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Issue #028 Published: 18-02-2020 // Written by: Anonymous
Emancipation or indoctrination, ingested: thoughts from the Dutch corporate-academic food complex
I read with great interest, commiseration and sympathy your experience of Sustainable Development Studies in Big Dutch Academia, and wish to wade in on the conversation. The following is an account of my perspective and experiences as a researcher from the side of food system sustainability at the Wageningen University – the food valley, industrial heartland, purveyor of fine methane emitters, the corporate breadbasket of the country. Colonialism in Europe, with the chauvinism, white privilege (read: supremacy) and sequestration of wealth by the few - under the guise of bringing civility and prosperity to the savage lower class – lives on in the corporate growth models of capitalism’s retirement years. Croaking capitalism is like my semi-retired boss (an academic who enjoyed decades of generous speaking fees from the likes of Danone and Unilever, all-inclusive exotic trips to the East to preach the industrial agricultural approach towards better health and ‘development’). He hits a few thousand golf balls a week, flies recreationally monthly, and looks proudly down on an ever-expanding legacy of both academic and biological grandchildren. “I had my hey-day, but god damnit I’m still here”. While fossil fuel (and other) resource extraction and manufacturing grinds to a slow halt as we are confronted with the limited resources this planet has on offer, we can’t (and won’t anytime soon) escape one of the more necessary commodities: food. Add to the recipe a growing population, on track to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050 (our planet’s sustainable carrying capacity is 1 billion), and a dash of climate catastrophe threatening crop yields and general food production capacity in the poorest and most populated regions. Examining our own economic hive, now that knowledge and technical services rather than raw goods dominate our exports (nearly a trillion tomatoes per year notwithstanding), and our riches cannot be forcibly and directly reaped from other nations, academic institutions have become houses of the holy for capital and power. What better platform from which to extoll our industrial food efficiency? Programs such as the troubled and colonial-rooted development studies, as described in the previous Emancipation or Indoctrination, and the deeply problematic technocratic solutions to the climate crisis are but some of the examples (petri dish meat; electric cars; reflective clouds; moving civilization to Mars). Staying within the context of food. Most of us know the evils: global food production is responsible for one QUARTER (25%) of global greenhouse gas emissions, over 75% of which is attributable to our appetite for animal flesh. Beyond greenhouse gases alone, our food systems are the primary drivers of biodiversity loss, deforestation, freshwater pollution, the list goes on, making you want to eat a handful of oak leaves for lunch. Locally, the Dutch agro economy is the proud son of the European grand-uncles Danone, Unilever, Albert Heijn and the like. A recent call by dozens of prominent scientists to reach ‘peak meat’ by 20301 had zero signatories from the Netherlands, amidst staggering CO2 emissions from the Dutch livestock sector and the expanding Nitrogen crisis. At Wageningen University – deep in Gelderland’s ‘Food Valley’, Extinction Rebellion, collective and self-determining social housing organisations and truly low-waste and sustainable local agricultural initiatives sit cozily next to Unilever, Monsanto and its pub-mate Syngenta, Friesland Campina, and others. There is no university policy for food sustainability, and campus cafeterias are run by massive international food service corporations. Our president, Louise Fresco, sits or has sat on the board in an executive capacity of Unilever, Syngenta, the SHELL FOUNDATION (that’s Royal Dutch Shell, to be crystal clear) and Rabobank. Many graduate students are co-appointed to one of these corporations, and, anecdotally, I have witnessed in seminars many of said students openly deride with confidence the idea of reducing our dependence on animal offerings. How does this ivory manure tower smell to you now? As in other realms of sustainability activism, study, or intensive involvement, as a food sustainability researcher one is confronted daily by the citizen-consumer paradox – we must eat to survive in this twisted economy of Albert Heijns and Jumbos. As both researchers and citizen-consumers we are trapped in perverse systemic feedback loops driven by corporate interest, and utterly staggering levels of policy inertia perpetuating climate change, disillusionment, depression, obesity and overweight, socioeconomic divide, the dismantling of social services. Yadda yadda yadda, the rich get richer and older still. What does this all mean for academia, and for the academic pawns in this current ecosystem? In my own psyche, the comfort found in status quo academia butts its head daily against the sheer hypocrisy and inadequacy of it all. I see how easy it is to toe the line, how easy it is to strap yourself in to the mechanical cart that moves you through the chambers of academia. You must only sit, mesmerized and obedient, tapping the test tubes and keyboard and regurgitating the desired result. I once rode the (children’s) Carnival ride at Efteling on mushrooms. It feels like that. Step and speak gingerly around the (almost exclusively) old white, indigenous Dutch men, so as not to disturb them in their waking slumber. They run the departments and refer to you as ‘lieve schatje’ if you interrupt or pose a challenging thought. The radicalism and sense of extreme urgency and purpose fall away as you are massaged by the small comforts and successes of publishing small pieces of bullshit that will do absolutely nothing for the world, save to secure you another few years on your academic contract. There are so-far no burning answers that come to mind to divestment our collective understanding of what constitutes knowledge and progress away from industrial academia, particularly not in this country. We can start by asking some critical questions. Perverse and rigid European funding apparatuses make dipping into the (fairly deep, seemingly unlimited) pot of Euros for the sake of citizen initiatives nearly impossible. Considering public funds alone, with an operating budget of 13 billion regionally (European Research Council, 2014-2020) and 1 billion per year locally (Nationale Wetenschapsagenda), we’d do well to convene a citizen’s court and judge whether these investments have been paid forward to the masses, or have done enough to secure a livable planet for generations to come (they haven’t). What is the role of the academic institution as a bona-fide puppet of industry on this melting planet inhabited by a civilization in peril? What powers and norms are responsible for maintaining the illusion that a) a university education is the natural gateway to a fully formed human and b) universities are the real engines of free thought and progress? How can we identify and dismantle these deeply societally conditioned avenues so as to divert both monetary funds and physical efforts towards more meaningful action? Finally, on a personal note, it is up to disillusioned academics to exit the institute and find more ethical and constructive ways to apply our knowledge skills to society outside of the ivory tower. Europe’s newly announced ‘Green New Deal’ promises to throw billions of Euros towards research and innovation, tasking public institutions with the bulk of the transition work. But what good is the deal if the structures in place to digest this money are the same as those that got us in this mess? Academics from many other realms, locations and seats of power are demanding rapid and transformative system change, see for example the outspoken Swedish rock-star of sustainability science Johan Rockström. In this country, we are complacent and complicit, academics and non-academics alike. On our padded bike seats, eating cheap, plentiful food, rinsing plastic containers of ultra-processed veggie meat, dreamt up in a lab in Gelderland. Let us radically rethink how we look at sustainable development and agriculture through the lens of academic, publically-funded research. Divorce these public private partnerships and make agricultural programs paid for by people work for people and the entire planet.   1) Harwatt et al. Lancet Planetary Health, December 2019
