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za 2 sep


Dit programma heeft al plaatsgevonden
If the Metaverse could one day be an extension of reality, how would it shape our lives? What are the inherent power structures and historical contexts that it builds upon? Is technology truly a neutral tool, or is that only part of the story?
Whereas FUTURE FRONT ROW and the Exhibition stimulate the imagination, this comprehensive program of talks and performances allows a deeper dive into what we can learn from past activism, and why engaging with these ethical dilemmas is urgent today.
Read more about the talks during THE MESSYVERSE below


Sat 2 sept 17:30 – 18:15 – zuilenzaal

Gender queer identity in virtual spaces

Entering the Metaverse offers an enormous potential for freedom of expression. Without a physical body, the constraints of social convention — or even gravity — need no longer apply, so what choices are you ready to make? Many metaverse environments are created by a homogenous group of California developers, and often offer us the same binary menu we are only now breaking free from. Can gendered avatars be a useful new frontier for queer activism and experimentation? Is the idea of gender even relevant in virtual worlds? If we take other cosmologies of gender into virtual spaces, what new forms of embodied identity can we imagine?

Aynouk Tan

Aynouk Tan is a (fashion) journalist, curator, lecturer and advisor specialized in the relationship between appearance and identity politics. By observing appearance from an anthropological point of view they aim to deconstruct colonial, neoliberal and heteronormative narratives. I.e. queering identity. Clients include NPO Radio 1, Stadsarchief, Stedelijk Museum, Cobra Museum, Holland Festival and Gemeente Amsterdam. Tan is also an advisor at the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK) and a jury member for the Dutch Design Awards. They are a keynote lecturer in the field of Diversity and Inclusion.

Sole Backović 

Growing up in a traditional Balkan environment, in rural Serbia, Sole was sticking out from an early age for embodying both physical and mental traits of more than one gender.

At the age of 19 Sole moved to Wyoming, USA as they got scouted to pursue their athlete career. Spending a year surrounded by Native American culture, Sole got introduced to Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, their rituals such as powwow and the wide range of gender identities the culture nourished. For the first time ever, Sole felt resonance and belonging to a certain gender, two spirit.

Two-spirit people are individuals who combine activities of both men and women with traits unique to their status as two-spirit people. In most tribes, they were considered neither men nor women; they occupied a distinct, alternative gender status. Discovering such a social group at a young age, Sole dedicated their life to fully and freely embodying their existence beyond the binary.

A mix of a Gen Z communist, liberal and a hippie, Sole challenges the current rules and belief systems within the industry. Founding a digital studio at 26, the delusional optimist thrives on challenges within the advertising and design space while going head through the wall. Backović runs through many doors, leaving them open for the ones afraid to knock.

Politely rude, and extremely curious, their bold sophisticated thoughts cut through the noise and often break the silence.

Dedicated to moving the industry towards new horizons, Sole questions the status quo facilitating a space for expanding the current gender narratives in both virtual and physical spaces. Their digital studio Silaverse, focuses on cyber romanticism pushing new fluid forms of virtual identities within new realms of Web 3.0.

Giancarlo Pazzanese

Giancarlo Pazzanese, aka @GianPazza, is a visual artist, lecturer, and digital fashion designer. With a passion for exploring the intersection of art, fashion, technology, history, and cultural analysis, he founded the design studio dis_placed. Giancarlo’s unique approach involves time travel through fashion and art history to understand their influence on contemporary trends. He taught for five years at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy, sharing his expertise in cultural studies and 3D fashion design. Currently works as a lecturer of the Creative Business Program of the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht.

Recently, Giancarlo has focused on the potential and challenges of fashion in web3, particularly on identity, gender, inclusion, accessibility, and representation in the metaverse. Combining sustainability, gender equality, fashion, and history, his perspectives have been shared in publications, conferences and fashion wee.


Sat 2 sept 17:30 – 18:15 – shaffyzaal

Mental health in the Metaverse

More than 4 out of 10 people in the Netherlands experience mental health problems at some point in their lives. With unprecedented waiting lists, limited access to healthcare and an acute shortage on mental health professionals, alternative routes of (self-)care are needed, and digital technology might be paving the way. There’s a new wave of apps for mindfulness and yoga, watches that measure stress, online health consults and digital psychologists. VR, augmented reality and mixed reality are successfully used as tools in the treatment of various mental health diseases. Digital technologies are hailed as a solution to both the pressure on mental health professionals and the lack of access to healthcare. Will the metaverse serve as a portal to a new era in mental health? How will it impact the well-being of those who dwell within it for extended periods of time? How can we create safer online spaces in which (self-)care, well-being and empathy are promoted?

