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1/7/2019 / Issue #025 / Text: K. Duck, V. Cacialano, S. Smith

Freakatoni Witchy Weekends 

Freakatoni Witchy Weekend is 3 weekends of artist-led, multidisciplinary performances held at the OT301 in Amsterdam (2 -17 August). Katie Duck and her colleagues were motivated to create an independent arts project that would contrast the competitive spirit that is now common among artists. They devised economic strategies that promote transparency, with a broad criteria for artistic and political diversity. They reached out to multidisciplinary international artists, inviting them to come to Amsterdam in order to create, innovate and perform. Thanks to these economic innovations, Freakatoni Witchy Weekends has run for 10 years without the limitations of government funding.

In the past, when an artist initiated a project, they looked to the “funding organisations”. But in these caustic ultra-conservative and hyper-reality-economic times, there is a trend to support artists who are already established or finalised with words like legacy, legendary and masterpiece. These words can be translated to mean cost effective while words like raw, rude, improvisation and spontaneous are lost in the dialogue, or translated into the conformity of what is becoming a new ‘corporate-aesthetic’ for art. This shift is changing the perception of art to resonate as “product” and even more scary, art as a “brand”.
Rising real-estate costs and budget cuts have left alternative spaces such as the OT301, struggling to survive. Artists who declare loud and proud today that they are experimental and that they choose to engage in untested ideas or techniques have very few locations where they can share their work with publics.

Corporate-aesthetic events created by the already established artists appear to be creating empires with their obvious high production expenses and high priced tickets. This has led us towards a twisted illusion of what art is in culture today. Art has to be in a constant state of invention in order to have a direct contribution to culture because our cultures are in a constant flux. There is a value for artists to be in front of an audience with the chance to show spontaneous, raw innovations. There is a value to make these types of events accessible and affordable for publics. Ultimately, it should be the collaboration between an artist and their audience that defines what art is today. Entrance fees need to be lowered, and the chance to interact and affect the event needs to feel like a real possibility.

Artists find themselves engaged in a David and Goliath-like competition with the established, empirical art companies and funding bodies. Our corporate-aesthetic climate cannot facilitate a positive vision of how artists and the public can contribute to the future of art. Freakatoni Witchy Weekends was conceived to remedy this situation.

The artists who gather for the Freakatoni Witchy Weekends project are musicians, actors, poets, singers and dancers from all backgrounds, ages, orientations, countries and experiences. These artists have a passion to create real time performances with a vision for what, where, and how they wish to engage with public, in a varied program comprising of dance, music, physical theatre, poetry and stand-up comedy. It is at Freakatoni Witchy Weekends that the next generation of cutting edge artists are given a stage to showcase their work. 

Freakatoni Witchy Weekend 2019 performances take place August 2-3 & 9-10 & 16-17 on the bottom floor of the OT301. Each evening is in two parts with an event in the Studio 1 theatre, followed by a Music Theatre event in the BAR area finishing each night with a live band. Each event is accompanied by a MC Performance Artist, and illuminated by a distinguished real time light designer.

Doors open at 19:30, events begin at 20:00 until 23:00. The entrance fee for public is 5 and the drinks at the bar are served at affordable prices. Come join the artists at the OT301 with their events, live band, smoking room and bar in an open atmosphere to engage in the celebration of experimental Performance Art and Music at its best.

Full program here