Art and installations have always been an integral part of the Paradigm experience. Lets take a little peek at what that means for one of our deco-heads: Anna-Lucia Rijff. She opens up about her inspirations, her collaboration with other artists and her appreciation for M.C. Escher. Read all about it here:
This isn’t the first time you’ve created something extraordinary for Paradigm.
That’s correct. This adventure started a few years ago in 2017. That’s when the Container Club was installed. John Oosting asked me if I wanted to help him transform the bare-boned Club into a work of art! That’s when he said to me: ‘You and Paradigm would be a great fit.’ We started working on the Club which didn’t have a proper roof, no deco and there wasn’t even a floor in there.
Another thing I did was co-create the Bee at the main stage together with Trudy. And a triangular artwork in the Romney Loods. I often come across pieces I’ve made on the terrain that I totally forgot about as well, which is always a pleasant surprise.
You’re going to be responsible for the installation in the Romney Loods this year. Can you tell us what you’re setting up?
Noorderzon approached me to create an art installation for their festival three years ago. This was right before COVID happened, so this project was delayed for two years. I was finally able to build it last year in the EMG, because COVID was still restrictive. The EMG is an enclosed space, compared to the large open area of the Noorderzon. This gave me inspiration to work with. The idea I had was to create a 3D etching inspired by the 2D work of M.C. Escher. I was looking to mimic the trippy feeling when you look at Eschers work, but in a physical way. After it was used for Noorderzon and the idea came to me that I could repurpose the whole thing as a stage for Paradigm.
How do you plan to physically manifest the Escher effect without people walking through the construction to experience this?
It’s not an easy thing to do this at Paradigm because of the setting and the large amount of people. However, I think we figured out a way to create this effect nonetheless. Strobert set up a light plan for the construction, which is made up of mirrors and radiant foil strung across acrylic glass. If you install the proper lighting between these elements, you effectively create an infinity effect. The resulting image starts to move as well because the radiant foil is a little flexible and able to move a little, creating a very trippy effect. This also means that you see something new from different perspectives when looking at it! Combine this with the fact that the DJ is square in the middle of it all, which is something I absolutely wanted to make happen. That way, we can take it up a notch by creating a direct synergy between the deco and the music!
And this project ended up being a collaboration between different people to create something extraordinary?
Exactly. I absolutely love this joint venture. This is the first time I’ve worked together in this fashion. For example, we’ve spent weeks brainstorming the best way to light the whole thing. A nice little detail is that everything regarding this art piece is rectangular, including the lights themselves! The biggest challenge we encountered was to create a level construction on a slightly slanted floor.
What do you hope that people experience when laying eyes on your work?
That’s a good question. You have to understand that the idea to express my art this way came to me during the last Paradigm Festival. I got really into Speedy J’s set at the time and became completely entranced, so much so that I could almost visualize the cacophony of sounds that day. This idea took root and I expanded upon it that same night at the Campsite, thinking what it would look like if I created an artwork that would let people experience something similar. Put this together with my love for Escher and the result will be available for all to see in the Romney Loods this weekend. I’m really curious to hear how others experience it and if it’s similar to that singular feeling I had years ago.
Anything you want to add?
Paradigm and its people are really important to me. This place has given me so much. Whenever Paul approached me with an idea, I always got full creative freedom to do so. This has had an incredibly positive influence on my development as an artist. I picked up a lot of construction skills and experience by creating these artworks. The trial and error part was especially valuable. If I made a mistake, Lennart was always there to help straighten it out and giving me the opportunity to learn from it. The help and trust from Lennard and everyone else in turn provided me with inspirations and perspectives that I hadn’t considered before, which is incredibly fun and valuable.
In light of Paradigm Festival 2022, we sat down with our resident operator Strobert. We talked about how it all started for him, his signature light shows, his plans for the festival and milking goats.
Hey Robert, we know you as one of the most talented operators of the Netherlands. How did it all start for you? When I was eighteen, I got a chance to work at light and sound company through an old school friend of mine. I did occasional jobs for them. As time went on, I got the chance to work at events like Awakenings, Free Your Mind and Innercity. Innercity was also my first, actual paying job.
