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From (h)ear to avantgarde

july 18, 2010.

On the early afternoon of July 1st, Maurice JJ and myself drove from Brussels via Maastricht (where we picked up our Spoerri table) to Heerlen, to perform at this season´s final edition of Mike Kramer´s (h)ear evenings.

Heerlen is a town at a mere 25 kilometers to the east of Maastricht. But despite being such close neighbors the two cities have an utterly different history and character. From my youth in Maastricht I remember the Heerlen that lay across the hill as a place in another world, like the equally near - but foreign - Liège (Belgium) or Aachen (Germany). But while one would still every now and then hop over to Liège or Aachen for a sunday's family outing, why for god's sake would one want to go all the way to ... Heerlen !?

Now that was quite a while ago, but the profound differences between these two cities in the deep Dutch south persist. Theo Ploeg sketches a portrait of (pop/street) culture in the two neighboring places in the most recent (#98 july/august 2010, pp. 56-58) issue of Gonzo (the one must-read Flemish/Dutch magazine on innovative music and culture). His conclusions are firm: in this day and age the balance for Heerlen dips on the hip side, while that for Maastricht dips on the musty ('duf') one. Now though on this subject Theo may be not completely objective, I do think that he does have some sort of a point. And surely both villes would profit immensely from a symbiosis, being two key nodes in a future Eutropolis.

Mike Kramer (who in the 1980/90's started his sonic activities as singer and composer in heavy metal band Ten Force and the speed metal act Currish) therefore is a fine specimen of the Eutropolitans avant la lettre that the Rhine/Meuse euro-region so dearly needs. Along with Kim Laugs' Audioscoop at Intro/In Situ and Kaspar König & Maja Gehrig's ARM in Maastricht, Mike's (h)ear series at the Heerlen Kunstencentrum Signe has become a third essential Dutch base for local and touring sonic adventurers in the Euregio.

kaspar @ hearThe 16th (h)ear began with a performance by Kaspar König, who kicked off his summer built-your-own-instruments world tour in Heerlen, with a demonstration of a brand new (versatile, foldable even!) home built string instrument, the playing of which he combined with the fun electro-sounds of a number of circuit bent toys.

It was also Kaspar who that evening, during A Table!'s performance, played the Carcassonne table that upon our arrival I had installed in the Kunstencentrum's front space, flanked on one side by Maurice JJ on baritone saxophone and with me on the other side, using an electric guitar and my pièces détachées.

kaspar a table

Meanwhile the sun had set. As the evening's final act took to the floor, long shadows were cast inside the otherwise so very white-bright and colorful Kunstencentrum. The artists' chosen names left little doubt as to the nature of what we were about to witness. S.N.O.T., the Stiff Nipple of Terror, reminded me of a little rubber duckling. Abandoned, left floating all alone in a small round inflatable pool in the garden of a Dutch suburban row house, she is watching the kids that went inside through the open garden doors. They prefer playing Mortal Kombat on their Play Station, and little duckling's rubber mind can think of nothing but revenge. Also here: the sun is setting and long shadows are being cast while duckling squeaks "Just wait and see, I'll teach you Mortal Kombat!!"
To make her fantasy come true, S.N.O.T. teams up with Vulvax, a wannabe deep-sea diver who every new morning, again and again, sets out on his way to a dearly longed for ocean to plunge and disappear in. But then in the evening he always finds himself still on his clogs stamping around in, well, that same small, round and shallow inflatable garden pool.

vulvax en snot

Together alone, accompanied by nothing but a loud trashy mix of campy Dutch variety and feedbacking toy noise, duckling and diver embarked upon their mission of bourgeois revenge. A whole lot of plastic got cut, sawn and folded, though somehow, in the end, one could not help but wonder if they ever even really left their little round inflatable pool.

Was it just a dream?

As soon as the carnivalesque duo started their act, I was strongly reminded of Dr. Bibber. It was only later that I found out that I was right on track here. Vulvax actually is a Fucking Bastard. You can read all the sordid details in this interview published on mangenerated's noiseblog.

To wrap up this report, here is a fine portrait of Vulvax & S.N.O.T after their performance, posing behind the Carcassonne table:

vulvax snot table

SoundBlog entries related to our 2010 reconstruction of Daniel Spoerri's Carcassone table:

(june 06, 2013) - A Carcassonne Yodel in Blue [Kunsttour 2013]
(december 24, 2011) - Touching Base
(april 19, 2011) - (Topographic [Table) Topographique]
(september 26, 2010) - Bonjour Schiphorst! Farewell Blue Vase! [and then i joined the avantgarde {iii}]
(august 10, 2010) - Shake your booty (on the workfloor) [and then i joined the avantgarde {ii}]
(july 18, 2010) - From (h)ear to avantgarde
(june 10, 2010) - A kitchen table and a game of cards [KT2010, ii]
(june 04, 2010) - Table archaeology: unearthing the picture trap
(may 18, 2010) - Instant coffee and (b)[re](a)d wine (the Spoerri re:Table in Extrapool, Nijmegen)
(may 13, 2010) - attention! oeuvre d atable
(july 08, 2009) - Cover thyself ( * ) Petit tour de table, grande bouffe [iii]

Maurice JJ, Kaspar and I then ventured out into the Heerlen night for a bite, before crashing onto three of the beds in the guest rooms on the Kunstencentrum's first floor.


There I dreamt of divers and ducklings.

next: 'Die Sonne scheint mit Glitzerstrahl'

tags: Heerlen, A Table!

# .380.

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