The Summer Carnival was first organized in the 80’s as an equivalent to the Caribbean Carnival, and has since grown into one of the largest cultural events within the Netherlands. The cultural background of the Rotterdam Summer Carnival closely relates to the Dutch colonial past and migratory history. With On The Other Side Of Reality, TENT unites the world of contemporary art with the notion of carnival: ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture; inside and outside; museum and society − all meet each other through this encounter.
Street parade and exhibition with Marga Weimans
The well-known fashion designer Marga Weimans (Rotterdam) designed a float and procession to take part in the Street Parade of the Summer Carnival. Fashion, art, performance and theatre meet each other in an all-encompassing concept, which is heavily influenced by Weimans’ personal background and conceptions of the urbanite as an ‘agent of change’. A group of forty young dancers represented a transformational process that begins with clean, architectural forms and moves towards the exuberance of the Caribbean Carnival. They moved from framed to liberated and transformed duty into passion, uniformity into multiplicity and raw material into sensual attire. During a spectacular performance, the monumental art installation opened in TENT. To realize this project, Weimans collaborated with composer Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) and choreographer Amber Vineyard (House of Vineyard/HipHopHuis). This project marks the first time for Weimans to develop such an extensive and multidisciplinary project on the invitation of an art institution.
In the essay On The Other Side Of Reality, curator Jesse van Oosten reflects on TENT’s participation in the Rotterdam Summer Carnival. What does it mean to TENT to go outside and define its place within the standards and context of the street parade of the Summer Carnival, and to temporarily become ‘the other’?
Talent Program The End Of Normal with Mette Sterre
Parallel to the exhibition, an extensive project for youngsters will be organized. From 11 July, artist Mette Sterre will meet every week in TENT with a group of 12 talented youngsters, who have been selected by means of an accessible registration procedure. Led by Mette and together with tutors, these youngsters will work during the summer to create a street parade, which will have its première in September during the Kunst in het Witte de Withkwartier festival. The youngsters will work in the TENT rooms, in an environment which will be specially designed for this project by Mette Sterre, and will be accessible to the public during TENT’s opening hours. She will show a number of her costumes that have been designed for performances and stage plays, and will bring them to life herself, as a performer.
Mette Sterre is a visual artist who lives and works in London and Rotterdam. For her theatrical performances she works with sculptural costumes, representing characters that keep reoccurring in her works. Recently, she graduated with a “MA Performance Design & Practice” at the University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins. In 2014, she was named as one of the 50 most promising graduates that year in the United Kingdom. At this moment, she is investigating the age-old Barbugeri-rituals and the related traditional costumes, in Eastern Europe.
Symposium on 24 September
On 24 September, TENT will organize a final symposium to further explore the cultural and political implications inherent to the connection between contemporary art and carnival. To which extent is the Caribbean Carnival as a sign of protest or otherness relevant within the contemporary city? This symposium functions as a platform to evaluate the questions that TENT directs to the arts, the city Rotterdam, the public, and itself.
Curator: Jesse van Oosten
Curatorium: Charl Landvreugd
Streetparade and installation: Marga Weimans
Talent program: Mette Sterre
Sound installation and design: Rutger Zuydervelt
Advisor exhibition design: Joris van Oosterwijk
On The Other Side Of Reality is generously supported by the DOEN Foundation and Rotterdam Festivals. The manifestation is organized in collaboration with Ducos Productions, Stichting Zomercarnaval Nederland and HipHopHuis Rotterdam.