A day in the life of Thomas
17 May 2015

a journey with performances, screenings and artist talks

Teijin auditorium, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
2:30 - 5:30 pm
museum entrance price + € 2,50


As part of their long-term collaboration, the Stedelijk Museum Public Program and the Curatorial Programme of de Appel arts centre in Amsterdam present an afternoon with performances, film screenings and debates in conjunction with the exhibition Spell to Spelling ** Spelling to Spell (May 23 – June 28 2015, de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam). 

The program, A day in the life of Thomas – Notes of the becoming exhibition, will reflect on one day of the crystallographer Mr. Thomas where he has a chance to look into the process of the making of the exhibition Spell to Spelling ** Spelling to Spell.  Guest-speakers and artists are: David Bernstein (US), Francisco Camacho (CO), Joanna Ebenstein (US), Alberto De Michele (IT), Laurens de Rooy (NL), Christian Fogarolli (IT), Ola Lanko (UA), Martin La Roche (CL), Robertas Narkus (LT). 


The program presents the meeting of the fictional character Thomas with artists, space gardeners, butchers and curators involved in different ways in the process of creating the show. It aims to bring light to the backstage of the exhibition Spell to Spelling ** Spelling to Spell. Shaped in the form of a travelogue, with the found notes written by Thomas, the afternoon allows the public to travel through the program as if it’s a journey over land: reaching different coasts, landing in some, and quickly leaving others because of heavy storms. Islands lacking resources become a place for contemplation, as a research for the starving itself. Different forces such as the wind and the sun are naturally part of the crew, as well as the parrot lying on the right shoulder of the grumpy captain. But what if suddenly there would be no place to land and the journey itself would become the desirable moment?

The program is not a presentation of the exhibition which opens at de Appel arts centre on May 22.  Background and metamorphosis are placed in foreground of the event. What happens before the exhibition is usually invisible to all, but not to Thomas: most of the turning points, searches, contradictions and findings are witnessed by him.


David Bernstein

David Bernstein performs, writes, and makes objects. He explores thinging (a reciprocal process of thinking, making things, thinking through things, and using things as lenses to look at other things). Bernstein writes stories, poems, and press releases. Sometimes his writings and objects meet, they sit in the living room and talk to one another, finding a cozy way to tell a good story.

Francisco Camacho

Francisco Camacho seeks ways in which his work can exist within official social channels. His projects have been the result of long investigations and collaborations with the local context, inhabitants and lawyers to allow his discourse to be examined by other structures of society. With Group Marriage, an on-going project as part of the Amsterdam Spinoza Manifestation (2009), he petitions the Dutch parliament to open civil marriage to groups of citizens who would marry each other.

Joanna Ebenstein

Joanna Ebenstein is a New York based artist, event producer, curator and independent scholar. She is the creative director of the new Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, and founder of the Morbid Anatomy Blog and Library. She acted as curatorial consultant on the Wellcome Collection’s Exquisite Bodies exhibition (2009) and has also worked with such  institutions as The Wellcome Collection, The New York Academy of Medicine, The Dittrick Museum and The Vrolik Museum. 

Alberto De Michele

Alberto De Michele was born and raised in a town not far from Venice till the age of ten, when his parents separated and he accompanied her mother to the Netherlands. During school holidays he went back to Italy, where he was introduced to the world of his father, who surrounded himself with gambling addicts and criminals. At first this environment became a playground and eventually a real-life movie De Michele could step in and out of. His work include installations, films, books, sculpture and photography.

Laurens de Rooy

Laurens de Rooy is curator of Museum Vrolik, the anatomical Museum of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam (since 2008). As a medical historian he is specialized in the history of anatomical collections from the 19th and early 20th century. He studied biology with a specialization in the history of science and museology. 

Christian Fogarolli

Christian Fogarolli is an Italian artist. His research is characterized by a strong interest in the nature of identity, particularly investigated through different perspectives, such as the archival research. He works with different media, such as environmental installations, photography, sculpture,  video. The work shows connections with theories and scientific disciplines, that often and unconsciously, have used the art to progress and become science. 

Ola Lanko 

Ola Lanko studied sociology at the National University in Kiev and photography at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. She obtained her degree in 2012 from the photography department at the Rietveld Academy. Ola uses a systematic and analytical way of thinking together with a playful visual language as her method to work with photography and explore it as a medium. Ola believes that to get the most out of the visual information surrounding us, one must develop a qualitative approach for the process of vision, take a critical stance towards images and be conscious of the place occupied by photography in our life.

Martin La Roche

Martin La Roche explores in his work the possibility of doing research in non-directional time. His multidisciplinary projects take the form of installations, books, the reinterpretation of a 13th century Japanese manual for building gardens, drawings, clouds videos, numeric palindromes (like 957837227338759). Currently he is working within the framework of the White Elephant Bibliotheke, a collaborative network at the Jan Van Eyck Academie (Maastricht, The Netherlands) that aims to build a library based on book research and co-writing.

Robertas Narkus

Robertas Narkus describes his practice as the “management of chance in an economy of circumstance”. He brings together the ordinary and the absurd to explore notions of uncertainty, chance and symbolic capital through unexpected collaborations. Narkus is pursuing a MFA degree at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam and he is the founder of the institute of Pataphysics in Vilnius.


This Public Program is co-curated by Chiara Ianeselli, Inga Lace and Rani Lavie who are participants of the Curatorial Programme 2014-15.
he Curatorial Programme is a 10-month long training programme for young, international curators, which has been organized by de Appel arts centre since 1994. This year, the final project of the Curatorial Programme consists of two exhibitions: Spell to Spelling ** Spelling to Spell and Your Time Is Not My Time, on view from 23 May until 28 June, 2015. 

The exhibition Spell to Spelling ** Spelling to Spell and the event are organized in close collaboration with the Vrolik Museum and the Amsterdam Weekend of Anatomy.

The curators would like to extend a special thank you to all the artists participating, Britte Sloothaak on behalf of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Laurens de Rooy, the Vrolik Museum, Joanna Ebenstein, Anke Bangma, Ingeborg Eggink, and the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen, Leiden.