New Illusion of Purity performances upcoming in November

Two new Illusion of Purity poetry readings have been scheduled for the first half of November.

On 4th November, Illusion of Purity will be one of the several poets/poetry projects to read during the monthly "Sprekende Ezels" poetry night. Place of the event is cafe Hotsy Totsy, Hoogstraat, 9000 Gent, Belgium.

The night commences at 20:30 and several poets will perform. Illusion of Purity will do a set of approximately 20 minutes.

12th November, Illusion of Purity is one of two guests on an autistic literature night organised by PASS Brugge. The night takes places in Brugge, Belgium, and is organised by PASS, a social organisation for people within the autism spectrum.
Illusion of Purity will be one of two guests participating. The other guest will be Dries Gilliaert reading from his book, while Illusion of Purity will do a 1 hour poetry set. Both will do a short interview too.

Given the nature of the event, it is recommended to contact PASS in case if you wish to attend. pass.brugge(AT)gmail.com for more information.

Illusion of Purity continues to seek for new locations to perform, as it is important that the message against the taboos on autism, OCD, etc is spread in as many places possible, both in Belgium or in other countries. Hopefully I can announce more gigs shortly.

A collection of new poems is being worked on after completing the conceptual last booklet where erotophobia was a central subject.

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Illusion of Purity performed at university’s Artbeats Festival

Last week Illusion of Purity participated in Citylicious heART, the Thursday variety evening organised by VUB students as part of the 5 day cultural festival Artbeats Festival. The festival, including the Thursday show, was entirely organised by students from the VUB (one of the universities in Brussels).

Illusion of Purity performed as third out of 4 acts on Thursday night and brought a poetry reading of half an hour, this time with very professionally done slides (for which I have to thank those in charge of everything technical). 9 poems were written, in additional to the motto of Illusion of Purity: forget about old fashioned conservative rules and norms that are outdated and, in an atmosphere of necessary respect to everyone else (!!), fully develop yourself and let your inner dove fly free!

Illusion of Purity wishes to thank the students who did an amazing job in getting this night organised. The hall, the stage, the tiny little extras, it was all done extremely well. Congratulations to everyone involved in organising this festival. It was a great honour to be able to participate in this event and represent the art form of poetry during Thursday’s variety night.

Also a little sidenote goes to ROOS!, the young female singer-songwriter performing just before Illusion of Purity with a very beautiful set of acoustic guitar songs and some very poetic lyrics. An artist to keep an eye on who proved her talents as a guitarist and a singer. Highly recommendable!

With the two first Belgian performances done, Illusion of Purity will now continue the search for new performances. The contact form on this website can be used should anyone have proposals of a small hall or public place where something can be organised. The writing of new material is also ongoing. So keep an eye on this site for hopefully more news and dates.

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Illusion of Purity interview + next gig upcoming at Artbeatsfestival!

Yesterday the first Belgian performance of Illusion of Purity took place in the LR6 venue in Brussels’ Marollen district. The attendance wasn’t high, but those who were there said to have enjoyed it a lot, which obviously means a lot more than numbers. I hope the audience will take home some food for thought, as this is obviously the main goal of Illusion of Purity as a project. Thanks to those who were there and of course to the people running LR6 for making this performance possible.

Illusion of Purity performs again next week, at Thursday 16th May, when the project participates in the Citylicious Heart event. This event is a variety show organised by university students, with music, comedy and indeed poetry (and a party after the final act !). The event is part of the Artbeats Festival going on from 13th until 17th May.

DETAILS OF THE PERFORMANCE:

Thursday 16th May 2013
Illusion of Purity performing at Citylicious Heart event (Artbeatsfestival)
Venue: VUB KultuurKaffee, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Elsene – Ixelles
Entrance: free
Illusion of Purity is scheduled to perform roughly between 9:20 PM and 9:50 PM.

