come closer: archive session – on ephemeral gatherings

19 April 2022

In 2022, Oude Kerk will develop its own archive into an ‘open archive’. Much of the city’s oldest building has been recorded and researched throughout history. The hundreds of tombstones, the permanent works of art and the monumental interior have been well mapped out. But how can the recent history of the Oude Kerk – with temporary large-scale interventions by contemporary artists and a program of performances and concerts – be added to this? In order to share this process with the public, colleagues and people with an interest in archival practices, several Archive Sessions will take place in ’22 as part of the Come Closer programme.

During the Archive Sessions, we will delve deeper into a challenge surrounding archiving, with contributions from various artists and researchers speaking from their own experiences. The program lasts about an hour, with the possibility to exchange ideas and visit de Oude Kerk afterwards.

The first Archive Session, ‘on ephemeral gatherings’ is not about archiving objects, but focuses on gatherings that are temporary and ephemeral. The Oude Kerk has been a meeting place for over 800 years, which has been used in very different ways by all kinds of groups of people. How can the archive do justice to the intangible, referring to the use of a place?

Speakers Megan Hoetger and Amal Alhaag – who are both active as researchers and curators – share their ideas about archiving gatherings. For example, Megan Hoetger has conducted extensive research into experimental film screenings – in which she does not so much zoom in on the film itself, but rather on the setting of the screening (the audience, the location, the circulation of the invitation). Among other things, Amal Alhaag looks back on her initiative the Side Room (Amsterdam, 2013-2016, in collaboration with Maria Guggenbichler) – a space where informal gatherings and relationships were central. The place is no more; how does the legacy of the Side Room stay alive, and how does Amal archive her own multifaceted practice?

18.00 introduction by Radna Rumping and Marianna van der Zwaag, curators Oude Kerk
18.10 presentation Megan Hoetger
18.30 film: Side Room manifesto
18.40 presentation Amal Alhaag
19.00 Q&A
19.30 Opportunity to visit the Oude Kerk and exchange ideas, with a drink afterwards.

Amal Alhaag
Amal Alhaag is an Amsterdam-based curator, researcher and dirty cultural worker who develops longterm experimental research practice, public programs and projects. She collaborates with people, initiatives and often works in and outside of institutions and public spaces to create, stage, compose impermanent settings for mutual aid, discomfort, dancing, listening, (un)learning and conversation.
About the Side Room: Maria Guggenbichler and Amal Alhaag are longtime friends. Together they initiated and ran the Side Room, an informal platform for ex-centric cultural practices and thinking (2013-2016).

Megan Hoetger
Megan Hoetger is a performance historian and curator, an exhibition-maker and a hard femme. She holds a PhD in performance studies from the University of California, Berkeley and conducted research in many archives at various institutions, related to her ongoing research into geopolitical “performances of cinema” from the Cold War period until today. Since 2019 Hoetger is curator at the Amsterdam-based performance arts organization If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution. Together with cultural practitioner Kirila Cvetkovska she is also active as the Zone Collective (the collective is during 21-22 a fellow at BAK, Utrecht) researching experimental film and screening histories between Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav identity. Most recently, Hoetger curated Active Archives: Performing Social Realities in Archival Contexts, a performance program focused on archive sociality for the Whole Life Congress at HKW in Berlin.

19 April 2022, 18:00
*the language of communication during this programme is English