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Interview with Jacqueline Van De Geer (Performance Artist)
Julie Laurin, Jacqueline Van De Geer
Julie Laurin 00:17
Jacqueline Van De Geer, welcome to the podcast.
Jacqueline Van De Geer 00:20
Julie Laurin 00:21
It’s so great having you because I’ve been a fan of your work for so long and and we also know each other personally. And you know, we have mutual friends. We met in Montreal, and I don’t actually recall how we met. But, you know,
I have the idea that somewhere and somehow we were connected on Facebook, like, you know, sometimes it that happens to me that I get a friendship requests from artists, and I love it, you know, and I see their art and like, Well, yeah, that’s very nice to let that be surfing by on a daily basis once in a while, you know how Facebook works. And then I saw a lot of your pictures and I thought, like, Wow, what a beautiful pictures What a beautiful universe. And I’m not sure that I think you approached me once for a series of pictures with clay, so that the clay would be on the fair use and partly on the body and the hands and then and then from that, also, we followed each other’s work. So I think you also saw some of my work, I’m more in the performative realm at that time. At least, you know, like now with the COVID. It’s, it’s another story, but at that time, at least, and yeah, that we shared a friendship with Clara and
Julie Laurin 01:49
the other people who don’t know like, we just… Yeah, we have a lot of common friends that says the thing with Montreal, which is where you live now is, it is, and I lived there for three years. It’s a community of artists. And really, in the end, almost everybody knows everybody, you know, it’s a small community. is I can you are, I call I call you a performance artist. Is that accurate?
Yeah, I think that’s accurate. But at the moment, I’m also doing visual arts, because I’m in an artist residency now insert your portfolio in artists center called as nordeste. And I have a huge studio, which is amazing. And yeah, whenever I have that, I go back a little bit to my visual arts. So I make collages and I picked up photography now. Yep. And sometimes that just happens, you know, like that. I do other things then performance art. Like, I know that in 2016. I was three months in Leipzig, in the peloton, Kesha, and there I kind of picked up also collage. I wrote a lot, a lot of texts. I in the end, I made paper and my Shea costumes. And eventually I made with a collaborator who was a very good senior, just you know, like, go so yeah, you know, that’s another story. We made a little video so yeah, there there’s a friend of mine in Rotterdam that’s called himself always an omni artist. And I find that a very nice name. Because Yeah, I’m a performance artist. But sometimes I’m much more in theater. Sometimes. I’m much more into movements. Sometimes I’m even using puppetry to make my point or my story or my atmosphere. But yeah, I think in the end is all performative. Yeah. Yeah. It’s
Julie Laurin 03:58
an interesting conversation. I just had actually with singer musician Julie McInnes, who I don’t think you met in Montreal. She was a cello player and singer for Cirque. And she also does visual art. And so we discussed that artists, sometimes you’re you’re an artist, you’re going to express yourself with whatever method works best for you. Would you agree?
Yeah, I would agree that, and there were times that I was very, very confused about it, and that I really thought that I had to choose something. And yeah, you know, and then I would think, like, No, no, I’m, I’m, let’s say, No, no, no, I’m an actor, because now I had some roles and small films. So I’m an actor now. And then people would ask me to direct play and I would think, Well, I’m not really a director. And then they say, Yeah, but that’s, that’s what we like. Alright, I’ll do it. And then you know, and then I thought, yeah, maybe I’m the director then and then to perform And says that there would be no maybe. So I’m very happy with terms like, but that we have nowadays, like, you know, interdisciplinary, I like that a lot. Because basically, that gives you a kind of freedom. And that takes away this little pressure that you actually I put on myself, like, oh, make a choice, be an adult, make a choice, be a professional make a choice, you know, and I’m like, yeah, let’s not go there. Let’s just allow yourself to, to play to discover to research and then whatever medium is calling me. I will explore. And sometimes very surprisingly, it works for that specific performance, or for that specific project. Like now, I’m doing a lot of photographs, but I wouldn’t call myself a photographer. But doing it on a daily basis for this specific project I’m working on, I’m working on my own aging process. In a few weeks, I will be 62. So I’m, I know, but I see, like, some wrinkles are never going to go away. Even if I would spend $300 for a lamere day cream, they’re not going to be away, unless I’m going to fill them up with fillers and Botox, which I won’t do. Because, yeah, you know, I’m like that. Yeah. You know, and, and I see, like, you know, I can see that I ended in this transformation in the start of a transformation that I’m thinking yeah, in 15 years. My, my body and my face will be very different. Because, yeah, you know, maybe not the expression and it won’t be that all of a sudden, I will get a big nose, but now I’m getting saggy here and there and gravity does its work. And sometimes, like you know, my, my skin won’t recover a sunburn anymore. I will be forever having an kind of semi alcoholic, red nose, you know, I have an eternal triangle with my de quality. It’s just that, you know, the skin doesn’t do that anymore. It’s still there for me, but it doesn’t do it anymore. I’ve veins that are blue. And yeah, for instance, when I taught the children classes, theater classes, they would look at my hands and I have these veins that are really on my hands. And they will ask Miss Jackie, what is that? Well, that’s because Miss Jackie is really getting old.
