TRipp [space] with Merel Smitt and Floor van Leeuwen
The research and development platform of Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam (TR) gives the new generation of makers space for a month to exchange knowledge and ideas with each other and invited guest artists. TRipp [space] stands for Theater Rotterdam image, performance & production.
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The first week of June ’23, we are starting with the 5th edition of TRipp [space]: Theater Rotterdam Image, Performance & production Space. This edition has the overarching theme Urban Ecologies and the invited artists are Floor van Leeuwen (they/them) and Merel Smitt. Within this edition of TRipp [ space }, the artist - in - residence program of Productiehuis TR, both makers will focus on their project to implement them later in different cities in Rotterdam and abroad.
This edition in a nutshell
Merel will focus on further development of her project How To Start A Movement? and will question the current ecological norms, exploring different ways to disrupt these norms, discovering the relationship between city and nature, strengthening our connection with nature, and how our personal and collective efforts can contribute to ecological, social and bbehavioral change on a larger scale.
Floor will continue to develop their project Swarming. Just like bird-swarms which can shape-shift and adapt through collaborations in different cities. With this research Floor wants to conceptualize, through space, through identities in this space, through ways of organizing and sharing, why we are here, beyond and through dancing. Through moving from their own geography in Rotterdam to the geographies of London, Marrakech and Athens, while exchanging practice with contemporary DJs, queer and artivist collectives and mental health workers.
Makers of this edition
In this edition we invite Merel Smitt (left) and Floor van Leeuwen (right). What does their process within this edition of TRipp [space] look like? And where is the exchange? Scroll down and read more:
For the 5th edition of TRipp [space], Merel Smitt will travel to Skopje to participate the SummerLab #4 where she will encounter with urbanists, ecologists, activists and other 10 artists of ACT ) Art, Climate Transition Network. After that she will return to Rotterdam and start to collaborate with Floor van Leeuwen for the preparation of new cycles of How To Start A Movement? In collaboration with Humanistisch Verbond from Ecohumanist perspective. Floor van Leeuwen will participate to Relay Lecture in Rotterdam and will kick off their Swarming project in collaboration with Arts Admin in London in the end of June during What Shall We Build Here - a festival of art, climate and community - and will continue to work there with the LGBTQ+ community till end of August’23. Swarming project is part theirs Fast Forward research programme and is made possible by Fonds Podiumkunsten.
#ACT #UrbanEcologies #ACTheaterRotterdam #ACTivism
“What would happen if each of us spent one hour a day on climate change?”
How To Start A Movement? is a mail-art project in which a group of participants receives 14 envelopes in their mailbox, over the course of three weeks. The envelopes contain instructions, assignments, (reading) materials, messages and workshops that invite them to engage with their everyday life and surroundings in a different way. Since the start of the project in 2020, several versions of How To Start A Movement? have been developed, in which the format remains the same but the theme and content of the material changes, depending on the chosen theme.
For example, in 2021 Merel developed a family edition centering around social norms within family structures for festival STORMOPKOMST in Turnhout. Parents and children could participate together as a family. Currently, Merel is working on developing a brand new version with “Het Humanistisch Verbond” that focuses on "eco-humanism”. In this version, we depart from the question: “What would happen if each of us spent one hour a day on climate change?" To push towards action and reflection, participants of this cycle will prioritize questioning, exploring and changing their own consciousness around climate change for three weeks, within the framework of their everyday lives and in public space.
During Summer Lab #4 exchange in Skopje, Merel will thus focus on questioning the current ecological norms, exploring different ways to disrupt these norms, discovering the relationship between city and nature, strengthening our connection with nature, and how our personal and collective efforts can contribute to ecological, social and behavioural change on a larger scale.
How To Start A Movement? is a project developed by Merel Smitt in collaboration with Ariane Gros (Dramaturg), Fabian Hijlkema (web development) and with an artistic contribution by De Onkruidenier. It is a coproduction of Studio Merel Smitt and Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam in collaboration with het Humanistisch Verbond.
'Maybe this rave is a new ritual that can be healing for people in each city.'
Since the corona pandemic, I have been working on a choreography of assembly, based on the principles of swarming. During the lockdowns, I brought to existence Ræv Rehearsal (Ræv), with Tools for Action, Simomo Bouj, Roberto Pérez Gayo, SasaHara and a ‘Core group’ of 20 performers. With Bluetooth speakers and a DJ, we danced through the streets like a radiating swarm, reclaiming sociality. By keeping 3 metres distance between each body in the space, Ræv proposed an addition to the lockdown rules, focusing on physical distance and a different kind of social proximity that could emerge. Hannah Hagenaars, wrote about it in the magazine Mr Motley: “Maybe this rave is a new ritual that can be healing for people in the city.” through choreography restrictions imposed on our bodies were interpreted differently.
Ræv Rehearsal / photo © Luca Girardini
Just like bird-swarms this project can shape-shift, and adapt through collaborations in different contexts. With this research I want to conceptualise, through space, through identities in this space, through ways of organising and sharing, why we are here, beyond and through dancing. Through moving from my own geography in Rotterdam to the geographies of London, Marrakech and Athens, while exchanging practice with contemporary DJs, queer and artivist collectives, mental health workers.
Two of the swarm-researches in 2023:
In the UK the right to assembly and protest has been severely restricted in 2022 through the PCSC Act. One of the new rules is that you are not allowed to be ‘seriously annoying’ as an activist, and risk a maximum prison sentence of 51 weeks and/or an unlimited fine. Our starting point for swarming is in response to this ‘law’.
In the Netherlands, creative therapy was once thriving in clinics. Due to budget cuts, mental health practices now consist mostly of talking about problems.
Or, as one of the people who danced with us put it: ‘You have joy and happiness inside you, but you forget it. With this dance it comes out again’
Tripp [space] - with Merel Smitt and Floor van Leeuwen - is part of is part of ACT (Art Climate Transition), a European cooperation project on ecology, climate change and social transition. In an era of climate breakdown, mass extinction and growing inequalities, we join our forces in a project on hope: connecting broad perspectives with specific, localised possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we ACT.