Issue #028 Published: 07-02-2020 // Written by: Grootveld, Ginkel, Waalwijk
Het ‘nieuwe normaal’: de kaboutermoraal
De stad Amsterdam is druk in de weer om een nieuwe langetermijnvisie te formuleren, de Amsterdamse omgevingsvisie 2050. Komend jaar zal hiervoor een ontwerp worden opgesteld, dat vervolgens vanaf 2022 als richtinggevend kader voor het ʻnieuwe normaalʼ moet gaan dienen. De Structuurvisie 2040 uit 2011 is door de griffe groei van de stad ingehaald en biedt onvoldoende houvast voor de toekomst. Amsterdam gaat immers weer bijbouwen, wel 75.000 woningen in de komende tien tot dertig jaar, met name in het westelijk havengebied. Maar een stad die groeit moet wel kunnen blijven ademen. In het Algemeen Uitbreidingsplan (AUP) uit 1935, dat de toenmalige groei van Amsterdam in grote lijnen vastlegde, plande de stedenbouwkundige Cornelis Van Eesteren omvangrijke parklandschappen: de scheggen van Amsterdam. Als groene vingers moesten deze scheggen tot diep in de stad doordringen: het zogenaamde vingerstadmodel. De gemeente Amsterdam benadrukte in de Structuurvisie 2040 vooral de recreatieve functie van de scheggen. Maar het onlangs gepresenteerde Manifest van de Scheggen ( ziet veel meer kansen voor de deze longen van de stad door nieuwe functies toe te voegen en slimme verbanden te leggen. Ontwikkeling van de natuur en recreatie kunnen bijvoorbeeld prima samengaan met de productie van energie en voedsel. Het Manifest benadrukt echter ook dat de scheggen door hun aantrekkelijke ligging extreem kwetsbaar zijn voor de huidige bouwdrift, zoals blijkt uit de dreigende aanleg van een bedrijventerrein in de Lutkemeerpolder, die feitelijk juist een sleutelrol zou moeten vervullen in de voedselproductie in de nabijheid van de stad. Volgend jaar is het vijftig jaar geleden dat de Kabouters in Amsterdam een eigen staat uitriepen: de Oranje Vrijstaat. De Kabouterbeweging kun je zien als de eerste groene politieke beweging in Nederland, zelfs in heel Europa. Zij zette zich toen al af tegen de moderne consumptiemaatschappij (de verslaafde consument) en de aantasting van het milieu. Het doel was een leefbare stad met veel groen en genoeg woonruimte voor iedereen. De kapitalistische economie blijft echter groeien, want groei is de essentie van het systeem. De centrale drijfveer is het accumuleren van steeds meer kapitaal. Dus wat groeit is niet de duurzaamheid of leefbaarheid van de stad en ook niet het welzijn van haar bewoners. Nee, wat groeit is alleen de leefruimte van het kapitaal, namelijk de markt, en die lijkt de stad langzamerhand op te vreten. Inmiddels naderen we het punt waarop nagenoeg alles op begint te raken en de klimaatverandering onomkeerbaar is geworden. Steeds meer mensen proberen daarom een alternatieve manier van leven te vinden. Volgens geograaf David Harvey, die afgelopen maand in Amsterdam was voor ‘De stad van morgen,’ zou je kunnen zeggen dat zij een heterotopie1 proberen te creëren. Maar Harvey stelt ook dat deze heterotope basis uiteindelijk zal worden opgeslokt door het systeem, want als het erop aan komt is geen enkel goed idee opgewassen tegen de verlokkingen van het kapitaal. Toch is die heterotope basis noodzakelijk, aldus Harvey, om te kunnen bouwen aan sociale relaties die niet worden gedomineerd door de marktlogica, herkomst of genderongelijkheid. In september organiseerden wij het achtste Futurological Symposium Free Cultural Spaces, met als thema Reframing Environmentalism, om met diverse vertegenwoordigers van vrije culturele ruimtes uit binnen- en buitenland kennis en ervaringen te delen. Veelal blijkt dat juist deze plekken zelf de ontwikkeling van hun fysieke leefomgeving bepalen. Hier wordt wars van iedere commercie geëxperimenteerd met het vormgeven van alternatieve omgevings- en milieuvisies. Het gebied rond de Afrikahaven in Amsterdam, aan de rand van wat straks ‘Haven-Stad’ moet gaan worden, toont hoe een trans-industrieel landschap van de toekomst er uit zou kunnen zien. Hier is een synergie tussen de sociale, natuurlijke en industriële ruimte tot stand gebracht, ook al dient die nog verder ontwikkeld te worden. Er zouden groene corridors tussen de bedrijventerreinen moeten komen, waar dieren gebruik van kunnen maken om zich te verplaatsen. De vrijplaats Ruigoord zou verbonden moeten worden met de groengebieden in de directe omgeving, die onderdeel zijn van de Brettenzone, een groenstrook die Amsterdam vanaf het Westerpark met de duinen verbindt. De ‘rafelranden’ van de stad zijn precies de heterotope tussenruimtes waar Harvey het over had. Ze zijn van groot belang voor de stad, als we het gedachtegoed van de kabouters willen laten herleven. Het achtste Futurologisch Symposium sloot af met een demonstratie vanaf het VrijPaleis aan de Paleisstraat naar het Lieverdje op het Spui. Na speeches van onder meer de oud-Kabouters Coen Tasman en Roel van Duijn werd er een appelboompje geplant. Ter viering van de verjaardag van de oprichting van de Oranje Vrijstaat in 1970 is in overleg met de gemeente Amsterdam besloten deze boom in februari 2020 een vaste plek op het Spui te geven. 1) De heterotopie is een concept dat is uitgewerkt door de Franse filosoof Michel Foucault om bepaalde culturele, institutionele en discursieve ruimtes te beschrijven die op de een of andere manier ʻandersʼ zijn: verontrustend, intens, onverenigbaar, tegenstrijdig of transformerend. Heterotopieën zijn werelden in werelden, die spiegelen en daarmee verstoren wat er daarbuiten gaande is. Written by: Menno Grootveld, Patrick van Ginkel, Aja Waalwijk
Issue #028 Published: 06-02-2020 // Written by: Sonic Acts
Sonic Acts Academy 21-23 February 2020 Amsterdam
Sonic Acts Academy is a festival at the intersection of innovative audio-visual and performative art and critical thinking, concerned with human-caused planetary transformations and driven by the need to rethink common futures. Taking place in Amsterdam from 21 to 23 February 2020, it offers three evenings of live cinema, experimental concerts and progressive club nights alongside a conference with cutting-edge international artistic voices at partnering institutions Paradiso, De Brakke Grond, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and OT301. As a condensed rendition of its bigger sister, the renowned Sonic Acts Festival, the Academy focusses on inspiring artistic research with a special emphasis on experimentation and innovation in the age of the Anthropocene. The first artists and thinkers are: Nabil Ahmed, Marja Ahti, AYA, bod [] + Schwestern Sisters (SwS), Bookworms, Anthea Caddy, DEBBY FRIDAY, T. J. Demos, Design Earth, Marjolijn Dijkman, Elvin Brandhi, Hugo Esquinca + Yuk Hui, Maika Garnica, JonášGruska, Terike Haapoja, Holly Herndon, Anja Kanngieser, Lag OS, LukášLikavčan, Daniel Mann + Eitan Efrat, MÆKUR: Anton Kats + Maia Urstad + Eva Rowson, Kali Malone, Meuko! Meuko!, Roly Porter + MFO, RUI HO, S280F / 011668 / vvxxii, Sadaf, Speaker Music (De Forrest Brown, Jr.), Tadleeh, Philip Vermeulen, and Via App. Info & tickets The next programme announcement will be made in January. Go to the Sonic Acts website for more info and tickets.  
