Hello I am Emma and it is my pleasure to arrange the XP newsletter this month. Like with everything in the Extra Practice space, we haven’t really decided on a single format or made rules, instead we take turns and trust each other.
(If you are new to this newsletter, welcome, this is nr. 2 of monthly-ish digital updates of what’s happening in and around Extra Practice, our tiny studio on Zwaanshals 209 in Rotterdam, NL. We’re 5 individuals sharing this space while figuring out our own practices and enjoying LiFe. We also just launched our website,👇linked at the bottom👇)
The other day we were cleaning the space (there had been food, drinks, fire and dancing and a great presentation by Francesca Lucchitta 🔥, the night hosted by Jack, it was quite wholesome) and decided to rearrange some furniture before mopping. Some might know this about me, but rearranging furniture is a big passion of mine. Some might say I do it too often, although when I ask “but isn’t this better than before?”, they usually agree.
There is a magic in taking the things you have gathered over time, and arranging them into a completely different constellation. The feeling of something existing becoming new, somehow better than before, kind of like a clean slate except the slate is not clean or empty, its content is just structured differently which makes you want to interact with the slate again!!! I feel like this with my apartment, but even re-organizing a kitchen cabinet or a bookshelf (by alphabet? genre? 2read? colour!?!) can bring a version of this feeling, am I right.
Also, aren’t we constantly doing this with our creative practices as well? While working on something new, there’s always this history of what we’ve already done, and the question of how this new thing might fit in the ‘interior’ we’ve built so far. It’s quite fun to think of our practices as little houses, filled with works and projects and ideas, that can be shuffled around in many different ways that can change the entire vibe of the house. (Example: I’m collaborating with a media & migration professor, teaching migrants how to make short films; Do I put it in my video-room? On the education-shelf? Or next to the mixing-with-other-contexts projects?)
And so if my own practice is my house, Extra Practice is like this cool shared garage to bring stuff in from your house to polish it or take it apart, or to build new things, or to just play around and have fun. (Or invite friends over, throw little parties, build fires, start a band).
So that’s my way to describe our relation to Extra Practice. See Unnecessary Diagram 1.: If an XP member has (1.) an idea for a project, they can bring it (2.) into XP, test it, get feedback from others, develop it, and then (3.) place it back into their own practice.
To test this beautiful metaphor I would like to ask Ben, Gijs, Jack and Kirsten (and also myself) for a small tour of their practice-house-interior-constellations as they are now, and what they may bring into the Extra Practice garage the coming month(s). I'll start:D
My ‘space’ currently feels full but warm with our Place-makers filmmaking workshop📍, (with a screening of the results on Dec 11th in KINO) Because it is quite different from things I’ve done before, I’m still looking for a place to give this within my practice-space. It is a video project so I could add that to my video corner 📹 which has grown quite big (round 2 of the desktoppywood 📁 video-workshop with Ben is coming up too). A recent client project made me remember how much I like doing (digital) illustrations🖍️, I’d like to bring that skill out from the basement:) There is a plan to spend the beginning of 2022 drawing daily mermaids🧜.
I’d like to use the XP garage for trying out some interactive, workshoppy ideas I have. The first one is about art & business strategies📊 I will be bringing in my dad the businessman for this (a public event by the way that we’ll share though our website and iG!). Can also add that to my parents-in-projects room, although the recent collab with mom the life coach🧘🏻♀️ has been collecting dust in a corner for a while, so I might bring that back into the garage as well at some point.
This spatial metaphor brings back memories for me. In one of the many iterations of my own website I made over the last few years, I built a site that invited you through the front door into different rooms. This spatial metaphor worked pretty well for me at the time but the most recent version of bnjmnearl.eu has begun to grow quite dusty. The only part of it I changed recently was my friends list. I don't relate to it at all, perhaps time for another rethink? Maybe I haven't been spending time making up my different rooms but instead have been outside in the garden, foraging around in the undergrowth for fun things to do. One of the things I found was the confidence to send a musical mix I made to a Radio Tempo Não Pára and they kindly published it as part of their AstroFM series. Then last week was the kick off to Good For Nothing, Nothing For Good, a programme at the KABK I organised with Marthe Prins on Unproductivity. We visited Varia in the morning and then met Afra Eisma in the afternoon at Kunstinstituut Melly. In the coming weeks the students and ourselves will be having Kung-Fu lessons, bird watching tours, choir practice and learning how to make our own digital infrastructure. Alongside this newly found teaching sapling, my water fascination will also bubbling into the public sphere soon with a performative presentation called Water Association, expect a loosely connected stream of consciousness mixed with aquatic noises.