Julie Laurin 07:54
But it is something for for the for the regular person aging is already traumatic, right? Like you said, a lot of people do Botox, or they do creams or whatever. Well, I do. sure a lot of women do even men. But the thing is, like, for an artist, it’s a whole other story. Especially people who are actors, people who use their bodies, people who are dancers, like a dancer cannot or typically doesn’t continue their career after I don’t know maybe 40 because their legs and their knees everything hurts. for you as an artist, what does it feel like to be growing older?
Yeah, I must say I find it very interesting. In a way I find on a personal level, because with me as an artist, I’m like yeah, I’m an artist, but I’m not only an artist so for me it’s always intertwined with other levels of being like you know, being Dutch being an immigrant being a person of a lower class family being my own little whatever that center is, you know, my relationship with people encounters all kinds of things. So I find aging very very interesting in a sense that but okay let’s let’s try to focus it on art. That I how do I say that? I find it interesting to see that there are prejudice and especially in like of course in the theater and in the film world when you and that’s also judgmental mindset but when you generalize it, you will see that the older especially a woman, let’s be gender specific here gets the less important and interesting the roles are you know, like very often your grandma or mother or a very often your good person, it’s nice to be a good person. I try that on a personal level. But you know, to, you know, it’s like, come on, isn’t Lady Macbeth a wonderful part? Right? It’s like, because it’s so complex, right. But I do think that things are changing a little bit lately. I do think that this ageism thing is, amongst other things in in transition. So that is very good. But yeah, I, I kind of that that’s a kind of a battle, also kind of internal battle that I think, Well, I’m not young. So that means that I’m radical in a softer way. I’m still radical, and much softer than when I was younger. And I do recognize that when I’m with younger artists, because I do a lot of things with younger artists, which is really wonderful younger artists reach out to me, that was really wonderful. And I guess that’s because of my wild side, I might not very domesticated side. But I also see that there is a softness now growing in me that I think like wow, that’s interesting that that is that that is happening now. And that is also happening basically, kind of in my art that during the years, I work a lot of the times in my performances interactive, I really try to break a little bit this kind of distance between an artist and the spectator or the participants. I really try to make a kind of soft environment without being a granola hippie although I laugh granola hippies. But yeah, no, come on, you know, but but just to, to to forget a little bit like, last two years, I was working, for instance, on a series performances that was called You are the performance. And my goal in those performances was actually to make a very safe environment where people basically at some point, we’re making the performance and I could leave, and actually one time, I did leave, and the people were still Limbo dancing, under their quotes, you know, I let them first write quotes about art because I introduced quotes about art, made by quite famous artists. And of course, that was a selection, you know, that was a selection, like but for instance, about like, to lead count artists on this matter by Eric Sati. I love that quote, you know, it’s so great. Like, you know, that breaks the ice immediately. You know, people think, Oh, well, what’s that? And then I think Yeah, but you know, the word amateur, it’s actually very honorable name, you know, so, I like to work with that nowadays. And I think that maybe 30 years ago, I was much more radical and much more polarized about things and now I’m, yeah, I’m now this kind of container of memories and, and experiences that are still memories to build an experience. says to, to, to be lived, you know, don’t get me wrong, my life is not over for from that. But I do realize that I already seen a lot and I’ve already lived a lot and that I’ve already worked a lot. And that fits my practice, actually, at this moment. Also,
Julie Laurin 13:31
yeah, I can only imagine. Yeah, um, and I want to talk a little bit about your your becoming an artist when you were younger and and and even just realizing it’s an interesting time in my own life right now. Because I actually lost my job my full time day job.
Yeah, no, yes.
Julie Laurin 13:50
Yeah. And it put everything into question, right, my whole identity, who I am, what I want to do with my life, things like that. And one of the things I always ask my my guests who are artists is whether or not they had a family that was welcoming to their, their art, who supported them to become artists, because I did not, you know, my family was not was very traditional, you know, a working class and they really wanted me to be happy and to have a job, but they never supported any artistic endeavors. So I’m curious to know, if you were in a position where your family supported you or not.
