It's a match - Nathan Ooms & Anna Franziska Jäger
Anna Franziska Jäger (1996) is a theatre maker, actress and performer who obtained her master in Drama at KASK School of Arts in Ghent in 2020. Bartlebabe, which was created as Anna Franziska’s graduation piece and eventually premiered in CAMPO Ghent (2021), is the third collaboration with former classmate Nathan Ooms and for which they received the Mathilde Horlait-Dapsens prize. Together they also created As a matter of fiction (2018) and Some Things Last A Long Time (2019). They are currently working on their new creation Ambient Theatre Fury (premiere CAMPOMarch 2022).
As a performer she worked with Michiel Vandevelde for the performances Love Songs (Veldeke) (2013) and Human Landscapes - Book I (2018); with company Desnor for Toverberg (2019); with tibaldus for Madmen & Specialists (2020); with Carly Rae Heathcote for The Incantation Ploy (2021) and with Nathan for his graduation piece The Honey House (2021) at P.A.R.T.S..
She’s part of Ne mosquito pas, a performance platform founded in 2019 for performance artists who want to exploit their failed ideas and bad taste to make them even worse, in the format of a short solo performance, organising events in off-space venues in Brussels and other cities.
As an actress in cinema, she played the lead character in the film My Queen Karo (2009) by Dorothée Van Den Berghe, as well as more recently in Cleo (2019) by Eva Cools, for which she received the Rising Star Award at the Alice Nella Citta film festival in Rome. She acted in short-films like Braided Love (2018) by Rand Abou Fakher and Come Here (2020) by Marieke De Zwaan.
She has written articles and essays about theatre, acting and digitalisation for Etcetera, magazine for performing arts, and Sabzian, an online platform for writing on cinema and image culture.
Nathan Ooms (1996) is a performer, theatre- and dancemaker. He obtained his bachelor (2018) and master (2019) degree in Drama at KASK School of Arts, Ghent. During these studies he did an Erasmus exchange at the Academy for Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam, and an internship with choreographer Ula Sickle where he worked on the performance Relay (2018). In 2019 he enrolled in the master program in choreography STUDIOS at P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels, where he graduated in 2021 with the performance The Honey House.
Together with Anna Franziska Jäger, he created the performances Bartlebabe (2021), Some Things Last A Long Time (2019) and As a matter of fiction (2018). In 2021 they presented the performative installation Out of Office at the exhibition EXTRACTIONS by Kris Verdonck/A Two Dogs Company. Currently they are collaborating on a new production, titled Ambient Theatre Fury, premiering 30th March 2022 at CAMPO, Ghent.
In 2019, Nathan was one of the initiating artists of Ne mosquito pas, a performance platform inviting artists to create short solo performances starting from their bad taste, deleted scenes and worst ideas. As a performer, Nathan has collaborated with choreographer Marc Vanrunxt for the piece Drawings (2019) and the dance film Adagio (2021), a collaboration between Vanrunxt and visual artist Stef Van Looveren. He also danced in the work FERAL (2021) by Lydia McGlinchey.
For the opening of Het Theaterfestival edition 2021, Nathan and Anna Franziska were invited to write the State of the Youth opening speech.
Ambient Theater Fury
With Ambient Theater Fury, Anna Franziska Jäger and Nathan Ooms continue their artistic research into the relationship between digitization and subjectivity in crisis. They start from the observation that contemporary culture is increasingly marked by so-called 'ambient' experiences. Netflix series, popular songs, but also the streams of our social media feeds: they arise from a specific intersection of frivolous pleasure with banal seduction. They generate a form of absence; it is a type of pseudo-activity that numbs the sense of time and demands a certain stillness from the subject. What happens when this ambient quality is magnified, amplified, raging furiously across the scene without limitations?
As in earlier work, they combine diverse text materials, often digital readymades or templates, with visual elements and a pronounced physicality. The digital world to which they relate is marked by an abundance of connection but a lack of dialogue: we perceive the other mainly as a possible reflection and confirmation of ourselves. For Ambient Theater Fury, Jäger and Ooms work with different forms of conversation such as the interview, the therapy session or the first date, searching for the extremes of dialogue, from an infinite mirror to a possibility for dialectics.
By & with: Anna Franziska Jäger & Nathan Ooms
Costumes, scenography & outside eye: Carly Rae Heathcote
Dramaturgy: Bojana Cvejić
Text coaching: Bryana Fritz
Coproduction: TAZ & Sabam For Culture – Jong Werk beurs TAZ
With the support of: Kunstenwerkplaats Brussel, De Grote Post Oostende, the City of Gent & the Flemish Community
With Ambient Theater Fury, Anna Franziska Jäger and Nathan Ooms continue the artistic research of their previous performance Bartlebabe. Bartlebabe offered a contemporary version of Bartleby, the literary brainchild of American writer Herman Melville. The creature in question explored a world subject to extensive digitization, which affects our ways of thinking, feeling, loving and expressing oneself. Thus a figure between the human and the algorithmic arose. Bartlebabe shows a deluge of online content that is released into the analogue reality of the theatre and becomes disorganized, takes on a monstrous face.
