DISSECTING THE DISSECTORS: THE INTROSPECTIVE PHILOSOPHY OF THE MINIMAL COLLECTIVE
Numéro Netherlands speaks to co-founder Brent Jacko van den Elshout and curator Chris Scholz, aka Spekki Webu, ahead of their ADE Event Post-Hypnotism on the 19th of October at De School.
Designed to slowly unlock corners of the mind, Minimal Collective operates at the intersection of music, art and technology, inspiring a generation of dancers to hold their ears closer to the sound to discover beauty in every fragment, wavelength and frequency of noise. Based upon the principle of collective consciousness, the founders and members encourage a in-depth approach to music to break down, distort and reintroduce sound to resurface dormant, deep emotion and open the heart to the notion of primitive connection. In 2016, at its genesis, the collective originated from the urge to form a community around electronic music - but one where music isn't the centre point, but instead a catalyst to the start of an inward journey. Abstract in nature but fundamental in approach, the collective seeks to revive and inspire self-discovery in art and sound's sacred, spiritual capacity by stripping it back to its essence.
It’s 4 pm on a Saturday when I meet co-founder Brent Jacko van den Elshout on a park bench in Flevopark, Amsterdam, to learn more about his passion project turned masterful platform. Meticulous and thoughtful in every word, the creative tells me of the humble ambitions of the lightbulb moment. “We strongly felt there was way more to tell and explore around the visual, cultural, and other (in)tangible aspects of music and sound. Stories with attention to detail and background. Every idea or concept can be looked at from multiple perspectives.”
Deeply considerate, with an edge of restlessness and an energy that can’t be retained, he speaks with undeniable knowledge and conviction on a vast range of topics. “Without the collective, it is nothing,” he passionately explains, “collective thought is everything.” While fiercely ambitious, the co-founder is quick to emphasise the importance of collective and the impact this has had on his vision.
Bridged on a foundation of musical storytellers, Chris, aka Spekki Webu joined the collective in 2020 when he was invited to work on a live audiovisual show during ADE at Nxt Museum. “This was when I got to see how dedicated, professional and how their mindset was.” Chris explains when citing his moment of joining: “The way of thinking, work ethic and energy was on the same wavelength as mine, which probably was the most important aspect of us getting together and forming a team.”
“The idea of diving into certain subjects with a passionate and dedicated team attracts me as an artist and researcher myself.” He adds, “Contributing to a scene and telling the story within our culture is something I care for; my entire life is dedicated to this scene and culture.”
From the Art of Deep Listening to Spaces of Experimentation, the collective roll out stories that tentatively dissect the meaning of sound, art and other artistic frequencies. It is clear how each contributor’s individual and unique identity connects to form a sleek and nuanced perspective of modern creative philosophy.
On the 19th of October, during ADE, the collective will collaborate with De School, a venue renowned for its aphotic dance space and iconic ability to connect the creative community in Amsterdam, with their event: Minimal Collective at De School presenting Post-Hypnotism.
Discussing the collaboration, Chris explains: “The space lends itself to be perfect for changing it into an immersive experience. Especially at night, the architecture almost gives it a mystical feeling that is an extension of the curatorial concept. “
Brent continues, “The glass, the brutalistic structures with cosy accents. De School has a cultural spirit that feels like the right breeding ground to get our message across in full effect. Our values and curatorial vision align.”
Jamila Barry, Cultural Programmer at De School, comments agreeing that the two entities have a natural synergy of values: “Minimal is a bomb full of creative-driven people who all share a very big passion for sound, art, industry, and technology. Each with their own specialty and approach, they make Minimal Collective a totality for what it is today. I thought it would be incredibly beautiful to see what would happen when we team up.”
The event will showcase an introspective arrangement of digital art and music designed to allow guests to enter a meditative and spiritual state of expression.
Numéro NL spoke to the collective to gain insight into their collective consciousness and learn more about what inspired their creativity with this event.
Looking at the artists you usually work with and spotlight, is there a theme between the sounds and art they produce?