Yeah, you know, that that’s quite a nuanced story. For me. I’m as well from a working class. environment, and I do notice that actually, nowadays, a lot of artists, especially young artists, there’s not many people that are from a working class. And I really, that that pains me, you know, I think there’s there’s a lot of work to be done there. To be honest, I really think that if we’re talking about change, that is fair. Very often classes very, very often very underestimated emancipation process. Anyway, that being said, I’m from a working class family, and that also has its advantages, because that keeps you very grounded and keeps you what an essay you are Me, me, of course, a very, very real in a certain kind of way, you know, like I also like to simplify, sometimes things not to make it simple term, but just like for instance, all the phrasing and all the words in the arts, I really saw that changing, like, you know, like, seriously, why why would you say things so complicated when you can interchange them by very simple wording that also can be very beautiful, by the way. Anyway, that being said, going back to your question, sorry about that a bit. You know, I’m a train with many branches. And you really have to get in Okay, Jackie, the question, and I appreciate that. But like my parents, loved art, like, my father was a member of a book club, because that allowed him to buy a book for a reasonable price every month. And he was very, very proud to build a library, you know, and my parents took me to Walt Disney movies, my parents took me to the museum from time to time. But that didn’t really meant that they wanted me to become an artist. Because that is very uncertain. And especially for that timeframe. I’m from 58. My parents were growing up during the Second World War. My grandparents were struggling with shitty jobs, I’m sorry to say, you know, like, really shitty jobs. You know, like, in the harbor of Rotterdam, you know, like, carrying bags of grain, eight hours a day was a shitty job and underpaid, you know? So they came from crisis. So they had in mind, I would study and then I Deeley something like history or something like that, and then become a teacher. And that was artistic enough. So no, they weren’t happy. Nope, they weren’t. And, and my grandmother, from my dad’s side, she was really very concerned about you about when you’re going to do theater or dance. They’re all prostitutes. And of course, in her days, it was often that you know, like, yeah, yeah, so yeah. And then the whole family, then I did art school, and then I did some things. And yeah, I must say, that is difficult, because you were kind of, I was kind of, you know, spreading my wings, going to other layers, other levels of life, meeting people from other backgrounds, to wit, your parents, middle class parents, people that already knew how to eat with a fork and a knife. You know, all that kind of thing. And pin. Yeah, my family was a little bit like, where she going and why doesn’t she does to stay with us and be normal and have a normal job and, and merry ways she married? Why doesn’t she has a family? What is she doing? What is this art? She’s not on the television. I don’t see her in a publicity. And then thank God, I got a little part in the movie. And that movie was sent on television. And that really changed everything. Then it was a way.
Julie Laurin 18:57
So it literally took that amount of time. And what I mean, how did you make a living? That’s the question. I think, for people who, you know, who didn’t really have a lot of support growing up to be artists, you’re always scared of hitting rock bottom. You’re always scared of not having anything. Did you just fight off that fear? Or like, how did you deal with that?
I’ve never been, I’ve never been, I’ve never been? No, I’ve
Julie Laurin 19:25
never been scared of
nonsecure ever and I never considered myself poor. Even though when I look back, I’m like, I was very
But I never considered myself for. But it’s just I think that maybe that’s maybe I’m not sure I don’t maybe I make big mistake. You get like lots of comments like this woman. She’s judging the North American culture. But you have to realize I was growing up in the Netherlands. I was growing up by by by a family that knew even They didn’t have a lot of money, how to use money, which is really a great asset, I must say. And, you know, like, just do things in the sale or having, you know, groceries from from the season and you know, and, and always being just happy that you have food. Yeah, food in the roof. What more do you need? Right? Right like, on the pyramid of mass love, actually, art is not the top I’m sorry, folks, I think art is important. Don’t get me wrong. But on that pyramid, you know, it’s not the first thing, it’s not the second thing, it’s not even the third. And the fourth thing that you need to kind of survive. And of course, we don’t want to stay in survival mode. But nevertheless, it taught me something. And I’m very happy with that, because it taught me that I can do a lot with almost nothing, which is really good talent, you know, it’s really good. And then also, I must say, I was lucky enough to be in a school system in the Netherlands when the Netherlands were still very rich. So basically, I did two studies, I did art academic in Rotterdam, and Theatre School in Amsterdam. And their, you know, I didn’t have to pay back