I also remember being part of the company that was responsible for Awakenings, Free Your Mind and Technology. So I got a great start into the business.
After a while, I was asked if I wanted to do the sound technique and lights in a club in Amsterdam called Odeon in December of 2008. I was hired as a regular after that and this became a place where I learned a lot and eventually started to create my own style.
How would you describe your style and its evolution? Minimalist shows from the 80’s where they only used strobes and pars have given me a lot of inspiration to work in a similar fashion. I started to create and develop a style within these confines. Many shows use a moving par as a base light and the strobe as a special effect. I turn that principle upside down. I use the strobe as my basic lamp and my moving heads are my specials. That also makes it difficult to work with experienced performers, because it goes against their nature.
We think it’s very important that some particular factors, that influence a club night or a festival show, work together perfectly. Light is one of the most important factors for us. How do you make sure your light is a valuable addition to such an event and how does that manifest itself on the dance floor? It’s possible to do too little during a show, but I find that things go wrong much faster when there are too many elements present. Keeping calm and feel out the crowd on the dance floor. For example, if you are at a daytime show, you leave your moving heads off until dusk sets in. That way you can pop with elements after dark that you have not yet shown beforehand. During the day you work with strobes and blinders and make sure you stay busy so you can give the real show when night falls.
During club nights I’m actually completely led by the music. I get a certain emotion from the music and I try to express that as much as I can. For me, that is what it means to operate a light show.
You can probably cross off a lot of “bucket list” events you might’ve thought working with in the past. Maybe you can share a few highlights with us? Ultimately, Reaktor shows are the ones that made my career. That’s where I was given the freedom to do my own thing and develop myself into who I am today, as Strobert. However, I come from the early hardcore generation. Thunderdome has always been on my bucket list for that reason. So when Thunderdome made a comeback at Mysteryland, luck was on my side. Back then, I was part of team of light operators and they randomly picked me for the Thunderdome stage. At the time, also a documentary about Thunderdome was being recorded there, in which I appear to be featured. I have yet to see it. That was the first time I was allowed to work for them.
I can cross Q-Base off the list, as well as Defqon. I’ve been part of the Defqon-crew three times now, twice of which for industrial hardcore, as that is right up my alley.
What do you have in store for us during Paradigm Festival 2022? I am simply going to do what I do best but this time I’m going to do two separate and different shows! This offers me a specific advantage. If I come in and you only work during the night, then I’m going to be banging away at a show while it’s a lot quieter in terms of music. Because I can now go wild during the day, it’s much easier for me to go into the night. I become much more flexible in lining up the show elements with the night vibe. I’m going to create more ambient moments rather than going full throttle during the show.
I’ll be at the Club this weekend because of my love for it and Convoi Exceptionnel by extension. I’ll be running a double shift, as I can’t bring myself to put another operator at the Club. I really can’t wait as it’s going to be so cool!
In addition, the Basement will also be an interesting and cool challenge. It is like the Elementenstraat XXL with even more pillars everywhere. I secretly miss that place, so the Basement a great alternative to work with.
We’ve been told that you are expanding your operations to include milking goats as well? Funny you mention that. Because of COVID, my very full agenda changed into full unemployment. I still wanted to do something that I enjoy, otherwise I just would become depressed. That’s the reason why I ended up on a farm where I helped out, just to keep busy. That unexpectedly developed into a passion. I love those stubborn animals! It is soothing for me to spend a few hours milking after a busy day, even though they can be devious. It relaxes me.
And during the COVID period you also came up with the idea of offering merchandise. We thought it would be fun to work together and offer your merchandise through our web shop. Can you tell us something about that? I have been looking for a logo for a very long time. My love for animals is as present as my love for light. It seemed like a really cool idea to me to combine this two passion. I approached my good friend Popke, VJ Ekpop, to create my logo (she will be VJ-ing at the Mainstage at Paradigm Festival). A picture of a goat looking at me with a devilish and simultaneously sweet look whilst I was milking her became the deciding factor as inspiration for my logo. I thought, why not just put it on a shirt together with the dutch sayings “Out gaan is ook gaan” and “Bijzijn is meemaken”, which basically translates to “Be there or be square”. Another shirt reads “My life is flashing by”, which is also true of my life as it really does flash by. I want to expand on this in the future!
