PAF is a user-created informal institution. It is a platform for anyone who wants to expand possibilities and interests in his/her own working practice and hence a place where the permeability and elusiveness that characterizes many relevant practices today becomes tangible.
During Lightness THE POFFICE will be working for one week in Amsterdam at the Mediamatic Fabriek. The public is welcome during opening hours to participate, watch and/or work at THE POFFICE. Current projects circulating through THE POFFICE are: book publishing, launching the VD sex-toy line (for young people), Kroot's bar, the "Mountain of Money", meditation, the half-hotel, development and distribution of apps, molecular kitchen, creating nodes for organic food distribution, AAA - the Army of Artists, the Circus of Decentralization, edible water bottles and water supplies, a fashion line for 50+, real estate, The Robin Hood Funds, woman's practices, children's education, establishing a basic income at PAF, future modes of (youth) transportation, producing and distributing music and icecream making - just to name a few.
The time of the great masters and heavy masterpieces is a thing of the past and with it the (often) dry and theoretical discourse that wants to fill the gaps, provide the why's and how's in order to contextualize something that in its nature is elusive, playful and senseless. Rather then in its products artistic practice today is located in the in-betweens and for this reason must be permeable, traveling easily from one materiality into the next.
THE POFFICE is a light tool, unlike an office that is a heavy and established form. In THE POFFICE every worker has his own style on how to work and study and his own take on what (artistic) practice is (today). What unites the workers of THE POFFICE is a shared conviction that a) the question of economy is central in the continuous project of (re)defining artistic practice, b) that the tackling of this question requires a playful, experimental, aimless and open-ended methodology and c) that this project is a collective and shared effort with a minimum of (or better: no) organization or forceful collaboration.
By inviting THE POFFICE to leave its natural habitat in the fringes of the Picardie in France - for a temporary working session in the centre of Amsterdam - and by a) revealing our methodologies and b) constructing new missions by practicing them we invite the public to be part of a playful and concrete "behind the scenes" of artistic practice today that usually remains invisible.
Stephanie Barbier studied management and had a successful career in media planning for more than 10 years, working for some of the largest global communications group in France, helping its clients in promoting their consumer goods. Deeply affected by the dehumanization and alienation she experienced in this world she decided 4 years to put her skills to better use by accomplicing artists, activists and cultural entrepreneurs. Since 3 years she is active at PAF accompanied by a profound personal engagement, through practice of meditation, within Ecole Occidentale de Méditation, setting dialogue between buddhist teachings, poetry and philosophy.
Daniela Bershan a.k.a. DJ Baba Electronica roams around different medias and samples greatness. Complex forms and material processes recur on different levels in her permeable practice that ranges from sculpture and paintings to performance, music and social organization (like for example at FATFORM). Her work - influenced by science, love, aesthetics and fiction - proposes a material understanding of life that requires and circulates different practices of immediacy, thus expanding possibilities of an open contact with the world. She often combines biological and synthetic materials - easily hopping from micro-organisms to PCV film, earth, salt and sounds to human beings - always maintaining an open-ended, energetic and experimental attitude, her works and projects have been presented ao. at the 29th Sao Paulo Biennale (BR), De Appel Arts Centre (NL), Museum Katharinenhof (DE), W139 (NL), Portikus (DE), NAS Gallery Sydney (AU), Smart Project Space (NL), Künstlerhaus Graz (A) and Triennale Luxembourg (LUX).
Valentina Desideri was best defined by a friend who called her a 20 year old on tour. Although this was meant as a reproach she found this definition more suiting than performance artist or anything like that. Lately she has also been called a psychic, which, if added to the previous description, makes of her a psychic 20 year old on tour. She trained in contemporary dance at the Laban Centre in London, she did a MA in Fine Arts at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, she does Fake Therapy and Political Therapy, she co-organizes Performing Arts Forum in France and she writes biographies by reading people's palms. She writes other things too but mostly she’s around.
Krõõt Juurak (b. 1981, Tallinn, Estonia; Lives in Amsterdam and Vienna) is a choreographer and performer whose work (performances, presentations, texts, drawings, workshops, mood shifts) challenges definitions of choreography and performance. So, while describing Juurak as a choreographer and performer is too limiting to adequately define her actual production, the comparison still offers a proximity. Juurak graduated from ArtEz, Arnhem, EDDC, dance and choreography in 2003 and Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, Fine Arts in 2013. She has presented her work in a variety of forms at venues including Mindaugas Triennial, Contemporary Art Center (CAC), Vilnius (2012); Impulstanz Vienna (2012); de Appel Boys School, Amsterdam (2012); Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Innsbruck (2010); Kunsthalle Wien project space Karlsplatz, Vienna (2010); Tallinn Art Hall (2009); and deSingel, Antwerp (2008); among numerous others. Among her most recent projects were "Bad Mood" a mood work, and "KroOt" where her name became a rented space for other artists.
Jan Ritsema (born in the Netherlands in 1945) has directed for a wide variety of Dutch, and Belgian theatre companies like Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Het Werkteater, Het Nationale Toneel, Mug met de gouden Tand, 'tBarre Land, Maatschappij Discordia, Het Kaaitheater and Dito Dito performances ranging from the established repertory (Marlowe, Mishima, Koltes, Shakespeare, Heiner Müller, Elfriede Jelinek, Rene Pollesch), through staged stories (James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Rainer Maria Rilke) to performances devised in collaboration with composers, dancers and artists. With the International Theatre Bookshop, which he founded in 1978, he has published over 300 books about theatre dance and film.
Since 1995, he has been working also as a dancer and performed a solo Pour la fin du temps for the KunstenfestivaldesArts. He danced in several Crash Landing’s of Meg Stuart, and in dance-actions with Boris Charmatz, made a duet with Jonathan Burrows, Weak Dance Strong Questions and another one with Sandy Williams, Blindspot.
Ritsema has a predilection for bulky, complex, intellectual material. His theatre productions follow the traces of thinking itself, which in all of its openness, uncertainty, and infiniteness, demands a consistent ongoing process. Rather than the illusion-producing machine of the theatre, it is the incarnate presentation of differentiated coherences and ideas that intrigues him. His experimental approach is similar to the French filmmaker Godard, a director to whom he feels strongly connected. In collaboration with the performer and musicologist Bojana Cvejić he slithers along the borders of representation and ‘non-performance’ in performances like TODAYulysses, Pipelines, a construction, and Knowh2ow.
Since 2004, Ritsema is working with a Research & Development Grant from the Siemens Arts Program investigating the possibilities and limitations of theatre/performance by interviewing/discussing thinkers who have strong reflections on the dispositive 'theatre' in today's society. These talks are going to be published.
Ritsema teaches incidently at different theatre schools for acting and directing in the Netherlands and Belgium and at Summeracademies throughout Europe. He was from 1990 till 1995 professor at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam. He has been a teacher at P.A.R.T.S., the contemporary dance school of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, since its foundation.
In 2006 Ritsema started PerformingArtsForum (PAF).
In an age where everyone is affected by the weight of society, the overbearing fears of the economy and the heavy hand of government, 'lightness' is the way forward. Let go of the material and celebrate the ethereal with 11 weeks of 'lightness'. Each week Mediamatic invites a new artist to question the meaning of 'lightness'.
Free entrance for Club Mediamatic members. Mediamatic, VOC-kade 10, Oostenburg Amsterdam. Open from Tuesday - Saturday from 12:00 - 20:00.