that it was a
Julie Laurin 21:21
it was not free, they lend you the money to go to the school because your parents were from a low income. But then basically, after the schools, they imply the kind of code and they said, you know what we said, we landed you without interest, but basically now it’s fine. You don’t have to pay it back. That was of course, like, that is amazing, that has changed big time. It’s not like that anymore, you know, but yeah, that was, and then basically, after the school, I, I get social, Social Security system was still very good. So I would get money from the government, but at the same time, I could do pay unpaid projects, but that gave me a lot of experience. And I must say also, when I was immigrating in Canada, the first five, six years, it, it wasn’t very great, you know, I, I lived off of my savings for a part, you know, and the other part I could earn money, but yeah, there, you know, it paid off to have been brought up with like, I don’t need much, you know, then I will, then I will just eat rice and some vegetables and maybe an egg. And that’s nice, too. You know, that kind of thing. And there also, I did a lot of things like what people would say for free. But at the same time, I thought, I got to know people, and people got to know me. And that is very important. That has been very important for me, because I remember after my third year, I think second or third year of my immigration. I did a performance for a fundraiser for street artists and clowns, for crying out loud, you know, that the day they asked me to be part of that. That’s a nice, you know, because you do things that people are displayed on for personal. So I thought yeah, I’ve got to do something. And I don’t know, I wasn’t thinking very right in my brain, Julie. So I thought, yeah, I’m going to lie on the table. And then with the cervical music, I will have this purple Deep Purple move of velvet on me that that with lighting a little soft light and bush shining reflects that I’m going to tremble. And then it will be as if I’m levitating. I’ve put my arms up but faded. It was really beautiful. A very fair fundraiser for clouds.
Julie Laurin 23:59
You went all the way.
I was lying backstage already on the table. And then you know, and then the number before it was a clown number and the people were laughing laughing a roll. And I was like, laying there thinking. I’m not sure if what I chose to do is such a good idea. But yeah, what can I do it before I knew it all of a sudden, you know, you feel that the people are lifting up the table as well. I go. And then it was dark. And then this beautiful Greek solid music started and I could hear some people saying tab up.
And I was thinking Yes, you know,
but I thought about myself, should I change it and then I thought no, I can change it. It’s this is what I have to do. So I started to tremble. And I did this number and then you know it was 10 minutes of trembling levitating and then slowly the veil would, you know, it was all very sterile, but I got them, I got them. So after two or three minutes, people kind of hopped over in my sphere. But now it’s coming the next day, I get an email. And it’s from a theatre company that I greatly admired. And they said, We saw you yesterday. It was beautiful. We have a grant for LA Chapelle. It’s a show about Margaret to house but we’re going to do it very, very choppy, very collage very, in the alternative. And yeah, we would like you to join us. And this is the salary, do you think it’s enough for you? I started crying on the spot behind my computer, I thought like, Wow, man, first of all, the money was much more than I ever earned in Canada. And, yeah, then the most important thing was for me to do something with this group of people. And then on top of that, it was inspired by text of magazine to us, which I’m really a fan. I love that, you know, that very simple language, but multi layered. So just to say that sometimes you don’t know, you know, sometimes it’s not about money. Sometimes it’s not about wording, sometimes it’s just being at the right time on the right place and doing your thing, because trust me the first minutes that I was trembling under that clause and thinking, why,
Julie Laurin 26:42
you know, but at the same time as I can, it’s interesting, because you chose to go to Montreal, and Montreal in Canada is a city that, for people who have never lived there, a lot of people have visited Montreal, but you don’t really get a good sense for it unless you live there. But Montreal and Quebec in particular, are very supportive of artists are very supportive of the arts in general, they throw a ton of money into it, maybe not as much these days, but they definitely have much more than any other Canadian city. I’m curious, why did you go to Montreal? Why not New York City, which is would have been probably another option for you?
