Friday 20 November: opening, with performances by Anke Brouwer, who composed the soundscape, Ab Baars, Wiek Hijmans, Elise Lorraine, Martin Reints and others.
About twenty hours in less than three and a half minutes.
Saturday: open for people to wander through from 12 noon. Couples and families, friends and people out walking on their own come in, some stay a while. More performances at the end of the day: poets, actors, a Canadian friend over from Berlin, the project’s co-initiator Oğuz Büyükberber, Peter van Os and Marc Winder.
Sunday: another afternoon of admirers, questioners, viewers, listeners. From 4pm singing, playing, meeting and conversing by Elise, Jula, Saskia, Julia, Martin, Bart, and people who happened to be there.
A very instructive and inspiring event.
Thanks to everyone who came.
For a Dutch review of Environ/Man 0.5, click here
Environ/Man Project Plan (English)
Click on the video below to get an explanation of Environ/Man in less than two minutes
For the elaborate project plan please scroll down.
Table of Contents
- Summary: A total experience for visitors
- Synergy & Cooperation
- Podiums and Audiences
- Living People
- Reaching audiences and having an impact
- Realization and Planning
- Summary: Total involvement of the public
Environ/Man is a multimedia installation in which live performances take place. The content of the installation is based on the following concept: Environ/Man deals with how man modifies his surroundings to suit his needs and is then forced to adapt to those same surroundings — pristine nature, cultivated lands and the urban environment. Man depends on Nature for his survival, yet he still persists in threatening and destroying it. He turns Paradise on Earth into a barren, infertile desert.
While the megalopolis seems to be the only place for people to survive, man turns his cities into inhuman concrete jungles, where only the values of a technocratic free market prevail.
Three large objects dominate the installation Environ/Man, I call them loci, places. Moving images, projected by several video projectors, are displayed on these objects. Both visitors and performers pass through these projections, thus creating a simple form of interaction. More sophisticated forms of interaction are under investigation.
is — in principle — a heavenly place, a pastoral Arcadia, where man, animals and nature live in harmony. In principle, because this paradise is under constant threat, from development, urbanization, progress.
Visitors can take a seat on Ɛde.
is an angular architectural shape, made of semi-transparent stretch fabric. Visitors walk through the beamed video images, touch the surface of nirgend, thus changing their own experience and becoming part of the installation.
nirgend refers to the impersonal megacity and suburbs. The —visual and musical — rhythm of this locus is energetic, nervous.
refers to the horizon in the landscape that is Environ/Man. It is also a reference to the wide cinema screen. Its projection ‘spills’ onto the walls and floor around it. The audience can walk around it to experience the spatial projection.
Thematically, Ver West stands for unknown and far-off lands, to be colonized — and in the process natural habitats and cultures are inevitably destroyed.
These loci are all lit by lights and moving abstract and semi-abstract images. Anke Brouwer created a soundscape for Environ/Man in collaboration with guitarist Kees Spijker, trumpet player/singer Ruth Becker and cellist Tjakina Oosting.
Schematic sketch of the spatial installation Environ/Man
What makes Environ/Man unique?
As far as the ‘content’ goes, I am fascinated and puzzled by the way human kindness relates to its surroundings, the environments it lives in. Man modifies and adjusts nature to his own purposes and is then forced to adapt to the changing environment. With his ‘natural’ tendency to always explore new areas and horizons, he constantly threatens the very nature on which he depends. And he turns cities into concrete jungles.
Artistically my mission is the Gesamtkunstwerk, the unification of all possible media to create a total, comprehensive experience for the audience. Environ/Man is a station on the road to achieving this mission. It takes the form of an installation in which different disciplines are in dialogue. It is my ambition to create an experience that involves and immerses the public. This experience is abstract and meaningful, but beyond words.
Environ/Man has a clear, given shape. The installation can be visited as a ‘standalone’ or in a gallery or museum.
The installation can also be the venue for different kinds of input, such as live music, dance, movement, poetry readings and singing. It can be adapted to suit the context and the performers, who could be professionals, amateurs or students. The visitor/spectator also plays an integral part in the installation.
This social and interdisciplinary aspect — sharing experiences and knowledge — is important to me.
The project is a laboratory and platform that could be developed over several years. For visitors it will be an involving, engulfing experience. Though technically sophisticated, the primary goal is to move people.
nirgend. Photomontage with scale model and figures 1:6
Environ/Man is a cohesive, self-contained project as well as a step towards what I like to call ‘abstract music theatre’ or ‘spatial cinema’.
- Synergy and collaboration
Environ/Man is an open and flexible project that delivers artistic synergy. The project can be placed in various contexts. It is a laboratory for interdisciplinary collaboration. The input of performing and creative artists is crucial.