Online only Published: 03-02-2020 // Written by: Sofia Bifulco
Earlier this year, after travelling to Berlin and Ciudad del Mexico, Skalar landed in Amsterdam. Skalar is a kinetic audio/visual installation developed by German light artist Christopher Bauder and French DJ David Letellier aka Kangding Ray, especially tailored to the interior of the Gashouder on the Westergas terrain. Their work seeks to explore the interplay of two forms – light and music – and the emotions that they can evoke. The installation, which runs from 10 January to 5 February 2020, consists of a 40 minutes loop of moving lights and soundscapes. In addition, Bauder and Ray’s installation is offered in an extended and more intense version involving a live show on specific dates. The term “scalar” is a mathematical definition used to describe something that has size but not direction. In Skalar, light photons are manipulated in order to create solid sculptures, and spectators are walk through a wheel of emotions by the show’s sounds and color spectrum. The Theory of Colours describing the sensory quality connoted in the perception of colours was first introduced around the beginning of the 19th century. It revolutionized the world of art, and artists started to play and explore its repercussions and how different colors affect spectators’ feelings. Kandinsky, a Russian painter who introduced abstractionism into visual arts in Europe, once wrote: “These weird beings that we name colours coming one after the other, living in themselves and for themselves, [are] independent and endowed of the necessary quality of their future and independent life.” Kandinsky was the first to make colour the subject of paintings, instead of using colour as a means to depict a traditional subject. Through utilising modern technologies, Skalar translates this theory into an artwork for the contemporary age. To this end, the show deconstructs colours, and the projected beams of varying wavelengths of visible light are the absolute subjects of this work. The Gashouder provides the perfect setting for the installation: it is a round, enclosed space that helps visitors to be encompassed by the deep sounds and the spectacle of light. Unlike during the special live performances, during working hours the venue is not crowded, people can sit, stand or lay down and thus enjoy the show from different perspectives. As you enter you immediately feel you are entering a space which is alive. The installation immerses you, and as you realise the loop has closed you feel compelled to stay and experience it all again one more time, maybe from a different position, maybe in a new frame of mind. The live shows, meanwhile, have the atmosphere of a concert more than an art exhibition due to the presence of a numerous audience and the show’s chronological narrative. Overall, the public reception has been mainly positive. However, the way the artwork was branded might be counterproductive to how the artists want the work itself to be experienced. Making use of extensive social media advertising, collaborating with other big names in the arts industry, and making the tickets expensive and exclusive, are all tactics that make Skalar seem a commercially-oriented entertainment extravaganza, rather than a work of art that wants to stimulate emotional meditations. This branding strategy brings thousands of visitors to the exhibition but also develops expectations and preclude to the visitors the possibility of fully experiencing the artists’ vision. As a result, Skalar has seem to have been underwhelming for some; in fact, some interviewees said that “it lacks depth and a narrative”, “did not fulfill its potential,” and “I was expecting more.”. These reactions are understandable given the fact that Skalar’s interplay between lights and sound is not extravagant: the show produces measured luminous sculptures, while the sound consists of deep beats. This is why the visitor’s mindset when entering it is extremely important. Indeed, the visitors who let the installation walk them through their inner contemplation agreed, as interviewees Thomas de Bruijn and Noah Van Sittart said, that it “takes over your mindset”, “stimulates your imagination”, and brought them through a clean “up and down of emotions, like a rollercoaster”. Although Skalar is a great success story, it’s a story that makes us (the public) and artists question the role of branding in contemporary art, how can it affect the expectations of the public, and what role do those expectations play in their overall experience. In this case, the way Skalar was branded set high expectations and made the work seem more like a commercial performance than a work of art meant to inspire meditation and perception of emotions. Indeed, as the artists have stated in an interview about the project, Skalar is “more meditative: you come in, get into the mood, and it is a constant up and down of intensities,” (Bauder) “we are triggering emotions and opinions, that’s exactly what we want.” (Ray). I would definitely recommend you visit Skalar, although it is important to keep in mind Baudar and Ray’s instructions: “Enjoy the piece from different perspectives, it's 360 degrees so there is not a perfect spot, do not only lay in the middle or not only stay on the side, move around, and try to enter into the mood, not like ‘ok now I’ve seen everything and that’s it’, but try to get into a meditative state, be open to what it does with you.“ (Bauder) “come open-minded and try to see this as a parallel universe. It’s not Netflix, it’s not Instagram, it’s real life. It’s a real experience, it’s not the image of it, it is the piece. And then you can decide whether you like it or not, but you have to immerse yourself in it.” (Ray)          
Issue #028 Published: 30-01-2020 // Written by: Chris Kelly
The Return of Protest Music Ft. Lowkey & Noam Chomsky
“Life is a paradise for some and a pair of dice for others’’ Trust in traditional media outlets is at an all-time low. In a poll carried out by the independent research body Statista, “40% of all Europeans have ‘little to no’ trust in traditional media forums”. All though I’d hate to give Donald Trump and Borris Johnson credit for anything, there is no question that they both deserve a spot right next to Rupert Murdoch on the Mount Rushmore of compulsive liars. The construction of fabricated diatribes to create false narratives and conjecture, has become a part of today’s mainstream political strategy. It has dirtied and diluted our sources of truth, resulting in decades of political desensitisation, particularly amongst young people. However, there is one medium of independent education that has been historically proven to reignite the public’s passion for political involvement: Protest Music. History of Protest Music From the late 1800’s onwards, protest music became a way in which normal people could tell their side of the story and share the true nature of their experiences. Much like how Soul and Blues was born out of the music of plantation workers in the deep south, later musicians would use their music to voice their anguish at corrupt systems of governance. For example, the tensions between the American people and the government during the 1970’s became vocalised in the form of a vibrant renaissance of Protest Music from the likes of John Lennon, The Sex Pistols, Eagles, Bob Marley and The Doors. Not since the raw and cathartic sounds of Nina Simone’s ‘Missisipi Goddam’ and Ray Charles’s ‘Georgia’ had social unrest been so eloquently worded and creatively conveyed. Protest music became a way of keeping specific injustices at the forefront of the collective social consciousness. This notion is perhaps best embodied by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song,‘Ohio’. The song was released in reaction to the Kent State University shooting that took place on May 4th 1970 in which 4 young students were killed by US soldiers during a peaceful, on campus, protest against the Vietnam War. The chorus reads: “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming We’re finally on our own This summer I hear the drumming Four dead in Ohio” The song became a soundtrack to the 70’s as it defined and immortalised the contempt felt at the events of mainstream political discourse at the time. These events would include the Watergate scandal, the assasination of Kennedy and the war atrocities of Vietnam. Through their art, Crosby Stills, Nash & Young memorialised the events of Kent state and codified them as part of the national identity of the US. Protest Music in the 2010’s: The Return of Lowkey Much like the US in the 1970’s, the political unrest of the last decade has resulted in a similar element of political commentary permeating UK Garage, House, Electronic and Hip Hop music. Whether it be Fatboy Slim mixing Greta Thunberg’s speech with his single ‘Right here right now’, or the formation of the Grime4Corbyn movement, more and more UK artists are using their music to stimulate political curiosity and engagement. The risk of idleness is now too big and their voices too loud not to be used like the voices of Nina, Ray and Crosby. One musician in particular is redefining Protest Music once more. Lowkey or Kareem Dennis is a prolific London based, Iraqi Grime MC and activist, who has used his music to contemplate and challenge the actions of the UK government. In 2009, he travelled to Palestine and was arrested for attempting to host charity concerts to rebuild the Gaza Strip. He was a core member of the Stop the War Coalition against the invasion of Iraq whilst also becoming a prominent supporter of Jeremy Corbyn in his 2017 and 2019 campaigns. In addition to all of this, Lowkey’s last album came out in 2011, meaning that for 8 year, fans have waited eagerly to hear this philosophers perspectives on a decade of political turmoil. His new project ‘Soundtrack to the Struggle 2’ is a masterful piece of political analysis and musicality. In the album’s title track, Lowkey is joined by political philosopher and living legend Noam Chomsky. Lowkey asks him about his concerns with the intentions of capitalism and the inevitabilities of the system. Noam’s response is expertly layered over a dark and imposing beat as the two go back and forth. Lowkey raps about