'Verhelder', celebrating local historical persons, day 10: Willem Albert Scholten. Marker art manifestation, 8 June 2018, Grote Markt Groningen, photo by Sarah Janssen
Born Assen (NL), 1988
The work of Bert Scholten contains speculative narratives and (re)discovered folklore which he performs as radio plays or before a live audience using a musical score created by himself. His stories have their origins in casual news items or remarkable facts that somehow caught his interest, inspiring him to investigate further. He calls the final outcome 'figurative pop music', but sometimes he is also called a contemporary troubadour. And indeed, Scholten is a 'gifted poet-musician' who uses sung words to reconstruct the biographies of occasionally popular heroes and somewhat underrated anti-heroes who deserve to be in the limelight – if only temporarily.
During his productions/performances, which primarily manifest as multi-functional installations, he seeks interac- tion with the audience. He acts upon requests and elicits participation while presenting and reciting stories about or by persons and events – as well as natural environments. This time, for example, he sheds his light on the peat landscape. Although these are primarily found in the northern Dutch provinces, known for their parcelled-out landscapes, the Randstad had been formed by peat extraction as well, though that history has been eclipsed by urbanisation and changing perceptions of the North. Using music and narration, the musician-artist gives us deep but oblique insights into such forgotten stories.