INTERVENING SPACE: …elk rondje is anders is about my conceptual and visual research into the gabber and gabber* culture for SBK-Dordrecht.
*The word ‘Gabber’ is an Amsterdam Bargoens slang that means ‘mate’, ‘buddy’, ‘pal’ or ‘friend’. Originally it is a style of music that derived after the late 80s Detroit house, and landed in the early 90s in Rotterdam as a subgenre of hardcore. This turned into a very specific lifestyle, which had its vivid dress code, smooth hairdos, colorful brands, sporty behavior, clear body language and brought the phenomenon of its very characteristic, own dance style called ‘hakken’. The most famous space where the parties where held was called the ‘Energiehal’ in Rotterdam. Throughout the week this was just a 90s gym space where children followed their classes, and in the weekends this gym space was the home of the gabbers.
The gallery SBK-Dordrecht held an exhibition about the gabber culture and asked me to create a new performance work to complete the exhibition entitled ‘Hoe Rotter Ut Wordt’. During the opening of the exhibition I did a two-hour live performance, in my installation of fixed artworks, in which I expressed my research and main focus.
The works are based on the [in Holland] well-known video of a gabber in the early 90s who is partying at one of the known hardcore events. He answers the question “So, what do you do all of these hours at a party like this?” with: “Ik loop rondjes en ik loop rondjes, ik loop alleen maar rondjes. Kom iedereen tegen, blijf rondjes lopen, elk rondje is anders. Ik loop uren lang rondjes.” [Meaning: “I am walking in circles constantly, for hours I walk in circles, and every circle – walk – is different.”]. Link Again, this is a very Dutch phenomenon and also the way of speaking and the convention of ‘rondjes lopen’ are typically Dutch.
I visually researched the convention of ‘rondjes lopen’ [walking circles] by using my own body and myself. In daily life this act works very therapeutic for me, I do it a lot, and the interesting thing is that you actually never walk in exact circles. It has become more of a saying that has different ways and manners in each context where ‘rondjes lopen’ is an important part of the daily lifestyle [for example at a hardcore party, in prison, at the Alzheimer’s department in a nursing home]. Within the works of ‘INTERVENING SPACE: …elk rondje is anders’ I registered my ‘circle’ landscape by using specific materials that traced my footsteps.
What I find interesting about this act is the moment the compulsiveness turns into vulnerability. I really wanted to put focus on the act of ‘rondjes lopen’, the movement and change in my body by divesting all the aspects that could be disturbing: my clothing, the music and my sight. By overcoming the compulsory of the continuous act of ‘rondjes lopen’ I reached a strengthening type of destruction and vulnerability, a different, non-daily type of mindset. In short: from compulsory to vulnerability by embracing my fears. I visually represent this personal process by playing with the lining on the floor and the lines I created myself. The moment I cross the line, is the moment that my compulsiveness decreases and when my destruction and vulnerability slowly start taking over. Within these hours I tend to show this process, and I use this as a metaphor to start embracing and overcoming your fears more, to take a step outside the lines, to intervene within your routines and to feel what difference this can make within your daily life and especially within your mindset.
© Photography by Rik Dijkhuizen