his confusion as to how ‘CEO’s are more concerned with with future profit than the future of their grandchildren’ before Noem delivers some hard political truths. He says: ‘The CEO of JP Morgan Chase has two choices every day: One, do exactly what is most profitable which happens to be fossil fuels. Or two, be replaced by someone who will do the same thing. Its an institutional problem, not a one man problem’. This is an unparalleled philosophical analysis for the context of a Hip-Hop album. The rest of the album follows the same pattern of protestation against scandals of unjust governing that had elapsed during his 8 year hiatus. A track called ‘McDonald Trump’ deals with the result of the US election, where he writes: “A weapon of mass distraction in this twisted age of decadence Government, big business, the relationship incestuous Hope workers in your businesses unionize and shut you down A million people march when you try to enter London Town” Similarly, the songs ‘The Ghost of Grenfell Tower’ part 1 and 2 enshrined the anger of Londoners within his discography, meaning that the memory of the victims will be remembered for as long as Lowkey is listened to. One last political event is addressed by Lowkey on a track entitled, ‘Long live Palestine’ that begins with a reading of a poem by British comedian Franky Boyle. The eclectic mix of features on this project is a testament to the broad fanbase of Lowkey’s work, encompassing Grime legends such as Akala and theoretical thinkers like Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges. Conclusion The body of work that Lowkey has created in ‘Sounds too the Struggle 2’ is in many ways revolutionary. Lowkey has intelligently repackaged political matters and cultural events that desperately need public awareness into a format that is not only desired but revered by a generation that feels detached and excluded by traditional political discussions. He has revolutionised the protest song, turning it into a form of expertly researched and factually reliable source of honest but opinionated journalism. This new album sort of acts as an encyclopedia of the social injustices felt in London communities over the last decade and therefore it should be treated not only as a classic Hip-Hop album but also as an important document of political philosophy, journalism and history.   Photo: The 2&6 Collective
Issue #028 Published: 29-01-2020 // Written by: Iris Kok
A review of Céline Gillian’s FRIGHT
“Nothing is more satisfying than overcoming the fear, it feels truly heroic: to be able to change the trajectory, to reprogram myself” - Céline Gillain On 23th of November, I had the opportunity to watch a special performance called FRIGHT  by Céline Gillain, as part of the 8th edition of the Amsterdam Art Weekend (21-24 November 2019). The performance was set to be a hybrid consisting of comedy, storytelling and a live concert. Céline Gillain (born in 1979, in Liège) lives in Brussels and is a musician and performance artist. Her work is a fusion of corrupted pop songs, feminist sci-fi, storytelling with dark humour. After a debut single on mutant pop 7-inch imprint Lexi Disques, her debut LP ‘Bad Woman’ was released in December 2018. The self-stated goal of Amsterdam Art Weekend is to promote galleries, project spaces, museums, art institutions and residency programs to art professionals, collectors and the local community. With over more than 250 artists and more than 50 exhibitions there were plenty of activities to choose from. Gillian’s FRIGHT took place at ISOamsterdam, a collaborative working space that hosts exhibitions, workshops, screenings, lectures, performances, and music events. The audience was seated around a small stage; thanks to all the plants and rugs, the room had a living-room atmosphere. When the show started, we found Gillain seated on a little stool from which she started to tell us her remarkable show. Her performance was a combination of spoken word pieces and her music. and while performing it, Gillain discussed her stage-fright and how her suffering arises during these kinds of performances. Regardless of her uncertainties, she still performs. As she said during the beginning of one of the music-pieces: “When I push it hurts, but I still push.”  Also addressed, in between the stories and compositions, was the taboo of stage-fright among other artists and society in general. According to Gillain, a lot of other artists claim not to suffer from stage fright, but that they prepare for their performances with drink and drugs (she does not, she told us). Perceived by some as rather self-inflicted, Gillain made clear that she was told that the suffering from stage fright is something you should not talk about. I agreed with her when she said that the causes of anxiety are real, and not the result of one’s imagination. It is a fear that maybe feels as if it comes from inside of you, but how you respond to it definitely depends on the performance context and the audience. After the performance I had the opportunity to conduct a small interview with Gillain. I came to learn that she also feels that she is treated in a different way to her colleagues because she is female and much older than the “usual suspects,” who are part of what she calls the “industry of entertainment and/or fun.” She has a good sense of what she wants to say during her performances but remains open to new interpretations. Nowadays, she is more used to coping with stage fright. She explained that empathy is not something you can count on from others and so you need to have your own sense of pushing through the anxiety, and learning to deal with such a fright. This means that she also needs to prepare herself during the days preceding each performance, and afterwards she needs to let go a bit all while questioning what the audience thought of her performance. To conclude, I would recommend keeping track of Gillain and her new work. She has managed to spark a new interest, at least for me, in the industry of fun and more specifically the electronic-music business while being open and clear about her own fear(s) and thoughts while doing so. Her approach to between-song conversation lets you as a member of the audience be part of her experience but also lets her thoughts enter into your own and make you reflect on the rhythms of the music at the same time.   Photo: Ernst van Deursen
Issue #028 Published: 28-01-2020 // Written by:
Better at the table than in the trash: 5 anti-waste food initiatives in the Netherlands
Although the debate on food waste is very advanced in the Netherlands, a report by the National Nutrition Centre is not flattering to Dutch behavior: they waste too much food. To be precise, between 1.77 and 2.55 million tonnes of food end up in the bin every year. But something, especially among young people, is moving: in recent years there have been many initiatives around the country with the aim of focusing attention on food and especially on its waste. In fact, most of the food discarded by traders is still edible but very often no longer considered at the level of sales standards. Ugly but good, in short. So, various anti-waste projects – born mainly in the major Dutch university cities including Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Maastricht and Groningen – deal with recovering food from markets and shops to save it from the rubbish bin and give it a new life. Guerrilla Kitchen On one of Amsterdam’s main streets, Frederik Hendrikstraat, every Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm you can enjoy a completely anti-waste dinner at Robin Food Kollektief. The delicious vegetarian dishes are cooked using products donated by the market and various grocery stores in the city. This project started in 2014 as a form of peaceful political protest and as an opposition to the capitalist mentality of waste. In order to be able to sit down, a minimum contribution is required but will then be fully donated to social projects such as “We Are Here” – an initiative aimed at undocumented migrants, or toward launching a chain of “Free Supermarkets”. Conscious Kitchen In the Zeeheldenkwartier area of The Hague, there is an organization that opens its doors to all those who want to enjoy a fully sustainable meal. The menu consists of three totally vegan courses, accompanied by a dessert. On Thursday, around 70 students or locals who are looking for a friendly place meet and spend an evening doing something different. One of the objectives of this association is to create a sense of community among the guests, so they strive for a multicultural and festive atmosphere. The Barricade Every Saturday from 4pm to 11pm, the ACU cultural centre in Utrecht hosts an entirely anti-waste dinner. Here guests can enjoy a vegan meal surrounded by a rich library. Books on Marxism, de-colonialism and veganism can be found on the shelves. Meetings are also often organized to discuss a particular book or anarchist themes. The aim of this group is to create a space for collective learning that goes against the capitalist ideology. Free Café Born as an art project, the Free Café has achieved great success in the city of Groningen. Active since 2014, it was started with the help of 200 volunteers and is still expanding. Only two key ingredients are considered: the number of people and the reuse of society’s waste. According to the thinking of this association, society wastes enough to meet the needs of all. So money is seen as just an obstacle and the cause of the problems of today’s world. For this reason no economic contribution is required. Food Sharing Since 2017, two German girls – Klara Strecker and Nicola Bauer – have been working on a project for everyone in Maastricht. They do not organize dinners but they distribute various types of food. Thanks to the collection of fruit, vegetables, sandwiches or croissants from supermarkets and hotels, many students have the opportunity to fill their pantries for free. The University’s Green Office has been chosen as the distribution point: in this way the initiative is aimed at all students regardless of their political opinions.   Translated from the original Italian article by Sara Marotta
Online only Published: 28-01-2020 // Written by: ADM
ADM in Paradiso; ain't nobody gonna dodo us!
