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Issue #005 articles
Issue #005 Published: 05-01-2016 // Written by: Fair City
Fair City Amsterdam
UITNODIGING om mee te doen aan het initiatief Amsterdam Fair City, voor een leefbare en sociale stad. Het eerste half jaar van 2016 is Nederland voorzitter van de Europese Unie. De afsluitende EU-top  zal in juni in Amsterdam gehouden worden. Naar aanleiding hiervan is er vanuit de Europese Unie een ‘Pact van Amsterdam’ in voorbereiding rond stedelijk beleid en betere regelgeving. De focus ligt, nogal eenzijdig, op de toename van economische investeringen. Het pact moet op de top in juni ondertekend worden door de 28 regeringsleiders. Op het moment dat internationaal de ogen op Amsterdam gericht zijn, gaan we tegenwicht bieden. Wij willen met Fair City een eerlijke stad laten zien waar zaken als diversiteit, milieuvriendelijkheid, betaalbaar wonen, kleinschaligheid, goede sociale voorzieningen, gelijke kansen en een ontspannen sfeer centraal staan. Hierbij kijken we ook naar ervaringen die zijn opgedaan in andere Europese steden zoals Barcelona en Londen. Fair City is een paraplu voor initiatieven, organisaties en personen die zich met allerlei stedelijke problemen in Amsterdam bezig houden: van (buurt)actiegroepen en huurdersverenigingen tot milieuclubs en studentenbewegingen, maar ook (organisaties van) daklozen en vluchtelingen. We vragen organisaties en initiatieven en iedereen die mee wil doen om dit initiatief te onderschrijven. Zo kunnen we de organisatie de komende tijd samen vormgeven en een beweging op gang brengen die de komende maanden het belang van een eerlijke stad onder de aandacht brengt. De bedoeling is dat iedereen op zijn of haar eigen manier mee doet. Onder de noemer Fair City zal er dan de komende tijd overal in Amsterdam van alles georganiseerd kunnen worden: debatten, stadswandelingen, acties, culturele evenementen, conferenties (i.s.m de UvA), manifestaties etc. Eind mei zal, net voor de EU-top, een afsluitende manifestatie georganiseerd worden, waar alle deelnemers aan Fair City en allen die zich betrokken voelen gezamenlijk hun stem laten horen. We hopen dat je, al dan niet namens een organisatie, mee wilt bouwen aan Fair City. Op dit moment is een initiatiefgroep gestart en worden er rond verschillende thema’s groepen gevormd (wonen, diversiteit, vluchtelingen, milieu, studenten etc.). Velen kunnen zich nog aansluiten.   Inmiddels aangemelde personen, organisaties en initiatieven: Ruud (Het nieuwe Spinhuis) Eline (Bewonerscollectief Nieuwland) Maks (Vondelbunker, Schijnheilig) Karen van den Brand (Vluchtelingen-) Virginie Mamadouh (UvA en INURA) Danielle (INURA) Quico Touw (Cinetol) Ivo Schmetz (Amsterdam Alternative) Roel Griffioen (onderzoeker en journalist) Floris Hesseling (Schijnheilig, Recht op stad) Mitchell Esajas (New Urban Collective) Patrice Riemens (INURA) Sebastian Olma (Expertisecentrum Kunst en Vormgeving) Bart Stuart (bewonersgroep Van der Pekbuurt) Jeroen Jonkers (Geef om de Jan Eef) Tjerk Dalhuizen (Wijksteunpunt Wonen) Gert-Jan Bakker (Amsterdams Steunpunt Wonen Aukje Polder (ADM) Chris Keulemans (ASKV) Han Wanders (Initiatief Betaalbaar Wonen Amsterdam Noord) Eric Duivenvoorden (Vrije Ruimte en LOLA) Dingeman Coumou (Huurdersvereniging Centrum) Jaap Draaisma (Urban Resort, Vrije Ruimte) Danielle Sonder (Bajesdorp) Nienke Jansen (OT301) Contactpersonen Fair City zijn Danielle Sonder Nienke Jansen. Danielle // 06-37094735 // Nienke // 06-14390421 // Algemeen:    
Issue #005 Published: 05-01-2016 // Written by: AKG @ Filmhuis cavia
Future Europe
Oh, joy, we have a six-month-long cultural festival on our hands. The Netherlands is presiding over the European Union from January 1st to June 30th and apparently it’s customary for a cultural programme to run alongside the presidency. (Like how Zwarte Piet is customary.) The themes championed by the Dutch presidency this year are unity, innovation and commitment. (ho ho. Big words. Tall promises.) The Future Europe festival, a “major cultural festival”, has been organised by three Dutch “cultural entrepreneurs” De Vries (De Vries Producties), Van Schaik and Fransen (Pakhuis de Zwijger) through their joint foundation Plan C. “Amsterdam will be a cultural capital and inspiring example for our society, by providing solutions for everyday living and being a canvas on which creatives and citizens can paint a picture of Europe’s future.” I’m excited. I love culture. Who doesn’t love a bit of culture? What’s funny though, is that they start to introduce this cultural festival on their website, after explaining the Dutch presidency of the EU, by saying- “But it won’t all be about politics.