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Great variety of art forms and formats - continued

Great variety of art forms and formats - continued

Feminist voices
For the Future Feminism programme she organised, ANOHNI brought the conversation on the need for a new kind of feminism to Amsterdam. She started this conversation herself with co-founders Kembra Pfahler, Johanna Constantine and Sierra and Bianca Casady of CocoRosie in 2014, when they first presented the thirteen tenets engraved on rose quartz discs together in New York under the title 13 Tenets of Future Feminism. These discs now formed a circular installation in the Muziekgebouw’s Atrium, where an intimate setting was created for the programme, complete with music, dance, talks and discussions.

ANOHNI invited various women from Amsterdam here to speak about relevant subjects, like Dorine Maat, junior conservator at the Amsterdam Museum, who spoke about the Netherlands’ history of slavery and the role women played. Fina Hilverts spoke about the question ANOHNI asked her: ‘What if the police were a woman?’ Touria Meliani, Arts and Culture alderwoman for the municipality of Amsterdam, talked with cultural entrepreneur and theatre maker Myriam Sahraoui about the role of the feminine in politics. This programme was about finding guidelines for a better future based on the thirteen tenets, which drew lots of visitors outside the programme as well.

Connection between makers themselves
ANOHNI also put the spotlight on makers outside the Future Feminism programme, including writer, singer and activist adrienne maree brown and video artist Lynette Wallworth. About their bond, Wallworth said: ‘We are preoccupied with similar things. We have different tools and skills, but we are connected by mutual concerns. We have heated debates about the planet, about our responsibilities and the reckless treatment of our common home.’ These themes were central to Wallworth’s Evolution of Fearlessness, about the resilience of women with traumatic experiences, and in Coral: Rekindling Venus, about the vulnerability and resilience of coral reefs. ANOHNI and adrienne maree brown did not know each other personally before the festival, but her role as associate artist was a reason for ANOHNI to have a conversation with brown, which resulted in an invitation to the festival. Brown presented her message about necessary change and emergence in her piece To Feel A Thing: A Ritual for Emergence.

Artist meetings
ANOHNI’s presence was felt and noticed by lots of makers and visitors during the festival. She casually attended work from other makers and had in-depth conversations, like with film artist Julian Roseveldt and musician Raven Chacon, whose work she admired very much. At the festival’s suggestion, she contributed to Chacon’s programme by recording herself singing one of Chacon’s compositions in advance before the performance. During the concert, the recording was played in a darkened room, as required by the score.

New to the festival, in line with these informal artist meetings, were the Artist to Artist talks in which international and local artists had conversations with each other and the audience. Adrienne maree brown, for instance, talked with artists Hélène Christelle Munganyende, Gavin-Viano and Bodil Ouédraogo. The festival aims to be a meeting place where artists go for inspiration, and formats like these contribute to this. Lots of makers from the Netherlands were spotted among the audience during the various performances, while the festival also proved to be internationally appealing to visiting artists. Toshi Reagon, for instance, turned out to be attending the performance of To Feel A Thing. Reagon sang in Parable of the Sower, performed at the 2018 festival which, like this piece, was inspired by the work of author Octavia Butler.

More than performing arts
A striking number of exhibitions could be visited at the festival this year. The transportation and installation of the heavy, fragile exhibition pieces for Future Feminism were a challenge for the production team, which ordinarily is aimed at performing arts. ANOHNI also made the exhibition She Who Saw Beautiful Things, inspired by her muse and long term collaborating partner Julia Yasuda, in the Amsterdam Museum: a personal exhibition that simultaneously entered into a dialogue with the museum and the history of Huis Willet-Holthuysen – on display until 20 October. There was also the exhibition Like a River with photos of a trans and queer community in the Amazon by Daniel Jack Lyons, which is on display at Melkweg Expo until 6 August. Audiences turned out to want to take more time than expected in advance for the video installation Evolution of Fearlessness, so the number of visitors per timeslot was reduced in order to give everyone sufficient time.

Connection between generations
The ‘Elders Project’ was a special project to come out of the conversations with ANOHNI: Dutch ‘elders’ - well-respected senior members of Dutch society - did short interventions before various performances, thus serving as a bridge between (international) artists and (local) audiences. They often drew attention to the local situation, clarifying the relevance and topicality of the work being presented. Eddy de Clerq, for instance, spoke as an elder before Respublika about nightlife as a celebration of diversity and inclusivity, while journalist and presenter Marga van Praag spoke as an elder at The Disintegration Loops (for Euterpestraat) about how her Jewish mother was imprisoned by the SS at this place during the war, but was one of the few who was spared - and how this affected her own life. Elder Glen Helberg immediately managed to captivate the audience that came to see the concert of Raven Chacon by starting his talk with the words: We’re by the water from where colonisation was possible...’ He then went on to talk about how we – and especially the indigenous people Chacon is also a part of – are still affected by it.

What is passed on
Several performances dealt with what is passed on from generation to generation. Sometimes, these are intergenerational traumas, such as those further explored in Lisaboa Houbrechts’ Vake Poes; of hoe God verdween. On the other hand, there are the knowledge and positive experiences that are passed on. Much attention was given to this in the form of older makers who collaborated with younger generations and in this way passed on their knowledge and platform. In the performance Jérôme Bel, an ‘auto-bio-choreo-graphy’ about the work of this established choreographer, Bel gave the young makers Maria Magdalena Kozłowska and Pankaj Tiwari the freedom to add a layer of their own to his story. There were also several older makers performing at the festival accompanied by younger generations, like choreographer Eun-Me Ahn with Asian dancers born in the Year of the Dragon in Dragons, the eighty year old voice artist Meredith Monk with her vocal ensemble with singers of different generations and an instrumental ensemble of young, local musicians, and performance artist Kembra Pfahler, from ANOHNI’s Future Feminism circle, who gave a workshop about her work titled Performance art 101.

It was clear that elderly people with valuable experiences and knowledge can serve as role models, not just for young makers but for the audience and society as a whole as well. This was a theme at ANOHNI’s initiative that the festival enjoyed devoting attention to. ANOHNI made new insights and subsequent steps possible by providing valuable suggestions based on her knowledge and talent for connecting people, which the festival can further build and follow up on in the future.