Writer’s Block #32

This newest issue of Writer’s Block Magazine is as all-round as ever! In it you can find interviews, short stories, essays, poems, reviews and columns. And moreover, it reveals the winner of our short story competition! Click on the cover below, and take a look inside!

Would you like to see your piece published in an upcoming issue? Please send us your work at submissions@writersblockmagazine.com! Continue reading “Writer’s Block #32”

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Writer’s Block #31

The first Writer’s Block of 2017 has arrived! It brings you a variety of beautiful pieces: poetry, interviews, short stories, reviews and essays. Click on the cover below to discover this newest delight!

Would you like to see your piece published in an upcoming issue? Please send us your work at submissions@writersblockmagazine.com!

Continue reading “Writer’s Block #31”

Winter Chaos

In my daily life, I travel a lot by bike and by means of public transportation. Most of the time, travelling like this goes very smoothly – only lately, it seems like there are a few complications adding up simultaneously. For one, as another year is coming to an end, the days are continuing to get even shorter. It seems reasonable to expect people to see this coming, but this year I have once again been disappointed. There are still a lot of bikes without proper lighting, which creates complex situations. Besides that, Dutch train stations seem to be in a constant state of renovation, meaning that the normal, safe bicycle tracks are nonexistent. Bikers are forced to navigate their way on the pavement or on bus lanes. Also, the renovations cause quite some extra noise, and as a result muffle the relevant sounds of bicycle bells and approaching cars. Finally, an additional aspect of the changing seasons: because of the rain, indications on the road are less clear and travelers lose their peripheral vision because they are wearing ponchos and using unstable umbrellas. Continue reading “Winter Chaos”

Everybody’s Art

 

At one point or another, art class has been part of every child’s school curriculum. Many of us can remember drawing pictures, doing arts and crafts and showing the end result to our parents who were always proud of our creation. I loved these classes as a child and, as I got older, I took an art history class in my high school. Learning about art history is interesting; you learn about the development of different artistic movements and the impact that these have had on our society. Despite the fact that this was all three years ago, I really enjoyed these classes and can still remember a lot. Towards the end of my high school time I had a realization (or perhaps it was just something that I started to notice more and more): the art that I had been studying was mainly European or Western. I also started to see that whenever art was presented that was not Western it would be regarded as special, or out of what is ordinary. Continue reading “Everybody’s Art”

Art on the Walls

 

Towards the end of January I completed a 3 month painting course that I had been taking at CREA (“Cultureel Studenten Centrum”). I took it partly because I felt like I needed to release my artistic ambitions and partly because I needed to shift my focus a little bit. Since the course that I took ended, along with many other courses, CREA hosted an exhibition to showcase the works that the students had created over that period of time. I went to check out all the beautiful works of the students and, of course, to make sure that my piece was hanging amongst them. The rooms at CREA were divided into different sections. One of the rooms was full of paintings and drawings of portraits, self-portraits, nude models and still life. The art works were either very colourful or in black and white. One wall was full of works resembling Picasso’s paintings. I entered another room and quickly noticed that I was in the photography room. Photographs of models and mysterious locations hung everywhere, and around me I heard people talking to each other about lighting and shadows. One student had produced a series of photographs of Amsterdam at night, which really spoke to me. The next room was full of ceramics. Abstract and realistic figures were neatly displayed on large tables for visitors to admire. When I walked down the stairs I saw that there was a theatre room and a film room. I was impressed with the fact that a big group of students had the capability of producing art that filled a whole building. What I particularly liked about the course that I took was that the people that were also taking it had different backgrounds. While I am usually surrounded by other students of the Humanities department, in my painting course I was surrounded by students of the medical department, science department and others. We all studied very different things, but we had one thing in common—we enjoyed painting. The exhibition made me think about the importance of art in a students’ life despite of what that person is actually studying. This might sound ignorant for me to say (and maybe I was ignorant of this) but I realized that even somebody studying mathematics could have the inclination to also do something creative, and that is why CREA is so important. Needless to say, I left the exhibition feeling inspired by creativity. Continue reading “Art on the Walls”

Photography in Foam: Reinvestigating a Medium Undergoing Digitalization

[Photo Under Construction Article] Credit- Composition 008, 2014 C Kate Steciw

 

Under Construction: New Positions in American Photography
Foam, 17.09 – 10.12

When we stroll down the canals of the city centre of Amsterdam, more often than not we come across the most well-known definition of ‘photographing’: the single-lens reflex camera in the hands of tourists. Subjects are usually centered right in the middle of a viewfinder when the shutter button is pressed and nine out of ten times we do not even print the hundreds of photographs taken on our holidays. However, when taking a walk through Under Construction, Foam’s newest exhibition, many questions about photography techniques will arise. The process of printing, presentation on the walls of a museum, and the concept of which this new generation of photographers is playing with makes you think about what contemporary photography actually is.

