Performance — 24 Jan 2020

WhyNot Festival and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam proudly present DRIFT, a new multilingual performance by Jennifer Tee. DRIFT takes inspiration from eco-poetics, a genre in which poets respond to the growing climate crisis through their use of language, mimicking ecological processes such as recycling and looping.

Museum entrance + €3,-
Teijin Auditorium, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
24 Jan, 7 pm until 7.30 pm
24 Jan, 8.30 pm until 9 pm
We advise you to arrive at least 10 minutes before the start of the program. Visitors cannot be admitted after the start of the performance. Visitors are expected to be present for the entire performance.

In collaboration with poet Jane Lewty, Tee compiled a collection of poetry and novels—titled the "Eco-Poetics Stack of Books"—that focus on the vulnerable relationship between nature and culture, language and perception, beauty and destruction. Lewty assembled these publications into a new collage of poem-texts, performed by singers and dancers of diverse languages and nationalities, choreographed in collaboration with Marjolein Vogels, one of the directors of WhyNot Festival. Set against a backdrop designed by Tee, the performance explores how language plays into questions of land rights, nationality, belonging, and ecology.

Jennifer Tee, Drift, 2019
Jennifer Tee, Drift, 2019

Language is a system through which we discover and identify ourselves, both as individuals and collectively as a society, and has long taken a central role in Tee’s practice. Whether writing systems such as alphabets or pictographic characters, or as bodily movement or “body language,” communication in its many forms is of prime interest to Tee, and reflected in her visual art and choreographic practices, respectively. Further, while we experience political discourse through language, language also bears a politics itself: in a time of increasing globalization, the loss of land and language to colonization often go hand and hand, and mark a troubling march toward cultural homogenization. Tee proposes that a new poetic language is needed to discuss the intersectional relationship between the climate crisis and its increased impact on marginalized communities.


Jennifer Tee works across sculpture, installation, performance, and collage. Her work is the exploration of a continuous dialogue between material experimentation and philosophical contemplation. Often working with charged cultural artifacts and symbols, she opens dialogues between instilled esoteric ideas and the materiality of objects she engages, evoking the cultural landscapes of Western art history and Eastern philosophy.

Tee pairs her diverse points of inspiration to form new dialogues and encounters, bringing together disparate formal and conceptual references such as Hilma af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky, and Taoist magic. Embracing their duality, the works hover between their material and their laden meaning. Tee has exhibited in exhibitions and biennials throughout the world, most recently participating in the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo (2018) and the 16th Istanbul Biennial (2019).


Marjolein Vogels (NL) is a choreographer, performer, and artistic director of WhyNot Festival. She studied modern dance theater and specialized in performing arts at the Amsterdam School of the Arts. She works as a dancer, performer, and collaborator with Nicole Beutler Projects, Arno Schuitemaker, Virgilio Sieni, Michael Portnoy, and others, and has choreographed performances in close collaboration with Jennifer Tee, Aimée Zito Lema, Coralie Vogelaar, and more.


Miri Lee (KR) has been a choreographer and contemporary dancer in the realms of visual art, music ensemble, science and media art, and theater performance since moving to Amsterdam in 2008. She has worked with Jennifer Tee on her exhibitions and performance projects since 2011, as well as with diverse artists such as Katie Duck, Oene van Geel, Kate Moore, Julian Hetzel, and Julyen Hamilton. She initiated the real-time performance platform Collectief Imprography in 2018.

Aika Goto (JP) studied contemporary dance at the Tokyo Metropolitan Senior High School of Fine Arts (2013) and graduated from Saitama University in March 2017. After graduation, she started teaching at the senior high school and joined performances and competitions in Japan. At the moment she is a third-year guest student at the Amsterdam University of the Arts, Modern Theater Dance.

Lív Smáradóttir (IS/SE) is in her fourth year of study at ArtEZ University of the Arts, where she has worked with Ann Van den Broek, Caroline Finn, and Dario Tortorelli, among others. This year she combines internships as a dancer with residencies at Reykjavík Dance Atelier and De Nieuwe Oost for her own work.

Christian Guerematchi was born in Maribor (SI). After completing the ballet conservatory, he was part of the National Ballet in Maribor under the direction of Edward Clug. After a stopover at the Ballet Kiel in Germany, Christian became a member of Danshuis Station Zuid in Tilburg, the Netherlands, and worked with Stephen Shropshire, Václav Kuneš, and André Gingras. He has been living in Amsterdam since 2008 and works with ICK Amsterdam (Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten) and Nicole Beutler Projects, among others. As a maker and choreographer, he collaborated with Miranda Lakerveld’s World Opera Lab and Guillermo Blinker (Otion). He is an associate maker at ICK Amsterdam since 2019.

Björk Níelsdóttir (IS) is a versatile singer based in Amsterdam. She graduated from the Conservatory of Amsterdam in 2015 with Excellence and Distinction for Artistry. As a multifaceted artist, she is active in the fields of music theater (with the experimental opera company Silbersee, Holland Opera, Het Houten Huis, and more), jazz and improvised music (with Kaja Draksler Octet and Jasper Stadhouders’s PolyBand), pop music (with Björk and Florence and the Machine), chamber music (as a co-founder of Stirni Ensemble and Dúplum), and performs regularly as a soloist with renowned ensembles (New European Ensemble, Doelen Ensemble, and others) in the Netherlands and abroad. She was recently awarded the Brightest Hope Award 2018 at the Icelandic Music Awards, and in 2019 was nominated for Singer of the Year at the Icelandic Performing Arts Awards.

Ayhan Karaağaç (TR) and his family were forced to migrate to Istanbul in 1993, and there his passion for dance started with folk traditions. Between 2009 and 2014 he completed his education at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. During and after his studies, he danced at Shaman Dance Theater, Motto Dance Collective, Zeynep Tanbay Dance Project, Mezopotamya Dance, and MDT Istanbul. He has taken part in many projects and participated in tours in Turkey and abroad.


Jennifer Tee (NL) in collaboration with poet Jane Lewty (UK), choreographer Marjolein Vogels (NL), narrator/singer Björk Níelsdóttir (IS), performers Miri Lee (KR), Ayhan Karaağaç (TR), Christian Guerematchi (SI), Lív Smáradóttir (IS/SE) and Aika Goto (JP).

Drift is part of the WhyNot Festival that takes place from 22 - 25 January at different locations in Amsterdam. For more info check

WhyNot is a platform that stimulates innovation in the field of contemporary dance and performance and creates an open and accessible environment to encounter these art forms. WhyNot takes dance and performance out of their "natural" theater habitats and places them in carefully chosen locations that offer a different perspective on the work. In addition to the biannual WhyNot Festival, WhyNot organizes various activities throughout the year and produces interdisciplinary works to experiment with new formats. WhyNot aims to open up the dance scene from within by connecting dance and performance art to other creative worlds and disciplines, letting new forms emerge.

This performance is made possible with support by Stichting Stokroos.