25 years of DEAF: The Anniversary Party

by Josephine Bosma

It called for a celebration: a quarter of a century of DEAF. On saturday april 14th it was party-time with six performances in Staal, a venue in the center of Rotterdam. It is no easy task to create a program which can reflect the rich history of DEAF. Every line up would always feel like something was missing, and so inevitably it did. What was missing for me was a sense of history, of more profound historical depth in the choice of performers, music and visuals.

The evening was tightly packed and the performances were mostly very impressive, sometimes they were even mind-blowing. The highlights of the evening were SSS, Ikeda and Edwin van der Heide. Van der Heide’s performance was slightly double faced: his laser performance created an overpowering bombardment of color and movement in the room, that at first sight seemed impressive, but which soon seemed an easy trick to me, kitschy even. Yet in the quiet pieces, when both the music and the laser show became minimal, the true strength of van der Heide’s work emerged.

Mouse on Mars might have been equally impressive if their music had not been turned up to the level that it created nausea, which made it impossible to judge it well. Staalplaat Sound System is not really suitable for venues like this: it needs space (lots of it) and time. The set up for this evening was humble by their standards. Actually: Staalplaat Sound System was the only performance that took us back in time, its performance reminding of the experimental mixing extravaganza of the early eighties. Because it was programmed between the high end video and laser projections of SSS, Ikeda and van der Heide it got slightly lost though. The same problem occurred with the performance of Benayoun and Barrière ‘e-spotting’. Could we have one or two more anniversary parties for DEAF to truly pay homage to DEAF’s rich history please?

flickr random images on DEAF07