B: It’s hard to grasp, but they all manoeuvre in a tension field between the synthetic and organic you could say – a fusion of primal inspiration sources like nature, history, or philosophy processed within a forward thinking or even futuristic mindset.
C: Definitely the things that Brent says, the artists we are now working with have a sense for bringing a deep, introspective, almost shamanic approach in sound.
Can you walk us through the thought process behind the programming?
C: It has been a slow and ongoing process matching the puzzle by connecting a red line throughout the entire program over the course of the year. Carefully looking into artists we have admired for a while, but most importantly, artists that embody the concept in sound and mindset. We wanted to dive into a more experimental approach within the sound showcased throughout the event.
B: The program outlines are based on our core fundamentals: music, art, and technology. We want to get a message out beyond music, beyond the dance floor only, providing a place to dance, but also to learn and contemplate. The aim was to create a place where people from different backgrounds could get inspired by a variety of different art forms.
What is your connection with the idea of Post-Hypnotism, and what made you centre this event around the concept?
B: I would not say the event is ‘centred’ around the concept, it’s rather a theme running through all parts of the curation of the event, like its main bloodline. Post-Hypnotism goes beyond the event itself. It’s a research project we started last year, moved by the fact that rituals are disappearing within our fast-moving society. It explores the search for ‘new rituals’ within communal experiences and communities we form around music, art, and other creative practices.
You note there is a strong emphasis on multidisciplinary. Why do you feel it is important to highlight the synergies between electronic music and different art forms?
C: Music is a journey, and by combining music with other artistic disciplines, the journey becomes stronger. It can give people a different perspective on the art form itself and potentially evoke a new emotional response. Music is about conveying a message, by embracing different mediums this message can become stronger. I truly believe an artist or performer exceeds themselves and pushes themselves to their limits when working multidisciplinary.
B: We often overlook all the different elements that come together that make music (culture) so impactful. Synergy between music and different art forms is ever present, even when these art forms are not directly combined within work or a performance. All these people are ‘makers’. from a variety of backgrounds. The conversations around creation between these makers are immensely valuable as they provide new perspectives on creativity and meaning. Being multidisciplinary is rather a mindset than a way of working only.
If money and limitations (travel, time etc) were not a factor, where would you ideally host a future event, and what would it look like?
C: I think about a far-away place in nature with an interesting rural environment where all creative practices can be combined without any limits. A place where we have total control of what we as a collective want to do.
B: I would connect one of my favourite architects like Alejandro Aravena, Kuma Kengo, or Richard Neutra to build a true ecosystem for all our digital and physical endeavours. However, the temporality of a space also adds another dimension to the value of such a place. So, I am not sure If I would prefer one space? Well, you may now understand why Minimal Collective is built like a collective. This ever-evolving ‘organism’ enables us to become whatever we want. Like a shapeshifter.
What is your vision for the future with Minimal?
B: We have a beautiful team of +30 bright minds operating in sync across time zones worldwide. However, we still do this in our spare time and devote ourselves to doing this the best way we can.
In the future, I envision to keep on exploring the intersection of music, art, and technology while providing the best possible working structure for our people, both in the real life world and online. Our goal is to become a solid and sustainable breeding ground that can truly be boundless.
C: Looking back at an interesting two years in our team, we are aiming for the best possible way of working as a team, and this is a constant evolution we are looking into.
How do you feel being involved with a community has impacted or inspired your creativity?
B: Needless to say, without the community all insights we just exchanged wouldn’t be there. We wouldn’t even have this conversation. Minimal Collective would not be here. It’s my lifeline, guide, and inspiration.
C: In the end, we are all in this together as a group that is feeding, sculpting, and shaping our culture together. When I see a project becoming full circle with a big group of people that are fully heartily dedicated to this, it’s definitely a special source of inspiration. This moves me on a creative and emotional level.
Finally, leaving this event, how do you want people to feel?
B: Fulfilled and connected, either with themselves, others, or both.
Minimal Collective x De School presents: Post-Hypnotism will take place Thursday, October 19th at De School, Amsterdam.