Nicoline van Harskamp works about



single channel video, 16 min. 21 sec

software installation (in progress)

watch a trailer

"PDGN" is a fiction video that portrays a future in which the world is no
longer run by national governments or global corporations, and that is
neither utopian nor dystopian. A new link language is developing between
people across this world through voluntary self-instruction.

The script for PDGN was constructed from actually spoken, non-native English
in a series of five workshops held at BAK in Utrecht. Some aspects of language
and narrative were borrowed from feminist fiction that proposes systems of
language-change, such as Marge Piercy’s Women on the Edge of Time (1976) and
Suzette Haden Elgin’s Native Tongue (1984). The language of the script was
further developed by applying common and expected factors of language
evolution in the areas of syntax, lexicon, and phonetics. These 'distorting
factors' were conceptualized with the help of academics in fields such as
creole studies, computational linguistics and language acquisition as well
as Esperantists, recreational language inventors, and the lead actresses.

The video is subtitled in Dutch, Swahili, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and
Spanish but not in 'contemporary' English.

Together with software designers, an automated version of an 'evolved'
link language based on English is now in development. In a process of
so-called 'supervised learning', van Harskamp instructs the software by giving
information about both desired levels of comprehensibility and formal aspects
of the language output. The software then proposes new versions of English.
In the presentation of the first version of the PDGN software, at BAK in
Utrecht, lines of the original film script were used. The software applied a
syntactic or lexical 'distortion' to the given line. The resulting outputs
were projected on the wall.

"PDGN" was co-produced by Basis Aktuele Kunst (BAK) in Utrecht, and realized
with support from the Centro Andaluz de Art Contemporáneo (CAAC), Sevilla.
It was made possible with a financial contribution of the Mondriaan Fund.

BAK, Utrecht
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series of video and performance works

"Englishes" is the overall title of an ongoing project by Nicoline van Harskamp,
in which she makes use of the modification of the English language by its
non-native speakers.

The series currently consists of 9 individual works, each researched an produced
in collaboration with a range of art institutions and universities. Each piece
is desribed in more detail below, and broaches a particular area of linguistics
such as phonology, pragmatics and translation. They have directly informed the
language predictions represented in the work "PDGN" (2016).

"Englishes" aims to depict the development of the plurality of spoken English
that displaces the perceived position of primacy occupied by dominant strains of
the language. The work addresses the political import of this linguistic
development, pointing out how our use of language is consistently entrenched in
structures of class and power. Challenging these connotations, "Englishes"
proposes a dissolution of English into Englishes, co- opting it as a common and
ever-growing linguistic resource.

"Englishes" includes "Her Production" (2014), "Portrait of an Englishes
Collector" (2015), "Darling Goodnight" (2016), "Wer Mae Hao" (2015), "A Romance
in Five Acts and Twenty-one Englishes" (2014-2015), "Every Minute a Language
Dies" (2016), "Esplorobjektoj" (2016), "Apologies and Compliments" (2016), and
"She Put Me in Complexity of Words" (2014). The works have been presented
individually or an connection with others in various presentations since 2014.

A first overview of "Englishes" was presented in an exhibition with the same
title at BAK, Utrecht in 2016.

BAK, Utrecht
C3A, Cordoba

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Portrait of an Englishes Collector

2015 - as part of "Englishes"
single channel video, 34 min. 07 sec.
watch an excerpt

"Portrait of an Englishes Collector" sees a fictional amateur linguist
conduct a telephone study of the “Englishes” spoken in the remotest corners
of the globe. Through a series of fractured phone conversations he uses
notation in IPA (international phonetic alphabet) to collect fragments of
their pronunciation. This work was co-produced by Salonul de Proiecte
in Bucharest.

Salonul de Proiecte, Bucharest
Extra City, Antwerpen
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Her Production

2014 - as part of "Englishes"
single channel video work 4 min. 41 sec.
watch an excerpt

This short video consists of an audio track alongside a projection of
subtitles in phonetic symbols or International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA),
a notation system for every sound that any human on earth can make in speech.
The system is largely attributed to phonetician Daniel Jones - after whom
playwrite Bernard Shaw famously modeled the character of Henry Higgins. Jones
initiated a yearly Summer Course of English Phonetics that still brings
large groups of scholars from all over the world to the UCL in London.

