Participating Artists—Tournament of the Unknown
Gabriel Fontana is a designer, artist and educator. Drawing on a social design framework, his work explores how ideologies shape movements and vice versa. Through using performative and participatory methodologies, he positions design as a social practice. With this approach, he investigates how our bodies propagate, internalise and reproduce social norms. He proposes ways that this can be unlearned through new forms of pedagogy, activities and games that deconstruct group dynamics.
Sport and physical education have been his main field of research for the past five years. In this context, Gabriel develops alternative team sport games that reinvent sport as a queer pedagogy. With this method, he developed Multiform (2019) for the municipality of Rotterdam; an educational program for primary and secondary schools that contributes to inclusive physical education.
His work is applied within educational, cultural, and social spaces and has been presented at W139 Amsterdam (NL), MAC VAL (FR), Saint-Etienne Design Biennial (FR), Luma Arles (FR) and Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (NL) amongst others.
Paul Whitty is a composer and researcher. He is a founder of the Sonic Art Research Unit (SARU) at Oxford Brookes University and is a director of the audiograft festival of sound art and experimental music. Projects include Sound Diaries aiming to record everyday life in sound; and Get Some Chalk On Your Boots! an ongoing investigation of the sounding cultures of football. Paul spends a lot of time marking out football pitches and coaching for Wallingford & Crowmarsh FC.
Get Rid! is a publication that investigates the sounding culture of grassroots league football in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, England; and farther afield in the Ligue de Football Nouvelle Aquitaine, France. The book documents the sounds of football happening – including transcriptions of on-pitch communication between players; and the sounds of football not happening – the everyday soundings of parish recreation grounds, village greens and parks. The book is accompanied by a cassette with field recordings.
Julius Thissen is a multidisciplinary artist and artistic researcher based in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Their works investigate notions of community and representation, masculinity, sports and competition. With their work, originating from their practice as a performance artist, Thissen aims to create narratives that investigate the fine line between performing and failing. These relations are strongly linked to contemporary performance driven culture and the influence of social expectations on our behaviour. The work also relates to personal experiences as a genderqueer trans masculine individual. Thissen strongly opposes the constraining and often binary narratives imposed on transgender and queer people.
For the works featured in this exhibition, Thissen focused specifically on the parallels and tensions between sports, queer visibility and capitalism. “As a child I was involved in high-level sports. I was fascinated and equally intimidated by the high pressure, binary divisions of gender and verbal violence that came from the sidelines. For my teammates and their parents, the love for the sport never seemed to win over the perverse desire to win. As I got older and abandoned sports, I began to see more and more similarities between the experience on the field and everyday life where possession, performance and the narrative of victory prevailed.” In an effort to disrupt these parallels, they created works that attempt to strip sports of its competitive element by focussing on the protective and healing powers of sport materials instead.
Bang, Blast, Bolster
Bang, Blast, Bolster focuses on healing, nostalgia and desire. The central object in this work is the medicine ball. This object has a history that goes back thousands of years. The first balls were made from animal bladders and skins filled with sand. The ball has a versatile function: the object is used to stabilize, mobilize, rehabilitate and strengthen the body. It is one of the few balls that does not primarily have a competitive function and thus carries a symbolic value for Thissen.
Turnbuckle investigates the complex tension between capitalism and queer visibility. The photos show an anonymous queer person, whose body is covered with protective kickboxing gear. It was the first step in a long line of research in which Thissen depicts themself and other queer people anonymously, in an attempt to break with extractive and restrictive forms of visibility. The title refers to the three-piece metal coupling device designed to increase or decrease tension on the ropes of a boxing ring.