I'm preparing to rehash some older projects in the Extra Practice garage, things that involve Raspberry Pi's, old screens and generally a bit of digital play. The garage will also be transformed for an evening soon into a Reading Room, what we will read and how we will read it is yet to be confirmed. But perhaps you'll be able to find it on our website soon!
Gijs’s tour 🌫️🧑🏽🎨🪴🌍🥁
I recently rearranged my actual house. Now there’s a sewing station, workbench, music corner, lazy chair and drawing desk. This is roughly what I would like my Practice-house to look like as well, but the metaphor still has some catching up to do. When you enter my Practice now, it’s a mostly empty slightly dusty studio with all surfaces roughly painted in a shade of white. It’s a space I’ve seen before, many times, and always felt drawn to. If only, one day, after finishing that philosophy thesis! But now I’m here, the emptiness also scares me 🌫️. Anything I make now will be born in an exhibition.
So I started Teaching. I hosted an Ego Design workshop at the Critical Inquiry Lab. Exploring their relations to their thesis topics the students made self-portraits 🧑🏽🎨. I loved it. Their work, my role, and that I could also play their role in my Practice.
I brought some Plants🪴over. They keep calling me for water and doing a research project about them. Why do I have them, if their nearing death is always glooming? Do I want to care or to control? Can those desires coexist and is that a problem? I feel like the Blue Marble 🌍 puts me exactly in that space. I’ll grow some of these ideas in an online garden Ben gave me for my birthday, gijs.garden.
The XP garage will be a greenhouse for seedlings. I also want to test more Ego Design exercises. And I definitely want to bring my amateur drum 🥁 skills to Band Practice.
For the first time in a very long while, when I look around my metaphorical space, there are all the things to last me for the coming year and there is a great comfort in that. Just because all the things are there however, doesn’t mean I can find them, so let me see. Soon to be on the bookshelf is the new Group Therapy book designed by Carmen Dusmet Carrasco and Céline Hurka that reflects on the discussion, support and friendship that was built between a group of Master’s students at the KABK through the last academic year. I have an ever growing pile of scraps building up in the corner all to do with radio, audio ecologies, public narrative and community for a new project...which I am waiting until the new year to sift through. In another corner there is a sewing machine waiting to be used to create the first of many Vreewijk Flags.
Over the next month I will start bringing bits of the Flag project to the XP garage, using it to semi-publically sift through visual material and test out workshop ideas. As well, of course as sitting in the garage to write emails and eat food in the company of pals.
Kirsten’s tour 📃💻🌱📂🗃️🎒👂🧶🎛️🧰🤖🎹📡*
If my practice were a house, it would have a #FFF8E7 facade. First thing in the morning I sit on the porch and write my morning page 📃. Then during the day I often end up in my #0000FF Bleu de Travail mode – behind my desk working on graphic design and coding commissions 💻. However I would like to commit more to my #00FF00 garden of artistic research and self-initiated projects, to nurture some budding ideas 🌱 and spend time thinking, reading, writing and recording (essaying 📂) around the older lingering trees that are continuing to grow more rings and drop fruits. I sometimes stop to put things I come across in my moveable zettelkasten 🗃, aka my second brain. Attached to the house I’m building a serre, a greenhouse to cultivate some greenery in more regulated conditions and eventually plant them somewhere in the outside world, for instance in KABK’s Design Inquiry Group classroom 🎒.
Back inside the house I have a corner with synths and other sound equipment, where I also sometimes take plants to, like for Listening Out The Window👂(my one-day Orchid and The Wasp installation on 27/11) and the Staging Stasis residency with Meghan 🧶. In the evening the corner occasionally turns #253D2D when Personae 🎛️ plays around with the knobs and buttons.
I like bringing my plants to the Extra Practice garage to see them in a different light (often a little more bright #FFFF00) with a little help from my friends. There is still a mise-en-place workshop 🧰 that I would like to try out and it’s time to revive code club 🤖 with a special Kirby course and maybe some more Friday Pi-days. I’ll also be whipping out some instruments from my sound corner for XP band practice 🎹. Lastly, in terms of the #FF0000 Wednesdays I am gonna start making a guest wishlist for the new season of Good Times Bad Times 📡in 2022.
(* I am realizing I have a lot of stuff in my house and the garage – perhaps time for some Marie Kondo-ing in my ambitions)
So anyway we have a new furniture-constellation at Extra Practice now. It includes the start of a little cosy corner for healthy AFK-time, a desk with a window view, and a ‘dirty’ table for more ‘dirty’ work by which we mean ‘making things of any material that is not pixels’. I for one am excited to see what will be created on the dirty table!! We might keep you posted.