Wouter van der Laan

NL, 1993
  • resident
    • 2020 – 2022

Artist statement

A late medieval woodcut print depicts a village spinning bee spun out of control. At the time, it was distributed as propaganda, showing a moralistic speculation of the unruly orgiastic events the authorities imagined took place at the local spinning bees. These textile gatherings were notorious for their transgression of norms, and indeed offered nightly refuge from paternal supervision for the (young) villagers to engage in social, sexual, and other forms of communal experimentation. As such, they offered a place for countercultural and subversive potential.

These bees eventually got prohibited, pushing them underground and into obscurity, continuing in the dark of night. In the absence of any textile facilities at the Rijksakademie, an impromptu workshop has been set up, following the tradition of the nightly village spinning bee. Communal touch-based textile processes facilitate unruly entanglements. Moments of weaving and spinning are met with forms of informal knowledge production and exchange. The space is a breeding ground for the knotting of various lines of thought, threads, and bodies. At night, these are expressed more through touch than through vision.

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