forum and film programme

(Unseen) War and Conflict

Rijksakademie Schip
Free entrance, RSVP here
Donations welcome *

(Unseen) War and Conflict is a two-day forum and film programme that focuses on the city of Amsterdam and aims to show the complexities of how conflict and war are experienced. We will share, listen and discuss different ways of oppression that have been normalised and even institutionalised in society, giving light to the -most of the times unseen- inner struggles of how communities and individuals have been dealing with political and social crises in their daily lives.

This two-day programme started as an initiative of some of the artists participating in the Refresh Amsterdam #2: War and Conflict exhibition together with some Rijksakademie resident artists and team, as a response to the institutional invisibilisation of the many ongoing human crises still occurring outside the centres of (mediatic) power. Questions on the position of art-thinking and making as activism in front of socio-ecological crisis, the agency of images and imagination as critical stance of mediatic manipulation, as well as how war and conflict are continuously embodied and experienced in the temporal and spatial distance of the territory in conflict, will be addressed.

This event is part of the public programme of Refresh Amsterdam #2: War and Conflict. This edition of Refresh Amsterdam addresses the impact of international war and conflict on the contemporary city, particularly its inhabitants and social structures. Amsterdam has long viewed itself as a city of freedom and a place of refuge. But what does war do to a city and our social intercourse? Why do certain wars and conflict situations generate more solidarity than others?

*Door donations and drink/food sales during the programme will be destined to cover emergency medical care to pregnant women, the sick and seriously injured in Gaza, through Doctors without Borders.

Wednesday 21 February

Films by Micha Adarian & Farouk Ebaiss, Miloš Trakilović, Moe Satt, Jort van der Laan

18.45 – doors open, soup and drinks available
19.00 – welcome and presentation of participants
19.20 – film programme
20.40 – open forum and conversation, snacks and drinks available

19.20 It is a fight (2024)
Micha Adarian & Farouk Ebaiss

A short film about Micha Adarian, a Lebanese Trans Refugee Activist living in Amsterdam. The story about her activism for the Trans, as well as the invisible war that Trans people experience both in the homelands they left and ‘here’ in the land of asylum. In 'It is a fight' Micha explains the unseen inner struggles of how her Trans community has been dealing with political and social crises in the daily life.
The film is part of ‘Faces and Places’. A storytelling platform that puts into the spotlight, stories of communities and minorities hidden in the dark shadow of modern media. Amplifying unheard voices and pushing through the depth of media corruption to bring to the surface what really matter – the people and diversity. (

19.40 All but War is Simulation (2020)
Miloš Trakilović

Blending historical record with speculation and theory, 'All but War is Simulation' takes as its starting point an artifact from the Bosnian War: a soon-to-be refugee’s Post-It note detailing a list of possessions to be taken before the family’s eviction. All of the items are related in some way to the preservation of memory—highlighting both the longing for an ideal past and a boundedness to the everyday experiences of war, where survival becomes routine and one’s life is reduced to a few simple objects. Neither an image nor a poem, the yellow record speaks to the multiple dimensions of loss associated with the experience of war and displacement.

20.00 No title | various music videos will be commented by the artist
Moe Satt

Moe Satt is part of a renowned generation of experimental contemporary Burmese artists who overcame government censorship and oppression to engage with conceptual artwork, the body, and identity. For (Unseen), Moe Satt will share and comment on some of the music videos related to the Myanmar protests in opposition to the coup d'état on 1 February, also known as the ‘Spring Revolution’.

All-heal Valerian (2024)
Jort van der Laan

'All-heal Valerian' combines film and spoken text in a critical narration of a military language deployed in immune system discourse, that reinforces fear and anxiety, and stigmatizes the body in absurd, grotesque and undignified terms. The work explores the possibility of a more dreamlike relation to narrative, where language structures that affect our everyday living-well-being are re-embodied in a more-than-human intimacy. 


Films by Elena Khurtova & Anika Schwarzlose, Mohammad Abou Chair, Fransisca Angela

18.45 – doors open, soup and drinks available
19.00 – welcome and presentation of participants
19.20 – film programme
20.40 – open forum and conversation, snacks and drinks available

19.20 – Elena Khurtova & Anika Schwarzlose
Residue (2023)

'Residue' revolves around the history and remaining impact of the former weapons factory at Hembrug terrain in Zaandam, its role in colonial and another international conflict (until this day) and the soil contamination of the factory ground, which tells a story of over a century of exported violence. Within the conversation about war and conflict, the artists find it urgent to turn their gaze on the arms industry's role in this context.

19.50 – Mohammad Abou Chair
How to make a film from nothing? (2022)

The presentation reveals how war and conflict can inspire artistic practices for a greater cause. Shared globally, wars connect Amsterdam and Palestine through the people, the casualties, the innocents, and humane stories. Survivors become storytellers, contributing to a collective narrative. I'll share my personal journey and unveil the film's behind-the-scenes, illustrating how the creative process can elevate awareness about the Palestinian experience. The presentation highlights the power of film making to transform adversity into a platform for voices that often go unheard.

20.20 – Fransisca Angela

A draft of a sound piece responding to multiple realities that evolve in the city, accompanied by reading. It focuses on the everyday and acoustic environment surrounding us to understand the here and now and how our reality is constructed.

Elena Khurtova & Anika Schwarzlose

Elena Khurtova (she/her) and Anika Schwarzlose (she/her) are interdisciplinary artists and researchers, each bringing their distinctive perspective to the intersections of art, ecology, and technology. Reflecting on the interplay of fragility and resilience in human and environmental conditions, Elena Khurtova's work explores the overlapping notions of care and control. Her practice spans performative and sculptural installations, drawings, and artist books, establishing poetic relationships with concrete and fluid materials and mapping the transience between human and nonhuman agencies. Her work has been exhibited internationally at institutions such as Contemporary Art Centre 3bisF, Manifesta biennial #13, Amsterdam Museum, and Kunsthalle Lottozero. She was awarded the artistic research fellowship of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and currently teaches at the Art and Research programme.

