You are invited to the festive opening of ‘Non-Profit At All Cost’ Friday, September 9th from 8pm to 11pm at Nest.
Non-Profit At All Cost9 Sep – 6 Nov 2022 / Exhibition@Nest
Scenography and design: Eline Mul
Exhibition in collaboration with Farida Sedoc
6 minutes read
What is a vision and how does it emerge? A vision is, in a sense, the space between a question mark and a proposal. Above all, it is a dream for the future. Being able to formulate a vision requires curiosity, courage, imagination and the generosity to be able to share in these thoughts. Nest asked the artist Farida Sedoc to translate her vision for the future into an exhibition.
Farida Sedoc identifies with the stories of DJs, MCs, civil rights activists and several cultural communities. This does not only form the basis for her subjects, but also determines her attitude to life and cultural position. In her artistic practice, she combines the cultural roots and legacy of Black music and protest movements with iconic images from magazines, newspapers and digital media. In her work, she samples images and stories, and thereby creates a crystal-clear image of the zeitgeist. With these combinations of images, she makes collages, screen prints and graphic expressions, for institutions such as the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam as well as in self-made zines, record sleeves, and on T-shirts for activist groups and fashion brands. This makes her art available and accessible to a large group of people.
Side jobs, ‘the hustle’: they are rarely counted as part of an artist’s professional practice. A distinction is made between ‘what is professional’ (art) and the ‘side job’ – often not worth mentioning. For this exhibition, the other talents and ‘good shitty jobs’ are part of the artistic practice and are regarded not with pity but with pride.
Sampling is another connecting thread in this exhibition. A process that has its roots in hip-hop and urban culture, in which quoting the work of others is seen as a reference to the giants on whose shoulders you are standing. Its use and exchange, it’s more than an artistic form; it forces the maker to reflect on their own context and the sources one taps into, in order to make oneself part of a bigger story. With ‘Non-Profit At All Cost’, Sedoc wants to present an exhibition in which artistry, tradition (or legacy) and entrepreneurship meet and are applied to a higher goal. That is her vision for the future. She invited Roxette Capriles, Armando D. Cosmos, Guido Johanns (†), Herbert Luciole, Sandim Mendes, Eline Mul and Clélia Zida to do this together with her. They are artists, but also DJs, designers, muralists, art directors, body workers and activists; depending on place and context, and preferably all at the same time. In an interview with Alix de Massiac in Metropolis M, Sedoc says about ‘Non-Profit At All Cost’:
“I think the Netherlands is run like a business and the motto is profit at all cost. If you put ‘non’ in front of it, it raises the question what it means to not be profitable within that view. What if profit is not the goal, but being together? I see the artists in Nest as the Wu-Tang Clan: everyone is different but we are one crew. What binds us is that we feel a social responsibility to tell the viewer some- thing about where the world stands now and what steps we should take to improve this.”
In ‘Non-Profit At All Cost’, the artists offer a reflection on how they view the world and anticipate the future. Sedoc studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and met Guido Johanns back then.
“Because of my background in the hip-hop scene, inviting people from the local scene is important. By doing so, you express respect, a homage to the city, you connect with the people who live there. Guido passed away in 2019. I’d known him from nightlife for 20 years. He travelled a lot, lived in different countries, from England to Brazil. I’m interested in how he with his lifestyle symbolises the art of living, but also the failure of a political system. His work has never been exhibited properly and so it seemed interesting to me to see what he actually makes and what we can exhibit.”
Johanns lived in squats and led a nomadic existence. He absorbed street art, Caribbean culture and the rougher part of street life shaped his broad artistic expression. He captured a lot of this in photos. Together with his brother Marc, he formed a sound system that is continued by his brother to this day. He was a generous man, and his soul touched and coloured the hearts of many people. For this exhibition, Sedoc plunged into Guido’s archive together with his brother and has made a selection out of the many photos, which are presented in the exhibition in an enormous record sleeve. Clélia Zida is also an artist that Sedoc has known and followed for a long time.