In 2014 Nicoline van Harskamp, who taught herself IPA and aspires to one day
write it at verbatim speed, attended the course and conducted an experiment
among her fellow students and her teachers. She played them an audio clip with
her own voice and asked them to comment on her English or, in linguistic terms,
her ‘production'. The various critiques are collaged into an audio track,
and subtitled using the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Kunstraum, London
Onomatopee, Eindhoven
Extra City, Antwerpen
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Darling Goodnight

2016 - as part of "Englishes"
single channel video, 16 min. 03 sec.

"Darling Goodnight" consists of an audio track superimposed onto a video of a
still lake. The accompanying audio records the stories of a number of people
who are waiting for their residence permits in an isolated part of Norway,
retelling their “linguistic journeys” from Eritrea, Syria, Ethiopia, and Sudan
to Europe. The lake and mountains in the video are their exact view while
waiting at Jølster refugee center and learning a regional variety of Norwegian.
This work was co-produced by the Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum, Førde.

Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum, Førde
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Wer Mae Hao

2015 - as part of "Englishes"
single channel video, 07 min 44 sec

"Wer Mae Hao" is the result of a series of workshops held at De Zonnebloemschool
and Extra City, Antwerp, in which children with different language backgrounds
explored the possibilities for an English of the future. In this video, shots of
the group of children telling a story in an English constructed from their
individual, self-made varieties, are juxtaposed with close-ups of their hands
cutting up pages of English dictionaries, and constructing a celebratory puppet
that they dance with in their gymnasium.

Extra City, Antwerpen

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A Romance in Five Acts and Twenty-one

live translations, exhibition, publication and theatre play
watch a trailer

A Romance in Five Acts and Twenty-one Englishes is based upon Bernard Shaw’s
1912 play Pygmalion ­ A Romance in Five Acts. Twenty-one translations of the
play were collected and re-translated into English in front of a live audience
at Kunstraum, London, and later brought together as a book by Onomatopee,
Eindhoven. A cast of five native English speaking actors later staged the second
act of the play in its non-native English adaptation. This video registration
shows and excerpt of a live staging at De Theaterkamer, Amsterdam.

Kunstraum, London
Onomatopee, Eindhoven
KunstWerke, Berlin
Ellen Gallery, Montreal
Extra City, Antwerpen
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She Put Me in Complexity of Words

single channel video, 4 min. 32 sec.
watch an excerpt

In collaboration with the Baltic Art Centre in Visby, four proficient yet not
native speakers of English, were invited to the remote Swedish island Gotland.
The women, artists from Korea, Cuba, Serbia and Iran, each with a specific
interest in language, spent three days in an isolated house, a ‘place without
language’. Van Harskamp asked them to familiarize themselves with each other’s
‘Englishes’ using existing linguistic experiments as a tool.

The video is an improvisation session, where the women speak out each
other’s phrases in an unusual range of interpretations, not attempting to
correct them into a more accurate English, but instead attempting to stay true
to the original sentence. She Put Me in Complexity of Words was filmed by a
local crew on Färö, a little island north of Gotland, and the set of many films
by Ingmar Bergman. The exact location of Hammar beach is where Bergman recorded
‘Persona’ in 1966, a portrait of two women who get entangled in each other’s
identities. The video resonates Bergman’s ‘Persona’ in the atmosphere of
language and location, as well as in the title.

Baltic Art Centre (BAC), Visby
Kunstraum, London
Onomatopee, Eindhoven

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Every Minute a Language Dies

2016 - as part of "Englishes"
single channel video, 03 min 30 sec

In Every Minute a Language Dies, animated drawings accompany recorded interviews
with representatives of NGOs working on language preservation. The Spanish and
Catalan nationals seem to disagree on issues of the lifespan of a language and
its attachment to either meaning or place, and what happens when two different
language groups come into contact. Their animated hand movements add a further
layer of expression.
This work was co-produced by the Barcelona Art Residency.