Anika Schwarzlose is an artist, researcher, and lecturer with a visual arts practice that involves collaborative production cycles. Her focus is on the function of archives, the repurposing of images, and reproduction techniques. Through photographic installations, video works, and film, she examines lens-based recording media and the influence of dispersion, adaptation, and composition on the political narratives they promote. Schwarzlose's work has been exhibited at renowned venues such as Zollverein Essen, ARoS Museum, Cornell University Art Gallery, Ural Industrial Biennial, Fotomuseum Winterthur, and FOAM. Presently, she teaches photography and artistic research at HKU Utrecht.

Together, Elena Khurtova and Anika Schwarzlose employ transdisciplinary strategies, combining art and research in metabolic ways to explore the complexities of our human experience in its relationship with our material environment.

Farouk Ebaiss

Farouk Ebaiss (they/she/he) is a visual artist, human rights activist, and storyteller, born in Tripoli and currently based in Amsterdam. Farouk studied at the Fine Art and Media University of Tripoli and holds a master's degree in media and communication. He is a Rijksakademie guest resident at the Social Practice workshop with We Sell Reality Collective, a socially rebellious label and the main partner for Refresh Amsterdam.

As a multidisciplinary artist, his work focuses on Time Art, exploring the dynamic aspect of artistic expression and emphasising the temporal dimension as a crucial part of the artistic experience. Farouk's artistic themes encompass power dynamics, belonging, identity, displacement, borders, racism, and reflect on the human rights paradox within the experience of time.

His work has been exhibited at various venues such as the Amsterdam Museum, Framer Framed, Oude Kerk, Open Ateliers Noord, and NTR Studio. Farouk has collaborated with renowned organisations, including The Narrative Collective, Warq Laboratory, LIMBO Amsterdam, New Dutch Connections, Amsterdam United, Wat We Doen, Achter De Berg Producties, What You See Festival, Over het IJ Festival, and Theater De Gasten.

Farouk is a co-founder of 'Faces and Places', a multimedia storyteller platform, and 'BALACONA', an experimental stage for artists. He tirelessly works to raise awareness about social justice issues, advocating for equality, dignity, and fair treatment for all.

Fransisca Angela

Fransisca Angela (she/her) works from within everyday lived experiences. Her work mainly touches upon human stories in relation to place, the in-between, and memory. In her practice, she utilises various mediums, from image, text, audio, and video. Through personal narratives, she invites people to experience life fragments that allow them to reimagine a new reality, standing in for what has been lost amidst adversity.

Micha Adarian

Micha Adarian (she/her) is a Lebanese journalist, transgender woman, activist, refugee, living in the Netherlands. Alongside journalism, she worked with humanitarian organisations as a life coach. And she co-founded the media platform 'Faces and Places' with the slogan 'All stories matter'! She actively supports her Trans community during protests, the Day of Remembrance, Prides and the Women’s March Against Violence. Her career goals and personal aims are intersectional: questioning people in power, fighting for diversity and always choosing revolution!

Miloš Trakilović

Miloš Trakilović (he/him) is a Bosnian-Dutch artist. He holds a MFA from the University of Arts in Berlin where he graduated in the Experimental Film and New Media Art department. His practice revolves around the politics of perceptibility exploring issues of dissolution; fragmentation, memory and loss. His topical interest is the role of vision in the construction of meaning and production of power following the digital turnover. His work combines film, animation, lectures and writings, commonly presented in installation formats.

Moe Satt

Moe Satt (he/him) is a Burmese visual and performance artist who uses his own body as a symbolic field for exploring self, identity, embodiment, and political resistance. He is part of a renowned generation of experimental contemporary Burmese artists who overcame government censorship and oppression to engage with conceptual artwork, the body, and identity. He founded the Beyond Pressure International Performance Art Festival in Yangon, Myanmar.

Mohammad Abou Chair "محمد أبو شعير"

Mohammad Abou Chair (he/him) is Palestinian/Dutch, a graphic designer and filmmaker, born in 1994 in Syria to a Lebanese mother and a Palestinian father, yet he was a refugee and stateless for 28 years. The artist is currently based in the Netherlands and graduated with a master's degree in fine arts and design in 2022 from the Master Institute of Visual Cultures AKV| St. Joost, where he initiated the start of his own film and artistic career. In 2015, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in graphic design and visual communication from the American University of Culture & Education, during his life period in Beirut, Lebanon.

During the Abou Chair’s life as a stateless, he found himself lost between identities, and how his surroundings perceived him and his work. He was not surprised that his existential crisis, pain, and suffering ignited an identity-led practice. Within time, he managed to look from a peephole of life, to find the beauty in pain. His curiosity motivated him to represent different visual narratives and perspectives, not only to create empathy, but as a way of empowering marginalised identities, people, and overlooked social issues.

Jort van der Laan

Jort van der Laan’s (he/him) artistic practice of video and printed matter addresses the tangled relations between immunity and community. Plural and porous, body and mind are presented as an assemblage that is, in turn, part of other assemblages: artistic / political / cultural / economic / spiritual / medical. Van der Laan obtained his MA at the Dutch Art Institute (2011) and a BA at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam. He was a resident artist at King’s College, London. His work has been presented at venues including Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons, Utrecht; Rongwrong, Amsterdam; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; The Tokyo Art Book Fair; and Zico House, Beirut. He has been regularly involved with the Rietveld Academie’s Studium Generale since 2011. Recently he became an external PhD candidate at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts in Leiden.

Public Programme

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