Juicy Refuge: spaces to hide and spaces to shine
Simon(e) van Saarloos

What is refuge? Juicy refuge does not ask such definitional questions. Instead, refuge is approached as a displaced space, a mourning site, a dancing body, a slippery slope. Expertise shows up as embodied knowledge. There is no stable actor, no clear subject, because those whom are colonized, marginalized and gentrified show up and hide (sometimes both at the same time) rich in refusal, stalled and creative with knowledge, desire and protest.

Instead of defining or grasping what the themes water, access / intimacy, fat, monuments, music, anger and refugee offer, this programme centralizes the watery rituals of Mikki Stelder and Oupa Sibeko, the access activism of Mira Thompson, Staci Bu Shea and Jeanette Chedda, Asha ten Broeke’s fat resistance and Berat Bebek’s celebrating drag, the questioning of monuments with Chimira Natanna Obiefule, Ehsan Fardjadniya and Aylin Kuryel, the angry performance art made by Khadija El Kharraz Alami and Mathieu Charles, the DJ scholarship of Lynnée Denise and musical time travel of Sky Deep, and the refugee experience of artists Sletlana and Ghaith Kween Qoutainy. Together, we centralize refuge as “a potential affective space of caring body”.

Simon(e) van Saarloos is the author of four books in Dutch, including a novel (De vrouw die) and an ethnographic court report about the “discrimination trial” of Geert Wilders (Enz. Het Wildersproces). Two of their books were translated into English: Playing Monogamy (Publication Studio, 2019) and most recently Take ‘Em Down. Scattered Monuments and Queer Forgetting (Publication Studio, 2022). They are currently working on Against Ageism. A Queer Manifesto (Emily Carr University Press, March 2022) and a theatre play about abortion, titled “De Foetushemel,” for Ulrike Quade Company, premiering April 2023 at Theater Bellevue, Amsterdam.

Van Saarloos also works as an artist and curator. Their most recent projects include Cruising Gezi Park (with Kübra Uzun), the spread of a mo(nu)ment, IDFA’s 2022 queer day Not Yet Yes and Through the Window an ongoing queer solidarity project between Turkey and the Netherlands, aimed to circulate funds among queer artists. They have participated in artist residencies such as the KAVLI Institute for Nanosciences, Deltaworkers New Orleans and Be Mobile Create Together at IKSV in Istanbul. Together with Vincent van Velsen, Van Saarloos curated the ABUNDANCE exhibition, (“We must bring about the end of the world as we know it” – Denise Ferreira da Silva) at Het HEM, Amsterdam in 2022. They currently pursue a PhD in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bebe Berat Bebek is a trans non-binary actor, artist, creator, performer, organizer, serotonin source, social butterfly and a professional fat. Almost as a bridge between millennials and genZ they were born in the year ‘99 and were almost always out of the norms set by society. They were born and raised in Turkey but life led them to the Netherlands in 2020. While studying chemistry at Bogazici University, along with socio-political experience from their social circles, they started to be more visible as an activist and as a queer person. Within their previous experiences from theater, they started to lean more into performance art and drag and came across with other disciplines such as ceramic, painting, and embroidery. Having a curious mentality, they let themselves fly through any and every aspect of art and learning through different perspectives. Falling down so many times throughout their life, they’re familiar with the feeling of the ground and now refusing to accept the norm of 'being obliged to suffer’ towards queer people and they believe it is time to reflect, retake and recreate.

Simon(e) van Saarloos