'We invite artists and audience to reflect on contemporary situations. Moreover, we want to make sure that different stories will be heard and in this way aid in the creation of a more equal society.'

Today is the kick-off for one of the musical highlights of the year: Motel Mozaique Festival. This year, MOMO and MAMA are collaborating on a special programme which takes place in our showroom. In preparation for the festival Molly Baas, assistant Editor-in-Chief at MAMA, and Nikki Georgiou, curator of MOMO’s open call, decided to have a Whatsapp conversation. Read a transcript of their messages below!

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Molly:

‘Hey Nikki, you there? Wanna do the interview now?’

Nikki:

‘Hey Molly. Yes, sure. I will be with you in 5’… Hey, so I am here :)’

Molly:

‘Noice! Thanks for having this chat with me.’

Nikki:

‘Of course :)’

Molly:

‘So, you work for Motel Mozaïque. Could you explain a little bit more about what you do there?’

Nikki:

‘Yes, so, I am the curator and coordinator of the open call of the MOMO Festival 2019. And I am part of the MOMO young talent group.’

Molly:

‘That sounds cool. Can you tell me a bit more about the open call?’

Nikki:

‘Yes. So, it is the second year that MOMO Festival organizes an open call for artists. Through this open call, MOMO wishes to give upcoming creatives the opportunity to present their practices. In this way, MOMO supports and promotes artists based mainly in Rotterdam – and also contributes the art and culture scene of Rotterdam in general. Check out the selections of 2019 on MOMO’s website.’

Molly:

‘And what exactly is the MOMO young talent group?’

Nikki:

‘It is another initiative of MOMO. It aims to provide the opportunity to young professionals aspiring to become part of the arts and cultural sector. We give them work experience by being part of one of the biggest multidisciplinary festivals of Rotterdam.’

Molly:

‘O wow!! Very nice, promoting the emerging generation of artists 🙃 Talent development happens to be one of the core elements of MAMA’s raison d’être. So to hear this makes us happy people ;)’

Nikki:

‘Oh, cool 😊 And what does MAMA do to achieve that?’

Molly:

‘Well, there are basically two layers. On the one hand we are working with a pool of talents we baptized ‘Team MAMA’. Young culture professionals of tomorrow are offered the opportunity to develop themselves on the job. They help us develop exhibition and event and educational programmes, lay out with marketing activities or give productional assistance. In short, the whole shebang you’d expect from a cultural organisation. On the other hand we work with talented programme makers. This group consists of four people, with each of them being giving the chance to curate a whole exhibition for our showroom. This group changes every year – each person is responsible for one exhibition. As a group, they get to know each other, learn more about the professional field, give each other advice about their projects. Stuff like that. So instead of working with a fixed curator, we are actually completely depended on the next generation of culture makers for (most) of our programme!’

Nikki:

‘Awesome, really similar to what MOMO does 🙃’

Molly:

‘Yes, I guess it is. You could say that it’s a very liquid way of working 😉 Speaking about LIQUID; this is the theme for this year’s edition of MOMO, no? What exactly is this LIQUID theme?’

Nikki:

‘Yes, dat is waar. The theme LIQUID is about now. It is about questioning everything. Everything is LIQUID around us. LIQUID is commenting on our everydayness and how people, the past few years, are questioning stereotypes and already established notions like gender, ethnicity, religion, etc, in an effort to form a new and better society. Within this theme, we invite artists and audience to reflect on this contemporary situation. Moreover, we want to make sure that different stories will be heard and in this way aid in the creation of a more equal society.’

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Molly:

‘Noice, I also like to question all the bullshit I see around me. Do you consider yourself LIQUID?’

Nikki:

‘Mmm.. I think so, yes 🙃. And you? Are you LIQUID?’

Molly:

‘Not sure, but my boss Gari is gender fluid, I think. He’s a nice person.’

Nikki:

‘Haha. cool 😎 And what about the Apa kabar? (What’s new?) exhibition at MAMA’s showroom, which is part of the Motel Mozaïque programme?’

