Well. It started out with an email about some scottish people that were coming to visit our town, with the purpose of making a creative map and discover all the creative spots in and around Groningen. Since i quite like to meet people from different countries i thought it might be a good idea. so i answered.
It was a nice and easy monday morning when i was getting my way on to Het Paleis. Grabbed myself a coffee and started out chatting a little, ‘twas fine. we all got inside and introduced ourselves to each other by making small drawings or collages, representing elements of what you are and what you are interested in.
After having lunch together, which was a pretty good chance to get to know each other, we went outside and headed on to the studio of a dancegroup called Club Guy & Roni. To me it was a really nice experience of getting to know more about what is behind the dance itself. The extremely extrovert young woman called Eva Puschendorf showed us around and told us many things about the place, the director’s vision and what is essential in forming and creating a danceshow. it was important, she said, that you instead of trying to look like your emotional, you are being led by the emotions itself. That you can really feel every single movement with your own emotions and become in a state of inner expression. It’s kind of the same as in fine arts, where the artist is always trying to find a way to express its emotions in an abstract way. So all of a sudden i quite understood why people are dancing and it’s a way of expressing themselves.
When we headed back to Het Paleis we were invited to come and see the FabLab, which is located in there as well. I really like the concept of this, it is meant for artists and designers to let them experience innovation that can be used in their work. They have lots of machinery such as a 3D-printer and a lasercutting machine. The only rule there is is that it’s open source. So whenever you make something inside the lab, you have to put it in a worldwide database, or pay extra money for keeping the idea with you. In this way you create knowledge that is accessible for everyone.
On tuesday morning we started out with investing in what the relations between culture, place and identity are. we wrote down words that had something to do with one of these keywords, and after filtering the best ones out, put them together and discuss them. in this way we had a basis of thinking which we could use by searching for our goal: to give form to a creative map of the city and to get to know more about the culture that forms the city and the people that live in it.
In the afternoon we finally got the time to explore. Me, Barry, Jana, Anouk and Savannah took off and got to the city center, with a few spots in mind that might be interesting. At first we went to the Groninger Museum, which had an exhibition called “Material World” and one called “Me Myself and I”. There was a lot of interesting stuff, the ones that impressed me the most were the sculptures made by Karen Sargsyan. He creates big sculptures out of colored paper and cardboard, which are layered in colors and shapes.
Wednesday morning started out in cafe Der Witz. after a little introduction with a cup of coffee we went out on the streets again to visit the places we wanted to see. I took them to de Glasfabriek - this literally means the Glass factory - which is a warehouse where graffiti is tolerated. We had a look around and everyone took some photos and soundrecordings.
After taking a walk back to the center we went to see an exhibition by Jeffrey Silverthorne in gallery Noorderlicht, near the fishmarket.
it was a stunning, sinister exhibition and lots the photographs shown shock you but in a way you just don’t want to look the other way.
the longer you take a look at them, the more you ask yourself what is going on in the scene. A tough job i think, to make something so intense.
After lunch we went to see an exhibition at academy Minerva, which was done by third grade students.
I think the level of quality was pretty high, better then i would expect. after taking a look and watching the pieces we got invited for a talk from Friederike de Bruin, who makes sculptures and installations, mostly shaped out of felted wool. She told us about her ways of working and how she is able to use the product formed by nature. It was good to see that artist really put themselves in their art, and stay with the subjects and materials that are close to them.
Thursday started out with a visit to the House of Design, located at het Schuitendiep.
It was such a nice thing to find out that theres places you have never ever heard of or been, located in your own city, right under your nose.
After this we went to see the NNT-theatre. i’ve been here before, but only to see the shows. this was kind of different. Helga, who runs the costume department, showed us around the building, which was soooo pretty. Lots and lots of costumes in there.
It was time to get back to het Paleis, to work on the blog thing. i made the choice just to work a few days on one story, that’s what you are reading right now. i’ll explain myself later on.
During the evening time me and Barry went to the supermarket and made some lovely vegetable pasta, totally stuffed afterwards. all the scots went to the NNT for a play, Alice in wonderland. since i had to do some rehearsal for next weeks gig i couldn’t join. After the music session i went there as well to join them, drink some beers and chat a little. Afterwards we went to a squatted bar called De Oude Sleaze,
and it was actually one of the best nights i have had in weeks. i think it was round 3am that we got home and we decided just to stay over at het Paleis as well, the bed was instant goodness.
woke up and started with a ‘brak ontbijtje’, and got myself writing again. what a frikkin’ long story this is… sad it is the last day, was just starting to like this.
I think this whole experience is what i needed, everyone is just being so open and i really like the way of how everyone discovers the city by following their own interests. Because these people are all really looking with a different sight it kind of changes my own view as well, i have always thought that i knew this place all along. but, you discover that there is many things going on that you didn’t know about.