On collective experiences at PROJECT ID – In Between Identities

On collective experiences at PROJECT ID – In Between Identities
Fenia Kotsopoulou performing at Fluffy Library Athens, January 2019, photo by Daz Disley

‘PROJECT ID – In Between Identities’ is the brainchild of performance artist and organizer Jolanda Jansen and P.S. Performance Site. P.S. Performance Site spearheads the practice of performance art in The Hague to enable better access to the art form.

With the project almost two years in the works, Jansen and P.S. Performance Site invited Marilyn Arsem and artist duo VestAndPage (Verena Stenke and Andrea Pagnes), to collaborate for their first time together in The Hague. Arsem is a renowned artist and member/founder of Mobius, Inc., an interdisciplinary collaborative of artists. She has been in The Netherlands for the past month, arriving in the Hague directly from a durational performance at Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam. VestAndPage, who have backgrounds in philosophy, visual art and theatre, have been active in exploring performance art both as collaborators, researchers and organizers since 2006.


On collective experiences at PROJECT ID – In Between Identities
Seven Disappearances, durational performance by Marilyn Arsem, TIME SPACE BODY OBJECT – Part 4, Isles Art Initiative, Spectacle Island, Boston Harbor, MA, August 1, 2015, photo by Nabeela Vega

Over the past two weeks, they have been involved in the creation of, in their own words, a temporary artist community, with the project culminating in a collective performance opera. I was able to observe a small piece of the first day, held at Maakhaven, located just outside the city center of The Hague, and was struck by the vulnerability shared. Within a short amount of time, organizers were able to build trust, within the participants themselves and those around them. With such a diverse group of performers, the process from idea to actual work, felt sacred. Witnessing the energy the first day and then again the third, it was evident how radically the group’s energy had morphed. Instead of a workshop, it felt to me like the facilitation of the many possibilities of collective expression.

This collaboration between Arsem, affectionately referred to as the godmother of the team, and VestAndPage has been an experiment thus far. The edges of Arsem and VestAndPage’s practices are revealed in the separation of the instruction of the workshop, with the first three days lead by VestAndPage, the following three days lead by Arsem and then coming to a head in the creation of the collective performance opera. This year, the theme focuses around our own concepts of identity.

The collective performance opera, a process employed frequently by VestAndPage, aims to keep a methodological approach, while staying open to unpredictability. Each performance opera is an experiment because it is founded on that labor (which comes from the Latin noun of the word of opera, work) of a group of artists that try to find a moment of dialogue with different styles/languages that they bring into the performance space, the common ground. According to the organizers, each performance opera in the past has been completely different, due to the backgrounds of participants. They stress it is always a work in progress and never a final result. Counter to our antiquated ideas of a finished work of art, it is only one moment of a process.

PANTA RHEI VI: Time, performance by VestandPage, Seoul Art Space, 2012, photo by HeiJi Park
Piano piano forte forte, performance by Andrigo&Aliprandi, 2017, photo by Aberto Capuzzo

While conducting interviews throughout the last few weeks, I found myself frequently calling the aforementioned program a festival because of its packed schedule, located throughout The Hague. Speaking to VestAndPage, there was a clear distinction in the choice of words, concerning our particular connotations involving the role of performance art in our lives. The program runs until the 7th of July. In the words of Jansen, “just experience it!”

Participating artists: Danielle Brans (NL), Carmen Lafran (DE/IT), Andrea van Gelder (NL), Albert Smith (South Africa), Hsiang-Yun Huang (Taiwan), Gamze Ozturk (Turkey), Ingrid Adriaans (NL), Lise BOUCON (FR/UK), Fay Burnett (UK), Tess Martens (Canada), Philemon Mukarno (Indonesia/NL), Larysa Bauge (BY/NL), Yvette Teeuwen (NL), Carol Montealegre (Bogotá/ Colombia), Yuki Kobayashi / 小林勇輝n (Japan), Diogo Angeli (Brazil), Carole Novak (FR), Emilio Rojas (US), Oozing Gloop (UK).

PROJECT ID – In Between Identities – July 5 till July 7, 2019
• Performance Opera: July 5, 2019, 7:30 to 11:00 PM, Maakhaven The Hague;
• Live Performances: July 6, 2019, 7:00 to 11:30 PM, De Helena The Hague;
• Live Performances: July 7, 2019, 7:00 to 11:30 PM, De Barhkapel The Hague;
• Study Movie Room: July 5, 2019, 12:00 to 6:00 PM, July 6 and July 7, 2019, 12:00 to 11:30 PM, Ruimtevaart The Hague.