Well, I must say, I, like New York City is very interesting city, of course, you know, like a lot. Pro COVID I have no idea how it is now, you know, like, but let’s not get there. But what I I see in New York City is that there is a kind of level of humanity that is lacking for me there, I see this peoples are struggling to pay their rent, I see that there’s there’s a higher curry between people with money without money, and so on and so forth. And even though I Love New York cities, like for instance, I love the flux factory, beautiful initiative by people that, you know, try to make an alternative space and there are many spaces like that, but it’s, it’s, it’s quite, it’s a it’s a bit big chunk to digest I find, and I come from a small city in a small country. So what I liked about Montreal, the first time that I got there, and of course, it was on the invitation so that it’s nice to have a host. And it was in the summer haha. So very nice, you know, but what I like is, it’s it was not only artistic, but it was also like, I find the quality of living is really high. It’s not very costly for a big city. It’s, even though maybe some people will disagree with me. But for me coming from Europe, I find Montreal of very, very safe city, especially for women. I seldom feel unsafe. Sometimes things happen, but it’s it’s very seldom. And yeah, and of course, the amount of art was overwhelming. But what I loved, especially also from Montreal, is that there is a niche for every kind of art. There is a niche for every kind of art, you can go to the big plus there’s our you can go to the very big Bell center, and you can put yourself in a living room with some people and art and and it is not snobbish in that extent in Montreal. It’s also not snobbish, like in the Netherlands. When you say you’re an artist, it’s like oh, do you get some Attention Do you get paid? I’m like, that’s a very weird first question. Like, I don’t I do I? Do I look very skinny. Do I look like? I don’t know, you know, like, for me, of course, it’s important to be paid, don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to get paid more and more and more. But we all know and it’s, I’m happy that I’m here in a paid residency for crying out loud, it’s amazing, you know. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to value myself less during the times, that maybe that’s not the case, because it’s always a kind of a wave, you know, it’s like, tight. It’s, it’s like that, that, that that is the game of the arts, you know, like, now, you kind of have to love that and handle that with elegance to, to keep going because otherwise why? You know, it’s not nine to five. It’s not. Yeah, it’s
Julie Laurin 31:07
interesting as, as an artist, like myself, who was used to the nine to five write, the idea for me is is absolutely terrifying. But I think, you know, the more I get to know people like you, the more I spend more time thinking about, or perhaps the more I spend time not thinking about it, I The more I find it is becoming more and more acceptable, the idea of just going with the flow of just, you know, embracing the unknown, I think that’s something that needs to when you’re not born with with that kind of natural, you know, nonchalance like you are, it’s something that takes some time right to settle in.
Yeah, but I wasn’t born with this kind of nonchalance. But I think that is one of the things that my personal aging process has, has provided me with is that at some point, I have become much more easy going with it. And at some point, also, I had to embrace it, because otherwise you can’t go on like that, you know, but for sure, when I was younger, I was much more. Yeah, nervous. Not so much about money, maybe because the system in the Netherlands was so good. And I wasn’t used to a lot of money anyway. So you know, that helps, you know, if I guess when you were born in rich family, and then yeah, and then you kind of make a jump into an abyss of like, but God, if you’re not born, that you always have to drink the best espresso to be content. Just saying, you know, no, but that exists. You know, there are people that are very upset with that. And I’m like, Oh, I’m so happy. I’m not obsessed with that. I like a good espresso. Don’t get me wrong, but if I don’t have it, and I have just a black filter coffee. So happy smile. Yeah, exactly. That doesn’t make much, you know, a difference in the quality of living for me, but self esteem that has grown and also, like, you know, when I was younger, I really tried to make art that that looked like other artists kind of like to prove to everybody but probably, to prove the most to myself. That is, right. Oh, yeah. You know, like, and yeah, and I was also much more into competition, you know, that somebody had had an event or something. And I was thinking by myself, why don’t I have that? Instead of thinking, Oh, that’s great. I’m going to go, you know, which is much more, as much more become my attitude, because my attitude now is like, there’s space for everybody. And there’s space for every kind of art and you don’t have to be world famous to prove to people that you are an artist doesn’t matter. Even if nobody thinks you’re an artist, like look at that. What was this beautiful for his name again, Darcy or something? Did this guy in Chicago that had such an unhappy youth, you know, his mother died when he when his sister was born, and then his dad gave him and his sister after a few years away to an orphanage and then what’s his name again, darker Henry darker. That’s it. You know, and that guy was cleaning hospice hospital room. Most of his life, he rented one room. He was a great artist. He made thousands and thousands and thousands of drawings, beautiful drawings. Chris collages, wrote a big book about those young girls that were saving other girls. And it was all kind of stemming from his terrible childhood. It was amazing. And then he ended up in the hospital. And he said to his landlord, like, yeah, you know, I could throw everything away. And then they went in this room, and they discovered everything. And now it’s in, in a museum in Chicago, and it’s worth lots of money. And you know, it’s outsider art. Like they call it I’ve sorted museum and I must say, wow,
Julie Laurin 35:52
I hate that term. I have to admit, I hate the term outsider art.
I don’t care.
