#Team2 | Kim Spierenburg

“With art, the group that remains invisible can become visible”

My motivation for taking part in the Art & Society programme 2021-22 is that I want to get people thinking and to communicate what is on my mind. I have a different perspective on life due to my disability. As a result of this, I can make a unique contribution to the social debate. Art is ideally suited to making a point. Following my Bachelor’s in Classical Violin and Master’s in Live Electronic at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, I became increasingly ill and it took me a long time to recover. In spite of these setbacks, I feel a great need, drive, inspiration and motivation to flesh out my ideas.

Walk in my shoes
I want to enable the visitor to walk a few steps in my shoes via an installation with music, visuals, live electronics and interactivity. I want to investigate how I can involve the digital space in the installation. During the coronavirus crisis, I noticed that people of all ages, and from all groups and backgrounds, suddenly felt what it means to be restricted. I want to use this collective experience to connect people further.

Becoming visible
People with a disability have been been living with their limitations much longer already and have adapted in ways which everyone can benefit from. With art, that group – which usually remains invisible and which hardly ever, if at all, participates in social debate – can be made visible. I would like to investigate how I can draw attention to this subject. Many artists use controversy to get people talking and thinking about their subject. In the world of people with a disability, the only way to achieve this often is to talk about the disability or to be a source of inspiration.

I am always seeking new avenues or ways to transform ‘disabled’ into ‘differently-abled’. I believe that disability stimulates creativity and see it as my source of inspiration.

Interview with Kim

We all get asked it at some point: what do you do?  Many people immediately have an answer ready, but Conservatorium alumna Kim Spierenburg wrestled with that question. ‘I am a violinist, but that’s far from everything,’ she says. ‘I am a sound artist, speaker, composer, teacher and writer. A long answer to a short question. I did all of those things side by side, as if I have different professional lives. That’s different now. Since coming to the AHK Culture Club, I know that I can be what I want to be and can make what I want to make. I don’t have to remain pigeonholed in a particular genre or profession. I have discovered that I worked in a multidisciplinary manner, with limits. I have now surpassed that and I now work in a transdisciplinary manner.’

‘I apply and incorporate everything that I have learned and experienced at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and outside of that. It is a process in which one thing influences the other. In the Culture Club, I am working on a sound installation and a performance in which I am using a classical manner of violin playing. As part of that, I am making inaudible sounds of the instrument audible using live electronics. I use mistakes and imperfections as a source of inspiration for new sounds and rhythms.

The latter is the basis of Kim’s method. Her auto-immune illness stimulates her to give scope to vulnerability. ‘A disability can be a barrier which you don’t get over or you can decide to take a different path. Places where others have more difficulty walking, I can’t reach at all. In other words: if I can’t do something, it also doesn’t work for others too, but that is less visible. I have become an expert in doing things differently and in that way I challenge existing mechanisms and I expose problems. And then we can do something about it. Everyone has their own barriers and true inclusivity is about allowing every person figure out how to overcome that and reach their goals in their own way. I want to help people with that and show that you can actually think in terms of possibilities from the perspective of disability.’  

(by: Sjoerd Ponstein)