1. Where and when was this project founded and what is its actual status?
The project was formally founded in 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Its idea traces back further in time though. The project is constantly looking for new opportunities to perform both in Spain and elsewhere. It is a “travelling project”.
2. Who are the members of the project?
At the moment that’s only Gerrit, who also founded the project.
3. Can I join?
The project has accepted some guest contributions but not people formally joining. For the moment there is no indication that this would change in the nearby future.
4. What is the goal of the project?
Please read the manifest and history section of this website for that.
5. I wish to help you to make the project grow. How can I do that?
First of all, it is great to see people wanting to help out to make the project grow. That means a lot really and is very appreciated. Ways to help out are simply spreading the word to make more people aware of the project and what it stands for, try to find places where we can book a performance, get press involved by asking them to dedicate an article to the project, …
6. Can you do a performance in my town/organisation/association?
We love to book as many performances as we can and perform in front of as many different people in as many different locations. So for sure we would love to organise something in your town or for your association. Please be aware that we also don’t ask financial contributions other than, for performances outside of Catalunya, refunding the transport costs. The actual performance does not have to be paid for, unless one really insists on a voluntary donation. Nobody involved with the project will at this point be asking for payment for a performance, the refunding of transport costs is only to make it possible to perform in as many different cities also outside of Spain or in other areas of Spain. Send us an email if you wish to help organising a performance.
7. Can I ask some questions to the writer? Is an interview possible?
In any serious press, interviews would be happily accepted. Asking questions is also possible but please note that a rapid response cannot be guaranteed as obviously performances and other promotional activities take the majority of time.
8. Is a collection of poetry for sale?
The moment anything would be formally released for sale, this will be mentioned on the website. So please consult the website from time to time for news about such things.
9. Your poetry is quite bleak and often a bit depressing, you also use a lot of dark terms and expressions.
This is true, but it is tried to keep a balance between the different emotions people with psychological problems go through. We want to give a realistic picture after all. This means both the hopeful, optimistic and the sad, more sombre emotions have to be covered. That some poems are dark or sad is therefor inevittable but please also pay attention to the more optimistic poems. Also, please know a lot of poems are metaphoric and thus reading between the lines can give a different perspective to a poem.
10. You use a lot of metaphors of which some make understanding the poem quite complex. Can an explanation of poems be asked for?
Yes, see question 7 for that.
11. Some poems have lines referring to bleeding, scars, experiencing pain, putting knives in a wound, stings, … Is this about self-mutilation?
This question cannot be answered in a simple way. First of all, Gerrit never did any self-harming. There is no way we would encourage this neither, although we also understand some people are too deep in depression and thus we will never judge people who do or did this. But we certainly won’t encourage it by any means.
To answer the question: some poems are not autobiographic but based on people that Gerrit met and who indeed did self harming. Secondly, some poems are highly metaphorical or use reverse psychology. The poem “Scrub”, which has lines such as “Scrub yourself clean, no matter if its bleeds” is a good example: it is actually representing the voice of OCD that should be ignored.
Also, as said before, the poems are highly metaphorical and therefor a bit hard to decipher sometimes. Bleeding is a metaphor for emotional pain in some cases, while putting the knife in a wound is a metaphor for facing your psychological problems and try to treat them instead of just hiding that the problems are there. Hence in some cases these terms should not be taken literally but in a metaphorical way.
It is hard to explain this without doing so on a poem-per-poem basis. But either these terms are metaphorical or either the poem is about people Gerrit once met. Gerrit never did self-harming and would never encourage this neither.
12. You often refer to cages, the sea, … Are those metaphors as well?
Yes. A cage represents the feeling that OCD forces you to do rituals whereas they stop you from living life in a free way. The sea represents the opposite: freedom, escapism, purity.
13. What is your obsession with animals in some poems?
You probably refer to doves and leeches. Leeches are metaphores for the ugly side of society, the people with bad intentions. Doves are metaphores for purity and the good in society or in a person. Doves have had a metaphorical and symbolic meaning already in early times, being mentioned in the Bible and other religious works. They have always stood for purity and as you will experience during a performance, purity is a word very often used in the poems and very important. The dove represents purity and indirectly represents freedom and the good.
14. You use the word “purity” a lot.
That is because Gerrit suffers from contamination OCD and other anxiety disorders, so purity (both literally being clean and being in a clean state of mind) have been crucial in his experiences with OCD. Other terms could be used for this, but the choice for the word Purity is deliberate as it also refers to a God Machine song which has highly influenced and motivated Gerrit to start reading his poems in public.
15. Sexuality is often a theme in your poems, but rarely in a positive way.
This is also because of the contamination OCD. It has to be explained on a poem-to-poem basis. However, sexuality has always caused mixed feelings including negative feelings to Gerrit, and also the importance of sexuality in modern day society is highly overrated.
16. A minority of poems deal with political issues and seem to lean towards the left. Is this project a socialist one?
Yes and no. The project itself deals with a variety of subjects and I prefer to not use too many labels. That said, Gerrit is a staunch socialist indeed and some poems are inspired by this.
17. Some poems are about places, cities or countries. Some of them however don’t name the country or city you are describing?
That’s for the listeners to find out and use their mind to find out what country or city is being described 🙂 The desire to emigrate and travel, discover new countries and cultures, has been of extreme importance for Gerrit and has motivated him in his battle with his disorders. Hence the poems about certain places, even if they are unusual (such as Ulan Bator or Dikson), are in fact a combination of a tribute to travelling itself and a tribute or criticism of the specific place covered.
18. Are all poems in English?
99 percent are. A very few poems so far have been written in German. A handful of poems contain expressions in Hebrew or Turkish although usually these are just a few expressions amongst a majority of English language lines.
19. Do you have any poems in your native Dutch?
I tend to find Dutch not a very poetic language. There is at the moment of writing an incomplete one in Dutch. It is not sure if more Dutch language poems will be written in the future. The focus is on English, which Gerrit considers his mothertongue when it comes to arts. There are poems in other languages, although a very tiny minority. Two poems exist in German and some poems contain a few words in French, Turkish, Hebrew or other languages. But the vast majority will always be in English.
20. Does the project have any opinion on the debate between curing autism or accepting autism as a specific personality form that has to be accepted and integrated in normal society?
Yes, the project is very outspoken AGAINST curing autism. Instead, it promotes autistics to be proud of who they are and promotes acceptance of autistic people in society. Gerrit heavily objects the idea of a cure or normalising autistic people.