Claudia Rankine is the author of six collections of poetry, including Just Us: An American Conversation, Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; three plays including HELP, which premiered in March of 2020 at The Shed, NYC, The White Card, which premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/ American Repertory Theater) and was published by Graywolf Press in 2019, and Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; as well as numerous video collaborations. She is also the co-editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (FENCE, 2015). In 2016, she co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts. Rankine teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
Situation 1 2006
As artists and citizens, we are especially interested in how the media informs our understanding through specific racialized framing of catastrophic events such as the attack on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina or “stop and frisk” laws. Our national discourse reinforces or interrupts ideas informing the racial imaginary and since many, if not all, of these events engage the language of race and racism this age-old tension was crucial as we set out to marry language to image. The documentary impulse behind the Situations series can be seen not only in the appropriated images but also in the appropriated language. It is our feeling that both devastating images and racist statements need management.
French textile artist Delphine Dénéréaz’s work is a testimony of the everyday and deals with her daily life and the motifs that surround her—teenage memories, Marseille streets, sports, and symbols from the internet. In Marseille, football is really more than just a sport, it’s a way of life—even a religion for some people! A central part of the Marseille identity, the OM (Olympique de Marseille) logo can be found in every store front, hairdresser, or bar. In this series of work Delphine takes discarded materials found lying around the streets of her native Marseille and weaves them into intricate carpets and tapestries to create a folk art shrine to her beloved football club. The exhibited works include the small textile piece My Om sweet Om, the woven scarves A jamais les premiers, and the large woven wall hanging Droit au but. The pieces embody the intersections that Delphine explores with her work—aesthetics, symbolism, technique, and ethical engagement. Your Content Goes Here
Martynas Gailiušas is a mixed media artist, designer and researcher who combines methods gained from a bachelor’s degree in Product Design (University of Bradford), master’s degree in Contextual Design (Design Academy Eindhoven), and years of craft-oriented practice in cinema and theater prop-making, carpentry, and furniture making. His most recent work focuses on how political and ideological paradigms manifest in material culture and shapes individual and national identities.
The Tournament of Doubt
The collapse of the Soviet Union in Lithuania and the rapid shift of ideologies produced a generation which is dealing with the ghosts of the past: Soviet heritage and legacy of an ambivalent value; post-memory of the oppressive regime; material leftovers; and mismatching ideological representations. This transition is marked by a complex process of decolonization and (re)construction of the identities, which often takes the shape of embracing the “western” dream. The overnight implementation of free-market capitalism created clear winners and losers, and the atmosphere of catching up with the “west”.
The Tournament of Doubt investigates how the ever-changing rules of the game proposed by the “western” dream influence how the game is being played. It is a fictional tournament that presents often overlooked discourses of the post-socialist countries by drawing parallels between geopolitics and the language of sports. It explores the relationship between winners, losers, and the ones who set the rules. How does one navigate through the state of flux and simultaneously participate in overlapping games? In what kind of game does one take part and in what game does one wish to take part?
Kexin Hao is a visual artist and designer born in Beijing and based in The Netherlands. Her practice is a marriage of graphic design and performance art. Having initiated and being involved in various creative projects across China and Europe, Kexin challenges not only geometrical borders but also disciplines of design, film, performance, and music, as well as physical boundaries between art and non-art space. Using a daring visual language, the work is a constant swing between intimate close-up on personal stories and zoom-out to collective narratives; between a past of political heaviness and a flashy modernity rendered in humour and sarcasm. In her recent works, Kexin investigates in the themes of body, rituals, health, archive, and collective memory.
She has exhibited her works at Rewire festival, TEC ART, GOGBOT Festival, MAMA, Worm, W139, PIP, CinemAsia, Luxelakes·A4 Art Museum(CN), and participated in various programs in educational institutes such as Sandberg Institute, Artez, and Städelschule Architecture Class(DE).
Total Body Workout
Total Body Workout leads you through a ‘total body’ experience in which history unfolds not in chronological order but in a head-to-toe sequence. How is our body scripted and shaped by the times it lives in? How are national agendas and political ideologies woven into bodily semiotics? How does one’s body memory become an integral part of hegemonic historical narratives? And how do we inhabit a historical and totalised body?
