We developed a version of NEXT DOOR in Leipzig 2021 and would love to expand the work with an version from and for Amsterdam: NEXT DOOR XXX.
Especially in times of crisis it becomes clear how certain groups and people fall through the cracks and who is largely excluded from the ofers of help. This group also and especially includes sex workers. An indispensable area of society, which nevertheless remains mostly invisible in everyday life – at least outside of Amsterdam and even there the topic is controversial and often in between politics and social stigma – and a magnet for tourism, which is good and bad, depending on who you ask.
With NEXT DOOR, STUDIO URBANISTAN would like to create access to this conceptual black box and to explore the course of the topic between condemnation and taboo, self determination and victimization, everyday presence and moral reprehensibility; to counter the stigma, to show facets and to think about self-image and everyday work, about physicality and sexuality, about challenges and desires.
STUDIO URBANISTAN approaches the topic through the everyday work environment and the stories that emerge from it. In Leipzig, for example, a large part of sex work takes place in rented apartments. How is it in Amsterdam? We want to meet sex workers in the workplace. What do these places look like? What are typical or very individual items? What is particularly important? What is missing? How do you move around in this workspaces? How does it smell there and what does the working environment say about the situation of sex workers?
A performance was created in a rented apartment in Leipzig in 2021. The spectators enter the apartment alone or in pairs, meet a performer and hear various original sounds from the interviews through headphones or loudly in the room. The rooms are designed very diferently by Sofa Dona and thus become diferent parallel worlds. The performance ends with a private conversation in the “brothel kitchen”.
In Amsterdam we now want to conduct further interviews with sex workers and incorporate them into the performance. What can be transferred from Leipzig? What needs to be rethought? The furnishing of the home can also change in this way. In addition to Aaron Scherer, we will also work with performers from Amsterdam.
Moreover our interest would expand to the olfactorial aspects of Sex work, if the Aromalab would be interested in working with the project.
How does the project fit into the current interests of Mediamatic?
In Amsterdam the subject of sex work is always a very present one - socially and politically. As is so often the case, the groups it afects are only heard marginally, even when their lives and jobs and realities are discussed. NEXT DOOR is a way to make people be heard and, as MEDIAMATIC often does in our eyes, to direct an artistic perspective on current and essential discourses. The focus is on a physical experience of the audience that appeals to all of the senses - one moves through the space in real life, is in contact with a performer and relives moments and scenes with diferent senses - at the same time, the interviews and materials always provide insights into what is behind, in the socio-political level. Classic moments of theater are broken - a modern, artistic examination on diferent levels - that includes the actual actors, the sex workers. All in the spirit of MEDIAMATIC, which does not shy away from "controversial” topics.
We also hope for the support of the Mediamatic network, be it through know-how in the city, the odor specialists of the Aromalab (possibly a 2nd edition of the Odorama about smells and sex “Playhouse”) or other, still unexpected ideas and connections. There are also plans to cooperate with the Prostitution Information Center https://pic-amsterdam.com/ - which has been doing important work for years, and which would enrich the project with expertise and a critical eye.
How could you expand your project even further?
It might be interesting to work with the Aromalab and maybe connect an Odorama to the topic. Moreover a smaller Audionstallation could derive from the project, which can be installaed in MEDIAMATIC headquarters, in the “gardens” or somewhere around for a longer time to leave a trace of the project.
Names and links of everyone involved in the project
- STUDIO URBANISTAN (Julia Lehmann, Clara Minckwitz) – artist director: https://www.studiourbanistan.de/ & https://www.instagram.com/studio_urbanistan/?hl=de
- SOFIA DONA – stage design: https://sofadona.com/ & https://www.instagram.com/sofa_dona_/?hl=de
- AARON/NORA SCHERER – performer, sexworker: noraaaronscherer.com & https://www.instagram.com/futuredaddyyy/?hl=de
- JONAS KLINKENBERG – production: jonasklinkenberg.com & https://www.instagram.com/jonasiolaus
3 weeks for research and interviews, 2 weeks for rehearsals and furnishing the fat. 10 days running the performance.
German TV-Report: https://www.mdr.de/video/mdr-videos/e/video-533014.html
For the team (Clara Minckwitz, Julia Lehmann, Jonas Klinkenberg, Sofa Dona, Sound Design, Assistance, Stage Design Assistance, Helping Hands) we need 25.000 Euro. For the three performers we need 12.000. Renting and furnishing the fat would be cost 12.000 Euro. Furthermore: travelling costs and accommodation.
This proposal is part of the 'Penny for your Thoughts' project 2021.