We've asked a few individuals to write about their experience with Studio Complex & Hangarrrrrr and its creative output, on the occasion of a notice of eviction and an offer for relocation by the city of Enschede. Below are the responses we've received from fellow creatives, cultural producers and community organisers.
(artist based in Israel)
The experience of participating in Zuider Festival was so good – I returned to the place a month later for a Residency. I arrived on a rainy day, to complex studio. I was warmly welcomed by the group of artists who organize the festival, and they made sure I felt at home. The organizers arranged all the materials I asked for the sculptures I made and the workshop I had attended the festival. Which enabled me to work with ease and efficiency for the festival. Beyond that, I got to know and work with artists from other parts of the world – which contributed to the special experience and created new collaborations.
The festival itself was exciting and amazing, in terms of organization and production. I was surprised to discover the great variety of activities and facilities that was organized for the general public who flock to the place every day. The workshop I gave – came people from a variety of ages, from children to adults who enjoyed sitting in the workshop for hours and preparing masks from cardboard.
The experience was very special and I strongly recommend for other artists to take a place in the festival.
(artists based in Spain)
We didn’t know what we would find in the Festival before taking our plane from Madrid. When we get there we met all the people who make the festival possible and we felt amazed at how each of them has a task to do, and how coordinated they are. As guest artists, the experience covered all our previous expectations and more. The organizations were really professional with us.
We also had some extra time to visit the city of Enschede and we loved it. We are recommending other friends and artists to visit the Zuider Festival next year!
(artist based in Poland)
I have had the pleasure of knowing people from Studio Complex & Hangarr since August 2017 when on the 25th and 26th I have been invited by them to take part in Zuider Festival. During that short time of our co-operation not only they have demonstrated great creativity and skills of management in constructing the festival and uniting multicultural gathering of individuals but also they have changed my way of looking at the whole town itself.
I have passed through Enschede some time ago during my voyages west-word Europe and though it seemed a nice and pretty place, it has not imprinted in my heart as it has now for it is true that the value of place depends on people who create it.
It counts a great deal to me that the main participants were local residents for whom there were multiple activities and attractions regardless their age. The festival took place in a little forest in the middle of their town thanks to which one could feel in touch with nature, history of the place and a wonderful energy of both Nature and human creativity.
And yet, the potential of the festival has crossed over forest and urban barriers to become something more than a local entertainment. I have witnessed people from different countries travelling to Enschede lured by growing fame of the event. The local and the foreign mixed and meshed together interacting with art, getting to know each other and simply having fun in that amazing environment.The environment was created with care and creativity by people from Studio Complex & Hangarr. They have chosen all sorts of music, perfectly correlating with the art scenes, building atmosphere and proper tension. The scenes differed from the standard „places for the artist to perform”. To me, they were works of art themselves which gave yet another dimension to performances. As a visual artist I cannot stress enough the amount of work that must have been put into scenography to stimulate participants` imagination as it had. My favourite was probably the plane crash scenography and car with Madmax.
As I see it, Zuider Festival transforms Enschede into a shared ground for international artists where very different art areas, styles and various artistic sensitivity meet. I think of it as a precious Idea worth keeping and nourishing into full bloom, especially in times of misunderstanding and anger blowing over our heads.
I went to Zuider Festival to show my installation. Little did I knew it would be much more than that…
Nicky Mao/ Hiro Kone
(New York-based musician and community organiser)
22 December 2017
My name is Nicky Mao and I perform music under the name Hiro Kone and reside in New York City. I'd like to take a moment to stress how important places such as Studio Complex & Hangarrrrrr are.
As a resident of a city that feels much pressure from real estate development and gentrification, I have seen over the last 16 years the stress that this puts on small businesses. I've especially experienced it with the closure of independently owned venues and DIY collectively run spaces. This deeply affects the social fabric of our communities in a negative way. These spaces are not only incredible places in which to express oneself, see art and hear music, they are often places where marginalized groups of people find a sense of belonging and feel safe. They also provide important social services and resources to the community.
It's my feeling that every town and every city needs spaces like this. That is why I was so impressed by Studio Complex & Hangarrrrrr. To discover such a place in Enschede, NL that was thriving and filled with wonderful people who share a collective vision that includes supporting the greater community in which they live, through their mobile community garden and vegan people's kitchen, was incredibly inspiring. I also noted, as a performer there, how their events welcome a diverse cross section of the community and that no one is turned away for lack of funds.
I left Enschede with such a renewed sense of community and a reinvigorated hope for the creation of similar spaces within my own in New York. I don't doubt many feel the same as myself that losing a space such as this would be horribly detrimental not just to the community of Enschede but to all the people abroad who find themselves there for one reason or another. The space is known far and wide, and I've had many discussions since visiting, with friends from Montreal to Berlin about their love of this space. I implore the City of Enschede to retract the eviction notice and instead give support to this most invaluable presence within the community.
(Rotterdam-based researcher and writer)
29 December 2017
A letter in support of Studio Complex and Hangarrrrrr
What vision do you personally have for a city? Do you want to have sleek glass buildings everywhere only housing white young upwardly mobile professionals who earn big and spend their money on deliveroo food every night? Do you want to construct effective machines for living where the creative classes can sleep after a long day staring at a computer screen? Do you want to build on the shoulders of the rich? Do you want a camera on every street corner for your own safety? Do you want everything to look the same?
I like to live in or visit places where a gig can happen on a Monday night with two acts, one local from the music academy, the other one all the way from New York (like at the Loch recently). Where a festival can happen, which entertains thousands of people for three days’ straight with no cover charge (like Zuiderfestival).
For Enschede, it would be a catastrophe to evict Studio Complex and Hangarrrrrr, to therefore break the intricate social networks which such a fertile self-organised environment has created.
Let the autonomous spaces bloom!
E.T.C. Dee has published journal articles in Contention, Deviant Behaviour, Interface, Sociological Research Online and Space and Culture, as well as book chapters in books published by Minor Compositions, Palgrave, Pluto and Routledge. http://ucm.academia.edu/ETCDee