Strobert’s merchandise can be ordered at the merchandise stand at Paradigm Festival 2022 and will be available via our webshop later this year.
The 10th anniversary of Paradigm Festival is almost upon us! Especially for this occasion, our creative director Paul Grimmius shares 10 of his favourite stage designs from over the years.
1.) Forest Stage
“We have to start off this list with the magical Forest Stage. We landed at the Suikerunie terrain as its first occupants, where our eye was immediately drawn to the unkept, untamed forest. Together we figured out that we wanted to build a raised and round stage in the middle of it, as we believed it would be incredible area if we would do it right. Together with a group of enthusiastic volunteers and some experienced carpenters, we started to set this plan into motion. The process itself was amazing and it gave us a lot of energy. We started building day and night, empowered by the idea that this stage would be enjoyed by a lot of people for years to come. It was a very emotional moment when the last few nails were hammered in.”
“Whilst all that was happening, Joke Schaper spearheaded another team of volunteers to decorate the rest of the forest with pathways and little nooks and crannies to hang out in. One of the best things about this place is that it really feels like you’re in a forest, even though it’s situated on a former industrial terrain and it’s flanked by one of the busiest roads in the city. Legendary performances by artists such as Raresh and Ion Ludwig – not to mention hostings by VBX and Giegling – are some of my ultimate festival experiences.”
2.) Mainstage (2016)
“The last year at the Helsinkistraat the Mainstage was similar, in terms of festival stage designs, to what we’ve created at the Suikerunie terrain. The stage was designed by Dick Lissenburg. An organic design of rounded wood, so that no truss was needed to hang light and sound equipment. Constructing the stage was a free and creative process, done by people with a passion for building something beautiful. I spent part of the dreamy progressive closing set of Guy J (the last mainstage artist on Helsinkistraat) with Piter (Paradigm co-founder) on the roof of the stage, looking over a crowd of thousands of enamored visitors. The Buddha statue, which stood on top of the stage, was sent to us just before the event by a friend from India who could not be there that year. The statue watched over our visitors and I feel it blessed the legendary memories we made together at the Helsinkistraat.”
3.) La Maison de Paradigme
“La Maison de Paradigme was a concept conceived together with the Paradigm creatives (deco-team) and the Paraformers (performance team) during a brainstorm sessions back in 2014. The mainstage was like a giant mansion with different rooms, each filled non-stop by various performances from DJ’s and other creatives. My colleague Marcel and I joined the Paraformers during Rik Woldring’s set by dressing up as police and “halting” the performances for a brief moment, which was a lot of fun. It was also my first and last performance in that particular fashion (haha). Nina Kraviz was behind the decks to close off the festival. I don’t believe she is accustomed to playing music in bathrooms on a DJ booth made of washing machines, but here at Paradigm we do such things regularly.”
4.) Da Vinci Dome
“In 2017, our paths crossed with a collective from Enschede, which resulted in them designing a new stage for us. Its shape, based on a design by Renaissance genius Leonardo Da Vinci, is basically a star that’s resting on its own ends which gives it its signature dome shape. The process creating this stage was a unique and cool experience. Ever since then, the Da Vinci Dome has always been a very special place at our terrain. During the construction weeks running up to the festival, it always services us as our own little chill out with a small campfire to boot. When its showtime, the stage has been purposed in a bunch of different ways, such as an official chill out or a reggae stage. One of the most memorable moments for me were the hostings by record shop De Jongens van Hemmes. You could’ve seen them during Parfest 2018 and 2019, both times on the Saturday, when they played a wide variety of records whilst avoiding run-of-the-mill house tracks. Two consecutive years with a packed crowd is proof of why they’re the best record shop in town!”
5.) Dome (Renaissance theme)
“Huib van Antwerpen constructed a massive clockwork to be put in the top of the Dome stage in 2017, to fit with our Renaissance theme. The Renaissance theme was fitting as Paradigm had a re-birth (which is the literal meaning of the word Renaissance) on our new location. During this historic period, much art revolved around the symbolic expression of ‘Memento Mori’ and ‘Carpe Diem’. The clock related to this by illustrating how time is expressed in hours and days. The DJ-booth was created by the team of Dick Lissenburg (creators of the 2015 mainstage) in the image of a skull, placing the DJ in its eye-sockets. tINI made this image complete on a Sunday afternoon with her delicious minimal house, illuminated by a resplendent downing sun.”