“What’s interesting about her, is that she’s a real community builder. She ran a bar in Amsterdam for ten years, Café Belgique, which has been an important place for all kinds of artists. A safe space with a music programme, where we could meet.”
Zida also practises other professions alongside her artistic practice, like almost all artists that Sedoc selected for this exhibition. She is a DJ and has thereby built a close-knit community around her. Visually, these ‘two hats’ perhaps do not come to the fore directly in a visible way, but if you know it you see it. Zida:
“Within my practice, music and art keep each other balanced – they’re the link between feeling and thinking, intuition and conceptualisation. My work is abstract, minimal and hard-edge, it flows on into the abstraction I seek within the electronic music that I make. Both are uncompromising, clear, inviting and ruthless. Whether it’s music or visual art, patterns, waves, vibrations, colours and frequencies occupy a central position within my work.”
Armando D. Cosmos and Herbert Luciole studied at the Sandberg Institute together with Sedoc, where they completed the temporary master’s programme ‘Radical Cut-Up’. SHTF [Shit Hits The Fan], the work by Cosmos, consists of several woven tapestries that explore a scenario in which modern society as we know it collapses. Whether it is communities who form armed militias, people who hoard goods in self-made shelters, or individuals who go off-grid and learn bushcraft techniques, there are many ways in which people prepare themselves in anticipation of TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It). Using the visual language of old propaganda for civil defence, diagrams for nuclear weapons from the Cold War and activist posters, the fragments in his woven tapestries show the futility and human in- competence in preparing for the supposed collapse of the earth.
Herbert Luciole, artist, activist and designer, questions the fatalistic thought that the world is doomed anyway – and with his work, he zooms in on one of the largest protest movements of this century: Occupy Wall Street. Spread across 951 cities in 82 countries, the movement gave him and many others hope and courage. How could it happen that such a widely supported protest movement did not survive in the end? After all, Occupy Wall Street was a textbook example of a social movement that should have succeeded. A movement that united 99% of humanity against the 1% of the super-rich, which expressed resistance against social and economic inequality and the lack of real democracy observed in the world. The protest was shut down in murky circumstances. The idea that millions of peacefully protesting people in the streets can significantly steer a political system has turned out to be a utopia up to now. Luciole invites Nest’s visitors to look at the protest again according to Micah White’s four theories of protest, via his digitally interactive riot shields, in order to answer the question together: How and when will real change begin?
Sandim Mendes from Rotterdam takes a different approach and chooses to take a hyper-personal family history as a point of departure for the exhibition. Sedoc saw a work by Mendes that immensely fascinated her and invited her to build on it.
“The work that appealed to me in the context of the exhibition is a video in which she embodies a freedom fighter who is writing his manifesto. I was inspired by the power of a fighter who creates his own rules and then turns these values into law by means of a manifesto.”
For ‘Non-Profit At All Cost’, she developed a dialogue between her two grandfathers and the positions they chose at the time of the colonial occupation of Cape Verde by the Portuguese. The two protagonists, each the head of their own family, had to weigh up pros and cons in their existence: personal choices that were directly interpreted as a political statement by their own community, as well as by the colonists. One grandfather, called January, stuck to his principles and his belief in justice and fought against the colonists. The other, Rapasinho, was seen as a traitor to his own people. Both made their own decisions in order to survive, choices whose consequences can still be felt in Mendes’ life. How does intergenerational trauma persist and how do you break painful traditions? Can you create understanding and empathy for the choices of earlier generations and how does this live on in futures ones? ‘E ka so bo, E mi ku tudu (= it’s not only you, it’s me as well)’ offers a reflection on these questions and invites you to become part of this conversation.
The artist Roxette Capriles also chooses a more personal approach. She tries to connect with her public, wants to make them part of her vision. To dream along together, like you can walk along together. She does this “to deal with society, to overcome, to stay involved and not to give up. To strive towards dreams outside the economic order. Society is something to imagine, not to endure”, according to Capriles, who calls herself an artist, a professional amateur, a bridge, fighter and lover. She responds to the life stories and world views around her, and connects them to larger stories about the social and econo- mic patterns in society. For Nest, she makes a ‘Wishful Thinking Well’.