Een creatieve, vrijdenkende en recalcitrante avond georganiseerd door culturele vrijplaats ADM. Vrijdag 28 februari 2020 Zaal open: 20.00 – 4.00 Ondanks de ontruiming ruim een jaar geleden laat de ADM op 28 februari zien dat haar ziel nog door knalt. Met een avond vol muziek, theater, installaties en kunst vieren ADM'ers, sympathisanten en andere non-conformisten dat de vrije ruimte geest nog niet uitgestorven is. Krakersgemeenschap ADM bevond zich 21 jaar lang in het westelijk havengebied. Het ADM terrein was één van de laatste grote culturele, autonome en alternatieve samenlevingsvormen in Amsterdam. Er woonden 125 mensen en de plek trok met haar bijzondere festivals jaarlijks duizenden kunstenaars en andere geluksvogels van over de hele wereld. In de afgelopen jaren is niet alleen het ADM terrein ontruimd, ook andere vrije ruimtes zijn om zeep geholpen, zoals het Slangenpand, Villa Friekens en de Valreep. Van de 124 vrije plekken in 1985 zijn er een schamele 20 over. En dat is doodzonde voor de stad. Wat Amsterdam van oudsher uniek maakt is juist haar tolerantie, eigenzinnigheid en een plek te zijn voor andersdenkenden. Maar de vrije geest van Amsterdam waait niet zomaar de stad uit met het ontruimen van kraakpanden en vrije ruimtes. Dat de plekken nu aan het verdwijnen zijn, betekent namelijk niet dat de beweging er niet meer is; 'you can evict a place, but you can't evict an idea!' In steunbetuiging aan ADM opent Paradiso, ooit zelf gered van sloop en nieuwbouw door krakers, haar kerkelijke deuren voor ADM. Heel Paradiso staat de avond van vrijdag 28 februari in het teken van alle creativiteit, kunst en cultuur die ADM te bieden heeft. Ain't nobody gonna dodo us! Kom langs en geniet van heel veel moois, onder andere: Benjamin Fro (Funky, Groovy Hiphop), Hakan Vreskala (Political Kurdish FunkPunk,Tr), Buffo’s Wake (Balkan Ska, UK), DJ Ixyindamix (SP23 Audiotrix), Chotokoeu (Balkan Swing, Sp), Rene Biname (Punk Frou Frou, B), Dj Bone (Rock&Roll/ Garage), Wizzard of Oi (Antifascist streetpunk, B), Fajadja (FunkReggeaHipHopSoul), P.A.I.N. (SkaReggeaPunk, UK), Dj Force 10 (Jungle Hip Hop, UK), The Amoks (Dark&Swampy Rock&Roll), A.D.M Allstars (Bucketbeatzbu), DJ Balance (Funk Soul HipHop), Printoteque (Live screen print disco), DJ Suwanne (Clitclubvibes ), Madame Bruno (Barrel organ show), Broekzak Belletje (Moonbrothers Act) Lisa Chudalla (Freakshow Act), Miranda la Mutanta (live puppet Goth Step, UK) Chaos Productions Décor Crew en meer. Kaarten online: 10 euro  Aan de deur: 15 euro Van 20.00-21.00 entree op donatie.    ADM in Paradiso is een ongesubsidieerd en non-profit evenement. Alle medewerkers en artiestenwerken op vrijwillige basis. Eventuele winst wordt gebruikt voor de nog lopende rechtszaken over het ADM terrein. Meer info: Facebook event >>>
Issue #028 Published: 27-01-2020 // Written by: Charlie Vielvoye
Cruise Inn: al 37 jaar een begrip in rock-’n-roll Europa
Al 37 jaar lang komt rock-’n-rollend Nederland naar de Cruise Inn in Amsterdam-Oost. Of beter gezegd: rock-’n-rollend Europa. Want de Cruise Inn is al sinds jaar en dag een begrip onder de liefhebber van fifties rock-n’-roll en aanverwante stijlen uit die fantastische tijd op muzikaal gebied. Internationaal feestje Op de 37e verjaardag op zaterdag 7 december 2019 hoor je naast Nederlands ook veel Engels en Duits tussen de geweldige bands door. Mensen zijn letterlijk van heinde en verre gekomen om het feestje te vieren. Waar je ook kijkt zie je naadloze rockabilly-outfits, gelakte dameskapsels met bloemen erin, strakke kuiven en perfect getrimde bakkebaarden. Ontmoeting met Bopcats in de bus De Cruise Inn wordt gerund door een team van vrijwilligers. Een daarvan is boeker Maurits Schelling. Hij komt al zijn hele leven in de Cruise Inn, als kleine jongen werd hij voor het eerst meegenomen door zijn vader. Zijn vader was er vanaf het prilste begin bij in 1982. Hoe die bij de Cruise Inn kwam? Hij werkte destijds als buschauffeur en zag zodoende veel uitgaansvolk in- en uitstappen. Als rock-n’-roll-liefhebber pur sang was het voor hem dan ook niet moeilijk om de grote revival in de jaren 70 te spotten die mede door de populariteit van de film Grease door Nederland raasde. De rock-’n-roll vriendengroep Bopcats liep hierbij voorop. Lieten die nou net bij Schelling Senior de bus instappen en hem meenemen naar de toen nog piepjonge Cruise Inn die ze zelf waren gestart. Nieuwe locatie gezocht per 2024 De Cruise Inn werd in 1982 neergezet in een oude militaire WOII-barak aan de Zeeburgerdijk. Saillant gegeven: in 2000 moest de Cruise Inn plaatsmaken voor dure accountants- en advocatenkantoren en noodgedwongen verhuizen naar het huidige adres op de Zuiderzeeweg op het Zeeburgeiland, een stukje verder de stad uit. Het naar buiten drukken van alternatieve cultuur naar de ‘rafelranden van de stad’ is dus van alle tijden. En in 2024 dreigt er wederom een verplichte verhuizing. Zeg het bij dezen daarom voort: de Cruise Inn is weer op zoek naar een nieuwe locatie. Bij de gemeente worden ze tot op heden van het kastje naar de muur gestuurd. Heb je een gouden tip? Meldt het dan bij de redactie van Amsterdam Alternative. Op het podium van de Cruise Inn kom je niet zomaar Het niveau van de bands is hoog want een groot deel van de bezoekers komt al decennia, dus je speelt voor een publiek van kenners. Maar dat betekent allerminst dat er met de armen over elkaar wordt geluisterd. Vanaf de eerste noot staan er namelijk mensen te dansen. Op de dansvloer ligt het niveau ook hoog. Sommige dames drinken zelfs nauwelijks en hebben sportschoenen aan onder hun rockabilly-jurken. Dansen is topsport, maar het is vooral erg gezellig. Voor veel mensen is het een feest van herkenning tijdens deze Anniversary, die komen elkaar hier al jaren tegen. De Cruise Inn is echt een belangrijk onderdeel in hun levens. Bands uit 3 landen Rond een uur of negen bijt het Belgische Moonshine Reunion het spits af met een swingende rockabilly-set waarbij de eerste danskoppels het erop wagen. Frontman Clark Kenis bespeelt de rechtopstaande double bass die zo karakteristiek is voor rock-n’-roll-bands. Ook volgens traditie zie je die grote bas meerdere malen door de lucht gaan, maar gelukkig komt hij bij Clark altijd op zijn pootje terecht. Na de pauze is het de beurt aan Neerlands trots Ronnie Nightingale & The Haydocks. Het is duidelijk dat er een heleboel mensen voor deze band zijn gekomen want het is dringen vooraan en al te wilde danscapriolen zijn er even niet meer bij. De band is in hetzelfde jaar als de Cruise Inn opgericht en staat met 37 jaar ervaring als een huis. Zo heeft sologitarist Jeroen van den Bergh een enorm scala aan rock-n’-roll gitaarlicks om uit te putten en laat hij zijn repertoire bepaald niet onbenut. De avond wordt in stijl afgesloten door de Duitse Ray Allen Band die met recht bekend staan om hun clearcut rock-n’-roll-vertolkingen zonder al te veel poespas.   Photo: Tom van Leeuwen
Issue #028 Published: 23-01-2020 // Written by: Menno Grootveld
Een opstand schuilt in een klein hoekje
In het afgelopen najaar hebben er in Amsterdam maar liefst drie conferenties plaatsgevonden die zich met de toekomst van de stad bezighielden: het achtste Futurologisch Symposium in september, ReTakeTheCity in oktober, en De Stad van Morgen in december. Hoewel de invalshoek telkens anders was, was er ook een gemeenschappelijke noemer: hoe zorgen we ervoor dat een stad als Amsterdam ook in de rest van de 21e eeuw leefbaar blijft en niet wordt vermorzeld door het geweld van het internationale vastgoedkapitaal, het toerisme en de verwoesting van ons leefmilieu? Bij De Stad van Morgen was de Britse socioloog David Harvey, de auteur van de klassiekers Rebel Cities en A Brief History of Neoliberalism, de hoofdgast. In een referaat van een uur wist hij op onnavolgbare wijze een analyse te geven van het tijdsgewricht waarin we verkeren. Dat was niet bepaald een hoopgevend verhaal. Het komt erop neer dat de krachten waarmee wij geconfronteerd worden eigenlijk te groot zijn om daar als stad een vuist tegen te kunnen maken. Hij verwees naar de opstanden die momenteel in een groot deel van de wereld plaatsvinden (Chili, Colombia, Irak, Libanon, India) om aan te geven dat die waarschijnlijk de enige manier zijn om échte verandering te bewerkstelligen, en dan nóg: het kan ook uitdraaien op een dictatuur. Helaas was niet meteen duidelijk hoe deze analyse aansloot op de situatie zoals die zich in Amsterdam voordoet. Eigenlijk is die heel paradoxaal: aan de ene kant lijken de bomen nog steeds de hemel in te groeien (met de nadruk op het woord groei – dat is volgens Harvey de essentie van het kapitalisme); aan de andere kant zijn er steeds meer tekenen die erop wijzen dat die groei een grens heeft bereikt en in zekere zin zelfs zelfvernietigend is, of althans aan zeer weinig mensen ten goede komt, terwijl de rest het nakijken heeft. Dat is ook de boodschap van de documentaire Push! over gentrificatie, die dit najaar op het IDFA draaide. In die film zegt de Italiaanse journalist Roberto Saviano in iets andere bewoordingen wat David Harvey ook zegt: het kapitalisme is een door en door verrot systeem, waarin het traditionele onderscheid tussen onderwereld en bovenwereld inmiddels volledig is weggevallen. Zowel ronduit criminele organisaties als op het eerste gezicht ‘normale’ kapitalistische bedrijven sluizen hun gigantische winsten weg naar belastingparadijzen, om die vervolgens eenmaal witgewassen in de vastgoedsector van steden als Amsterdam te investeren, met alle gevolgen van dien. Een van de meest perfide bedrijven van dit moment is Blackrock, een internationale vermogensbeheerder die steeds actiever wordt op de vastgoedmarkt, ook in Amsterdam. Op de ReTakeTheCity-conferentie bleek dat