10 December: Misericordia performance evening #2

Rene Boer

After a kick-off that set tongues wagging in October, when the concept of mercy was explored from various perspectives, the investigation into new forms of ‘mercy’ continues. On 10 December we are presenting a performance evening with contributions by artists, journalists, former homeless people and a pastor. They will be presenting their visions for ‘a new mercy’ in word, image and sound.

Right now there is an increasingly pressing and urgent appeal to everyone’s mercifulness. But who is one’s neighbour in this day and age? The starving child in the Oxfam advert, the Syrian family in a reception camp, a lonely grandmother? Mercy seems to be deeply rooted amid the bustling chaos of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, given the number of relief organizations and monasteries in the vicinity of the Oude Kerk. How can we help our fellow humans, and is that assistance actually needed, or are you yourself in need of neighbourly love?

The aforementioned questions about mercy, or misericordia in Latin, are placed in the spotlight in the Misericordia research project by the Oude Kerk and Non-fiction, and provide the basis for a series of evenings in the Oude Kerk filled with performances in various parts of the church. The Oude Kerk and the neighbourhood have been playing a pivotal role in care for the poor for centuries, but what can we learn from this legacy? We will be addressing these questions during the performance evening on 10 December, and proposing seven new works of mercy.


18:00 – doors open – with soup served by Not For Sale, an organization that offers victims of human trafficking a new perspective on the future. The bar of the Koffieschenkerij is open throughout the evening.

18:00 / 18:30 / 19:00 – ‘The Merciful Red Light District’ guided tour by Amsterdam Underground – this organization arranges tours of the Red Light District with former homeless people as guides and has developed a ‘merciful’ version specially for Misericordia (lasts 45 to 60 minutes).

19:00 – performance by Luca Hillen – this German performance artist presents a variant of the choreography he created for the first Misericordia evening, which involves appealing to the visitor’s faith in ‘the other’.

19:00 – ‘Living Mixtape’ by Amal Alhaag and Em’kal Eyongakpa – Misericordia reporter Alhaag produced a mix tape together with artist Eyongakpa, in which ‘mercy’ is approached in a light-hearted manner, without it being drenched in the ‘positivity’ that is often associated with the concept.

20:00 – Jacqueline Grandjean – word of welcome by the Director of the Oude Kerk.

20:05 – Jessa van der Vaart – the pastor of the Oude Kerk congregation relates the story of the good Samaritan and talks about the inversion of our notion of neighbourly love.

20:15 – Circle – in this performance, artist Cathalijne Smulders pairs people with the language and speech impediment of aphasia with professional singers from the Genetic Choir.

20:35 – Tina Cake Line – the performance duo talk about their search for mercy at Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district, based on the investigation by Misericordia reporter Jeroen Smit, and introduce their performance later on this evening.

20:40 – The Fly – in this performance, artist Manolis Tsipos has joined forces with sound artist Natalia Domínguez Rangel to fill the church with the disturbing buzz of flies as a symbol of the uninvited guest, based on research by Misericordia reporter Mirjam Vossen into the ‘framing’ of poverty in the media.

The following components of the programme run simultaneously, so you can walk in and out as desired.

21:00 – Lina Issa – in the performance by this Lebanese artist, anonymous givers and receivers of charity are given a face, as a follow-up to the encounters of journalist and Misericordia reporter Maarten Zeegers with a woman from Amsterdam and a Syrian refugee who are connected by a work of mercy.

21:00 – Merve Bedir and BeAnotherLab – researcher, architect and Misericordia reporter Merve Bedir leads a number of participative and therapeutic performances by the international artist collective BeAnotherLab, allowing you to literally crawl into someone else’s skin and experience inequitable power relationships as the flipside of love of one’s neighbour.

21:00 – ‘Rolling Eyes..Kissing Teeth..Touting Lips’ – in this live radio show, which is being broadcast by arts-focused online radio station JaJaJaNeeNeeNee, Misericordia reporter Amal Alhaag enters into a discussion with writer Flavia Dzodan, artist Em’kal Eyongakpa and others about the ‘Debby Downer’ phenomenon – the person who always and everywhere has a critical, uncomfortable comment – and how that role can be pre-eminently merciful.

21:00 – Tina Cake Line – the performance duo reacts to research by journalist and Misericordia reporter Jeroen Smit with a proposal for a charitable wishing fountain at Zuidas. They will be talking about their plans and asking visitors for input.

22:00 – programme ends – have a drink and a chat in the Koffieschenkerij

For this second Misericordia evening, the mobile, gold-coloured installation Polyptych by architect Lada Hršak is once again being shown in the church. Proceedings will be conducted in English, with Dutch translation.

The programme has been compiled by Non-fiction’s René Boer and Michiel van Iersel in association with Jacqueline Grandjean, Director of the Oude Kerk, and a team of reporters that consists of Amal Alhaag, Merve Bedir, Jeroen Smit, Karel Smouter, Mirjam Vossen and Maarten Zeegers.

misericordia performance evening #2 in the Oude Kerk
10 December 2016, 6pm–11pm
Oude Kerk, Oudekerksplein (Red Light District), Amsterdam
admission: €5.00 (free for Museumkaart holders)
purchase your ticket online or at the ticket desk


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