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I would have said culture and politics are inextricably linked. Especially when we are talking about our future... Whilst some of us do not have the luxury of separating politics from culture, (our lives are political,) in mainstream society, these two things are pretty separate and politicians need it to be that way. Most people are only remotely aware of the presence and goings on of central government. People do not have an interest in politics, let alone a comprehensive knowledge of it. They do not actively engage. They do not need to. The majority of people’s lives are comfortable enough that It doesn’t make that much difference who runs their country. This is the best set-up for the political world because it’s how they can get away with doing whatever they want. People don’t notice, and even if we do notice and start to ask questions, all that means for politicians is now they have to waste time coming up with lies about how unharmful their policies are. My favourite part of this cultural festival they are throwing? “The Wall”: “The 450-meter long brick wall which encloses the Marine base and will physically separate the politicians from the public… will actually be used to enhance the communication between those two worlds.” You heard it here first. Two worlds. And somehow, these two worlds will be communicating through art installations and performances. They are referring to the world of ‘Public and culture’ and the world of ‘Politicians and Politics’, but they might as well be talking about communication between a world where people need to eat and a world where people are just a number. (If people aren’t respected, how can we communicate?) That’s how it needs to be though. In a society where the first and foremost concern is profit margins and growth, politics is a money game. (Funny thing that isn’t inherently profitable; Creativity.) Our culture creates us and if politics isn’t a part of our culture, then it is not a part of us. We do not see ourselves as, and therefore, are not political agents. If we are not political agents then we have no control over our lives or our future. This Future Europe, “Europe by People” (how funny), festival will be nothing more than another charade. The only part of it I’m remotely curious about is the “FabCity” which will be popping up on the IJ at some point. It will be a model self-sufficient society, so I wonder what that’s going to entail. But although I hope we do, I’m almost positive that we are not going to talk about what really needs to happen for us to have a future. The changes that actually need to be made to our society. We are not going to actually talk about our meat industry, our mining, our pollution, our sexism, our racism, because we are not going to talk about our capitalism. Capitalism needs oppression. It is a system based on exploitation. Oppression increases the ability of capitalism to exploit. Oppression is the systematic imposition of inferior conditions of life on particular groups of people. And racism (and sexism, by the way) which we refuse to deal with, (that’s both) facilitates this social hierarchy. It’s ironic that Amsterdam will be used as an inspiring example for the festival. This City, which is busy being turned into a playground for the rich. In a country rife with racist statements from politicians and police brutality. With a liberal population perfectly comfortable in it’s denial of its social inequality and exclusion. It’s a shame because we could really learn a lot from each other. It’s one of the reasons we find it important to show world films at Cavia. Different perspectives on life, love and the moon can only come from outside of your world. But that’s not going to happen for the kind of people who think that Morrocan culture, for instance, is inferior to their own. (How base.) Widening your perspectives can only happen if you respect difference. If you only tolerate difference then you will never take it seriously. You will never let it change you. And if we are looking for a future, we need to change. That much is clear. All quotes taken from -  
Issue #005 Published: 05-01-2016 // Written by: Arnold de Boer
The metro network of music
Far below sea level, in the basement of the underground of the Rhine and Meuse delta you find people and places that are connected to a world wide network of autonomous music. It can be described as a subway network where musicians and music fanatics travel from station to station but also are part of a station themselves. Those people are the ones who set up shows, volunteer at the venues, squats or bars, put down matrasses for artists, stick posters on the walls, spam the social media and cook the meals for all people involved in the show of some particular night. And most often they are a musician or a DJ or a booker or label owner or a promoter or a record seller too. I am such a person; a musician but also promoter and volunteer at an underground music venue and quite often artists sleep at my house. I have also done around 2000 gigs in at least 35 different countries and met like-minded people everywhere. All the time there were people waiting for me, who set up a show, organize food and drinks and a place to sleep, did the promotion and arranged a stage and sound system. I know them through other musicians or because they passed by Amsterdam and invited me to their neck of the woods. This network goes all over