BAR, Barcelona

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2016 - as part of "Englishes"
single channel video, 15 min. 54 sec.

Esplorobjektoj, meaning 'case studies' in Esperanto, is a video recording of a
translation session with the artist and a number of both art students and students
of the Curatorial Programme at De Appel, Amsterdam. After studying the constructed
language for some weeks, they invited Esperanto instructor Leston Buell to work
with them to translate the press release of the 2016 exhibition "You Must Make
Your Death Public from By proposing an alternative link language for the arts,
this work highlights the widespread.

De Appel, Amsterdam

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Apologies and Compliments

2016 - as part of "Englishes"
single channel video, 07 min 32 sec

Apologies and Compliments stems from a session of the Discourse and Rhetoric
Group, Loughborough University, UK, in which the academic members were played
excerpts from other episodes of Englishes in which someone is complimented on,
or apologizes for, their English. The academics can be heard to analyze these
apologies and compliments. The visuals are taken from the scanned annotated
documents used during the session.

Radar Program, Loughborough
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Yours in Solidarity

single- or multi-channel video projections (up to 92 min.)
single- or multi-channel video projections (up to 120 min.)
notes from the project archive (up to 700 original pieces)
watch a clip

Yours in Solidarity tells a story of anarchism from the late 1980’s to today,
through the letter archive of the late Dutch anarchist Karl Max Kreuger,
now housed in the Institute for Social History (IISG) in Amsterdam.

From 1988 until 1999, Kreuger corresponded by post with hundreds of like-
minded people worldwide. As one of the letter writers herself, van Harskamp
studied the archive for more than a year and tried to imagine the many
proponents’ life stories since the last date of writing. She chose especially
captivating correspondents, gave them a pseudonym, collected notes on them
and produced their personality reports through an online handwriting
analysis program. She then cast professional actors for each writer, with
the relevant nationality and estimated current age, to work with her,
one at the time, on creating a character with a biography and set of views
that were detailed enough to conduct an interview. A comprehensive archive
of van Harskamp’s notes, as well as audio- and video documentation of the
working sessions with actors, form the first half of the project.

From transcribed conversations with the new ‘characters’, van Harskamp
compiled the script for a fictional work: she let a number of anarchists
elaborate on the history and future of the movement in a fully scripted
gathering. The resulting video installation, named after a much-used
anarchist sign-off, suggests what might happen if the international
correspondents were to meet today.

Clark House Initiative, Bombay
Sydney Biennial

Moscow Biennial
Gothenburg Biennial
Concordia University, Montreal
Survival Kit 5, Riga
New Art Space Amsterdam
Manifesta 9, Genk
Shanghai Biennial 2012/13
Rotor/Steirischer Herbst, Graz
GMK Gallery, Zagreb
Extra City, Antwerp
MUAC, Mexico City
Frankfurter Kunstverein
Hillary Crisp Gallery, London
D+T Project Gallery, Brussels

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Reading Anarchism

2013 - series of 8 events in Amsterdam
2016 - series of 3 events in Utrecht
library with over 2000 laser-printed
articles and books, display furniture and library index

Reading Anarchism was initiated to celebrate the completion and first entire
presentation of Yours in Solidarity, a film project that has the history of
anarchism as its subject, and an online collection of anarchist writing
- - as one of its sources. Printed copies of all
titles currently archived on that website were made available in an exhibition
space, New Art Space Amsterdam, designed as a library reading room. Visitors
could also produce copiesof their favourite titles in the adjacent printing
room free of charge.

Nicoline van Harskamp invited people from different countries and professional
fields to go through the collection and pick a single title from it. Two people
were invited every week to present and read from their choice in the reading
room, and subsequently host a discussion on it. The program for this
‘anarchism book club’ was announced week by week so that regular visitors were
eventually able to present their choices as well.