Blackrock in steden als Barcelona en Berlijn al specifiek op de korrel wordt genomen door activisten. En in Berlijn zijn ze zelfs bezig met het organiseren van een stadsreferendum, met als inzet de re-socialisatie van grote woningbedrijven die uit louter winstbejag de huren opdrijven. In navolging van Harvey kunnen we echter de vraag stellen in hoeverre steden in staat zijn om werkelijk tegenwicht te bieden aan de krachten van het internationale kapitaal. Onder de vlag van het ‘municipalisme’ proberen sommige steden zich nu transnationaal te verenigen en gezamenlijk op te trekken in de strijd tegen bedrijven als Blackrock, Airbnb en Uber. Dat is een goede ontwikkeling, maar het is de vraag of het genoeg en effectief is. Bovendien gaan we die strijd niet winnen als we zo verdeeld blijven als nu het geval is. Een maand geleden vroeg een bevriende Duitse kunstenaar mij hoe wij dachten in Amsterdam ooit iets van de grond te kunnen krijgen dat de trekken heeft van een echte ‘beweging’. Hij had het idee dat Amsterdammers veel te individualistisch waren om adequaat te kunnen samenwerken. In een gesprek met David Harvey kwam hetzelfde thema naar voren, maar nu in historische zin: Hoe heeft het toch kunnen gebeuren dat de Amsterdamse binnenstad, die nog geen veertig jaar geleden van onsʼ was, nu is verworden tot een commercieel toeristenparadijs, waar de huizenprijzen door het plafond schieten? Het antwoord is waarschijnlijk hetzelfde: ook in de hoogtijdagen van de kraakbeweging en de alternatieve kunst- en mediascene was feitelijk sprake van een bontgekleurde verzameling grotere en kleinere ‘bv-tjes,’ die allemaal in eerste instantie het eigen belang voor ogen hadden. Zo ga je de revolutie natuurlijk nooit winnen. We zullen ruimhartiger moeten zijn in de keuze van onze bondgenoten. Zo sprak ik ook onlangs een student die in Frankrijk was gaan studeren en zich verbijsterd afvroeg waarom niemand uit onze kringen zich solidair wilde verklaren met de demonstrerende boeren. Iemand antwoordde toen dat kwam omdat de boeren de grootste stikstofvervuilers zijn en dus zullen moeten inkrimpen. Maar de student zei – en misschien terecht ook - dat die boeren feitelijk net zulke grote slachtoffers van het systeem zijn als wij zelf. Als je écht iets wilt veranderen kun je beter de handen ineenslaan in plaats van iedereen meteen te verketteren. Tot slot toch nog een hoopvolle opmerking (met dank aan Harvey): vaak begint een opstand met iets relatief kleins, één iemand die het niet langer pikt en iets heel radicaals doet, bijvoorbeeld. Laat dus in Amsterdam de strijd rond de Lutkemeerpolder het lont in het kruitvat zijn!  
Issue #028 Published: 17-01-2020 // Written by: Jaromil and Niinja (
The Algorithmic Sovereign
Introduction Algorithms are growing in power and importance. While their logic is often invisible, their effects are manifest. This article looks at the power of algorithms and highlights some of the abuses and injustices such power often involves, particularly when it comes to cases where algorithms assess the reputation of people, make use of their private data or influence their life in general. An algorithm is an automated sequence of instructions that processes large amounts of data, in order to then mark situations as positive or negative according to certain determined conditions. As we approach the year 2020, many vital decisions are taken by algorithms rather than humans. Even people with no access to computers are affected, while only a few know how algorithms work. A problem we see is that there is no space for public, social and political debate on how algorithmic rules are made and executed. The power of algorithms can only be negotiated by specialists, the most average “users” can hope for is a ceremonial click on the user agreement. “Users” have no say in the construction of these algorithms. Yet, they govern their lives while their mode of operation is often hidden in trade secrets and closed source software. False Positives One important example of the use of algorithms is risk assessment by the police. So called actuarial risk assessment instruments (ARAI) gather publically available data from sources such as travel records and surveillance camera footage; some may also gather Internet activity from social networks, taking into account who you’re “friends” with and so on. For such risk assessment systems a “false positive” is the name of an error: for instance the algorithm may mark someone as a dangerous criminal by mistake. It’s important to consider that for an algorithm, the probability of an error may be a small mathematical fraction that from a statistical point of view is negligible. However, when such an error occurs in the real world, it potentially affects a person as a whole: it can be a matter of life and death. In case of Jean-Charles De Menezes, an algorithm making such an error led to his accidental execution. This story is about the error of facial recognition systems, for which de Menezes was shot in London at Stockwell tube station on 22 July 2005: he was a “false positive”. What is disturbing is not just that an innocent man was killed, confused with a terrorist by the growing apparatus of surveillance cameras but also how law-enforcement made use of his image post-mortem on mainstream-media to claim the error was that of an algorithm, as if this would absolve police from any wrongdoing. Contemporary security research focuses on automatic pattern recognition and prediction of human behaviour. Large-scale analysis can be exercised on the totality of data available about a person at unprecedented detail. But algorithmic models fail to incorporate the risks of systemic failure, plus they can hardly contemplate the ethical costs of killing an innocent human being. To keep campaigning for the privacy of individuals is rather pointless at this point: the real stake is how our societies are governed, how we rate people’s behaviour, what counts as deviance and what doesn’t, and how we act upon it. System Risk Indication Abuse of algorithmic power also happens closer to home. In June 2019, 1263 households in the Rotterdam neighbourhoods of Bloemhof and Hillesluis were marked as potential frauds. Their personal data – and those of their 25,000 neighbours – had been analysed by the Dutch government using SyRI (System Risk Indication), an algorithmic system designed to find ‘fraudulent citizens’. There are few limitations when it comes to the amounts of data the system is allowed to see and the techniques it uses to sift through data (data-mining, pattern recognition and so on) – techniques whose use one would expect to be restricted to security agencies. Citizens are analysed and fit into risk-profiles. This way anyone working with a local agency that has access to municipal or civil services can combine these data in the SyRI system and create a profile of each citizen. These profiles are later compared to risk profiles and people are marked as potentially fraudulent. What exactly makes a ‘fraudulent ’profile is unclear; but when someone’s mundane traits resemble that of the fraudulent profile, such as their water usage or education level, they could be marked. Today we know that, despite infringing the privacy of tens of thousands of households and marking thousands as potential frauds, SyRI has not yet helped to find a single case of actual fraud. The problem is that SyRI is exclusively applied in poor neighbourhoods. Residents of Amsterdam Zuid or brokers at the Zuidas won’t have their personal lives analysed and labeled. This bias makes little sense given the tremendous amount of fraud money circulating in and out of rich neighbourhoods through corporate tax evasion and real-estate money laundering. SyRI is not about researching fraud within welfare systems. It is a screening system for households: a system to monitor and control the working class, redesigned to be both more efficient and obscure, as its code is not available for peer review or forensic analysis. After mounting pressure from protests of local residents, civil rights organizations, and the labour union FNV, the Rotterdam project was cancelled in July 2019. However, SyRI itself is still considered to be a valid system by the government, and can be applied in new projects. What about the Sleepwet? We can find similar abuses of algorithmic power on the national level as well. It’s been a bit over a year since the controversial ‘Sleepwet’ got implemented, even after a referendum where a legal majority of voting citizens expressed concerns and the will to change it. The Sleepwet now allows the intelligence agencies direct access to all information data-bases, exchange with foreign agencies, 3 year storage of collected data and more. Shortly after the successful referendum, the responsible minister was found to have held back a critical report on the data exchange with foreign agencies, which was one of the most controversial elements of the Sleepwet. Since the Sleepwet went into effect, the supervisory commission ‘CTIVD’ has published several sharp criticisms of the security services, showing that up to today the security agencies are incapable of following even the lenient Sleepwet laws to protect people’s privacy. This means that that while the current legislation on algorithmic power has been rejected by a majority of citizens as too weak, the Dutch government is willing to go even further and break its own law. Beyond the empire of algorithmic profits Public institutions should use their algorithmic power to facilitate the transparency of societal processes rather than enforce secrecy and surveillance.  We need to facilitate the understanding of algorithmic rules: to facilitate participation and inclusion; we need to empower people to appeal algorithmic decisions and to intervene on critical situations. At we develop algorithms ourselves and our call to action is for fellow developers out there: we need to write code that is understandable for everyone. Good code is not just skillfully crafted or most efficient: the most valuable code is what can be read by everyone, studied, changed and adapted. Common understanding of algorithms is necessary so that our lives are not left in the hands of a technical elite. Illustration: “Control Pokemon” by Pawel Kuczynski (2016)
