#Team2 | Teresa Costa

Alumna Conservatorium van Amsterdam


"Learn by listening can take me to some place interesting"

My main practice is about both interpretation and performance of written music from Renaissance till nowadays, although I’m also interested in the possibilities of improvisation/instant composition and alternative methods of notation in combination with other performative disciplines. I believe that more abstract and fragmented aesthetics, aiming for new sonic possibilities, can bring a very poetic approach to life in general; moreover, the overall experience of live music is a way of experiencing the present moment, something I consider fundamental to integrate and balance with the frenetic fireworks of being alive today. 

I’m now concerned with the means to reach different groups in society than the ones that are usually attending classical music concerts, questioning as well the impact the space and the context can have in one’s experience. I’m using this programme to dive into unknown territory, to jump out of my comfort zone in order to get the most out of it. I’m developing a project that involves a lot of academic research into topics that are not easy for me to talk about, as well as a direct contact with people from the public realm; I’m therefore setting very ambitious learning goals, with the confidence that Culture Club can be a community based on support and knowledge sharing. This is the place to be fearless, to question and to try out things. To hear many different perspectives on specific topics that concern art and society is not only broadening the scope of questions one can raise but also a way of strengthening values, references and methodologies. It is a very interesting journey to discover both the converging and diverging traits between disciplines; it also fuels creativity and naturally suggests possible partnerships. 

Poem about belongingness
Around the Ring is an audiovisual installation. Its method is about collecting musical manifestations of folklore - SONGS - in certain inter-cultural neighborhoods around the city of Amsterdam and combining them with soundscapes and textures captured in these environments. It is a poem about belongingness; but it is also a radical opposition to nativist and racist ideologies, a reflection on power dynamics in light of post-colonialist theory, a criticism of the normativity of labor and a call for social emancipation. 

It feels safe to do this integrated in a fixed program, that provides me the conditions I need to work but also keeps me going with deadlines and goals. The idea of being responsible for a visual work is also a very exciting part of it, because it has always been a strong element of my sensibility. The Culture Club will also be a place for me to develop specific technological skills with different software, such as starting a long learning journey about sound processing and production as well as video editing. It is also the first time I completely conceive something with technology, so I’m looking forward to finding practical solutions within that mindset. There’s something exciting about not knowing where I will be when I’m done! That’s precisely the thing; although I can project a future image of myself and set goals and all that, I do not want to think about it as I go. I want to put my assumptions on the side and learn by listening because I do believe that can take me to some place interesting. Anyway, I can only know once I’m done.

Interview with Teresa

Teresa Costa came to the Netherlands from Portugal when she was 18 in order to study flute at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Now, seven years later, she has obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and she has taken a new direction in the AHK Culture Club. ‘During my degree, everything revolved around music. I developed myself as a traverso player and flautist, and was engaged with interpreting Western Classical music, from baroque to modern. However, I then decided that it was time for a new challenge and wanted to broaden my development, in addition to playing my instruments. 

She found space for that in the Culture Club. ‘I am escaping my ‘music bubble’ for the first time and get extremely inspired by my teammates: what they do, what they think, what they are occupied with. Because we are here together, the bubbles fuse together. That makes this a place to grow. I just obtained my degree and am still exploring what I want to do precisely. By studying my teammates and their process, I simultaneously form my own one.’

At the moment, that process revolves around questioning major global issues, such as identity, integration and safety. However, Teresa is also questioning her own research now. ‘I tried to understand what it’s like for someone who is not European to integrate into Dutch society and what it is to belong somewhere. However, the more research I did, the more I discovered that this is an enormous topic and I cannot do justice to it with a few months of research. That would feel superficial.’ 

Teresa is therefore focusing less on the end result now, but allowing her research to unfold and seeing where it takes her.. ‘And that has broadened my outlook. I have become more aware of my own identity in relation to my environment and I am now focusing on the traditional Portuguese craft of making textiles and the connection that has with musical unity among women. I also notice that I need to ‘unlearn’ things, because my degree programme and the corresponding knowledge is strongly shaped by the privilege of having been born in Europe. Therefore, I primarily want to determine my vision and position as an artist in the coming time and the Culture Club is the perfect place for that.

(by: Sjoerd Pontein)