Europe and North America but also pretty deep into South America, Asia and Australia and is sometimes touching Africa too. In January 2015 a little baby was born, my first child, and I decided for this year to not book three week Zea (my solo project) tours. The band I play in, called The Ex, already has a rule of keeping the tours at ten days maximum, which meant I had time to say yes to all the requests that came from nearby, from the lowlands. So in 2015 I played at least seventeen times in an underground place somewhere in The Netherlands. And I saw a new, good and growing underground scene. Around ten years ago the lowlands underground was obviously imploding. Since 1999 many cities in The Netherlands lost their ability to book weird music, strange bands and unknown artists because they lost their squats and cultural centers to huge prestige projects from local governments who found it necessary to put their cultural money into stones. The one building bigger and fancier than the other, looking very “modern” but killing for the local music fanatics who lost their place to set up shows. Buildings applauded to by civil servants and their contractors but hated by the musicians, bookers, promoters and even their own staff. Dead rooms, back-stage on the fifth floor, blunt security people, the list is long. And the big cities could survive, although Rotterdam has been struggling for years, but smaller cities were lost. Youth centers with very low doorsteps, where young people could walk in with excitement and a few ideas and get involved in art and music and build up experience and knowledge about how to get around the world of sound, while helping at the bar and not having to lay down accountability to superiors, parents or teachers, were gone. Given up for places that need much more money and can’t work with volunteers because the equipment is too fancy. Given up for places that need lots of security and look like airports, where its forbidden to stick up a poster and even if the place is a fusion of a few local youth centers, it has more overhead costs than all those independent places had together. Yes, in the new buildings you can discover some young kids, but they are there because of their “stageplek”, internship, and they have no direct connection with the place. They only need points and a good rating and go back to the Rock School or Pop Academy. And then hope they can once work at a big festival or such. All connection between local kids and their place for noise and fun seemed to be gone. Until a few years ago. I guess a vacuum can only last so long and it gets filled with fresh air again. A new generation, excited about strange sounds, has been looking and finding new ways and new places to make off-kilter, independent and subversive music heard and seen. Or sometimes there are some older people who have the energy to do the same thing again as they did in the eighties; find an abandoned place and make it your own and keep the people who claim to own the building away from the doorstep. For a while. There is not one format or mold for such initiatives. It depends on people and places, on groups and cities. Sometimes it’s an empty factory, sometimes it’s a former prison and sometimes it’s a basement of a 16th century historical building. But always it has people involved who are craving for new sounds, for adventurous concert and dance nights and for down to earth simple interaction without security. There is not a governmental organization directly involved. They might come later. They might try to support the initiatives by not blocking them and by not offering to take over with a bag full of money and requests. The place I am involved with the most is OCCII in Amsterdam. It’s down the street of my house, a seven minute walk. I did my first little festival there in 1998 and became a volunteer in 2001. There has been an innumerable amount of musician staying at my house, I have organized countless shows in OCCII and I might be the artist who has played there the most times (as Zea and with The Ex). And it doesn’t get boring because it’s not only me and a fixed group of others walking around there. It’s an ongoing stream of people and collectives who set up nights at OCCII. Okay, the kids theater is solid. And Sjoerd, the coordinator since 2005, is solid. But things are always changing; improving I must say. The building itself is remarkable. Built in the twenties of the last century to function as a horse tram stable and used as an architect experiment inspired by the old Russian tale about the “hut on chicken-legs”. OCCII was squatted thirty years ago, got legalized and is part of De Binnenpret, the name of the whole block, and is autonomous in it’s creative programming. A few years ago the front of OCCII was restored with some money of Monumentenzorg, with a lot of help from the OCCII volunteers. Last summer OCCII got a whole new floor and fresh makeover on the inside. I can see closely how this all comes along since I joined the board two years ago and still go to volunteer meetings too. There