Blurry Memories, Corridor Conversations and Boxed Obsolete Media: A Research Space

The research space is based around a VHS archive of Ritsaert ten Cate, the founder of Mickery Theatre (1965-1991) and DasArts (1994-2016).*

The research space gathers notes, gossip and archival document gravitating around the history of experimental theatre in Amsterdam. It circumvents its holes and shadows. It follows accidental stories and moves laterally, liminal, and intimately, questioning the linearity of major narratives and characters. Imagine this research space as marginalia of a book: scribbles, comments, glosses, critiques, or illuminations.

It all started with this tiny paragraph, a re-collection of a night in 1989: “Ritsaert ten Cate with a bottle of Jenever and a bunch of videotapes that we watched until early morning – the short history of the avant-garde theatre in 20 VHS tapes.”

Jimmy has been carrying this book in his bag for the last 6 months, obsessing on the content and whereabouts of the tapes.

At some point, he found a flat file with the name “Mickery Video
Archief.”

- photos and still by Jimmy Grima

“No, we do not have that archive, Jimmy… That folder refers to his (Ritsaert ten Cate) personal archive.”

There is no sign of the tapes. On our way out, in the darkest corner of the space Juul opens one of the several boxes:

“Here, Jimmy, VHS!”

203 of them packed in 19 cardboard boxes.

A project by 
Jimmy Grima

in conversation with
Marijke Hoogenboom, Juul Beeren, Corine Snijders, Andrea Božić, T J Etchells, 
John Meijerink, Sergej Pristas, Jan Zoet.

with kind assistance of Matar Pershitz, Ruth Borg, Michael Grima 
and Ira Melkonyan; 
Artistic advisor - Sara Giannini; 
conversation partner - Florian Malzacher

DAS Graduate School, Amsterdam University of the Arts
The research space opened for the public on the 21st and 22nd of June 2019 in the evening at 7pm  and by appointment from 10 am- 10 pm. 

Mickery Theatre (1965-1991), Amsterdam, “became renowned worldwide for promoting and presenting significant international alternative theatre companies, and for staging its own innovative productions”. (Mike Pearson “Mickery Theatre: An Imperfect Archaeology”) DasArts (created in 1994- and renamed into DAS Theatre in 2016) is a postgraduate course and a training laboratory for professionals in the performing arts, first operating as an independent foundation, and later becoming a residential Master of Theatre.