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Interview: Stel Tentoon #4: Club Efemeer



From the 16th until the 25th of April, you can visit the instal­la­ti­on by Club Efe­meer at Stel­plaats. It pro­mi­ses to be a con­ver­sa­ti­on bet­ween spa­ce, text and vie­wer. A pla­ce whe­re you can bathe in nos­tal­gia, thin­king about club cul­tu­re. We had a talk with Club Efe­meers artists, Maar­ten Vaner­men and Arnaud De Wolf. They were joi­ned by Béti­na Abi Habib for this occa­si­on, an architect/​artis­tic wri­ter who col­la­bo­ra­ted on this project. 

Can you tell a bit more about the expo?

Maar­ten: We got the ques­ti­on from Stel­plaats to make an instal­la­ti­on. It was an aty­pi­cal ques­ti­on becau­se we usu­al­ly make atmos­p­heric instal­la­ti­ons in spa­ces whe­re peo­p­le can walk around, now the spa­ce isn’t acces­si­ble. It was defi­ni­te­ly a chal­len­ge to find some­thing that’s still Club Efe­meer but is also a fixed per­spec­ti­ve. It took qui­te some time to come to this con­cept and we hadn’t wor­ked with text befo­re. Now we’re using this to tell our sto­ry, whi­le staying true to the main ele­ment of Club Efe­meer, which is light. In the end, the limita­ti­ons of the pro­ject ulti­ma­te­ly beca­me our strengths. 

How did you come to collaborate with Betina?

Arnaud: I did some research on club cul­tu­re last two years, so I could’ve writ­ten the text, but in a way, I was too clo­se on the sub­ject. Some­ti­mes it’s bet­ter to hear from ano­ther one’s per­spec­ti­ve. We thought about asking Beti­na, becau­se I know her and her pre­vious work. She’s clo­se to club cul­tu­re just like we are, so the col­la­bo­ra­ti­on went real­ly well, it was an open con­ver­sa­ti­on.
Béti­na: I had some ide­as of what had to repre­sent the text. And the way Arnaud descri­bed the spa­ce to me, I had some clear pic­tu­res in my mind, whi­le also ans­we­ring the ques­ti­on What were peo­p­le expe­rien­cing during the past year?’. I was trying to be in their minds but I also had to inclu­de the poli­ti­cal the­mes I res­pond to myself. In that sen­se the­se restric­ti­ons of the work made the text per­for­ma­ti­ve. I saw it whi­le I was wri­ting it.
Maar­ten: The per­for­ma­ti­ve part of the work is the most impor­tant, I think. It’s like rea­ding a music sco­re, eve­ry­thing plays a role. We cho­se to work with Beti­na becau­se the work is so mini­mal and she uses text as a medi­um, she has a hand­le on this and real­ly knows what she’s doing.
Arnaud: The led scrol­ler is per­for­ma­ti­ve by itself. Nor­mal­ly when you buy a paper you read it on your own tem­po, now the scrol­ler deci­des the tempo. 

How do you want the public to experience your work?

Maar­ten: Having the fee­ling of I’m not alo­ne in this’, which is a com­for­ta­ble and recog­ni­za­ble fee­ling, but at the same time, peo­p­le might not be very hap­py loo­king at the instal­la­ti­on.
Béti­na: The remin­der of what’s mis­sing is not always good.
Maar­ten: No, it can be bad. But it can also be comfortable. 

How do you all know each other?

Maar­ten: We were both resi­dents at Cas-co a whi­le ago. We wor­ked together on the sce­no­grap­hy when the­re was an Open Stu­dio and a par­ty. We wor­ked well together and wan­ted to do more, so gra­du­al­ly we col­la­bo­ra­ted more and more. The work we do is a com­bi­na­ti­on of light instal­la­ti­ons, art pie­ces and more func­ti­o­nal sce­no­grap­hy for clubs.
Arnaud: For some pro­jects we also work with other artists. Club Efe­meer star­ted as the name of the first club­night at Cas-Co, then it beca­me the name of our col­lab, but it’s defi­ni­te­ly a Club’. It’s inte­res­ting to work with other peo­p­le, so we deci­ded that Club Efe­meer can be an umbrel­la of seve­r­al peo­p­le, a col­lec­ti­ve. Then how I know Béti­na: the last two years I’ve been doing a mas­ter research on club cul­tu­re in The Nether­lands and that’s whe­re I met her, we beca­me friends. 

Do you have tips for young creators?

Arnaud: Learn your things, meet new peo­p­le becau­se you’re not alo­ne. The most things you learn are from your peers. The har­de­st time is after you gra­du­a­te, becau­se during stu­dies you’re get­ting con­stant sti­mu­li. Nobo­dy is wai­ting for you and your art, so you have to look for pos­si­bi­li­ties. Work. Work. Work. Keep on cre­a­ting.
Maar­ten: Go look at things. Break out. Go to muse­ums and ope­nings, play around and don’t take it too serious­ly.
Beti­na: I prac­ti­se more as an archi­tect and now I’m moving into more artis­tic and auto­no­mous work. Col­la­bo­ra­ti­on is a gre­at way to boun­ce back your thoughts and learn a lot about your­sel­ves and others.
Arnaud: Yes, with col­la­bo­ra­ti­on you always have seve­r­al peo­p­le to work with. I’m sure you make more rele­vant and inte­res­ting work when you collaborate. 

Inter­view door Anne­lies Rom.
Beel­den door Vijfvoortwaalf.

FNMR 388