On Thursday 24 March, the second #ClubNight took place in the Culture Club. This time, alumni Roberta Bertini (Reinwardt Academy) and Teresa Costa (Conservatorium van Amsterdam) organised the Witches Brew.
There’s no sign of the presence of witches, or it must be the spinning wheel in the corner, from which balls of white and black wool threads are being spun – threads that are also stretched across the room occupied by two women who allow their bodies to be guided by the probing music around them. This is the Witches Brew, the second Club Night in the Culture Club, curated by Roberta Bertini and Teresa Costa.
A double bass, played by the Swedish Conservatorium van Amsterdam alumna Georgia Wartel Collins is alternately bowed and plucked. Rhythms and melodies are followed, answered, supplemented or copied by the other instruments in the room: a flute, violin, guitar and piano. The two dancing women react to the music and everything that is in the room: the stairs, a metres-long thick rope, the audience and the scattered text fragments from Silvia Federici’s Witches, Witch-Hunting and Women.
One of the dancers orates: “Attaching a denigrating meaning to the term [gossip] indicating friendship among women served to destroy the female sociality that had prevailed in the Middle Ages, when most of the activities women performed were of a collective nature and, in the lower classes at least, women formed a tight-knit community that was the source of a strength unmatched in the modern era.” This evening demonstrates that even in the modern era, there is room for female friendship, creativity and collectivity.
Teresa Costa purrs with satisfaction when part 1 of the evening has come to an organic end. People grab a beer, a cup of soup and smoke a cigarette outside. “It is great that this experiment was a success. Jam sessions are dominated by men, unfortunately, and it is wonderful to see what such an evening yields. There are many moments of tenderness and I have the idea that we listen to each other more.”
She tells how this evening is a call for consciousness-raising, in addition to being an invitation to create. “Violence against women, which was normal in the West in the centuries of the witch hunts, is still widespread throughout the world. We also want to draw attention to that. It is evening that revolves around art and around society.”
Double bassist Georgi Wartel Collins, who was invited to play is enjoying herself enormously. “I had no idea that it would turn out this way”, she beams. “It really feels like a safe place to do what you want. That’s very special. I hope that they are going to do this more often – I think that would be good for many women.”
Not only women are welcome. Daan van Hapert, student at the Netherlands Film Academy, grabs the guitar halfway through the session. “I couldn’t control myself any longer”, he says laughing during the intermission. “What’s happening here is really beautiful, a special atmosphere. I will definitely come again next time.” He is welcome, as evidenced by the invitation to the Club Night: ‘This is not an exclusive event for women! The same way feminism isn’t.’