“The well is a visualisation machine for the most genuine wishes. It’s the content of my soul. In a desert of watered-down symbols, soulless movements, I try to think about the future, but I don’t have a concrete plan.”
For Capriles’ wishing well, everyone at Nest is invited to make their own currency, to print it and throw it into the metres-high well, while at the same time thinking of a wish for the future.
And then there is the work of Farida Sedoc herself. She continues to explore her interest in the future of money and, simultaneously, the value and transparency of exchange. Every year, Sedoc designs her own characteristic coin, inspired by her own archive, to create alternative patterns of thinking and exchanging. She (re)prints old, current and future currencies, both real bank notes and imaginary ones. For this, she now exclusively uses the image of a female figurehead: Marie de Man, derived from the Surinamese two-guilders-fifty bank note, better known as the ‘kotomisi’, dating from 2 July 1967. The woman on the bank note is her own aunt. The title of the coin refers to Article 1 of the constitution: specified as the rights to freedom for every human being on earth. At Nest, you can see this new coin as a large mural in the exhibition.
Finally, Sedoc shows a big canvas on which the words ‘ONE LOVE (conspiracy)’ are displayed in the middle:
“The world has become more complex, things are more grey than they used to be. In this, the sense of ‘the community’ is sacred; that people include you and show how we interact with each other, what culture is, and explain that to each other in a calm way. I think that’s the only way in which you can really grow. The world goes on. With or without you, and you have to make an active effort to be part of it, to create places where people can be, where genuine contact emerges, departing from equal values. And one has to fight for that in a world that runs like a machine, in pursuit of profit.”
Thus Sedoc, with ‘Non-Profit At All Cost’, seeks a balance between artistic visions for the future, meeting up, and economic independence, to be able to make work that does not only convey a social message but also brings love and connects people to each other.
Text: Heske ten Cate
* Quote from an interview with Farida Sedoc by Alix de Massiac, published in Metropolis M #3, June/July 2022
The interviews are available in Dutch only
Evenveel vertrouwelingen als er kunstenaars zijn in de tentoonstelling reflecteren op de werken uit Non-Profit At All Cost. We vroegen hen naar de band met de gepresenteerde installaties en de aantrekkingskracht die uitgaat van hun praktijk.
- Steven van Lummel over het werk van Guido Johanns
- Farida Sedoc over het werk van Eline Mul
- Femke Dekker over het werk van Armando D. Cosmos
- Britte Sloothaak over het werk van Farida Sedoc
- Tirzo Martha over het werk van Roxette Capriles
- Shehera Grot over het werk van Sandim Mendes
- Rogier Oostlander over het werk van Clélia Zida
- Afaina de Jong over het werk van Herbert Luciole
Join us on Saturday 17 September at DCR OPEN, a day of guided tours, workshops for children and adults, screenings and talks by the artists and organisations in and around the DCR building.
Join us once a month for a fun workshop on Wednesday afternoon, especially for Verwend Nesten.
A cultural tour along artists’ initiatives, galleries and art institutions. Hoogtij takes place four times a year on Friday evenings in the city centre of The Hague, from 19.00 – 23.00 hours.
Make your own money at Nest in a workshop with artist Roxette Caprilles during Museum Night The Hague.
Doe een keer per maand mee aan een leuke workshop op woensdagmiddag, speciaal voor Verwende Nesten.
During the fall break, children ages 6-12 can participate in art workshops at Nest, on how to make something out of nothing.
Join us once a month for a fun workshop on Wednesday afternoon, especially for Verwend Nesten.
We celebrate the last week for Non-Profit At All Cost on Friday, Nov. 4, in an appropriate way: festive. Together with Farida Sedoc and friends of Guido Johanns, Nest is organizing a day full of music.