The installation is light and transportable. The required technical equipment is available in most theatres or can easily be hired. With appropriate support, the project can work with a variety of participants, both amateur and professional.
- Podiums and Audiences
Environ/Man is a meeting place for performers and the general public. It reduces the distance and distinction between maker and spectator. Both are participants.
The first fully fledged presentation of Environ/Man will be in Ostadetheater Amsterdam, as part of a weekend devoted to the fusion of art and theatre, 26-28 February 2016.
Talks are ongoing with Codarts Rotterdam, a school for music, music theatre and circus arts, about an interdisciplinary project week centring on Environ/Man in April 2016.
Negotiations are also underway with the international festival Operadagen Rotterdam 2016 for song, opera and music theatre, in May 2016.
Environ/Man can be installed in a small theatre room or art gallery (ideally about 12 x 18 m). The space has an even floor and enough space around the objects for visitors to wander around.
Three large objects (for now) are placed in the installation. Images are projected onto these three ‘loci’ by two to four projectors and some spotlights.
The installation includes a soundscape.
The option is being investigated of techniques such as randomization, sensory reactions to movement and the application of mist and smells.
The creative process can be followed through this blog.
Here follows a more extensive explanation in words and images — and a few sound samples — of the content of Environ/Man, in particular the three large objects.
is a reaction to the impersonal, inhuman, inhospitable environment of the megalopolis, but also the city’s edges, the suburbs.
This environment has a nervous, even nerve-racking pace that is mechanical and technical. It is an environment created by man, in which people can barely live.
Below: a short video of the design, execution and imagery of the locus nirgend.
nirgend is an architectural shape made of semi-transparent material, about three and a half metres in height and width. Several video projectors project onto nirgend. The images were shot mainly in urban areas, but also along highways and railways. The projections overlap partly, alter the perspective and distort it visually.
Visitors move around nirgend, cast shadows and alter their own perception.
The soundscape is by the composer Anke Brouwer and guitarist Kees Spijker.
Below: two video fragments for the locus nirgend.
This material will be further elaborated, mixed and repeated.
Above: short clip of video for nirgend: Four Fast Lanes Times Two 69
Below: fragment of investigatory sketches into horizontally overlapping video:
Destination Amsterdam Central 2880*1080 150
Above: video fragment that will be used in nirgend : HoneyComb HighWays 130
Ɛde is an Arcadian, heavenly place. That is, in principle. At first sight the shape seems ‘nice’, inviting. The images are quiet, soft and natural: foliage, trees, fields, skies, water flowing.
But this paradise is under constant threat. At its edges appear pylons for power cables, wind turbines, the city’s edges, industrial areas.
Below: an impression of this locus.
Now and then a human shape appears, a vaguely recognizable referrence to naked, virginal man.
In concrete terms, Ɛde is an island-like shape measuring about two to three metres across. Visitors can go on it and change the projection.
This video clip Molino sets on Ede gives an impression of Ede in the form of the plaster model, video and a beautiful clarinet theme by Oğuz Büyükberber.
Coing en Fleurs (below) is an excerpt from a longer video, to be elaborated on for the locus Ɛde.
This video, Read Beeches 1280 720 80, will, in one form or another, also be part of the locus Ede
The montage below, Etang des Copins, gives a first impression of how landscape, nature and the human body will be integrated in Environ/Man.
Etang des Copins, for Ede
is a wide, concave screen made from a gauzy fabric. Pylons on either side refer to telegraph poles and high-voltage pylons.
Ver West will have imagery about the landscape, both natural and developed areas. Ver West is the horizon that hides the unknown, beyond which lies the Promised Land. Colonizing this unknown inevitably brings violence and destruction. The human body also plays a part here.
Anke Brouwer has created the soundscape for Ver West, in collaboration with singer Ruth Becker.
Below: a simulation of the locus Ver West using a 1:6 scale model with a video of about six minutes. The aim is to have a six-metres-wide object with a video of about twenty minutes long.
Ver West. Study
Alternative view of Environ/Man.
- Living People
An important aspect of Environ/Man is collaboration with other artists/performers. It is an innovating environment in which additional contributions — vocal, musical, textual — are essential. This makes the project a laboratory.
- Sharing Knowledge and Experience
Through collaboration with artists in different disciplines, I would like to contribute to a common body of knowledge regarding synchronicity, synergy and the creation of Gesamtkunstwerke. Of course I am already sharing these experiences through social media and using them in presentations.
- Artistic Collaborators
At present, the following people are artistically involved in Environ/Man:
Ab Baars, jazz musician (20 Nov.)
