A Tale of A Tub

Sunday, March 17, 2024

2:00 – 5:00 PM

Songs of Flax: Chapter 2: Breaking Refrains

While we work with our hands and voices, this workshop will guide us through collective singing, embodied work rhythms set by plant fibers, and collaborative labor. Songs of Flax is a research project by Liza Prins and Marie Ilse Bourlanges that delves into the material realities of the historical production of flax, a plant cultivated for its fibers known as linen. The project aims to give these textile practices new relevance today and to identify parallels between labor conditions and protest strategies through song.

This second chapter will focus on the mechanisms that break down and remove the inner layers of flax stalks, so that they slowly reveal the linen fibers. Our work will be supported by two melodies composed by Bergur Anderson that invite lyrics and vocal elaboration; in this way, we will work toward collaboratively crafting our own worksong.


The workshop will be held in English, but there will be French, Dutch, and Icelandic speakers present who will gladly translate for you. Although the labor of turning flax into linen fibers is physically demanding, you are not required to stand all afternoon and are welcome to participate in a less physical manner. The workshop space is on the first floor, which is wheelchair accessible through the main entrance.A gender-neutral restroom on the first floor is accessible by stairs; an elevator is not available.


LIZA PRINS (1992, Delft) is an artist, researcher and writer based in Amsterdam. Her work focuses on feminized and pre-industrial labor, as well as the material and immaterial conditions and tools for social organization that emerge from it. Using collaborative performative methods touching on re-enactment techniques and improvisation, she seeks to re-establish a connection with material histories and social imaginations. Prins studied Fine Art at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she has a master’s degree in artistic research from the University of Amsterdam, where her thesis investigated the intersections of feminist, new materialist methodology, and performative practices. Her work has been shown at Nieuw Dakota in Amsterdam, Hotel Maria Kapel in Hoorn, Kunsthuis SYB in Beetsterzwaag, and The Roger Brown house in Chicago among other places. Her writings have been published in academic and less-academic journals, books and zines, like Metropolis M, Snaky Zine, ANTENNAE and Platform Taak. Together with Marta Pagliuca Pelacani she is hosting the Artistic Research Knitting Club at the University of Amsterdam. She is supported by the Mondriaan Fund.

MARIE ILSE BOURLANGES (1983, Paris) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Amsterdam, whose practice combines tangible, performative and written matter, within collaborative and individual trajectories. With a particular attention to transience and materiality, Bourlanges explores the borders between the personal and the public, and how intimacy can resonate collectively. Through an eco-feminist lens, her work aims at reconsidering and shifting power dynamics [between humans and across species] and explores the ambivalence of care. Bourlanges graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and was artist in residence at Atelier Holsboer in Paris, 3bisF Contemporary Art Centre (FR) and the European Ceramic Work Centre (NL). She was awarded the Proven Talent grant from the Mondriaan Fund, the artistic research fellowship of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and have exhibited internationally with institutions such as 3bisF Contemporary Art Centre (FR) with Manifesta biennial #13, Arti & Amicitiae (NL), Looiersgracht 60 (NL), Hotel Maria Kapel (NL), Forma Art gallery (CH), Kunsthalle Lottozero (IT) and Korean Ceramic Biennale. Her artistic essays have been published, among others with Tubelight magazine, Robida magazine, Simulacrum magazine, P///AKT pool, Journal of Interior Architecture Research (EE) and Parking Lot. Since 2012 she has been teaching at the Royal Academy of Arts The Hague and until 2019 at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (NL).

BERGUR ANDERSON (1988, Reykjavíc) is an artist, composer and sound-maker based in Rotterdam. He works primarily with sound, performance and installation, fabricating the chimerical and fictional qualities of sound into material, time-based and published works. Bergur graduated with a BFA degree from the Fine Arts department of Iceland University of the Arts in 2011, and joined the Masters Artistic Research program at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague — from which he graduated in 2017. Recent works have been presented at Kling og Bang, Harbinger and Mengi (IS); The Pole, Rib, Peach and project space at7 (NL); De Nor (BE); Kaunas Artist House and Palanga Street Radio (LT). Recent publications include Around the Songster’s Commune, a limited edition cassette with sonic meditations on Medieval troubadour methodologies and societies; Night Time Transmissions, a vinyl record and result of research into the worlds of polyphonic storytelling; and Poems, a self-released artist book made with Katrina Niebergal, where they collected each other’s daily and accidental rhymes, compiled in a double-book of colloquial poetry. Next to his own practice, Bergur collaborates with artists who seek to expand the notion of sound in their practices — as a composer, recordist, sound designer, mixing engineer and performer for various live and published works.