Based on nationwide physical exercise routines and mass gymnastic performances in Asia, the Eastern Bloc and the United States, Total Body Workout proposes a recomposition of the existing corporal movements and a reconfiguration of the past in the present. Here and now, we work out the total body.
Davy de Lepper
Davy de Lepper operates on the spectrum of art and design. As a multidisciplinary maker he specializes in visual communication to tell underexposed stories, brand identities, and educate on queerness.
The Homohooligan is a loving supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community. What started as a social design project, rapidly grew into a queer counter-movement. Connected by the Protest Scarf, hundreds of ‘Hooligans’ are now spreading visibility, education and love for the LGBTQIA+ community. Founded by Davy de Lepper.
Sample.CM is a conceptual sportswear label created in 2015 in Berlin by the French designer Margot Charbonnier with a dual background in sociology and fashion. The signature collections of Sample.CM complement one another as a multisports field in construction.
Versatile Forever aims to warp the design- and production process of fashion and make upcycling the new norm. Our designs are created from existing textile, giving it a second life. To lower our footprint, we produce our collections locally. We are not naively claiming to save the world. One brand or upcycling in itself is not going to end overproduction and waste of clothing. What we do want to instigate is a change in the way we look at fashion products and how they are produced.
Versatile Forever is inspired by the many forms and shapes we humans come in. This translates into the collections by embracing versatility between products. Versatile is bold and daring, colorful, socially aware and aiming for change. Flexibility and diversity is embedded throughout the brand. Versatile creates a platform for likeminded people with a vision to identify with. Nobody is the same, so why should our clothing be? Versatile Forever says no to uniformity by creating new product out of existing garments and materials, dropping in series of similar one-of-a-kinds.
Opening and Closing Events
Queer Choir Amsterdam
Queer Choir Amsterdam is an artistic initiative that premises the creation of a brave space to celebrate our unique identities and voices. Through our rehearsals and performances we express our ideas for the futures we desire and the narratives we want to share. The queer community often gathers and functions in spaces of celebration and night life all of which were greatly affected during the pandemic, this gave us an incentive to create our own safe space beyond these confines, one that is run by and for queer people.
In the unification of our voices we create harmonies, but also distinctively recognise the varied nature of the human voice and honing agency over our voices.
Queer Choir Amsterdam was founded by artists Shreya de Souza, Mylou Oord and Sarah Naqvi and is conducted by Vera Morais. Queer Choir Amsterdam is currently carried on by Shreya, Mylou and Vera.
Born in the Portuguese capital, Joana Cavaco has studied singing, cello and classical guitar at the Metropolitan Music School of Lisbon. Despite her early interest with music, Joana quickly developed a passion for European politics, Women’s rights and Culture which made her pursue a BA at Leiden University in North American politics and Gender and Sexuality.
Cavaco resides in Rotterdam, where she currently works for the Dutch NGO Humanitas as the coordinator of The Hang Out 010- a safe haven for the queer youth in the city. Furthermore, Joana is also a volunteer coordinator at the Amsterdam based Black Pride NL. As a community-based organizer, Joana advocates for the eradication of verbal and physical sexual harassment within the city- having already worked with youngsters from all over Europe on the topics of Women’s rights and gender equality. She has experience with the creation of safe spaces, developing various practices when it comes to inclusivity and queer emancipation. By organizing an international women’s day SLUTWALK, collaborating and curating programmes that reflect the inclusivity and sustainability of these practices, Joana aims to catalyze change from the bottom up. Joana is also a writer and performer- currently part of the theater production of HOLD, a performative installation that can be experienced within Dutch theaters until the end of 2023.