Ruth Becker, vocals and trumpet, collaboration on the soundscape, Amsterdam
Anke Brouwer, Amstelveen, composed the soundscape
Oğuz Büyükberber, clarinet, bass clarinet, electronic composer, Amsterdam (20 Nov.?, 22 Nov.)
Laura Carmichael, clarinet, bass clarinet, Amsterdam (22 Nov.)
David Fischer, construction and technical advice (20-22 Nov.)
Monica Germino, (electric) violins, Amsterdam, Yale
David Eggert, cello, Berlin (21 Nov.)
Wiek Hijmans, electric guitar, Amsterdam (22 Nov.)
Benjamin Kuitenbrouwer, circus artist (technical assistance 20-22 Nov.)
Yinka Kuitenbrouwer, actress/theatre maker
Elise Lorraine, vocals, accordion, Amsterdam, London (20-22 Nov.)
Peerke Malschaert, theatre maker (20-22 Nov.)
Jirin Meilgaard, acrobat
Tjakina Oosting, cello, Amsterdam, soundscape
Peter van Os, accordion, trombone, composer, Amsterdam (22-22 Nov?)
Martin Reints, poet, Amsterdam, Brantgum (20-22 Nov?)
Ruby Soliman, actress, songwriter, Rotterdam (20-22 Nov?)
Tanja Sap, visual artist
Kees Spijker, guitars and co-maker of the soundscape, Amsterdam (20 Nov., 22 Nov?)
Bart Top, poet, Amsterdam (20-22 Nov.)
Inez Verhille, dancer, Ghent (20-22 Nov.)
Marc Winder, sax, Amsterdam (20-22 Nov?)
- Collaborators on the content, technicalities and advices
Frank Daalder, artist, Amsterdam, advice
Rutger van Dijk, Rapenburg Plaza, technical advice
Marion Beltman, business and marketing advice
Willem Hering, formerly ASKO|Schönberg and Ictus, now Veenfabriek, advice
Willem Heshusius, camera (and lighting), studio and exterior.
Rozé Leemput, WG Kunst, location, advice
Jaap Oostveen, technical advice
Jelle Oppers, BeamSystems, advice and supply of equipment
Hilde Teuchies, Vlaams Theater Instituut, Brussels, advice
Mark Walraven, Ostade A’dam, advice and programming, February 2016
- People with whom talks are ongoing on different aspects
Alida Dors, creative leader, dance company Backbone
Joshua van ‘t Hoff, filmmaker, discussions about ‘The Making of Environ/Man’
Back to Table of Contents
- Reaching the public and creating an impact
Ongoing activities in communication and marketing:
Reporting the project’s progress, sketches and models, on this website, Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube.
A ‘The Making Of’ by Joshua van ‘t Hoff
Collaboration with partners and venues (ARTWEST, Codarts, Ostadetheater WG Kunst and Operadagen)
- Why organizations should cooperate with Environ/Man
Environ/Man is a laboratory and a forum, a place for encounters, experimentation and debate for artists, technicians and programmers.
The project offers venues and programmers a fusion between sculptural art and theatre and an innovative way to engage audiences.
It also lets organizers and programmers of festivals and other events create added value with artists already participating in the event.
In the future, Environ/Man will also be available for amateur artists, students and other groups, such as the Codarts school of performing arts.
Environ/Man investigates several artistic problems, such as:
- Image and sound mutually influence each other in the experience of the beholder.
- Question: how can image, sound and space play equally valuable, yet abstract roles in the experience of visitors to Environ/Man?
- Meaning comes about in the encounter between the maker and the public in and around the visible, audible and tangible reality of the installation.
- Question: How to make this encounter between maker and audience more meaningful, more concrete and of influence on the reality of the installation?
- Synergy between different media can be brought about in various ways and on several levels: through direct, automatic interaction, simultaneity or synchronicity, live interaction, improvisation, in programmes scores and on a conceptual level.
- Question: how to make effective choices in the framework of Environ/Man?
In regard to the above, there are numerous technical and production issues to resolve, such as:
- Is it possible to project onto mist?
- Can sound be manipulated by shadows occurring in the projections?
- Can performers be supplied with portable sound amplification?
- Can a projector follow a moving dancer?
- Can live (streaming) video be used in Environ/Man?
- Can we give the Environ/Man’s visitor’s nose something to do as well?
- Realization and Planning
A very important step will be taken in November with the first experimental presentation in WG Kunst, Amsterdam, 20-22 November 2015.
Environ/Man has an option for 26-28 February 2016 in Ostadetheater Amsterdam. Details will follow.
Discussions continue with Codarts and Operadagen concerning collaboration in April/May 2016.
Applications for residencies and funding are underway.