Thanks to a group of enthousiast VUB university students for organising this and inviting Illusion of Purity for the poetry part of the event. An interview with Illusion of Purity has been done as well by the organisers of this event, and has been published on the famous Belgian website "De Wereld Morgen" (The World Tomorrow). The interview is in Dutch.

You can read the entire interview here: www.dewereldmorgen.be/blogs/caroline123/2013/05/07/illusion-purity-taboemuur-afbreken-met-poezie

Thanks to those who were at LR6 last night. Next destination: VUB university in Brussels!

PS: Please do send us a message should you know any venue where another poetry reading can be organised. We are constantly on the outlook for new venues where the message against the taboos can be spread! Any advice or address of a venue would be very much appreciated, because, as we often say: La lutte continue … The struggle goes on …

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Illusion of Purity maiden performances in Belgium upcoming!

Sorry for the late notification, as the offer to perform only came in very recently and things had to get organised in rapid pace, however we are glad to announce that Illusion of Purity will hit the stage for the first solo show in Belgium!

The show will take place on Thursday 9th May in the following venue:
LR6
Rue Haute 204 Hoogstraat, 1000 Brussels

The show is expected to commence at 8:00 PM CET, and last about one hour and a half, with a break halfway for the hungry and thirsty. LR6 has an excellent venue and they serve some really good drinks and food (more info on their venue can be found on their website: http://lr6bruxelles.tumblr.com)

For Gerrit this will be a special occasion: being born and grown up in Belgium but having written his first poem in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and having concretely formed Illusion of Purity in Barcelona (Spain), this is finally a first performance on the soil of his fatherland.

Anyone is more than welcome.

Gerrit will also do a second show in Belgium, the week after at 16th May in the Brussels area of Etterbeek. However, this is a "closed" occasion specifically for the students of the local university. People not involved with the university usually can not attend. The LR6 performance on the other hand, is open for anyone wishing to come!

So put this one in your diary!

9th May 2013
Illusion of Purity
LR6, Rue Haute 204 Hoogstraat, Brussels
Starts 20:00

Of course this is just the beginning of Illusion of Purity spreading its wings across the borders of Spain. If you know any place that can host most performances, be it in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, … anywhere … then please let us know. Illusion of Purity is constantly looking for performance options, and these venues may vary from small cosy taverns to cultural centers, from very small village gathering halls to even the living chamber of someone supporting the project. Anything goes, but it is important to stay performing. The more people who will attend, the more stones of the wall of taboo we can break down, and that is after all the core of Illusion of Purity: break down taboos and demand tolerance and emancipation.

La lutte continue… The struggle continues… But brick by brick, we will break down the taboo walls. And hopefully the performance in LR6 can be another contribution. It’s bank holiday so no excuses to miss it! 😉

Tikkun olam, ת׳קוּן אוֹלם

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Happy delayed World Autism Awareness Day!

With apologies both for the recent period of silence and for being almost a week late with this message, but the past week on 2nd April we had World Autism Awareness Day. Pity the media did not pay mass attention to the event, but well, we had little hopes for anything else given how the event was rarely paid attention to in the past. Obviously though we do pay attention to it, and wish every autistic person and all those involved with the autism rights movement a happy delayed WAAD.

Illusion of Purity as a project, through poetry, speeches and interviews, will continue to battle against the stigma’s and taboo attached to autism and the neurodifferent in general. The project will continue to stand on the barricades wherever possible to demand equal treatment, an end to all forms of discrimination, and full emancipation without assimilation (!) for all autistic people.

We will continue to battle for what we believe can improve life quality for the autistic people, such as special schools for autistic children with trained teachers, an officially recognised status as a minority group in society, the legal validation of the autistic passports that are issued on request by a few organisations only now, and better awareness about autism towards the outside world.

We will continue to make clear these demands, hoping the next generation of autistics can grow up in a world more understanding, more tolerant, and with better accessible facilities for those who need help.

We will also continue to reject the idea autism needs to be "cured", and continue to spread the important message towards all autistics: do not hide who you are, be proud about yourself, and do not try to "normalise" and hide your true self! Do never hesitate to be yourself and demand to be accepted as such!