is hardly a place like OCCII left in Amsterdam, even in the whole of The Netherlands, and OCCII is mentioned by many international touring bands a special and inspiring place. Volunteers walk in on their own account. Usually they come to see a concert, like the place and find out it’s run by volunteers and decide they like to get involved; put time into music and get great concert nights back. It’s as simple as that. Although the coordination of all the volunteers became too much for Sjoerd a few years ago and OCCII got the opportunity to get support from the Stadsdeel Amsterdam Zuid, the borough where OCCII is based. People from the Stadsdeel came to see OCCII and told us we should apply and they wanted to support OCCII. We took it. And now OCCII can afford someone who coordinates all the volunteers and helps with lots of other work too, she is called Hilde. It’s half a job but it’s double the help. We don’t know how long this can be sustained but it surely helps make more good music nights possible in Amsterdam (Zuid). The other sixteen Dutch underground places I played this year are completely different from OCCII. Which is logical in itself. No two groups of people without a mold, in different surroundings, will create exactly the same venue and organization, as opposed to the big black fancy boxes I spoke about earlier.   If you made it to the end of this piece, if you want to get involved, if you are a musician, booker, promoter, DJ, label owner, cassette dubber or other sort of music fanatic who is glued to the urge of underground music, if you are about to step into the metro or are busy building a station, I wish you good luck. In the meantime I like to thank Vechtclub, Simplon, Next to Jaap, WORM, Derde Wal, Media Bunker, De Bakkerij, Café de Ruimte, Vrankrijk, Witte Vila, Asteriks, Vrijplaats Leiden, Swaf, Ruimte voor de Kunst, De Nieuwe Anita and OCCII of course for helping to make great and special nights and having me play in 2015. But I like to mention also Lepel, De Onderbroek, Extrapool, Gifgrond, Landbouwbelang, OT301, Huize Pinto, Plantage Dok, De Roze Tanker, Zaal 100, Splendor, Roodkapje, dB’s, ACU, EKKO, De Vijfpoort, El Atico, KNG 56, De Groote Wijver, AA Leiden, for you to go and check out. And the list is much longer. There is a lot of free space again under the ground.  
Issue #005 Published: 05-01-2016 // Written by: Berk (ADM)
Job offer; full time! Ambitious formalist capable of dissociating actions from ethics to help relocate/evict the illegal occupants of the ADM terrain.
The majority of the curious readers of this add enter the gates of the ADM ‘Amsterdam Doe Maatschapij’ once or twice a year. But with the right code or good timing anybody can taste the flavours of this unique experiment. This place is not limited to the annual festivals or events that are publicly presented but it’s real experimental/autonomous/anarcho playground. Housing more that 100 people from all ages and of all possible back grounds. It is an oasis in the industrial desert of the Amsterdam harbour. It has become one of the symbols of the free and tolerant Amsterdam of the past. But, now every thing is getting fucked up. If your unaware? Just ask someone on the outside of the bubble, oh yeah there’s nobody out there. After being squatted for 18 years the doggie ‘owners’ seems to show some interest in developing the ±4 acres of industrial harbour land. Scrap shipyard, development, growth, business they argu in the court room while they paddle away from salvation on a badly inflated life raft. A shortsighted romanticised nostalgia haunts “le porte Amsterdam’, while the hot air balloons suffocate the green banks of the north sea canal. Although the Amsterdam harbour wants to present itself as the greenest of Europe it is the biggest Gasoline over-shipment harbour of Europe. ‘Right’ logic? They fail to take a decision between the present ADM community versus the doggie promises of a company well known for selling hot air. Like a community garden being trampled by huge mechanical turtles programmed at the brink of the industrial revolution. Ohkay Amsterdam has a job offer for aspiring bureaucrat to take responsibility of the repositioning/evicting of the people of the ADM. Who wants this on their CURRICULUM VITAE? After the squatting ban in 2010, the decay of social solidarity, gentrification and austerity, Amsterdam is been having trouble with keeping it’s Alternative/underground scene inside the ring. It’s tried to give it a legal place to breed but still  prices are too high to let anything prophetic happen. When bier is more expensive than the entree fee and going out to the club is like going though the security check at Schiphol the promised free Amsterdam is a fantasy. Boohoo. This doesn’t have to be reality. Reclaim space and time. Creative innovation is the only way forward. This town thrives on the chaos magicians and free roaming freaks maintaining subversive options. But if you are happy that these types are moved to other dimensions and alternatives are made impossible then this is a job for you.
