Poolse Vis (Trippers) is a promotional video for the Hoorn-based physical theatre group Poolse Vis. The members of the group in the image are Inge Voskamp, Eveline Agema, and Igor Vrebac

The Arbour Lake Sghool brings Public Access Television to Hoorn

Issue no5
okt-nov 2021

Public Access Television has a rich history in Canada since the 1960’s. But in the Netherlands we are not very familiar with this concept. When the Canadian artists from The Arbour Lake Sghool were asked for a residency at Hotel Mariakapel, they decided to give the inhabitants of Hoorn a platform to create their own television shows. But how to enthusiasm people to make their own show if they barely ever heard of Public Access Television? Metropolis M talked with the four core members of the group, Andrew Frosst, John Frosst, Justin Patterson and Scott Rogers, about the challenges during the process, the outcome and their next step.

When I came to visit the four men in Hoorn the actual project was just finished. Instead of a television station full of costumes and possible sets, I found a cozy coffee bar in the exhibition space of Hotel Mariakapel. The four men were in the building next to it which was both their living space as their working space as their sleeping space in one. They had just a few days left here in Hoorn before returning back to home, Calgary. But although their residency had came to an end, they still had a lot of work to do: Editing, editing, and... more editing.

How did the project go? Are you all satisfied?

It was a slow process in the beginning which was quite difficult for all of us. First of all we were confronted with a language barrier, especially since it’s already a challenge to convince people to participate. You need people who are just as enthusiastic as we are, so basically it’s better to not have to convince them to engage with the project. It takes time to settle and to get to know people who might know other people who would like to join. But in the end we had so much material and so many ideas that we couldn’t film all of them. There just wasn’t enough time. The nice thing about this project is that you never know what the outcome is going to be. This is probably with all art projects but still this project depended entirely on its participants. They decide what we are going to do. We had some ideas beforehand, especially since we are familiar with this concept, but we never could have imagined it the way it turned out to be. For example, there is one men who took the camera with him while biking through Hoorn and to the Dyke, a very special place for him where he reflects on life in a more philosophical or poetic way. Very personal and symbolic at the same time. As a viewer you see the surroundings of the city and its nature and meanwhile you hear his calm voice. He really composed his own idea. It needed to be the perfect day otherwise we had to wait for the next day to see if the weather conditions were better. It’s very different from what some of us had imagined. We all have our own feelings about how it turned out to be, but I think we are all very satisfied.

Petrus cycling along the Dyke on the Ijsselmeer near Hoorn

Do you want to say something with this project?

No, not really. It’s more a gesture. We rarely if ever want to communicate specific ideas. We basically just wanted to give the inhabitants of Hoorn the possibility to tell their story. We are really hesitant about attaching a specific politics to something like this. There is a politic gesture from which you can't really say it's not there because there are all sorts of things that public access is related to, like providing platforms for people, but we are not trying to say ‘that's what we are doing’. That kind of gesture undermines the actual content that people are making. We are all unsupportive of that idea. There is another way to think about it. It’s more about the process and the opportunity you give people to create something together. For instance, we also did a commissioned movie for the Children Library in the neighborhood. We went to the library to see these children and asked them what they wanted to do. The outcome will be shown at the library in the Children’s Book Week that will start this week. Of course the children were very excited to be part of this.

Can you tell me more about the Arbour Lake Sghool. What’s with the name?

After we finished art school we started living together in this strange house in a suburban community. A place which begs to have its social limitations challenged. From there we started all kinds of projects, often together with a lot of different artists. It’s quite superior to call it a school I guess (probably therefore the strange spelling), but the name comes from the name of this artificial neighborhood and the diversity of projects that we do in a collaborative environment.

What’s the next step?

Normally we do not repeat the projects we do, but this time we are all quite enthusiastic to redo it in another place since the results can be so different. We can certainly see us doing this again in a different way, at a different place. But there are no concrete plans yet. We do not really plan our future in detail. There are always plenty of ideas and after a while those ideas get more concrete. Now it’s first time to edit all the movies we made and upload them on the website so all the people from Hoorn and who are interested in it can see the results. We need to take some time to reflect on this project, to settle. We also talked about making a publication of all the projects we did with The Arbour Lake Sghool. We did a lot of very different projects in the last years, so I guess it’s about time to fit the pieces together and make some sort of overview to connect all the dots.

Poolse Vis (Trippers) is a promotional video for the Hoorn-based physical theatre group Poolse Vis. The members of the group in the image are Inge Voskamp, Eveline Agema, and Igor Vrebac

Although the project has come to an end at the Hotel Mariakapel, the created movies are already visible on tvhoorn.tv and soon there will be more.

Pam Roos ten Barge is intern at Metropolis M

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