Bea de Visser read Amorey Gethin
Jan Ritsema read Mario Cutajar
Catherine Lord read Feral Faun
Kees Hin read Voltairine de Cleyre
Mihnea Mircan read John Moore
Ahmet Ogüt read Matt Hern
Christian Greer read Hakim Bey
Nienke Terpsma read David Graeber "Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology"
Geert Lovink read Tiqqun
Janneke van Beek read Gelderloos & Lincoln
Mariko Peters read Peter Kropotkin
Kees Stad read Rudof Rocker
Frans Bromet read Bob Black
Elena Bajo read Max Nettlau
Elena Loizidou read Emma Goldman
Kathrin Böhm read Colin Ward “Child in the City” and “Child in the Country”
John Jordan read Anonymous
Melanie Bajo read Penny Rimbaud
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English Forecast

unique live performance for an online audience
watch the full length performance

For this online commissioned live performance, conversations were
recorded with cross-border English speakers of all levels of
proficiency and expertise, about their expectations for the future of
the English language. Interviewees included visitors and staff of Tate
Modern, as well as professionals in the fields of linguistics,
psychology and pedagogy. From the recordings she composed an audio
montage, divided over 4 tracks for 4 actors. In the live performance
the actors express a diversity of opinions as a single voice.
Varieties of English vary sentence by sentence. After each chapter in
the text, they pause and repeat words and phonemes and invite the
audience to say them out loud. The performance was streamed from the
Performance Room in Tate Modern to live audiences around the world.
It was subtitled in International Phonetic Alphabet.

BMW Tate Live: Performance Room (link to promo)
Tapies Foundation, Barcelona
Frac Lorriane, Metz
Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum, Førde
Museo Arte Contemporánea, Vigo

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Any other Business

2009 unique live performance for 35 actors (360 min.)
2011 single- or multi-channel video work

Any other Business was a 6 hour performance piece, uniquely structured
as an ordinary conference, set in a commercial convention centre. Each of
the 10 items on the conference program was scripted and staged live by actors,
both on stage and in the audience. The script for Any other Business is based
on recordings of public debates, retrieved for that purpose from the archives
of debate societies, various online sources and Nicoline van Harskamp’s own
audio recordings. The transcribed debates were translated to English, and
undone of any topical or factual information. What remains are 10 meetings
that have a critical moment or plot in them in which the speakers - often
unsuccessfully - attempt to suppress their urge to act rather than talk.

A video work with the same title was made from prerecordings and live
recordings of the conference.

SMBA catalogue (includes an overview of all scenes)

SMBA, Amsterdam
Performa 11, New York
Centro Pecci, Prato
Newtopia, Mechelen
Spinozamanifestatie, Amsterdam
Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo
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New Latin

unique live performance for 2 actors (50 min.)
single channel video work (30 min. 23 sec.)

In her first piece on the subject of worldwide English use, Nicoline van
Harskamp interviewed linguists, artists, politicians, language teachers and
NGO workers in Romania about the way the English language has influenced
their particular field. From the transcribed conversations, she created the
script fora discussion between a curator and an artist, subsequently performed
by Romanian actor Daniel Popa and herself. The English script was translated
to Romanian and van Harskamp memorized her text line by line in preparation
of its unique staging, for a mixed-language audience, on the opening night
of the 4th Bucharest Biennial. Recordings of the live event were subtitled in
English and now make up a video work with the same title.

4th Bucharest Biennial
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Noa Language School, Amsterdam
Yapi Kredi Cultural Centre, Istanbul
Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto

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Expressive Power Series

live performance for 4 actors (50 min.)
installation with single-channel video work (50 min.)
and framed script with director’s notes (28 x A4)

Expressive Power Series – Max Bonner on the Phenomenology of Speech is a
reduced adaptation of the live conference Any other Business. It features its
4 most crucial characters, that each represent a different view on
‘free speech culture’ and the role of authority, violence and manipulation
within it. Expressive Power Series is intended to be staged in seminar rooms
of cultural institutions only. Communication consultant and civil liberties
campaigner Max Bonner introduces - for a live audience and with the use of
Power Point presentation and a flip chart - theoretical models that are
widely employed in organisational psychology today. In Bonner’s audience are,
amidst the actual members of the audience, a charismatic human rights activist,
acomposed intellectual and a rather verbose opponent. They unsuccessfully
engage in a so-called non-violent conflict with Bonner, and theoretical and
actual chaos ensues.