Amsterdam-based snufkin his mischievous spirit comes alive in their exuberant approach to either playing, creating and curating. As the former programmer for legendary Amsterdam club night Progress Bar, a curator for the Sonic Acts Biennial, as well a core member of Valley, snufkin is no stranger to subverting convention and pulling from a dizzying breadth of talent. Smashing together a lethal arsenals of edits, precision engineered club weapons and bleeding edge updates of classic dance anthems old and new with defiant abandon and tangible glee, sprinkling in some choice EDM, hard techno and hard house for good measure, their mixes are a joyous sprint through grinning experimentation and unabashed fun.
The Platform Presents: Iran vs USA
The intersection between art, music & fashion. The Platform is an eclectic event organization that hosts a variety of events in Amsterdam. Combining different contemporary youth-cultures and focussing on giving a ‘Platform’ to young – independent – creatives, enabling them to show their work for a diverse audience in a safe and expressive environment. The Platform continues their path, opening-up the creative industry together with the help of new and exciting collaborators.
Nathanja van den Heuvel
Nathanja van den Heuvel works at VU University Amsterdam as PhD advisor of the Faculty of Humanities. Prior to that she worked as a University and College lecturer at Leiden University, Willem de Kooning Academy and ArtEZ AKI and was awarded her PhD at Leiden University in 2021 with the dissertation “Towards a Feminist Playology. Social Sport Studies and the Limits of Critique”. Her research interests include, but are not limited by, feminist theory, aesthetics, the philosophy of play and eco-philosophy. She is founder of OPA (Open Performance Academy) and worked together with the social designer Gabriel Fontana on the development of Multiform, an educational toolkit that aims to counteract taken for granted forms of exclusion in the context of PE classes.
Labelling Mehran as a DJ is a difficult task. Mostly because he walks a quite individual path when it comes to his musical inspiration. This inspiration isn’t driven by a single style or musical genre. Although his roots as a DJ derive from the love for Chicago House, his focus nowadays ranges most of the (electronic) music spectrum. All the variables in his taste do have one major thing in common: finding and sharing real, authentic and exceptional records that have, or will, stand the test of time. Over the years he developed an eye to find those outstanding records.
Hailing from Nebraska, based in Amsterdam, Claire Clover has a unique music style influenced by her years spent living in the US, UK, and the Netherlands. Never limiting herself to just one genre, you can expect a blend of techno, acid, breaks, house, ghettotech, electro, trance, and more. Claire aims for versatility to respond with beats that reflect the mood, setting the vibe with anything from soulful grooves to fast-paced dance floor weapons.”
Power Plays: Film Screening Night
Ronnie Close is a writer and interdisciplinary artist living in Cairo, Egypt. His research interests look at the relationship between aesthetics and politics, in particular in the visual cultures of the Middle East. He has worked on a long-term research project on the Ultras football movements in Egypt, Brazil, and Palestine and has produced a series of short films on these marginalized groups. Through visual research projects, workshops, and written publications he looks at the role of the image object in the contemporary world. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at The American University in Cairo. He has shown practice-based work in exhibitions some venues include: The Photographers Gallery London, The National Football Museum, Manchester, QUAD Art Gallery, Derby, Brighton Photo Biennial, United Kingdom. In 2010, he was awarded a practice-based PhD in Photographic Research from the University of Wales Newport, the UK for a dissertation on the visual culture surrounding the 1981 republican hunger strikes in Northern Ireland. He has published articles relating to contemporary issues on image media theory and culture in international journals, such as Mada Masr, Architecture and Culture, The Philosophy of Photography. His research film projects have been reviewed in Frieze Magazine and PhotoWorks, amongst others. His new monograph book, Cairo’s Ultras: Resistance and Revolution in Egypt’s Football Culture, (AUC Press, 2019) looks at the cultural practices of local football fans and the politics of representation. His writing features in three contemporary edited publications: Disassembled Images: Contemporary Art After Allan Sekula (University of Lieven, 2019), Architecture and Filmmaking (Intellect Books, 2019), and Photography Reframed (I.B. Tauris, 2018).
More out of Curiosity
26:07 minutes, single-screen, 16:9, HD Digital Video, 2014.