Julie Laurin 35:57
Yeah, you know, it’s one of those things where I’m like, that dude’s an artist, you know? He didn’t, you know, but yeah, it’s one of those she she kind of terms that like, maybe put right
I don’t think so. I think I I wouldn’t be proud to be an outsider artists. I mean, that’s the rebel in you. Yeah. That’s a rebellious name. And it’s a kind of an unlike an also like, Yeah, when you’re outside the system, there is an authenticity. Amen. Hallelujah. You know, I, you know, you start to sing the gospel there in that museum. It’s, it’s, you know, it’s incredible. noticing that I find very, very disturbing sometimes. But I don’t know if that happens here. But I know that it happened in Rotterdam. And I had many discussions about it. Back in the days, there was a an art center for people with like, mental disability. And very, very stunning art. Very, most of the time, I thought the colors composition. The way very incompleted did. Drawing and the energy that splashed I really, and then there were people that worked on my art academy and said, Wow, that is not art because an artist, they were conscious. And then I and then of course, I felt a loser because I’m not working conscious. Not really. Oh, Lord. For years, I felt like I better say yes, and amen. Because otherwise, they will find out that I might I’m a cheat, you know. And now I’m also embracing that that I think, yeah, there’s artists that are very conscious. And they have a concept. And they’re conceptual artists, no, like, outsider art of conceptual artists, you know, and I’m more like an intuitive artist. And that’s not so much Abracadabra, by the way, that doesn’t mean that I’m totally like, in like a Zen mode as they who like touch my aura, no. But if I force I have a kind of an idea or a kind of an interest. For me, it’s very often it’s an interest, that becomes an obsession. And then the obsession becomes something else. And it goes away in a direction that I never thought it would go. Like, for instance, here, I thought, oh, I’ll probably make videos about my older hands and my wrinkles and my this, and my dad. And I might still do that, because I promised it in my application. You know, and it’s still interesting, don’t get me wrong, but I’m actually now working on personas, all the personas that I have lived until in a few weeks, I will be 62. And I’m pretty sure that everybody in a way lives personas.
Julie Laurin 38:57
Absolutely. Absolutely. That that is something that I think everybody can relate to.
Yeah, that’s your life experience, you know? Yeah. Yeah. But I never thought that beforehand. You know,
Julie Laurin 39:13
I wanted to ask you about how your process works. You spoke about how you get obsessed, you get interested in something you become obsessed with it. And I find that that’s the exact same thing for me where something captures captivates my, my interest and I chase after it, you know, like a dog chasing after a squirrel. And then eventually with time I lose interest. And then something else comes along. Do you find that that’s how it works for you or do you find yourself sometimes trying to manufacture ideas?
It’s, it’s an interesting question. Like, sometimes I get this obsession, and then through the obsession, I get to a point that I think, Okay, so this is what I wanted to Talk about or work with. And I can finish it. Sometimes I’m in an obsession, and it’s nice for a while, and then I’m thinking, yeah, but it just stays an obsession. And then it kind of starts to bore me a little bit. And then I put it aside. And I think, Well, that was a nice exercise researching this and that, it doesn’t matter. You know, I’m very easy with that maybe much to know, she know, but I’m very easy with that. Because I’m like, Well, yeah, you know, like, that, that happens that, that that’s kind of normal, you know, that’s not everything can become complete, or I just accept that I embrace that. And sometimes I do manufacturer things. And very often is happening when there is a kind of a timeframe. So there’s a kind of pressure of doing something within the timeframe and you promised to do it there in there. And then I manufacture it. But then basically, when I perform it, I have my manufacturers collect Skeleton, skeleton, skeleton skeleton. And then basically by Yeah, that’s, of course, very pro COVID, basically, by how the audience or the participants as I prefer to call them breeze with you. I can put some other flesh and bones and and other color of eyes that I thought that skeleton needed. And then basically, after the performance, I’m like, Oh, that was kind of nice. So that was that about? But I then then I, yeah, then I work with a structure. Right? It’s manufacture that that that’s a man. But you know, I’m not against that. Actually, you know, I think you need a structure. But at the same time, yeah. Also a little bit. No, like, okay, you have a structure, but how you’re going to treat that structure? Or, you know, yeah, I don’t know, if I feel that my prologue is going to be endless of a performance. And the middle is very short. And I feel just at that moment. That’s it. I can still have my, my line through, you know. But, yeah, I follow that. And of course, because of the participants have some say in my performances. Very awesome. I work like that. Yeah, I cannot manufacture are too tight corset. That’s, that’s not possible. Yeah. And I have to accept everything that comes from from from the participants. Because otherwise, why wouldn’t Why would you invite them to participate? And then say, No, you know that? Yeah.
Julie Laurin 43:00
What’s it like for you right now? Because you’re somebody who feeds off other people. You are someone like you said, you always invite people to participate in your creation during your performance. Yeah, to like for you now?
