What to do in corona-times with… Henk Schut

In times of #socialdistancing, we’d like to introduce you to all those people at the wharf. We’ve asked them for their Monday motivation and how they’re getting through these unusual times. This week: Henk Schut.

Henk Schut is a multidisciplinary visual artist working from his studio at the NDSM-wharf. He gathers ideas by diving into the past and present, asking questions and immersing himself in his surroundings. With his work he does not operate within a single discipline, but he takes the liberty to move between different art forms.

Hello Henk, how did you end up at NDSM?

After living in London for 16 years I arrived back in Amsterdam in 2000. I heard about the NDSM and was very surprised that a breeding ground could come here. Especially from the London context, where such a place so close to the city centre would certainly not be available. What an opportunity! It was quiet. Even quieter than now in times of corona. There were several artists in an empty shed. Some worked entirely in the open space. Others had put a porta cabin in the shed. You could see what everyone was doing. That was very inspiring and through this we got to know each other quickly.

These are old photographs of the shed. Always good to know where we came from. A mix of everything: boats, artists and studios.

Very nice to see! The shed looks a bit different now. What impact does the corona crisis have on your work?

Apart from the fact that most of the assignments have evaporated or have been postponed, I continue to work in my studio. I have enough research of my own that I can continue. In fact, I’m now doing more preparatory work, such as making video compositions for a new sound work.

I’m glad you have the space for that now! What in particular have you missed lately?

Brainstorming with others, discussing, eating and exchanging ideas. This can be done via internet and all social media, but it’s the being together and the boredom, discomfort and silences that lead to the best insights. The internet remains a functional space with its own rules. It is precisely in the pauses of a conversation, the discomfort in coincidence, that the imagination arises.

What was the best way for you to deal with the current situation?

Continue in the same vein. Stay on track. Adaptation is important in times of crisis, but at the same time I want to keep my focus (read daily work). Teaching at AHK through zoom, designing ahead, continuing to develop new ideas. After all, such a standstill of the world also offers new insights.

Is there music or a podcast you often listen to now?

I listen more to BBC radio 4 and to the podcast of Louis Theroux.

Do you have a good film tip as well?

The docuseries Pandemic on Netflix.

What about some reading material?

What Is the What‘ by Dave Eggers.

Do you think this time has brought us something positive as well? 

The clean air and no planes above our heads. Also the realisation that we’re connected. Perhaps the protests by Black Lives Matter also have to do with our new awareness that the world is really one world. That we can (and must) speak out. That there is a platform to which we are all connected.

What do you think the consequences of the corona-time will be? 

I hope there are some changes. As soon as we can, maybe we’ll all fall back into our old ways. I’m hoping people to be a little more aware of how much our human activities are affecting our immediate environment. Less travel, cycling holidays at home and a lot of cooking. But also seeing/hearing Amsterdam and its surroundings with new eyes and ears and realize that there is still a lot of inspiration to be derived from it.

Click here to see Henk’s projects.

NDSM uses cookies. Please check our privacy statement for more information.