Ivoren Toren

A focal point in the city’s grey-zone... is all it takes to kick the underground in the face. Since a few years the shared space In De Ruimte serves as the ideal generator for a cluster-fuck of shows, exhibits, labels and graphic experiment. One of them is Ivoren Toren, a transphenomenon platform that mingles contemporary dance, holistic science and concerts. Watcharita Aroon, the visual artist behind the KRAAK logo and artwork in previous editions of the Avant Guardian has a few questions for Jonas Vanhullebusch, the mind, body and soul behind Ivoren Toren.
21 December 2017 | AG 10.1

(past)

Watcharita Aroon

Which choices in your childhood made you into the person you are now? What is your strongest memory?

Jonas Vanhullebusch

Many choices that seemed small and funny formed me in plural. I notice that ‘the possibilities that formed
me’ are still branching off... Yeah,
many woods and brooks, trees that were tall, but back then I didn’t shave yet — so, there wasn’t all that much blood. Several times I made a fall, that impacted me a lot of course. One time from a ladder, on the back of my head; another time, I jumped from a swing and landed with my forehead against a wooden beam; also several times on my back, flat and plain, three times.

Building camps stuck in my memory as well. I almost forgot to tell you that there was a haunted house in my neighbourhood, it had a chicken above the fireplace and of course a lie detector. True! Wet grass, nettles, brooks... Forms that’ll last a lifetime.

As a youngster I was part of a group of wood squatters, who thought me this: trees are actually very high, and there truly is another path, way above ground.

(present)

wa

The first meaning of ‘Ivory Tower’ that comes to my mind involves people who are specialized in a certain field, but who are unable to share their love/knowledge with laymen. How would you describe Ivory Tower to the ultimate layman?

JV

How about this: It’s the neck, on which the head rests, food and saliva go through it, it ensures scope. Boxers have short necks, swans long ones. You should read “songs of songs” as well, aloud, fast and hard.

wa

How come outsiders don’t sense/ understand the work? Is it because they lack social intelligence?

JV

 Without deficiencies, no laymen. On many occasions I notice that ‘outsiders’ have no problem understanding the music, but they just don’t like it. Just as I sometimes prefer silence, or prefer beer over wine. We operate in a niche, which has more upsides than downsides, anyway. De Ivoren Toren, and other like-minded organisations ultimately aim to surprise ‘newcomers’, have them think ‘Oh, this is something I never heard before’. I like that, it keeps giving me a kick!

wa

You program artists who like to shake up musical conventions? 

JV

Yeah! They try to work out their own set of rules instead of what’s commonly accepted. They question themselves, even during playing. They’re constantly trying to renew, to re-establish. Fun!

wa

Why did you invite Lunds/ Chantler and Docteurlamort — two men from the North and one from the countryside between the Alps and Auvergne, for the celebration Lede Hills 9 0 5 0?

JV

 It’s a form of Russian Roulette. Just like when you choose a new car, first you choose the model, then the color, and then there is still money left for options, like illuminated doors, speech recognition, night vision, and yes, navigation and infotainment.

wa

The music of Lunds & Chantler is an intense experience for the listener. Do your dance pieces relate to the experience (bodily/ mental) this duo provides?

JV

 I want it to be possible to compare apples and oranges. I suppose the answer to your question is yes.

I often notice that intentions are alike, but then again, what is the use of good intentions?

In my dance pieces we aim for mental focus and physical vagueness (or was it the other way round?) We’re looking for the right resonance and organise the space by means of an anti-intellectual tension — very critical and sceptic in a naïve way, like “is this what I really meant?”

(future)

WA

In de Ruimte is an off­space, a gallery in which artists are curators. What sets it apart?

JV

 In de Ruimte defines itself as a progressive, autonomous and innovating house for culture. We try to create an open platform for contemporary artists, where they don’t have to sacrifice their autonomy. In De Ruimte is for and by artists.

WA

Are you thinking about moving to another atelier/building?

JV

We are still looking. We hope to find a new location to build a sustainable and complete platform for culture. We think it’s necessary that there exists an alternative, progressive art scene. Maybe we should pool?

WA

What will you take with you to the future from the past experience?

Jv

There is an enormous need for a free place like ours, with a loose atmosphere and where people have the feeling that really everything can happen.

WA

A lot of creators under one roof, how does that work? How do you keep things organised?

JV

 It’s structured organically. There is no real hierarchy, every one is free to organize, to program or to propose a workshop. We all have our own focus, network and talents — and it all comes together in a wonderful way.

WA

How do you feel about the shift from underground to semi­professional?

JV

 It’s necessary to become more professional, but we are cautious about keeping our uniqueness. Essentially, we’re still the same group of people, there haven’t been any profound changes. It’s comfortable to be underground, but there is also a lot to experience above ground...

WA

Fruzsina Pinter does the graphic design for Ivoren Toren, do you give here carte blanche?

JV

 Of course. Once there is trust, we are tuned. And, of course, without dialogue, no trust.