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15.10.2018 | Words by: Mathis Neuhaus

By default, working together demands a different approach than working alone. Different opinions, different working methods and different characters come together and, in the best case, lead to surprising and challenging situations. As Nieke Koek and Gosse de Kort put it in conversation, they “like to challenge each other’s imagination and share critical reflection to the point where 1 plus 1 becomes 3.” 

The works they create trigger the senses and blur the lines of what is real and what is imagined. The installation they are going to show in De School will be the center of the building and serve different purposes over the course of the weekend, depending on the time of the day and the things happening around it.
Q: How do you reflect about the environment your work is going to be shown in, in this case: a nightclub? 

A: Our work is focused on creating an experience, if possible a physical one. The very place where people are looking for bodily experiences is a nightclub, taking in the vibrations of the sounds, the lighting, the social interactions; plus, the possibility to get intoxicated. In such an environment, the perception and sensations of looking at a work like ours might get even stronger and more intense. We are very curious to see how this specific venue will set the tone for the experience of the installation.

Q: Do you feel/have a connection to nightclubs?

A: A nightclub is the place to create memories. It is the place where everyday obligations make place for dreamy everlasting expeditions and unexpected adventures. It is the place to make new friends and connections. It is the place to lose yourself for the brief moment of one night and center yourself on being a human body ready to get uplifted. 

Q: What are you looking for the most in nightlife?
A: We guess the best thing to be looking for is excitement and inspiration.

Q: How would you describe your artistic agenda?

A: In general, we create work for the sensorium, the human’s instrument of the senses. Whether we focus on creating an environment or an instrument, it is always focused on tapping into the viewer’s consciousness.

Q: What takes longer: coming up with an idea for an artwork or realizing the work?

A: The processes are intertwined. Most new ideas come to us while making a work. We believe that the best modus for inspiration is being active. We have been creating works and concepts for more than ten years and some ideas had to be put aside for later use. In a way, we take those concepts with us until they get the chance to become part of something we make. It is difficult to separate the two, but let us just say that our work is mostly an outcome of a much longer process.

Q: What are the strengths and weaknesses of collaboration?

A: We have been supporting the process of each other’s work since we met in 2007. The first work we actually realized together in close collaboration has been “Axis” (2016). The strength of our collaboration is the difference in backgrounds combined with shared interests and similar approaches. Two illustrations we like to refer to when we think about the similarities and differences of our approaches are “Figure in Space with Plane Geometry and Spatial Delineations" and “Drawing of Man as Dancer” by Oskar Schlemmer (1921). Both images depict a body in relation to a space. But in the first image the body is being addressed from the space to the body, while in the second image the space is being addressed from the body into the space. And then it is for you to find out who is who. In general, we think collaborations have a surprising outcome and sharpen the mind during an artistic process. We like to challenge each other’s imagination and share critical reflection to the point where 1 plus 1 becomes 3. And while some collaborations can also lead to compromise, for the composition “Ballet Mécanique” we have worked with Harpo ‘t Hart (for the musical composition) and choreographer Amos Ben Tal (to reflect as an outside eye on the motion sequences) and we have enjoyed every step of working back to back between the four of us – there was only the sum of powers.

Q: What is your favorite time of the day, and why?

A: Dawn. It is the most peaceful moment of the day in which the most exhilaration colors can appear. The kinds of blue seen at that time of day can be breathtaking and a low sun can make the entire street look like a theatre set.

 Q: What are you looking forward to the most during the 62 consecutive hours that your work is going to be shown in De School? 

A: We will have the possibility to observe the visitors while our installation is playing stand-alone, we will be the witnesses of the interplay of our movement sequence in relation to a live instrumental set, and we will be performing a live set together with an amazing artist. We feel really lucky about such a rich program and are excited about every part of it.

Photo: Photo: Video still from Four Axes and a Frame, Ballet Mécanique, Nieke Koek and Gosse de Kort.

During the Saturday evening of Het Weekend 19.10 – 22.10 Nieke Koek and Gosse de Kort's installation will be joining forces with SKY H1's live set.
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