Steamboat is a long term exploratory project by three artscientists Nele Brökelmann, Katarina Petrović and June Yu. We came together under a loosely defined interest and wonderment about the origin. As Bernard Stiegler said: “The question of the origin is what constitutes the whole of human individuation, that is, the whole of desire: the whole of human being insofar as it is essentially desiring.” The quest of origin taken from different perspectives between us is linked by this essential humanly quest of becoming.
We embark on an experimentation in artistic practice and production with a coincidental starting point—Steam(boat). Appearing in a collective scribble that aimed to depict the world of relations in which we operate, the steamboat came to be the carrier term for our transdisciplinary research and collective fiction., The series of experimentations indicate an oscillation between our assumed role as creative singular beings and the societal political responsibility of a creative/artistic practice in today’s world. The series of experimentations we consequently embarked on indicates an oscillation between our assumed roles as creative singular beings and our inherent societal political responsibility as (social beings/soccer players). [where does the responsibility lie: in questioning that there is a grand idea beyond your immediate reality and at building a world for the people?]
Our project has many faces not only because of the multiplicities of our voices, experiences and backgrounds, but also the question of what the role of the artist is as we are currently facing a multitude of catastrophes: ecological, political, and psychical. We inherit the legacy of artistic making and methodologies through the tradition of artistic training, and are confronted by the social political demand of being productive and helpful agents in society. The government wants artists to involve community in their art making so that no one is left out and everyone can learn to manage themselves. “the emergence of a creative and mobile sector serves two purposes: it minimises reliance on the welfare state while also relieving corporations of the burden of responsibilities for a permanent workforce. As such, New Labour considered it important to develop creativity in schools – not because everyone must be an artist (as Joseph Beuys declared),but because the population is increasingly required to assume the individualisation associated with creativity: to be entrepreneurial, embrace risk, look after their own self-interest, perform their own brands, and be willing to self-exploit.”
There seems to be many gaps laying in front of us, between our intention and our skill, between the autonomy of artistic expression and the utilization of social agency, between the understanding and perception of art of different recipients, ….
We are trying to bridge this gap through opening our collective practice to (temporarily) adding people to the collective process.
This project is an initial step to navigate through this muddy water of creative impulse and political/ecological conscience that everyone is facing to various extent. The emphasis is on experimentation, as a way to open up potential ground for sustained mode of artistic making and being that fit the right balance. Therefore our output may take many different shapes depending on each experiment, all tied together through the open quest of artistic making and being, all around the mysterious image that was bestowed upon us—Steamboat.
In our first experiment, Steamboat X Middelburg, the Steamboat presents itself as a mythical figure, our various angling to this subject was illustrated in a video essay, that showcased our attempts in containing and unpacking the steamboat both visually and conceptually. The boat became a carrier of our endeavour thus prompted questions such as how do we keep the boat afloat? How do we navigate through the push-and-pull of endless water?
The second experiment is taking place at Trixie, as Steamboat X The Hague, we switch our attention to the process and mechanism of collective world building/writing. As an initial attempt to address the other pole of our endeavour: political responsibility of a social being. We want to tap into the foggy terrain of collective consciousness, on the terms and negotiation between one another, trying to find new ways of talking, writing together that respects the experience of singular difference. This experiment will shed light on how to build a fluid relation amongst different agents in certain conditions, preparing us to think and develop an aesthetic for the unfinishable becoming.
Our future experiments will either try to find synthesis amongst these multi-driven experiments, or will focus on building a system/structure that sustains this multifaceted monster as a thousand armed Avalokiteśvara, or a hybrid Chimera...
04 - 25 September 2020
Trixie The Hague
The Hague, NL
23 August 2020 Artist talk @ ruimteCAESUUR Nele Brökelmann, Katarina Petrović and June Yu in conversation with Hans Overvliet (ruimteCAESUUR) and Esther van Rosmalen (Witte Rook) read more 11 July - 23 August 2020
Lange Noordstraat 67,
We are a coalition of three artists, Nele Brökelmann, Katarina Petrović and June Yu, all alumni of the ArtScience Interfaculty, Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. We understand that any form of creation exists by virtue of its support system. Within our own field, it is common that works are made in collaboration between artists, technological experts, scientists and other cultural workers. With shared interest in the socio-political, technological and ecological implications of artistic and interdisciplinary practices, we are individually active in several educational, cultural and media projects.
Holding a BA degree in Fine Arts and MMus from ArtScience Interfaculty, Nele has been a co-initiator of a former artist collective Bom Ateliers, as well as the online magazine Witte Rook in Breda and a recurring residency program In het midden at TAC, Eindhoven. Together with Katarina she is a member of an artist-run space Trixie The Hague and is currently curating a film programme at the artist initiative iii, The Hague, called Matters of Being. In collaboration with Gijs van Maanen and Joost Dekker she has been experimenting with an existential reading format, The Act of Reading, reading novels collectively with a group of people for 8 hours straight. She writes and publishes on topics such as mechanisms of institutionalized belief and power structures, and the opposition of active and passive roles within societies.
Katarina attained an MFA from the Academy of Arts in Belgrade and an MMus degree from the ArtScience Interfaculty in The Hague. Over the years she has co-initiated several initiatives including the ArtScience Forum and an art/media project and podcast Femkanje, Belgrade, and has been a member of Trixie The Hague, Stroom Den Haag and the national association of fine artists in Serbia. She is currently an affiliated researcher at the Center Leo Apostel, Vrije Universiteit in Brussels where she is conducting research into generative and creative processes, leading an artscience research group and organising monthly seminar series. Furthermore, she is an associate of the Center for Promotion of Science in Belgrade, Serbia - developing artscience public programs as part of the ArtScience Forum project.
June with a background in astrophysics and a BA in ArtScience, has initiated a series of workshops centering around the idea of multi-species learning during Neuhaus at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. She participated in the program Studium by Witte de With center for contemporary art, experimenting with forms of collective learning. In the past two years, she was involved with a co-design initiative in reviving parts of rural areas in Jiangxi, China. She had previously jointly designed a New Environment of Learning proposed at the Dutch Minister of Education’s event. This environment is envisioned as a participatory modular curriculum system that constantly takes feedback from its environment.