Some of us are still hung.
My reaction to the announcement of the collective resignation of the curatorial team of sonsbeek20→24 in October/November 2022
How many artists do you need to make a fist?
How many curators do you need to form a block?
How many people do you need to have a public voice?
“Some of us are still hung
Up on the art-for-art trip
And feel that the poet
Is forever alone.
An outcast. …. “
I don’t identify with that sentiment of loneliness for arts-sake.
The experience of Sonsbeek in the years of 2015 and 2021 helped a lot in that.
Arnhem was hosting and welcoming the world!
But who am I?
Who do you think you are?
Or beter: How to react on this shitstorm of what seems to be left of Sonsbeek20<24.
At least when I focus only on the a‘social’ media?
So, who is that ‘some of ‘us’’?
Who is us, who is we, who is them?
I can’t speak for them.
I just speak for myself.
There must be more people who still think fair and in nuances about the curatorial team of Sonsbeek 20<24.
People, who are missing the discource, the debate on common grounds with various artistic positions and statements which Sonsbeek meant.
People who feel the loss for themself, and the people of Arnhem!
Missing the fire of the curatorial mission and it’s ambition of Sonsbeek 20<24, made possible by a various team of curators.
Missing the hope of a long term collaboration, a platform of exchange and discource between localy and globally connected artists.
Missing the outlook to a more hopeful and just future.
Missing the companionship of local and international artists, gathered around the issues of labour in a complex, divided, but interconnected en enstrangled world.
Missing that mission of Bonanetura, which first mission statement meant so much to me. By focussing on the circumstances and soundscapes of labour and the injustices that holds all divisions we built on a beter world…
Missing the feeling of connection and community, that I felt in the summer of 2021 in Arnhem, after 15 months of isolation.
Reflection on the impact of Sonbeek 20<24
One of the dearest moments of that summer to me that of the ‘press-conference’ on 30 of june. Sharing a surreëel and spiritual moments in the Eusebius-church:
Sitting next to each other in a big circle, sharing the common and public grounds of the church.
All equal, although some of us are apparentely more equal and have more power.
The power to stay and the power to leave.
At that day I was feeling ill on ease and euphoric, at the mean time. Finding myself, first time after 2 years of Pandemia, surrounded by a big group of art lovers, of art critics, politicians, curators… and finally some artists.
All guests were coming from around the corner… those who could travel by bike, car, bus or trein, to Arnhem. Some wearing their face masks as a trophy of support.
Being one of the only artists of the public program who could show up because of my locality… it felt akward too. Being one of the one’s who could come to Arnhem… knowing that most of the artists couldn’t come because of travel restrictions.
Hearing life music of a Gospel choir after a year and a half of isolation touched of my soul.
Being in the midst of an art’s installation.
Listening to life music! What a joy! What a feast.
Listening to the speeches of the curatorial team about the essentalism of the pandemic times when it comes to Labour and it’s sonic ecologies. I felt seen and enlightened, in the just sense of the word.
Being asked to show solidarity with the labourers of the essential food-chain in the shadow of the day. To hold awareness of the abscence and silence we take for granted, every day. Enlightend or not…😉
Reminding me about the revolutional potential of art.
Thinking about labour migration of all times and the racial, ethnic, cultural, class, gender or whatever devisions we accept.
Musing about class migration and my own experience when it comes to where I come from, in terms of labour.
Yes, I must speak out loud:
I “ ….don’t want to be
Of constellations” ,
Citing Gloria Anzaldua,
Sonsbeek meant that to me:
Being parts of a constellations.
A place of community and companionship of makers and thinkers with strong visions.
“Art and Art events should be places of exchange, not of exclusion”, says the 45-years old Bonaventura. Places where discussions are hold, voices are made heard and where there is no place for contempt. “We need a culture of debate, where the oppositional positions are not avoiding each other, but are meeting. Only by that we can learn from each other and built a beter world.”
Well said. I couldn’t agree more.
Let ’ s make that happen again.
I respect the achievement of the curatorial team staying loyal to their wish to connect with Arnhemians and people of around the whole globe, even in that fatalistic time of pandemic isolation. I think they did a lot to make that happen and that should be honored.
I respect their effort of holding on even though I saw them struggling with barbaric labour circumstances of Digital Talking Heads and not-proportional fees themselves. The absurdities of representations versus precair realities!.
I respect their endurance and dedication with the artists during the whole summer.
And: I respect their final decision to leave.
And now: how to work further on a future for Sonsbeek International?
On mei 2023 the organization posted this press-statement, where they promise personal en structural re-organizations: sbstof.com
I am glad that the foundation had followed up the conclusions and propositions of the report about the re-organisation of Sonsbeek international and took actions of that report seriously. Other people will be take position in the Raad of bestuur. The director is asked to resign.
In the name of justice and in the name of all those people of Arnhem and the world who made Sonsbeek 20<24 happen together I am glad with that dicision.
Clearly there were enough people to create a strong block and make a fist. I am curious how is all will work out.
 The Gloria Anzaldua Reader, (Duke University Press, London, 2009), p.24
 The Gloria Anzaldua Reader, p.25