Well, I must say, at the moment, it’s kind of fun, because I work a lot of my own and, and but I must say, of course, I have this great studio. And, and, yeah, you know, I don’t have to worry about money for two months, and then I can do whatever I want. So I’m a bit self centered, are making these selfies as all those personas and you know, that’s kind of cool. But sometimes I post them on Facebook. And then of course, it’s very nice that you get a lot of likes and that kind of thing. So you’re still feeding off of you know, like a kind of resonance. But, yeah, the start of the COVID I found it very difficult and I feverish wrote a play my remake of three sisters by checkoff. And yeah, I wrote a lot of things. And then I kind of discovered you know, networks from all over the world, people that asked for little videos, people that asked for little performances. And that was kind of fun. I thought to be connected with like Turkish community or community New York or community in Chicago or community in in Norway, you know, and do things and it also opened me up because I’m not very technical. But actually I’m less afraid to make videos and less and less afraid to make pictures and less and less afraid to allow technology to come in It’s not called shows, you know, it’s still very homemade, but I’m like, that’s fine. Like, you know, I’m very easy.
Julie Laurin 45:11
And I mean, hey, you’re recording a podcast now. So
yeah, you know, so I’m allowing myself to, yeah, to discover that. And basically, my last collaboration was with a group of young people completo catorze. And we made a group exhibition. And we worked for quite a while on that. And my idea was actually, to make a four to five hour long live performance. And it was all about suitcase that I found at a flea market in Brussels. In December 2019, when I was visiting my mother, I also escaped for a few days to Brussels. And yeah, that suitcase was actually at the garbage bins, so not for sale. And I opened it, I was curious. And there were all kinds of artifacts and all kinds of program books and pictures and records and postcards. And I was going through them. And as I got, those are the leftovers of life. Those are the things that people didn’t even want to sell anymore. And that made me think I thought, Oh, my God, I have also so much stuff. And it’s so important for me, you know, the stuff is so important for me, right? But yeah, when you’re not there anymore, it’s not important at all anymore, it can just go there. And then I wonder, like, I wonder who this person was. And then I thought, Well, you know what, I’m going to take a little bit of it, not the whole suitcase, because you know, you can’t do that anymore. That would also be a little bit too dark I found, but just a little bit. And I brought it with me to Montreal, and then I thought I would actually make like to, you know, expose these items. And I would like to make a performance where I’m playing the records and showing the postcards, but I’m inventing and reinventing all the time in a loop possible lives of this person, because I have this freedom, right? The items are there. Right. But that, of course, couldn’t be materialized by the COVID. So then I thought, okay, I wrote some monologues, I’m going to put them with the items. And then I thought, well, maybe it’s nice to have a typewriter and ask people with like, the gel to type also and to add. And so that was a nice idea. And that actually happened. And most people, I think people just wanted to electric tape.
By the way, you know,
anyway, no, no, but people contributed, but then I thought, it’s not enough. And then I thought, well, I wrote 10 possible lives. But then I thought, well, maybe I can make a loop in a video. And then I recorded it myself with my computer. And I, for the first time I considered iMovie. I always thought that would be much too difficult for me. And I thought, Oh, actually, it’s very easy. And I had a lot of fun with that. And then one of the persons of the exhibition, he’s a photographer, very good photographer. He said, Well, I will let you know. I will record you because I can, I don’t know. So he recorded me and I must say it looked much more slick. Sports should note, the lighting was good, and the voice was better and all that kind of things. And I got good responses on that, basically. And I thought it’s still interactive, I thought because I still invite people to write monologues. And, and yet, and then the three persons. They’re talking about their lives and their very random lives, you know, and I got really heartwarming feedback on that, that people said, Oh, it’s so nice, because you look ridiculous, because I had like weeks and one time I’ve black week with a black beard and a black mustache and I’m wearing a man’s shirt, but I’m not a man. It’s very obvious. But the moment he starts to talk after two, three minutes, it’s weird to forget about it. You think oh, that’s a real person. Right? So yeah, that was fun for me to do that. And then I thought, Oh, actually, I like video. There’s possibilities there.
Julie Laurin 49:45
Yeah, it’s getting into tech technology when you’re not used to it is it can be intimidating. But yeah, like you said, the minute you start to actually play with it, you lose the fear. You know, it’s like, you know, starting podcasting for example. absolutely terrifying because I knew nothing about the equipment whatsoever. I was like, Facebooking, you know, like, does anybody know how to use a mic?