Aukje Dekker

Aukje Dekker is a visual artist and co-founder of the Eddie The Eagle Museum and Sociëteit SEXYLAND. Aukje graduated cum laude from the Rietveld Academy and completed a Masters at the Sandberg Institute and Central St Martins (London). Exhibiting at home and abroad, she questions with humour and self-mockery the value of art, including her own work, and the systems that she thinks have crept in a bit but don’t necessarily make sense. Unconventionally, she creates a seemingly rule-free universe full of alliances in which she herself likes to live.

For Aukje Dekker, everything is art and her work takes many forms – from paintings, videos, installations and virtual reality to connecting children to artists in the youth series Moonriders on VPRO. In 2017, Aukje co-founded the successful experimental nightclub SEXYLAND with Arthur van Beek, which gives space to a different owner every day and is currently finding its ultimate collaboration in the form of SEXYLND World, a place where diverse parties from different backgrounds jointly operate one building according to an alternative economic model, and where freedom prevails.

Hanneke Scholten

Dr. Hanneke Scholten is an assistant professor at the University of Twente, and co-director of the Games for Emotional and Mental Health (GEMH) Lab. In her work, she creates evidence-based interactive experiences – oftentimes games – that promote emotional resilience and behaviour change. She prioritizes design and art, engages in interdisciplinary collaboration, and systematically tests the designed experiences with qualitative and large-scale studies. Furthermore, she strives to implement scientifically proven products in the real-world to have an impact on as many youth as possible. Hanneke is a vocal proponent of the potential impact of interactive media on emotional and mental health. To this end, she has published her work in international journals and delivered over 70 presentations and workshops on this topic to audiences of diverse backgrounds, including the scientific community, parents, youth, teachers, designers, and psychologists.

Tirsa With

Tirsa With is a presenter, (voice) actor and programmer. She is one of the regular faces of Het Klokhuis (NTR). She is also presenter and editor of Omroep ZWART’s online news & history program, “Once Upon A Timeline.” She also voices audiobooks and moderates events in the cultural sector.
Tirsa was born in Suriname and raised in the Netherlands. After 4 years at the bilingual gymnasium, she moved to Germany to finish high school on an international campus. She graduated cum laude in literary studies in Amsterdam and New York. During her studies, she regularly appeared on stage as a spoken word artist. After that, she continued to develop: her writing in the Slow Writing Lab, the free master’s of Het Nederlands Letterenfonds, her making in the NPO Fund’s Oorzaken Academy for narrative podcasts, and her acting in the Meervaart Studio, DOX Studio and production house degasten.


Sat 2 sept 18:45 – 19:45 – zuilenzaal

Glitchcraft and the Digital Commons

An experiment with data doppelgängers, this performance lecture draws on literary histories of the doppelgänger and emphasizes the ambivalent dis/enchantments of living with new forms of computational power that are simultaneously ordinary and uncanny. McGlotten considers versions of ourselves and others that come to life in ‘data’ form, animated by usually invisible forces. Considering recent developments in AI, including data-twins and ChatGPT, they offer the term ‘the computational hex’ to emphasize some of the witchy, weird, and queer entanglements of identities, bodies, and other forces that help comprise data doubles–the surveilling gazes of corporations and states, as well as the diverse experiences induced by discussions with chatbots. How might the notion of the computational hex help us to understand something about histories of algorithmic sorting or the anxieties and pleasures attendant to digital rabbitholes?

Shaka McGlotten

Professor of Media Studies and Anthropology aan de Purchase College-SUNY en voorzitter van de Gender Studies & Global Black Studies

Shaka McGlotten is a Professor of Media Studies and Anthropology at Purchase College-SUNY, where they also serve as Chair of the Gender Studies department. An anthropologist and artist, their work stages encounters between Black study, queer theory, media, and art. They have written and lectured widely on networked intimacies and messy computational entanglements as they interface with QTPOC lifeworlds.They are the author of Dragging: Or, in the Drag of a Queer Life (Routledge, 2021) and Virtual Intimacies: Media, Affect, and Queer Sociality (SUNY, 2013). They are also the co-editor of two edited collections, Black Genders and Sexualities (Palgrave, 2012) and Zombies and Sexuality (McFarland, 2014). Their work has been supported by Data & Society, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, and The Andy Warhol Foundation.