Inter-cut video recordings of live stagings are exhibited together with the
original paper script for Expressive Power Series.

FKSE, Budapest (exhibition)
D+T Project Gallery, Brussels (exhibition)
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
New Museum/
Witte de With

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The Power of Listening

live performance for 6 actors and 3 extras (40 min.)
three-channel video installation (23 min.)

What happens to people when they listen to public speakers? Do the things
they hear add up to a collective field of knowledge? And if so, is such a
field instrumental in politics? In a public meeting, a group of experts
addressed these questions, using material on Youtube and Power Point to
illustrate their theories. In the week after the event, all members of their
audience were interviewed by telephone about their recollections of the
meeting. On the basis of their statements, a reconstruction was written and
then performed in the same venue by a group of actors. Words are put in the
mouths of the wrong speakers, crucial information is missing, an audience
members plays a more important role than the speakers, and everybody uses
technical terms wrongly.

The Power of Listening also exists as a video installation, where recordings
of the telephone interviews are superimposed over the words of the actors.

Prix de Rome 2009
Witte de With, Rotterdam

Theater Frascati, Amsterdam
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Testing the Collective

14 computer surveys installed on multiple computer work stations

Do the test here.

Testing the Collective is a functioning computer survey scripted by
Nicoline van Harskamp and designed and programmed by Thijs Gadiot. Questions
from existing online surveys about personality, morality and politics were
rewritten using the plural ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. The survey states an outcome
in the first-person plural.

Spaport Biennial, Banja Luka
Vaclav Spala Gallery, Prague
Rijksakademie Open 2008, Amsterdam
De Fabriek, Eindhoven

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Character Witness

live performance (60 min.)
single-channel video work (PAL, 26 min.)
7 framed text collages

Character Witness is a speech based on the autobiographies of
Benazir Bhutto, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, Hillary Clinton,
Kwame Nkrumah, Margaret Thatcher, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Barack Obama,
Frederik Willem de Klerk and Ariel Sharon.

From each of their books, Nicoline van Harskamp selected a passage that
describes a childhood event and one that describes a political event.
In each case, the former passage includes an excuse for the latter.
A professional speech writer brought the passages together as a speech
for a single person. Actors from the UK, from France and from the USA
then helped to shape it in further detail. In 3 consecutive live events,
they performed the speech adapted to their own interpretation of a states
person. The process of writing and adaptation was documented in a small
book, made available on the performance nights.

From the actual autobiographies, Nicoline van Harskamp cut out all the
passages used in the script. She made a series of 7 collages that together
spell out the entire script. Inter-cut video recordings of the live
stagings of Character Witness are exhibited together with these.

Kadist Foundation, Paris
D+T Project Gallery, Brussels
Kaaitheater, Brussels

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To Live Outside the Law You Must be Honest

three-channel video installation (total length 38 min. 16 sec.)
or single-channel video(24 min.)

To Live Outside the Law You Must be Honest is comprised of 3 scripted
video works, each performed by the same actor in different roles. The
main video is recorded in Christiania, a free town in the centre of
Copenhagen that was created in the early 1970’s. Under increasing
outside pressure, it manages to operate without private ownership and
thorugh a system of consensus democracy, up to today. Informed by
interviews with Christiania’s residents, the video addresses issues of
self-government and self-policing. The other 2 videos were filmed in
London, and are based on interviews with left-wing and right-wing
libertarians who actively campaign against violations of freedom
- by governments or other forces - today. In all 3 works the issues of
freedom and participatory democracy are addresssed, but very different
conclusesion are drawn.

Christiania Researcher in Residence Program (CRIR)
Taipei Biennial 2008
Casco Projects, Utrecht
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Camberwell Space, London
Nikolaj CCA, Copenhagen
Arsenale Art, Poznan
24th Youth Salon, Zagreb
ADN Gallery, Barcelona

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