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Ian Svenonius


In collaboration with Atelier Impopulaire

The solo project from The Make-Up and Chain and the Gang frontman Ian Svenonius. Parallel to the concert, works of his are also on display in the exhibition Alphabet Reform Committee in the pavilion.

Ian F Svenonius is an American musician and singer of various Washington D.C.-based bands including Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up, Weird War, XYZ, Escape-ism, and Chain and The Gang. Between his numerous projects, Svenonius has released more than 19 full-length albums and more than 20 singles, EPs, and splits. Svenonius is also a published author and an online talk show host. His first band, Nation of Ulysses, which released its first record in 1990, was highly influential in the punk scene but dissolved in 1992. After a short-lived side-project called Cupid Car Club, Svenonius formed The Make-Up in 1995, who combined garage rock, soul, and liberation theology to make a new genre they dubbed "Gospel Yeh-Yeh". The Make-Up disbanded early in 2001, and a year later, Svenonius formed the band Weird War, who were also known briefly as the Scene Creamers. Currently, Svenonius is leader of the band Chain and the Gang. Svenonius' solo work includes the 2001 album Play Power under the fictional pseudonym of David Candy, the book The Psychic Soviet, and as host of Soft Focus on Svenonius' projects and writings have all shared an anti-authoritarian Marxist political viewpoint.


Past Activities

Opening party: Alphabet Reform Committee With Loma Doom DJ set and Experimental Jetset

Exhibition from 02.11. to 08.12.18

Running from November 2 to December 8, 2018, Alphabet Reform Committee is a collaborative installation by Amsterdam-based collective Experimental Jetset, and US musician Ian Svenonius, conceived specifically for the Volksbühne Pavilion. Taking the form of a textual/spatial/sonic intervention, and exploring the notion of the city as a platform for language, Alphabet Reform Committee is part of a three-part program curated by the artist-run initiative Atelier Impopulaire.

Experimental Jetset will be present during the opening night, taking place on November 2, 2018. Starting at 8.00 p.m in the Roter Salon, the event will feature a one-off DJ-set by Amsterdam-based deejay Loma Doom. The opening event will also include the launch of an accompanying publication, as well as the presentation of a limited-edition 7-inch single.

Ian Svenonius (under his Escape-ism moniker) will be present two weeks later, during the performance night that will take place on November 15 (at the Roter Salon as well).

Supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Experimental Jetset is an Amsterdam-based graphic design studio founded in 1997 by Marieke Stolk, Erwin Brinkers and Danny van den Dungen. Focusing on printed matter and site-specific installations, EJ have worked on projects for a wide variety of institutes, including Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Centre Pompidou, Dutch Post Group, and Whitney Museum of American Art. Experimental Jetset taught at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam) between 2000 and 2013, and are currently tutors at Werkplaats Typografie (Arnhem). In 2007, a substantial selection of work by Experimental Jetset was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (New York). Other institutes that have collected EJ material include Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), SFMOMA (San Francisco), Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago), Museum für Gestaltung (Zürich), Centre National des Arts Plastiques (Paris), and Cooper Hewitt (New York). In 2015, Roma Publications (Amsterdam) released a monograph titled 'Statement and Counter-Statement: Notes on Experimental Jetset'.

Ian F. Svenonius is one of underground culture’s most provocative singers and thinkers. From leading impassioned Washington D.C. bands (like Nation of Ulysses and The Make-Up, Weird War, XYZ, Escape-ism, and Chain and The Gang), writing books like The Psychic Soviet, and serving as the host of the revealing interview show Soft Focus, Svenonius has left an indelible mark on music, influencing the way many people contemplate and consume it. Svenonius' projects and writings have all shared an anti-authoritarian Marxist political viewpoint.

Atelier Impopulaire is a Berlin based independent artist-run initiative founded in 2012 and focused on collaborative exhibition making methods. Invited to develop a site-specific project for the Pavilion, they are presenting a program in three parts (September-January 2019) with the aim to reconsider the links between processes of participation and dissemination formats.

Loma Doom is the new moniker of arts curator and (radio) DJ Femke Dekker. Best known for her monthly show Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting on Red Light Radio and being half of DJ duo Strange Boutique, she is a masterful selector, weaving together dark world music rhythms, moody psychedelia, light-headed folk and slick electronica. She is also part of the editorial team of Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, the online radio platform for visual arts and culture and teaches at the Radical Cut Up department of the Sandberg Instituut.

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