Flam is a festival for Live Art in Amsterdam.
FLAM was founded in 2011 by artists Rose Akras and Dirk-Jan Jager. The trigger for setting up such manifestation was the success both artists reached with the performance art program 'Between Heaven and Earth', in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, as part of the Museumnacht 2010. The project won the first prize as best Museumnacht program and in that same year, both artists participated in performance art festivals in Brazil: VERBO at Galeria Vermelho in São Paulo, and MIP II in Belo Horizonte. Based on this experiences and anticipating the potential grow of live art based on the cross-fertilisation between disciplines, they started with a pilot event at Arti et Amicitiae art spaces. FLAM became the first recurrent festival happening in gallery spaces in the Netherlands, dedicated to live art as a genre which is not tied to a discipline or conventional relations of duration, public or space. FLAM operates as a group exhibition presenting works with background in various art languages that have in common the urge to be presented live.
Mission and identity
The need of a platform exclusively devoted to performance art as an independent art form was the essential reason for the creation of FLAM. The multiplication of hybrid art works aiming to reach an audience in the last decade shows that such a platform continue to be urgent and relevant for the sustainability of this field. The mission is offering space for artists to dare experiment and exercise autonomy, showing works which emerge from intrinsic research and act independent of current trends. FLAM offers young artists a platform to present their first works, and mid and longer time career artists to grow further by exploring new ideas and keep developing. The platform commits to be plural, multiple and diverse at its soul, opening space for diversity in gender, physical, cultural identities and more to arise, mix and dialogue. The event is thus experienced as a manifestation of the queer, in the broadest sense of the word. FLAM remains the only performing arts festival in the Netherlands in which the core program is organised in art spaces. This choice facilitates versatile presentations and close encounters between artist and public. The assemblage of audience, work and artist on the same physical scene is a strong part of FLAM identity.
As a non-institutional event, created by and for artists, it offers freedom for artists to experiment, taking risks together with the artists. Each edition presents the young and unknown, premieres and experiments, but not only.
The platform allows also relations to emerge by accompanying the development of artists.
Many works receive a considerable amount of subsidies to be created but are only performed once or twice to the public, even when having good critics. Programming shortly seen ready works (and not only premieres) is a meaningful contribution to the sustainability of the field in the Netherlands.
Appointed by the specialised press as a relevant manifestation where peers meet and exchange insights actively, FLAM operates also as a spring step: artists that participated in FLAM just after completing their art education, have had their works further shown ( and bought by) at Stedelijk Museum, Palais de Tokyo, festivals across continents; international manifestations such as Moscow Biennale, VERBO (São Paulo), and are currently being invited by Rhubarb Festival (Toronto), BuzzCut (Glasgow), Les Urbaines (Lausanne), among others.
FLAM function as a platform to stimulate Dutch based and international performance art and has had valuable collaborations with VERBO (São Paulo), MIP (Belo Horizonte); PAE Performance Art Events; PAS Performance Art Studies; MPA Berlin, Venice International Performance Art Week, Dansmakers, Frascati Theater, If I can’t Dance I don’t want to be part of your Revolution, among others. FLAM has recently joined forces with BuzzCut in Glasgow, Les Urbaines in Lausanne and The Rhubarb Festival in Toronto, to exchange experiences and promote artists and their works.
Attent and aware of the costs of intercontinental travel (which cannot be realised by trein) for CO2 emissions, we believe that at times, the live engagement between artists of different continents is important to enhance dialogue and understanding about their artistic, social and politic environments.
FLAM Team - past and future
Rose Akras and Dirk Jan Jager assumed the role of curators in the first editions. In 2016 Rose Akras worked in collaboration with curator Marcos Gallon, from VERBO, Galeria Vermelho, S. Paulo, Brazil. In the editions 2017, 2018 and 2022 Alice Pons and Olivia Reschofsky composed the FLAM core team with Rose Akras, and 2018 had also the participation of curator Titus Nouwens.
From 2023 on FLAM intends to invite different curators in each edition, working in collaboration with founder Rose Akras. The aim is to renew and diversify the format of FLAM, opening also space for young curators to exercise and experiment their ideas within live art. The organisation is represented by Stichting Outline and some collaborators are part of FLAM since its creation: Arti et Amicitiae, Bea Correa in the graphic design and social media, and all around producer adviser Rob Visser. Arti et Amicitiae is a generous FLAM supporter by opening their spaces for FLAM artists to move freely and occupy the whole building, from the Arts Spaces to the hidden rooms.