Ambient Theater Fury dives deeper into the relationship between digitization and subjectivity in crisis. Jäger and Ooms start from the observation that contemporary culture is increasingly marked by so-called 'ambient' or atmospheric experiences. All kinds of cultural products, such as Netflix series, popular songs, but also the streams of our social media feeds, arise from a specific intersection of frivolous pleasure with banal seduction: they are light enough to enjoy them without having to pay much attention to them, but at the same time tempting enough to appeal to viewers and listeners when one decides to do so. It thus concerns an apparently contradictory combination of passivity and involvement. It revolves explicitly around streams: literal 'streams' of images and information that glide over us without friction and flatten our experience. They also generate a form of absence; it is a type of pseudo-activity that numbs the sense of time and demands a certain stillness from the subject. Ambient content can be consumed without active interpretation or any form of confrontation.
Another hypothetical question arises: what would an ambient theatre performance look like? And what happens when this ambient quality is magnified and amplified, so that it rages furiously across the scene without limitations? After all, the internet exists in those seeming contradictions. As a medium, the online world is both radically social and antisocial. It proposes both new informal communities that are accessible and democratic and thus create a more accessible public sphere, while at the same time that public sphere remains radically conditional, it reinvents the public by abolishing it. In this new, confusing publicity, our mutual interactions are abstracted and hyper-mediated. There is an abundance of connection but a lack of contact, of dialogue: we see the other mainly as a possible reflection and confirmation of ourselves. The poles of classical communication are dislocated. It is also increasingly difficult to see the public and the private as opposites online: what is no longer shared, what are we still keeping to ourselves?
Jäger and Ooms work with different forms of conversation such as the interview, the therapy session, the first date, the job application, etc., and look for extremes of dialogue as an endless mirror and of dialogue as a possibility for dialectics. Through exaggeration and exhaustion they investigate the possibility of the emergence of a 'new' image. As in previous work, they combine diverse text materials, often digital readymades or templates, with visual elements and physicality. In this way a meaningful whole is created in an attempt to counterbalance the incessant fragmentation of the subject and the fragmentation of experience.
As makers they long for theatre as the ideal place for undivided attention. Theatre as a place for fear and bewilderment, the suspension of moral judgment. Theatre that feels no obligation to console. As a place for risk; that plays with the uncertainty of the sensory and material, the private and the public. Theatre as the place where, as Heinrich Heine put it, ‘we are all probed and judged by strangers’.
The research for Ambient Theatre Fury is rooted in the previous insights from Bartlebabe, where everything has a performative dimension; both online and offline we appear as personae, alter egos and avatars, but at the same time we find it increasingly difficult to recognize we’re being played by the played, to grasp the ambiguous relationship between content and form. We live in a hyper-ironic zeitgeist, but irony is also becoming increasingly unbearable: we continue to crave for authenticity.
Ambient Theater Fury plays with the (im)possibility of a world without irony, showing characters who are in an increasingly neurotic search for clarity, singular meaning and essence, inside and outside themselves. A world where people are afraid to leave anything to the imagination, where people are paranoid about any kind of ambiguity. Characters who eventually become absorbed in the deep contradiction of this world and cannot escape confusion: people become caricatures to become human again.
Ambient Theater Fury is a CAMPO production in co-production with Kunstenwerkplaats Brussel and Theater aan Zee (TAZ), with the support of Sabam. For the creation, Anna Franziska Jäger and Nathan Ooms received the Young Makers Creation Grant awarded by TAZ, Sabam and De Grote Post. They have previously collaborated on the CAMPO production Bartlebabe (2021) for which they received the Mathilde Horlait-Dapsens Prize, and on other work including As a matter of fiction (2018) and Some Things Last A Long Time (2019). They can also be seen at CAMPO during GIF (Ghent International Festival – January 2022) with The Honey House , Nathan’s graduation project made at P.A.R.T.S. in 2021.
on Bartlebabe (2020)
‘Besides a convincing probe of performative skills, it is a remarkable work that outclasses its own weight: together with a number of performances by artists of the same age, Bartlebabe seems to be a sign of the times above all.' Etcetera, Evelyne Coussens, 11-08-21
‘The astonishing metamorphosis of the character is utterly believable thanks to Jäger's whirling, rock-solid, brutal, funny and sometimes naughty pretentious fooling around.’
Knack Focus, Els Van Steenberghe, 03-08-21
‘a strong new voice in the theatre scene.’ Het Nieuwsblad, Magali Degrande, 11-08-21
Ghent based arts centreCAMPO presents a varied programme, from theatre, performance and dance, to festivals, community kitchens and debates. Every year, CAMPO produces several performances that tour both in Belgium and abroad. In addition to the production and touring responsibilities for the residents, CAMPO also supports several artists in their research or creation process. CAMPO works and presents at three locations in Ghent: CAMPO Nieuwpoort, CAMPO victoria and CAMPO boma.
More info on www.campo.nu