations during the week, it finally really happened. I couldn’t have been more happy…


The next day after the Kick Off, Thursday, the Bunker was closed, but anyway there were things going on underground. Julia Seyr and Michael Buergermeister came along in the afternoon and we made everything ready for their 3 performances that would take place on September 19, 20, 21. I met the two already a day before, we ate together which was a very pleasant break within the madness of the last hours of fixing the exhibition. This meeting was more relaxed, we had time and peace to prepare everything for the exhibtion and after that, the Bunker was closed when it was still daylight outside.

What a pleasure!

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KICK-OFF!! ongoing…

17. November 2014 - 23:35 Uhr


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First and Last Holiday-Blog-Post. Day 3 and a Cutback.

16. November 2014 - 22:54 Uhr

Previously on WeAreNotSisi: We did some computer work and began to think about the „We“ that we are forced to be for this project. It is important but at the same time such a boring and mind-stultifying work to think about those generalisations, clichees and random attributions, so we postponed to think about that further for now and concentrated on the more essential stuff. But surely the „Austrian“ will be back at some point. In the evening the first artists arrived from Vienna in Amsterdam – Micha Wille, Catharina Bond & Garacek.


„If you weren’t my friend and if I didn’t know I can trust you, I would have left immediately!“, Wille said to me a day or two after the Kick Off (that hasn’t happened yet – tomorrow!!!). We thought we had brought the space into a state that is easily good enough for WeAreNotSisi, but those who did not have the romanticised view of the general bunker-fan, but the view of the artist who wants to present her work there, those knew there was still a whole lot to be done. So Bond and Wille took a walk after seeing the room, I fixed the ventilation that was out for 2 days to make a further stay within the premises possible, and than the second phase began: more white-painting, more cleaning, more throwing stuff away. We had never worked together in this constellation and it worked perfectly. Everybody knew what had to be done without many words that had to be dropped. So we were fast and after the lunchbreak, I kept fixing stuff in the bunker, while the rest began to unpack the art and start thinking about where to put what. The interesting part has begun…

Let’s take an important view cut-back at this moment. Unpacking the art? Which art? And how did it get there? This brings us back to September 12, 2014. We got up early, still holding on to the idea that we would go „wildplakken“ every morning. While the rest is packed in plastic and running through the city we would put our dirtiest clothes on to plak the city. We learned at the Ijzerwinkel that there is posteroorlog out there and indeed – even the wildplakzuilen were wrapped in commercial advertisement from the multinationals which decided to flood the city with their messages. Thats why we wanted to be out there every morning to strike back. Well, we didn’t but at least we gave it this one shot. While we were filling our jerrycan with best Amsterdammer Grachtenwater from the Singel next to the Munttoren and mixed it with the glue, I received a call that „in 15 minutes“ the art will be unloaded on the Vondelbrug – the bridge in which we were about to spend the next couple of weeks. So we raced through the city, arrived exactly when the guy with his overfull transporter arrived and minutes later the art was on the bridge.

I did not have a key for the bunker yet, but there was the most splendid summer-morning-sun that dried our sweat and made it acceptable to wait for something to happen so we could actually go into the bunker. Well, Sam Heady and Martin were both preparing the first show of Sin Sin Collectives’ Jarry Unchained as part of the FreeFringeFestival so we were able to get in and store the stuff. Lucky Bastards we are.

Meanwhile Freiherr von Wrede arrived to start the wildplak-action with a few hours delay. We made a very small round out of the park, over the Museumplein and back via the Stedelijk Museum into the bunker. It was fabulous even though we knew the next morning the multis will have overplakked us without any mercy. But we do strongly believe: „De plakplaatsen zijn alleen beschikbaar voor niet-commerciële aankondigingen en vrije meningsuiting.“ Duidelijk?

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We Are Austrians! Part 1. Day 2 – September 15, 2014

15. November 2014 - 22:15 Uhr

Previously on WeAreNotSisi: We received the key and freaked out, I sprayed a whole bottle of toxic Anti-Fungi-Chemical on the wall of the room with fresh-air-tanks and the bikes to fill them and Marieke Verkoelen dropped by to paint this toxic room afterwords. So while we were both diminishing our expectancy of life there, Andi was trying different ideas of how to hang the art (Note: bunker-walls are made of armoured concrete). Jay Tronic made pictures,  that should be with us soon.

Because of our long night after day 1, we did computer work at home on day 2, which needs no documentation. So let’s talk concept today for the first time. I’ve uploaded the original concept on the website (here) and as it is in German I just pick one point out of it once in a while and present it here. One of the goals of WeAreNOtSisi is to help to answer the question: Who actually  is this „We“ that is  Not Sisi? As we are talking about a project involving artists living and working in Austria, that is the logical first assumption: „We“ = „The Austrians“. Who on earth is that? Let’s get the first answer from those who know it best, because they have to sell Austria to the rest of the world: the Austrian Tourism-Industry. In a folder from April 2013, published by the “Österreich Werbung” we find an overview of the „genetic code“ of the Austrian. Here we go:

Here a little translation of what it says:
We are masters of the compromise that we inherited from the imperial Vielvölkerstaat.

Lockerheit – Looseness. We are relaxed. Easy-going.
zuvorkommend – obliging. We are courteous without being submissive.
Gefühl des Lebenlassens – adulating. We are good in making you feel at ease.
Lustvolle Unterhaltung – We have learned to treat strangers visiting us very well.
Gelassenheit – we look on the bright side of life.

Our mentality – “a melange of german organisation and thoroughness, the Slavic soul and the Hungarian, Bohemian and Italian way of life.

I think that’s enough for today, let’s envision what the Art may look like produced by those people until the Kick Off of the show in 2 days and see if it will be exactly as we expected.

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