Illusion of Purity hopes the autism rights movement and its events and rallies will receive more media coverage in the future, and we also encourage other minority groups in society to stand up and demand for equal rights and full acceptance. No matter in what way the minority may be different from the masses, we need to continue our struggle until the world will become a more understanding and tolerant place. We need to continue to question old traditions, norms and conservative values, keep those that are needed and abolish those that are outdated, in order to teach the world that diversity makes the world more colourful and is nothing to be afraid of!

I hope many autistics did celebrate the awareness day, and that local events or rallies will have achieved some form of success. The struggle is far from over, quite the contrary, but it is an important struggle which we need to continue!

As a sidenote news, a new collection of poems has been finalised after a long period of editing and a long writing process. The new poems further explore the subjects or erotophobia and asexuality in a more detailed way than before, continues to explore the life of the neurodifferent and defend those affected, and portraits the suffocating countryside life where outdated norms and traditions are kept intact and those different from the majority are outcasts.

We hope to announce new performances soon, in order to continue to spread the message wherever and whenever we can.

Some new events are upcoming or being discussed, so keep following the news on this website.

Again: happy delayed World Autism Awareness Day. To all autistics: be proud of who you are, and do not hide your true self. We demand emancipation, we reject assimilation! We will continue our struggle for better awareness about autism, and for better facilities to help those affected. Hope the activism and rallies did not stop you from also celebrate a bit 😉

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Well done, Laura!

Yesterday, 21st January 2012, Laura Dekker reached the port of the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten, thereby concluding her solo sailing trip around the globe. Laura, who started her trip 21st August 2010 in Gibraltar, arrived at the Caribbean island aged 16 years, 4 months and 1 day old, and thereby sets a new record of youngest person to ever sail across the globe solo. An incredible achievement for a young but obviously very admirable and mature person, and even more incredible when the story behind the project is known. Almost everyone was against Laura’s plan, people were venomously venting their jealousy, and authorities tried to stop her. Laura held on to her dream and showed what belief in yourself and determination can do. The fact she remained mentally strong and brave despite all attempts to stop her, makes her achievement all the more admirable. It is not for no reason that I wrote a poem dedicated to her, in which I described the wish there’d be more Laura’s (more people like her, who refuse to let society put them in a cage and force them to conform, and who strive for their dreams no matter what). I wrote this poem about 10 months ago if I remember well, long before it was sure that Laura would finish her trip. But the fact she even started off and put aside all critics she had to swallow, would make her an admirable person, no matter if she would have reached her goal or not. The fact she tried and kept fighting for her dream, despite the attempts to stop her, was sufficient to in my opinion deserve all praise. Hence there was the poem. Now, early 2012, Laura truly has beaten the odds by having finished her project and set the record. Some people who tried to stop her are probably having problems now to control their frustrations.

Let’s spend only little time on the facts because those can be found at plenty of sites. Short summary: Laura wanted to leave on her trip around the world in 2009. Despite the fact she had been sailing solo for years and was experienced enough, the authorities tried to stop her. The authorities, ironically called Bureau Jeugdzorg (Bureau for youth “care”), prevented her to leave in 2009 on grounds that it would violate the law that states one has the duty to learn at her age (however, not the duty to go to school — learning from home or distance is fully legal). Then it was tried to place her under surveillance of the Child Protection. Protecting and caring for a “child” apparently means: trying to make her a number in the row, preventing her from chasing her dreams and make her part of the system. That while her parents made no objection to her project. In December 2009, Laura took off to St Maarten on her own and was reported missing. She was repatriated to the Netherlands but with some months of delay, in summer 2010, she could bypass the authorities and start her trip from Gibraltar. The rest is history.