Issue #028 Published: 16-01-2020 // Written by: Jan Geurtsen
Autonoom Vastgoed
Vastgoed hoort autonoom te zijn, het hoort van niemand te zijn. Eigendom van vastgoed leidt tot machtsposities voor de enkeling en de hoofdprijs betalen voor alle anderen. Dat is ook de reden dat autonomie vaak zijn toevlucht zoekt tot kraken en het lastig is om het gezamenlijk kopen van vastgoed goed te organiseren. Vastgoed kopen voor jezelf is door de banken, de hypotheekrenteaftrek en andere formules vooral gericht op het traditionele huishouden. Als je collectief vastgoed wil kopen volgens de regeltjes kom je vele barrieres tegen. Er zijn genoeg voorbeelden van collectief vastgoed in Amsterdam. Met Nieuwland als een recent voorbeeld, en anderen zoals de OT301 uit een wat verder verleden. Was vroeger dan alles beter? Niet per se, want er zijn veel gelegaliseerde panden uit het verleden uit beeld verdwenen. Daar bleek de gekozen constructie niet toekomstbestendig en heeft het individuele belang het collectieve overgenomen. De waarde van vastgoed stijgt meestal. Hoe voorkom je dat de bewoners in de verleiding komen om te verkopen of de huur te verlagen? Hoe zorg je ervoor dat je er na afbetaling van de hypotheek een volgend pand aangekocht kan worden? Overigens, wie zou een autonoom vastgoedproject geld lenen of geven als ze later niet bereid is hetzelfde terug te doen voor de volgende generatie?  In het Engels noemen ze dit: “paying it forward”. Uit de gedachte dat er collectief vastgoed moet zijn, zou moeten volgen dat er ook collectief kapitaal is. Solidair geld van anderen is nodig om nieuw collectief vastgoed toe te voegen. Het ligt misschien niet voor de hand als je de details van de rekensommetjes niet kent maar onze logica is vrij eenvoudig. Wonen wordt elk jaar duurder, en tegelijkertijd stijgt de winst van de huisbaas en banken. Daar klopt iets niet, toch? Dus, als het lukt om de huisbaas en op termijn ook de bank opzij te zetten, dan houd je geld over. De uitdaging is om dit overschot, dit in potentie collectieve kapitaal te neutraliseren. En daarom zijn een aantal Amsterdamse collectieven de afgelopen jaren uitgekomen bij het in Duitsland actieve Mietshauser Syndikat en hun huisbankier de GLS Bank. Zo is bijvoorbeeld Nieuwland gefinancieerd door de GLS Bank omdat geen een Nederlandse bank dat wilde of kon. En straks zullen ook Bajesdorp en de Nieuwe Meent volgen. Even een stapje terug: de Amsterdamse traditie van collectief vastgoed was vaak gebaseerd op het model van een vereniging met een stichting. Het vastgoed in eigendom van een stichting (met wat ‘ouwe lullen’ in het bestuur) en de bewoners regelen dmv hun vereniging zelf de dagelijkse zaken. De stichting op afstand was er om te voorkomen dat de bewoners het pand ten gelde zouden maken. Dit model werkt op zich prima bij de Vrankrijk en de Plantagedok. Dat de ‘ouwe lullen’ optie niet risicoloos is werd onlangs bewezen bij de situatie van de camping in Appelscha. Daar dreigde de stichting de camping te verkopen. De vereniging van kampeerders moest onder druk de camping toen terugkopen van de stichting. Het kapitaalgevaar is ook de reden dat Nieuwland niet in het bezit is gekomen van Nieuwland zelf maar eigendom is van Woningbouwvereniging Soweto. Van deze vereniging zijn niet alleen de bewoners van Nieuwland lid, maar ook anderen. Dat zorgt er voor dat de bewoners hun eigen pand niet kunnen verkopen, maar ook dat de ‘ouwe lullen’ niet zo maar het pand kunnen verkopen. Zo’n woningbouwvereniging lijkt een beetje op een huisbaas, en dat was voor Bajesdorp de reden om samen te gaan werken met Vrijcoop (een spinoff van Soweto). Hier wordt een constructie gebruikt waar de gezamenlijk opgerichte vereniging waarvan beiden de enige twee leden zijn de eigenaar is. Dit model wordt in Duitsland door het Mietshauser Syndikat al decennialang gebruikt en groeit nog steeds. Vrijcoop is de Nederlandse tak, en niet alleen Bajesdorp gebruikt dit model, maar ook het Ecodorp in Boekel. Wil je meevechten voor autonoom vastgoed? Binnenkort wordt er een studietour langs Amsterdamse panden die collectief vastgoed hebben of willen geörganiseerd. Meld je aan via: Ook zal er een workshop zijn tijdens het 2D.h5 festival in Utrecht, voor dag en tijd zie: Meer info: Amsterdam Alternative is ook bezig met het organiseren van collectief eigendom. Amsterdam Alternative Collectief Eigendom: Soweto: Mietshauser Syndikat: Vrijcoop: Bajesdorp:   Photo: Marian Miczka
Issue #028 Published: 14-01-2020 // Written by: Jeffrey’s Underground Cinema
Goodbye to yesterday - Neglected German New Wave Cinema
After World War II, one of the first things that cropped up in West German cinema were the weird Heimat films of the 1950s. Set in the bliss of the beautiful countryside, their function was clearly to escape from an even deny the global catastrophe Germany had just caused. The settings were pristine, somehow well-managed and in perfect order. If a conflict ever arises, it inevitably involves a love story. Romy Schneider’s famous Sissi movies, for instance, were a subgenre of the Heimat films. Why such infantile denial? Well, the country had been divided into East and West quickly after the war. When the Americans, together with the British and French, occupied the West and the Russians the East, each side took a different attitude to its recent history.  East Germany committed itself never to allow the recent horrors to happen again. Officials of the old regime were mostly thrown out of positions of power; Nazi businesses were closed down. The West, in contrast, was in a hurry to forget the past and rebuild the country with as little reflection as possible, relying on the help of the Americans. Many Nazis from the East fled to the West, where they were allowed to flourish again. This set up a situation that would run through West German history and cinema ever since. Fortunately, there was more to post-war German cinema than just Heimat films. A different kind of filmmaking emerged with the New German Cinema movement at the Oberhausen film festival in 1962. At this event, directors demanded a cinema that was relevant and engaged with social issues. A guy named Alexander Kluge kicked things off with a marvellous film called Yesterday Girl, about a woman from East Germany who escapes to the West to find that it has its own forms of repression, control and censorship. The movies that were spawned from this movement were low budget, and because not much money was involved, allowed for maximum artistic freedom. In the late 60s, this cinema movement grew hand in hand with the student revolts. A new generation realized that their parents had been responsible for one of the greatest genocides of the century. They had been told that a phase of de-Nazification had supposedly taken place, and yet many former Nazis were now leading government officials, industrialists and bankers. For example, even the chancellor, Kurt Georg Kiesinger, had been a Nazi. When demonstrations and peaceful activism proved ineffective, some activists moved into militant struggle. The most famous militant group formed at the time was the Baader-Meinhof Group or Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF). These people were largely artists, filmmakers and reporters, who were deeply concerned about the direction their country was taking but eventually saw no other option than to adopt the deadly methods of terrorism. The German government responded by turning the country into a police state. There was police brutality, mass surveillance, the shutting down of alternative media, roadblocks where everyone was searched and identified – a total violation of human rights and civil liberties in the name of security. There were manhunts being conducted throughout the country to capture and silence radical left-wing alternative groups. The films of the German New Wave reflected this world, and dealt with these issues head-on. It is my belief that cinema helps us understand history. And I’m not talking about costume dramas here. Almost every film, even a fiction film, becomes a documentary about its own time. We see how people thought, how they dressed, and how society worked. Some say that these films are dated. Not me. I see them as creating alternatives that unlock us from the fatalism of the present moment. They help us dream, but they also reveal a bigger picture. On January 8 the Goethe Institute will screen a series of these films, roughly in chronological order. Some are offbeat movies by more well-known directors like Fassbinder and Herzog. Others are by more obscure artists, like the visionary Harun Farocki. The screenings will be held twice a month on Wednesdays, from January to June, and I have made sure that the entrance is free. A free 48-page English booklet called ‘Abschied von gestern’ will be available at the screenings. It is an overview of fifty years of German history and cinema, including the Berlin counterculture of the 80s. The booklet concludes with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, when West Germany annexed the East. And although the previous Cold War might have come to an end, a new ‘cold world’ perhaps began to take root.  