6.) The little white tea arbor
“I think many readers won’t remember this one, even if you visited Paradigm Festival 2015, as this stage was hidden from view. If you did manage to find it between the bushes, you could’ve been surprised by Job Jobse playing his records in a little white tea arbor. Lennard van Vliet created this stage for us. When we made the move to the Suikerunie terrain, we tried to move it with us but sadly it didn’t survive these efforts.”
7.) Wooden Ganesha
“One of the first major creations we unveiled at Paradigm Festival 2013 was a giant wooden representation of the god of knowledge and wisdom: Ganesha! This wooden construction watched over our visitors who were relaxing at the chill out stage next to the mainstage that year. Thijs Koster built it, based on the legendary poster design by Emiel Almoes!”
8.) Paradigm Festival Main Stage (2019)
“Paradigm Festival 2019 was special in more ways than one. Due to poor weather conditions on Friday and wind force 7 on Saturday, the Forest stage could only open on Saturday evening after 9 PM. Saturday is traditionally the busiest day of the weekend and this day was no different, with around 9000 visitors at its peak. In part because the Forest Stage had to close for a little while, visitors were forced to move elsewhere. The result of that was a completely packed main stage during Neo Young’s 4-hour opening set. The view from the DJ booth that day on that steaming tech house floor was absolutely incredible. Roughly 5000 people were dancing around the grotesque Queen Bee construction made entirely from waste material. Joke Schaper, Anna Rijff and Trudy Oosterhuis built and designed it, supported by a team of enthusiastic volunteers. A masterful design with a message: we have to take good care of our planet. We don’t always keep this in mind, which is why bees are threatened with extinction. If that happens then our ecosystem will be disrupted so badly, scientists believe that humans will not survive such an event. With this in mind, we are subservient to the bee and the ladies wanted to convey this feeling by having a large queen perched up in the middle of the Mainstage’s dance floor.”
9.) Romney Loods (2019)
“One of the most beautiful and interesting processes I was a part of was the collaboration of a number of artists in 2019, which resulted in the Romney Loods as it is presented today. It started as David Sciarone’s graduation project for the Kunstacademie needed a home, which we were happy to provide. In exchange, David gave us permission to use it for our events. After the piece had gone through a number of phases (decking it out with lights for a NYE chill-out for example), we came up with the idea to videomap the whole thing. We approached both Liza Verboon and John Oosting, who were responsible for the videomap process and the design of the room, respectively. Throughout these brainstorm sessions, the idea took shape to videomap the front of the DJ-booth as well. John got to work once more and constructed something to make this all possible. It truly was such an inspiring collaboration between two artists, a VJ and Parardigm. During the festival, I spent some quality time on the dance floor at Stranger’s closing set on Friday and Speedy-J’s signature 5 hour set, enjoying the result of this collective effort by these artists. The particular vibe I experienced both times were made possible in part because of this amazing joint venture.”
10.) Mainstage (moving to the new terrain in 2016)
“Last but not least, the enormous project that was Paradigm Festival 2016. As we were hosting Paradigm Festival at the Suikerunie terrain for the first time, we started constructing multiple stages at the same time: the towers and gate of the Mainstage, the Forest stage, the Container Club, and the Dome. The Dome was designed at the time by architect Cesare Peeren and Studio Elmo Vermijs, after we received a course in harvesting and salvaging from them. Harvesting, in short, means looking for waste material that could be repurposed to suit our needs. Soon after we found a building which was on the demolition list of the municipality, from which we could harvest the wooden trusses. These trusses were the foundation for the design of the Dome stage. We had a few trusses left over, which we then planned to use for the DJ booth on the Mainstage! Inspired by the flyer (flying boat), we thought that it would be cool to make a big boat out of the remaining trusses, supported once again by a team of passionate carpenters and volunteers! This resulted in a boat that would carry the DJ’s through the gates of Paradigm where the new adventure was going to begin.”