This is not a website about sailing. Nor is it a political website directly. However, there is a reason why I am dedicating this article to Laura. Not just because of a poem, but also because Laura proved that not everybody fits in the stereotype that society tries to enforce on people. Not everyone functions well in conforming to what everyone else does and what society tries to portray as the only “right”. Still, the whole system is trying to do just that, and young people with a psychological disorder or who are neurodifferent are just as much victim of that system. Laura is to my knowledge not autistic, depressive or suffering from any other disorder. She however proved to everyone that there is a way out of that system that can feel very suffocating to those who just don’t fit in.

Let’s look at the first problem in this case. Laura’s case was a concern to an institute that is about child “protection”. Not only is Laura way too mature to be labelled a child (otherwise she would have not managed to succesfully complete this trip), I’d say she is a young woman and probably more mature than many legal adults ; but also protection includes more than trying to enforce someone into a system that is based on conforming and becoming part of a collective, thereby forcing to suppress personal development and individual delevelopment. Schools teach you to conform, to swallow certain rules as a dogma without encouraging to think for yourself and form own opinions, they too often (I don’t want to generalise) focus on making the students like thousands of others, a part of the masses without a strong individual personality. Someone wishing to chase his/her dream and doesn’t (want to) fit in that masses, is immediately suffocated by trying to force one into conformity. You’re an outcast the moment you’re different from the big masses.

One of the most heard comments during Laura’s trip, was “this child belongs in a school”. Why? Because ten thousands of other children do so, just because everyone else does it, just because the norm dictates it?? Laura chose to chase her big dream instead, she did not hinder anyone else during this process and probably learnt more during her trip than any school can ever teach someone. Laura learnt caring for herself, independence, courage and a very strong moral and belief in herself, and a lot of maturity without any doubt. This is more than any school could have taught her. There she would have only learnt to suppress her dream and become one of the masses. Luckily she was strong enough to resist and hold on to her dream.

In my opinion, education and knowledge are important. Education should not be a privilege but a basic right to anyone, regardless of their background. It should be open to all, free for all, and optional. Indeed, optional. Because I realise as well that not everybody fits in that system and that while it has been great for many students, it has also suffocated some who wanted to achieve something different in life. Hence we should never enforce someone to join such system but leave the door wide open to those who want to join and be educated. The problem is that society tries to impose unwritten roles, norms, on everyone, and thus rather trains young people into conformity than into developping their own way of thinking, their own way of life and personal development.

Also, let’s be honest. Of what we learn in school, the vast majority is knowledge we’ll never need again in later life and which we forget shortly after finishing education. The educational system as it exists in many countries in Europe, needs some big reforms. For example: religion, sports and arts (or “morals and ethics” for those who choose not to study a certain religion) do not belong in a school. They are parts of private life. Those who believe, who wish to be part of a sports team or be an artist (with many famous sportsmen and artists as role models, enough young people will spontaneously develop such desire), can go to a worship house, sports club or arts school outside of school hours. Enforcing it on young people only has the reverse effect. I experienced this too. I am very active with arts as we speak, but back in my youth I hated arts classes. Because it was forced on me while at that time the interest was not there. Sports classes had the reverse effect and only left me with a dislike of the idea of joining a sports club. At a later age, as an adult, I began to become more and more active in the artistic field, and I love it… because it was the result of my own interest, not of anyone forcing me into it.

Other than that, someone studying languages really doesn’t need to keep following mathematics until the last stage of his education. Or vice versa. Really interesting things to add to the school package would be intercultural exchange (learning about different cultures and religions rather than the current choice between which religion one wishes to study) , political science, and open debate. This would really encourage young people to form an opinion of their own rather than making them one of the masses. This would make a lot more sense than some scientific education which is, the minority purchasing a science degree at university excluded, rather pointless for most students. And it would certainly be a lot more educative than a camping week or field trip. Sometimes it really seems we want people to swallow the dogma from the masses rather than learn to think for themselves. I realise generalising is dangerous and some schools and teachers indeed encourage personal development, which is great. Hence I will not call the system indoctrination. Rather I’d say a lot of schools fail to encourage the development of personality, and that the school system needs some reforms. Now it mainly tells young people what to think and how to act. When someone refuses to do this and prefers to set a different goal, you get the type of reactions Laura had to cope with. I doubt those who spent that 1.5 years at school have learnt only a tiny fraction of what Laura has learnt during her trip. Heck, she probably experienced more unique moments in life than many people do in a lifetime.