One of the key players in the new emergent political debate are Egypt’s fanatical football supporters, the Ultras. Although affiliated to different teams in the domestic league they often joined forces in street protests to remove Hosni Mubarak in January 2011. The controversy over the 2012 Port Said incident when 72 Al-Ahly fans were killed in an orchestrated attack forced the Ultras back onto the streets. They mounted a successful political protest campaign against the state forces that culminated a year later in legal conviction and a sense of retribution.
More Out of Curiosity is a film work drawing on documentary narratives to frame the capacity of resistance in current social movements. This film is constructed from video footage drawn from a number of sources, including the Al-Ahly Ultras themselves who shared their video archive material. The assemblage of images of street protests, football games, riots and banner making helps stitch together a narrative to expose their unique local subculture in an overlapping meta-documentary format. The film work is bookended by the Port Said incident and the court verdict a year later. This structure is divided into seven scenes which define and categorize the video imagery. No voiceover resists the direct deciphering of the video material and the film operates on an instinctive, visceral level driven by a charged soundtrack.
Pia Lindman works with performance art, healing-as-art, installation, microbes, architecture, painting, and sculpture. In “Nose, Ears, Eyes“ (Sao Paulo Biennale, 2016) Lindman gave treatments to members of the audience and made paintings based on the visions she saw during these treatments. Recent exhibitions include Chewing the Tundra at Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria (co-curated Lindman/Gretarsdottir), solo show subsensorialXYZ in SOLU space (Bioart Society), Helsinki, 2019, Photomonth 2020 in KAI Art Center for Tallinn, Estonia, and “Not Without My Ghosts”, Hayward Gallery Tours, UK, 2019-2022. Publications include Big Toe, Brain, Rock in “Slow Spatial Reader, Chronicles of Radical Affection”, ed. Carolyn F. Strauss, Valiz Books, 2021 and Rehearsing Hospitalities Companion 1, 2019, Frame Contemporary Art, Finland. A result of many years of investigation into the body and its place within cultural spaces, Lindman’s work has moved beyond the human body proper to multiple realms of organic and inorganic life.
Sports Arenas (series), 2000-2004
Many of Lindman’s video works focus on how the built environment relates to the social interaction it is designed to contain. In this series of video works—including Viewing Platform, 2002; Shea Stars Flashes, 2004; and Game-Time, 2001—Lindman uses a video camera to record changes of light and movements in space and time within sports arenas and stadiums. The video works are filmed from a fixed camera position and the video footage is then made transparent and cut into one-minute segments. These segments are then layered on top of each other. During one minute the viewer sees the entire 60-minute video in real time, however simultaneously as multiple layers. Among other spaces, she has shot baseball stadiums and other sports arenas in New York, contrasting the monumental structure of the stadiums to the fluctuating density of the audience.
Presentation of this video work series is courtesy of the artist and New York MoMA.
Florian van Zandwijk
Our human and technological sensorial perceptions are inseparably connected and constantly shaping each other in today’s digital age; this fact usually serves as the basis for Van Zandwijk’s projects. With a simple intervention or through written or visual essays, Van Zandwijk researches topics from his own perception and hypothesis about present human and non-human Ways of Seeing. In this way van Zandwijk tries to provide insight into and make a statement about contemporary themes involving the biases and limited capacities of human and technological perception. Such themes are; social media, mass-surveillance and computer vision.
The Ball, The Field, The Arena
In his book Homo Ludens (1938) Dutch cultural theorist Johan Huizinga suggests that play is both a primary and a necessary condition for generating culture. The game of football—the biggest globalised manifestation of organised play—is taken in The Ball, The Field, The Arena as a metaphor for the inseparable relationship humans have with culture, play, and our own technological developments. By zooming out from the ball to the field into the arena, the work shows that human culture is not only shaped via play but that our play is equally shaped by the technology we create—the two engaging in a mutual relationship with one another.