Sat 2 sept 18:45 – 19:30 – shaffyzaal

Rituals, Spirituality and Community’

Religious groups and the spiritually curious have always used means to achieve their spiritual goals, from mantras to icons, relics to rituals. What is different today, is the use of technological means to facilitate spiritual experiences and quests. Apps help you meditate, pastors lead VR churches and virtual sanctuaries bring communities together. These developments change how we practice spirituality, how we connect with spiritual communities and how we experience the Divine. How will spirituality shape the metaverse and vice versa? What will rituals, relics and icons look like? And will the metaverse give rise to new gods and belief systems?

During this special program you will get the chance to explore digital mysticism in several experiential ways, with video works by artists Lu Yang and Tabita Rezaire, virtual one-on-one performances by Jakob la Cour Studio, and tarot readings – with your smartphone – by Ginevra Petrozzi. Note that spaces are limited for the VR performances and the tarot readings. Timeslots for both experiences need to be booked onsite in Shaffyzaal on Sept 2.

15:00-21:00 Digital Esoterism – one-on-one readings by Ginevra Petrozzi
(timeslots to be booked in Shaffyzaal on the day)

18:30-20:00 Iridescent Cleanse – one-on-one virtual performance by Jakob la Cour Studio (timeslots to be booked in Shaffyzaal on the day)

18:45-19:30 Digital Mysticism – videos by Tabita Rezaire, Lu Yang and Ginevra Petrozzi in Shaffyzaal

IRIDESCENT CLEANSE – a Virtual Performance by Jakob la Cour Studio

Embrace your state-shifting chromatic nature and illuminate the enchanted aspects of yourself as you are guided through a transformation.

This immersive mixed-reality one-on-one performance invites you to a sensory cleansing experience with digital artifacts to stimulate rejuvenation, altered perception, and well-being.

Jakob la Cour

Jakob la Cour (b. 1982, Copenhagen, Denmark) is an award-winning performing artist, director, and immersion designer at JAKOB LA COUR STUDIO (est. 2005) with a Master’s Degree in Game and Interaction Design (2011) from The Royal Danish Academy of Art in Design. He is specialized in immersive experiences and currently works with a mix of participatory performing arts, new technology, and ecstatic mysticism targeting thrill-seeking explorers. Jakob has created 30+ highly interactive projects like the acclaimed AI & VR ceremony Artificial Awakening (2021), and the Reumert-winning cinematic theatre play Luna Seconda (2021). He is engaged in tech-spiritual practices to build ceremonial multimedia performances and immersive experiences for a live audience. Jakob’s upcoming performance, premiering in October 2023, explores the relationship between the virtually extended body and the phenomenon of hybrid phantom sensation and give the audience a direct experience.

Digital Esoterism explores how divination tools might be refashioned in order to reclaim a sense of agency against Big Data, which, in the era of Surveillance Capitalism, has become a quasi-magical entity predicting and programming the future. Historically, divination has been used as a method of gaining a sense of control over a mysterious, immaterial future. Drawing on the practice of reading the Tarot – the divinatory tool par excellence – Digital Esoterism consists of an installation and an active performance, in which Petrozzi performs similar readings using the consultant’s smartphone.

In the modern era, magic or destiny are often interpreted as anachronisms of a superstitious and ignorant past. Ontologically, we believe that we have escaped destiny and that we inhabit an “open future”, in which the actions of each individual determine his future. Digital Esoterism resists this capitalist myth. Indeed, the business model of many of today’s technology corporations, such as Facebook, Google, and TikTok, is to produce possible futures through algorithms: futures to be bought, eaten, shared, and explored. Predictive analytics, algorithms, and artificial intelligence have now assumed the role of creators of destiny within the cosmos governed by digital systems. Digital Esoterism proposes to reclaim divination and the archetype of the witch as a political rebel to navigate the modern surveillance systems of capitalism. Reforming the tarot for the contemporary era, Digital Esoterism offers techniques to interpret the endless flow of images, videos, memes, numbers, and advertisements that algorithms generate on our smartphones – to talk about oneself and one’s future.

Ginevra Petrozzi

Ginevra Petrozzi (Rome, Italy) is an interdisciplinary designer and artist currently living and working in The Netherlands. She’s a tutor in the MA Social Design at Design Academy Eindhoven, whilst committed to her own individual practice.

Her work explores contemporary issues around care, futurity and algorithmic governance. Through critical research, writing and creative production she aims to make space for other ideas and forms of intelligence, knowledge and wisdom (both human, non-human and digital). Currently, she is exploring the possibilities of mysticism and the occult within the landscape of contemporary techno-politics. In this framework, she took the role of a “digital witch”, reclaiming the archetypal role of the sorceress as a healer, and as a political rebel.