Issue #005 Published: 05-01-2016 // Written by: Roberto Bacchilega
AstaroTheatro Omnia Sunt Communia Theatre & Activism
Theatre is a language, theatre is expression, theatre is desire for communication. In Amsterdam many people tend to associate theatre with a box with a label on it: a building where the bourgeoisie celebrates rituals of endlessly and stiffly repetition of classical texts. Others are just satisfied with (stand up) comedies that mainly entertain with jokes often based on sexism or stereotypes. In general theatre is considered boring, dull, ‘old’. And theatre is more and more an endangered specie. Lots of people never experienced what theatre really is: an art speaking to us ‘live’, touching our fantasy and our soul. The cathartic power of theatre has the property to change our conscience and thus to make us different persons. Theatre is an act of courage, of inspiration, of endless experimentation. So it’s not an exaggeration to say the theatre, the ‘living theatre’ is political. It has an activist value because it will directly or indirectly address society as political subject. So every attempt to close theatre ‘in a box’ should be looked at with critical eyes. Theatre must have a critical disposition: “How do you examine yourself, what happens when you begin to call into question your tacit assumptions and unarticulated presuppositions and begin then to become a different kind of person?” What we try to do in the little space of AstaroTheatro is to keep the true spirit of theatre alive. And we are not satisfied with it. We like to host all (performing) arts. Artist with a message, engaged artists are welcome at AstaroTheatro. And we want to believe in Human Beings. So here comes the story (storytelling?) of our name! Once upon a time there was a devil. His name is Astaroth. He lived underground in a deep, dark, smoky corner of hell working hard every day to receive and to judge the damned souls of mortals who just died on the earth above. His judgement became orders for the dead: “Go to the bottom of hell!” “Burn there for eternity!” Thousands, millions of souls every day, year after year, century after century, from the beginning till the end of times. Lately Astaroth had to deal with a corrupt man, with an intellectual-chic girl and with a fame-craving poet chanting his verses to the political elite financing him. He had even to judge a poor truck driver dead in a huge road accident and sent to him in hell by mistake. That was too much! Enough! Astaroth had enough of it! He got diabolically angry, his rage and fury exploded and he went on strike. He didn’t want to judge anybody anymore; he didn’t feel like deciding for a soul’s eternal destiny anymore. Justice and judgements are connected to “the absolute contingency of meaning” and this was enough for Astaroth to rethink his role of judge, his role of being. And now it comes: Astaroth decided to put an end to his career as a devil. He just wanted to be a special kind of being: a Human Being. And just like a human being he wanted to sit quietly in the countryside and to enjoy being a man. And there we can still find him, in summer, at dusk, listening to the crickets… You can find the tale of Astaroth in the homonymous theatre play of the Italian writer Stefano Benni. A group of actors performed this play in Amsterdam several years ago. From Astaroth comes AstaroTheatro still with the same central idea: to privilege “to be Human” and to think and rethink ourselves, to interrogate ourselves and the word. AstaroTheatro is an independent, non-mainstream open space for theatre, arts, music, cultures, movies, events, discussions, activism. A place where to meet for real and to share. AstaroTheatro aims at creating community and awareness. AstaroTheatro is an intimate, free space where actors, musicians and artists are welcome to perform, to play, to give and to receive inspirations. The atmosphere is international: audience and performers are borderless just like the culture we love to experience.