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Photo 1 & 2: Lavinia Xausa, filmstill It's futher than Hip Hop. Photo 3, 4 & 7: Reading with Twelve Eyes installation by Katarina Jazbec at TENT. Courtesy: Aad Hoogendoorn. Photo 5: Katarina Jazbec, filmstill Permeating Hearts. Photo 6: Heidi Vogels, filmstill Things Unseen.

Artists: Katarina Jazbec, Lavinia Xausa, Heidi Vogels. Curator: Mariska van den Berg

Joined Narratives #2, Lavinia Xausa–Further than Hip Hop
(on view until 04.07.2021)

When Lavinia Xausa settles in Rotterdam in 2015, she is struck by the superdiverse character of the city. ‘Further than Hip Hop’ (2020) emerged from her inquiry into how Rotterdam communities are affected by Dutch colonial history. Xausa’s work draws a parallel between the word of colonial missionaries of the past and the words of rappers and spoken-word-artists in contemporary Rotterdam. In the film, Neusa Gomes, Kevin Josias, Adeiye Tjon and Rik Zutphen recite texts they wrote in response to a series of conversations Xausa initiated. In carefully chosen words and deliberate tone of voice, they address the lack of a sense of belonging, or the firsthand experience of racism. They voice anger and barely concealed contempt, as well as contemplation. Above all, pain is made palpable. Their critical voices indicate that multiculturalism may mean cultural plurality, but not necessarily togetherness. A shared frame of reference is still lacking.

In ‘Further than Hip Hop’, narratives become intertwined and perspectives shift. The performing artists are filmed in Arminius, a Rotterdam debate centre housed in a former church, breathing a glorious past. This footage is interwoven with 19th-century archival material showing Dutch missionaries in colonised Indonesia. Through this juxtaposition Xausa’s film makes painfully clear how colonialism –once legitimised by the bible and a narrative of salvation, but practiced through domination and exploitation– still has a deep impact. Who we are, our identity –-individual and collective– is formed by our history and ancestry, but also actively and continuously shaped in the present. In the film, the performers articulate their stories from personal experience. By doing so they claim space for marginalised histories and take a stand in the present, inviting us to do the same.

Joined Narratives #1, Reading with twelve eyes (on view until 06.12.2020)
This first edition of Joined Narratives shows two films by Katarina Jazbec (1991). For ‘Our Bearings’ (2016), Jazbec brought the women in her family together after the loss of both grandmothers, to read the story ‘The Woman with the Wolf’. In ‘Permeating Hearts’ (2018), a reading group of young inmates in a Belgian prison gathers weekly for two months to discuss short stories. In that process they encounter everything: fear, anger and hate, but also hope, friendship and courage.

The films are part of an ongoing project in which Jazbec probes how the shared reading of literary stories can initiate an exchange that allows for divergent interpretations, confrontation, as well as mutual understanding. Literary fiction offers the opportunity to experience the world from a different perspective. In the reading sessions, reality and fiction become entwined, creating an intimate space in which the stories bring out emotions and questions about truths and beliefs.

The texts from ‘Permeating Hearts’ are also available in the exhibition, inviting us to read and think along.

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Events with this show


Artists: Katarina Jazbec, Lavinia Xausa, Heidi Vogels. Curator: Mariska van den Berg