In the exhibition Under Construction: New Positions in American Photography, Foam speaks of image-makers, visual artists, and images instead of the traditional terms photographers and photographs. Both the medium and its vocabulary are reevaluated and, maybe even more significant, reinvented. The photographic processes and images result in a fantastic exhibition that lends itself perfectly to an introduction to contemporary photography.

With a substantial amount of references to other techniques in the art world, TIME LightBox got it quite right when they stated that we can speak of “a new generation of artists, who are questioning the very nature of photography itself, and see no reason why a photograph can’t be self-referential while drawing from classical Greek sculpture, 1980’s abstraction, performance art, and the internet, all within the same frame” (Krystal Grow, editor). References to earlier trends in art history are well-represented in Daniel Gordon’s images of still life and portraits. Pears, bananas, flowers, and faces are rearranged by making three-dimensional paper sculptures, often still displaying the glue in the final two-dimensional images that he photographs afterwards.

In another part of the exhibition we see an image in a weirdly shaped frame (or a weirdly shaped image in a matching frame?), as if the other pieces of a larger puzzle have gone missing. It is titled Composition 008 (2014) and it is created by Kate Steciw. It is a mixture of manipulated photography, collage, and computer animation that provokes only one thought: “this is not photography”.

And maybe that’s true. Maybe we expect photography to be as simple as tourist photography. Clicking a shutter button, expecting the photograph to be ready to go, printed and shipped to a museum like Foam. It is not. Artists and photographers do not add artistic value to an image just by looking at the composition or making use of advanced digital techniques. The processes and concepts of images may be sometimes hard to understand. However, when conventions are being broken and room is being made for discussion, you might actually have the chance to witness a revolutionary exhibition in contemporary photography. Then, there is always the information in the exhibition leaflets and the museum’s gift shop…

 

ISA

 

Featured artists: Lucas Blalock, Joshua Citarella, Jessica Eaton, Daniel Gordon, Owen Kydd, Matt Lipps, Matthew Porter, Kate Steciw, and Sara VanDerBeek.

Header Image: Composition 008, 2014 by C. Kate Steciw

WB Happenings – Week 40/41

Let’s face it: there simply are days that you find yourself with a desire to go out and do something awesome, but you’ve just got no idea where to go. Boy, have we got just the fix for you! Here, you’ll find a WB-approved selection of events happening in Amsterdam right now, or in the very near future. Do you happen to have a really good suggestion for the next edition of WB Happenings? Let us know through writerssblock@gmail.com, and we might include your suggestion in the next edition!

 

Exhibitions

  • 20 July – 9 November Bad Thoughts @ Stedelijk Museum. Private collection by Martijn and Jeanette Sanders containing a diverse selection of photographs, drawings, and graphic design.
  • 17 September – 10 December Under Construction: New Positions in American Photography @ Foam. Group exhibition of a new generation of image-makers reassessing the value of the photographic image in the 21st century.
  • 10 October – 1 February Breitner schetst Amsterdam @ Stadsarchief.

 

Films

  • 29 September Special screening of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off @ Kriterion, 22.00.
  • From 4 September and onwards A Most Wanted Man. Film directed by Anton Corbijn based on the homonymous book by John le Carré about a power struggle between bankers, lawyers, and counter-terrorists.
  • From 28 August and onwards Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 3D. Neo-noir film starring Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis. Sequel to the film Sin City released in 2005.

 

Theatre

  • 25, 26, 27 September Tasso, Het Nationale Toneel @ Compagnietheater (in Dutch). Play, originally by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, about a young talented artist named Alfonso who has to choose between a life of rest and regularity or a life of freedom and passion.

 

Lecture/Debate

  • 25 September Battle of Ideas – Are We Facing a Democratic Crisis? @ De Balie, 20.00. Panel discussions with experts and an open dialogue with the audience about the democratic crises of today.

 

Books and magazines

  • 27 September Book signing and Q&A with Herman Koch @ American Book Center
  • 04 October Amsterdam Zine Jam 2014 @ Felix Meritis

 

Festivals

  • 6-12 October Camera Japan. Japanese multidisciplinary cultural festival.
  • 8-12 October Afrovibes @ MC Theater and Bijlmer Parktheater. Music, arts and theatre festival celebrating South-African culture.
  • 15-19 October Amsterdam Dance Event. Electronic music festival with more than 800 events in over 80 clubs throughout the city.