And maybe that latter leads to the second issue: jealousy. Undoubtly some will have been really concerned if such a young person should be sailing the seven seas alone (Laura proved though she was mature enough for it). But also undoubtly, in some cases some jealousy will be involved. Some people called her a spoiled brat. What does chasing your dreams in life, not harming or hindering anyone in doing so, have to do with being spoiled? Those “child protection” officers who tried to stop her may be genuinely concerned, but somehow I’m a bit sceptic about that. And anyways, if the parents agreed to her plan, then it was time for them to step back. To call someone spoiled for having the guts and determination to chase her dreams, is missing the point and makes little sense to me. Not spoiled, but determinated and brave, I would say. Because few would manage to keep staying focussed and chasing that dream while having to swallow so much criticism. Now, aged 16, Laura already achieved something extraordinary which few realise in a lifetime. I think it is quite ironic that just that is being criticised. I think it’s fantastic to see her determination.

Then finally, we come to the “norms and values”, a term used frequently in the press. Think about for example the many times debates go on about the presence of expats from other cultures in society. Think about subcultures or people who do something out of the ordinary. Very often people refer to “norms and values”. But what does that term in fact mean? The criticism to Laura seems to indicate that this norm is: you grow up, go to school, settle down, have a career, have a family and the next generation will do the same. Again, I wish to not generalise and realise there’s enough people openminded enough for those who prefer something different in life. But still I find it odd that so often “norms” is used. Who creates those norms? I mean, my opinions and perception of what is normal or not, will vary a lot from the opinion of my neighbour, despite both of us coming from the same geographic and cultural background. Still, I’m sure 10 people will all have their own version of what is normal or what is good or bad. So who actually creates those norms? For sure my norms are not those of my neighbour or even those of my best friends.

Norms are unwritten rules that society dictates to set what is acceptable, what is good. In the end, I consider it a virtual cage society creates around people to stand in the way of developping their own personality. Society trying to push someone in a specific direction. Conform or be cast out. If you don’t feel comfortable in that mass and the set of rules they follow, you’re risking to end up isolated, an outcast (countercultures not included).

I do however believe strongly in one norm: “respect each other” and “treat one another the way you wish to be treated yourself” (two expressions that actually come down to the same thing). This one norm seems to be forgotten too often. Which I truly regret.

And now some people may make the remark: “you are strongly left-wing, so why are you advocating against confirming?”. Let me make it clear that socialism is a political and economical system and set of ideas. Within these teachings, one can have the religion, lifestyle, etc they choose. I wouldn’t want a society where everyone acts, dresses and behaves the same. It would be quite colourless. Left wing politics mainly deal with political systems and economical systems. This hence has no impact on one’s lifestyle, personal spiritual or religious believes, etc. (at least, when applied correctly. I will never deny that many leftist regimes failed and turned into totalitarian societies ; a mistake which should not be made again, and if not made again, personal development is definitely encouraged and not a problem at all. Quite the contrary)

Anyways, us –the people with psychological or neurological disorders– often find ourselves to be outcasts as well. Because we often find it hard to fit in in the system of education that is created for the majority, but still has shortcomings in how to deal with those who are different and don’t feel comfortable in that system. Some reforms are badly needed because I have seen to many promising and bright young people suffocate and in the end hide their true selves (and their diagnosis) because they somehow learnt it was a bad thing to be open about it. This attitude has to change.

But, I don’t want to make this a post of bitterness. Rather, I want to focus on the person who deserves the credits. Laura, you realised something exceptional. Your determination deserves a lot of admiration. Kudos to you and a big big congratulations!!

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