Molly:

‘Yeah! Apa kabar? (What’s new?) is our current exhibition. It asks questions about the global remix culture we are all part of. For example, it seems like the act of meme-making has become a universal language. Even today, you see it happen. The Notre Dame burns and within a few hours there are remixes with local interpretations of this event popping up on our newsfeeds. Apa kabar? (What’s new?) takes this tensions between mainstream cultures and local remixes as a focal point. It is actually pretty cool. Everyone knows Childish Gambino’s This is America. Did you know that on Youtube there are a lot of local remixes? For example, This is Iraq or This is Nigeria. The world is huge, all people are different, yet there is also something that connects us.’

Nikki:

‘Cool! That’s also the LIQUID part of it, I believe. If you see the world as it is we are all the same, LIQUID humans, let’s say 🙃 When I read about the exhibition, it is really obvious to see why MOMO and MAMA are partnering up for the MOMO festival. The themes really relate to each other.’

Molly: ‘So you see a relation between LIQUID and the exhibition at the MAMA’s showroom?’

Nikki:

‘Yes, that is what exactly I meant! Apa kabar? (What’s new?) also questions the stereotypical images that people have regarding different cultures. it shows also that they have found their own and different way of communication and to comment on the contemporary issues. Don’t you think so?’

Molly:

‘The theme of LIQUID and what we are exploring in our Apa kabar? (What’s new?) seem to be a match made in heaven. It’s very cool that MAMA and MOMO are drawn to each other. I’m also really happy that we found a place for programmers Eva Verboon and Ilana van den Berg  to organise their event Hallo, halo, hello. Hallo, Bandung! as part of the MOMO festival. The story behind the event is actually quite interesting since it makes a link with Dutch colonial past. Do you know about the history between the Netherlands and Indonesia?’

Nikki:

‘I know some stuff but please tell me more 🙂’

Molly:

‘Well, there’s a nasty history where Dutch people violently colonised and exploited Indonesia. From about the year 1600 up until 1945 (for Indonesia) the Netherlands had a colonial presence there. A lot of Indo people migrated to the Netherlands over the years. The event Hallo, halo, hello. Hallo, Bandung! – which takes place this Saturday 20th of April in MAMA’s showroom – explores questions relating to this cultural exchange. Who am I, where am I from, how does this influence me, how does the other see mee, what is identity and when do I appropriate it? There is actually a song recorded in 1929 about radio contact between a son in the Netherlands and mother in Indonesia. It is a really sad song. And the title of the song is Hallo, Bandung. It is also the title Eva and Ilana choose for the event ;)’

Nikki:

‘Oh yeah. Indeed a really sad song… but I do see the strong connection with the LIQUID theme. Soo, I guess I will see you there then, right? This saturday at 14.00?’

Molly:

‘Yeah, sure thing!’

Nikki:

‘Cool 🌷’

Molly:

‘Do you have any recommendations for other highlights during the MOMO Festival?’

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Nikki:

‘Oh, that is a really difficult question… there are so many things happening. Let me think a bit. I really don’t know from where to start and what to choose. I mean, you have the chance to see Apparat live 😱 and Melanie. And some pure Rotterdam artists like Winne. And then you have the guided tours like Keep Rotterdam Ugly or about the Urban Witches of Rotterdam. And then you have the Plaza Mozaique where there are so many things happening; like the Market Mozaique and Libra Full Moon performance, one of the winners of the open call. I can go on for hours 😝’

Molly:

‘Sounds awesome. I’ll definitely check some of those artists out! Thanks a lot for having this conversation with me! 😘’

Nikki:

‘Of course 😘’

This Whatsapp conversation between Molly Baas and Nikki Georgiou took place in the framework of MAMA’s Apa kabar? (What’s new?) and Motel Mozaïque Festival 2019, in preparation for the event Hallo, halo, hello. Hallo, Bandung! which is programmed Eva Verboon and Ilana van den Berg.

Featured image is Thijs Rijkers & Noralie – Transient, one of the winners of MOMO’s open call.

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