Issue #028 Published: 13-01-2020 // Written by: Jasmine Nihmey Vasdi
Moving Forward with Ecofeminism: Find Your Community
Ecofeminism: the belief that humans should work together to dismantle the patriarchy and begin to work with nature by healing our relationship with the earth, instead of exploiting the land and its people, especially minorities. Ecofeminism begins with individual action, however, individual action alone is not enough to dismantle the patriarchy without forming a community. We must also understand that an effective reaction to climate disaster hinges on the removal of both the societal toxins and environmental toxins from our planet. A frequent argument is that humanity per se  is to blame for our current environmental crisis, but we must realize that, as stated by Ecofeminist scholar Chaia Heller: “humanity has not destroyed the planet, 1% of humanity has destroyed the planet” (1). By understanding this, we cannot lose hope, instead we gain the courage to fight back against the system and its corporations. Thunbergian activism, along with many other advocates, such as Autumn Peltier (who heartbreakingly asked the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau for clean water), are figures we should align ourselves with in this fight for our planet. Spiritual Ecofeminists, like Winona LaDuke, are adamant that: “Earth-based spiritual practice is how we renew, strengthen and retain our relationship with the earth”1. An Earth-based spiritual practice can be defined as any ritual or routine in which we as humans give thanks for this Earth, simple activities such as gardening or composting can be included in this. It is any act of respect that is practiced towards our planet. This is key and how we as individuals can further our understanding of Mother Nature and her power, while also recognizing how we can promote this awareness on a larger scale. Also, by reaching out to others in our community who participate in this Earth-based practice, we are forming our own safe organizations, allowing Ecofeminism to bloom in an organic manner. Climate Activist and Ecofeminist Scholar Greta Gaard describes Social Ecofeminism as a stream of Anarcha-Feminism influenced by social ecology, “which looks at how relations between humans shape the way that humans relate to nature”1. Forming communities with a shared belief of how equality stretches across all of Earth’s beings is a major headway into the hierarchical destruction of the 1%. For example, Ecofeminist Activist, Vandana Shiva has gone to great lengths to create communities in India where people can learn about Ecofeminism and sustainable practices. She has pointed out: “What do the corporations do? Go after the scientists” (2), therefore, she creates her own activist associations and immerses herself in different councils around the world, like the World Future Council, where an Ecofeminist angle is essential when discussing the future of Earth. She actively battles against massive corporations (i.e. Monsanto) and supports the scientific research into aspects of our society, for instance, GMOs, which are silently oppressing the Earth and all its beings. By encouraging a dialogue within the community, accompanied by individual action that ripples through society, and non-violently opposing the hierarchal operations that currently dominate the world, there is hope for our planet and all her beings. Interested in learning more about Ecofeminism and our Climate Emergency? • Economics As If The Earth Really • Mattered by Susan Meeker-Lowry • This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction • Rebellion Handbook • Making Peace with the Earth • by Vandana Shiva • Thinking Green: A Documentary • by Greta Gaard and Shawn Boeser 1) “Ecofeminism Now!” Youtube, Produced by Greta Gaard, 1996, 2) “Vandana Shiva - Sages and Scientists” Youtube, Produced by The Chopra Foundation, 2013,
Issue #028 Published: 09-01-2020 // Written by: De Sneevlietjes
Burgemeester Halsema verder op oorlogspad
De burgemeester van Amsterdam kwam in december met een heel speciale kerstboodschap: in 2020 gaat ze krakers, ongedocumenteerden, klimaatactivisten en andere activisten nóg harder aanpakken. Vanaf haar ambtsaanvaarding als burgemeester is Halsema op oorlogspad tegen alles wat actie voert vanuit een linkse politieke overtuiging: de krakers van de ADM, de studenten die het PC Hoofthuis bezetten, de klimaatactivisten van Extinction Rebellion, de ongedocumenteerden van We Are Here, de eco-boerderij in de Lutkemeer en ouderen die actie voeren tegen de verkoop van sociale huurwoningen. De lijst is lang en kan maar tot een conclusie leiden: deze burgemeester is autoritair en reageert hysterisch op elke vorm van burgerlijke ongehoorzaamheid. Maar nu heeft zij dus aangekondigd om er nog een schepje bovenop te gooien: - de vreemdelingenpolitie mag ongedocumenteerden die strafbare feiten plegen, zoals kraken, gaan oppakken, - kraakzaken worden sneller door de rechtbank behandeld (sinds wanneer laten rechters zich voor een karretje spannen?), - ontruiming van kraakpanden worden niet meer aangekondigd, maar zal gebeuren bij overval. Dit bovenop de eerdere aankondiging dat ze geen bezettingen van kruispunten of gebouwen meer zal tolereren: direct de ME erop af. Wat voor stad wil Halsema: Amsterdam als Gentrificatiestad: de stad waar de vastgoed maffia de baas is en grote groepen uit de stad moeten vertrekken. Halsema is daar heel duidelijk in: “vastgoed eigenaren moeten voortvarend in het gelijk gesteld worden, zodat de politie tegen krakers kan optreden” (Het Parool 14-12-19). Amsterdam als Exclusieve Stad: de stad waarin geen plaats is voor afwijkende groepen; inclusiviteit en diversiteit zijn mooi zolang het de vrije markt dient, maar zodra het politiek wordt, is het afgelopen. Amsterdam als Angstige Stad ofwel Fearful City: Afschrikken, intimideren, bang maken. Burgers mogen participeren binnen de lijntjes die het stadsbestuur heeft getrokken, daarbuiten heerst de lange lat. Waarom gebeurt dit? Het moet van Den Haag: de burgemeester is hier door de regering neergezet en is te slap om een eigen lijn te kiezen; zij is een “puppet on the string”. Ze is aangeschoten wild van De Telegraaf en Geen Stijl; al van voordat ze burgemeester werd voeren deze media een permanente moddergooi campagne tegen haar. Of wil ze alvast tegemoet komen aan FvD: straks komt – door het blokkeren van links verzet en alternatief -  de FvD in de regering en Amsterdam wordt daar alvast voor klaar gemaakt. Wat nu? “De overtuiging dat de wijze waarop de Nederlandse staat functioneert onvoldoende oplossingen biedt voor de fundamentele problemen waarvoor we nu staan: het klimaatvraagstuk, de migratieproblematiek, de groeiende ongelijkheid en de vermenging van de boven- en onderwereld (….) betekent dat wij onze stem moeten verheffen en – als dat nodig is – verzet moeten aantekenen.” Dat schrijft Herman Tjeenk Willink (minister van staat, ex vice-voorzitter Raad van State,) in zijn boekje Groter Denken, Kleiner Doen (2018). Verzet en burgerlijke ongehoorzaamheid zijn in zijn ogen nodig “om de democratische rechtsorde overeind te houden.” Verzet is en blijft noodzaak.