Joe and you do it so well, you know, and I love the the image show was a quality show. In a glitch with with with Claire episode. Yeah, it’s No. Oh, yeah, no, no it I must say in that extent, strangely enough, this whole isolation thing made me realize like, Well, you know, if I cannot see the people, I have to see the people in another way. Yeah,
Julie Laurin 50:42
yeah. And, you know, we don’t have much, much time left. But I have to say, Jacqueline, is that you are somebody that, like, I know, a lot of people in the arts and you know, a lot of people have had to build walls around them, you know, for for various reasons, because they worked in in tough industries or whatever. But you’re somebody that I have never known to have a wall around you. You’re the same Jackie, you know, in essence, I mean, of course, you’ve evolved, but in essence, you’re the same person you give yourself to people, even people you don’t know, I find openly, you just is that? Is that a skill that you’ve acquired? Is that something that you’ve just always been that way? Or do you actually know I’ve
been very, very shy when I was 17. Like, to my 22nd, I was very, very shy. And and for sure, I I’ve had a wall around me and I can have layers in life that sometimes I will have a wall around me too, you know, that you think semi protect yourself or whatever. But I think also with aging and developing and getting more self esteem and getting to know yourself a bit better and getting to know there for also what you’re interested in and what your calling is, like, because I really think I have a kind of a calling to reach out to people in performances, and I have a kind of a calling to, it gives me much a lot of joy. It gives me a lot of joy, you know, kind of serious fun to, to break walls. And for me, that is also a political act, even though maybe other people will think Well, no, that’s not politics, but I find it a political act to, to break down walls to break down this barrier of not daring to speak or know that. Not daring to act or not daring to be there. Simply together with each other, I find it That’s for me, that’s the radical softness that I like to to expose, you know, and, and other people do it much more radical and much more politicized. And that’s also very valuable, you know, like, because I think it can all exist next to each other in my opinion. Right. Yeah.
Julie Laurin 53:10
So I have to wrap this up. Sure.
Is it was?
Julie Laurin 53:18
Yeah. If people, people who don’t know you wanted to learn more about your work, or maybe watch it online? Is there a way for them to see any of your performances? Or do you have a website or time out or anything?
I have a website, I have to update it? Oh, lordy, well, I’ll do that. After my residency. I got this website, thanks to the wonderful support of the Montreal Art interkultur ELLs, because at some point, Michael topping said to me, You need a website, why don’t you apply for a mentorship for a website? Why don’t you don’t you don’t you don’t? You don’t? Okay, I hear you hear you. And so I have a website. I’m not very good with documentation. I have to, you know, admit, I’m not good with that. You know, I’m not from a debt generation, either. That documented everything. I know, it’s important. The website most of the time is pictures that people generously took. Sometimes snippets of performances, but in that extent, I must say, I’m really a live performance artist. Now, of course, it’s going to change a little bit because I’m going to do more and more videos, but I don’t know how to but maybe on the private session, we could talk about it because you’re very savvy with that kind of things. Because it’s true, you know, and it I don’t want to sound indifferent because I do know that documentation is very important. My heart is pounding but it’s radical to say, but it’s not my number one interest. Yeah.
Julie Laurin 54:59
Now I mean, let me Don’t worry about it. I hear this a lot from a lot of artists don’t worry about it. You’re you’re not, you’re not actually very different from a lot of the artists, I’ve even interviewed for the show, where I had not much to put in terms of social media or whatever. And that’s okay. Because, you know, like you said, You’re a live performer. If they happen to be in Montreal, they can come and see you perform Once COVID is done, or, and you travel a lot around the world and yeah, shows
around the world. Yes. Very nice. So yeah, that was also before. Well, yeah, of course.
In October, I will be having an exhibition and performance slash in Leipzig, in Germany, our fingers crossed that that still materializes, because we don’t know you know, so. So that’s already something I love to travel. And especially for my interactive work, it’s so nice, because it really kind of teaches you to, to be very sensitive on what is happening. Because every culture, every country is different. Like even like I come from Holland, you would say, well, that’s not so different of North America. But that’s not true. And even you know, in, in North America, it’s such a big thing. You know, like, Quebec cars are probably the same but slightly different than people of Nova Scotia, or, you know, like, there’s always this little fine tuning what I find so interesting about humans, you know, how they find themselves. It’s,
Julie Laurin 56:35
we’re sure, yeah, I think it’s gonna be all I gotta say is I would love to have you on the show again, because we can at great length, so yeah. But anyway, I’d like to invent a gear. Thank you so much for coming on the show. It was a very special episode, and it meant a lot to me. Thank you.