Because the jester Flat Pants is both a musician and a helmsman The birds see him as a fool
And even though his company sings lustily They will be called the singers of the blue barge
Every Basque valley speaks his own Basque language and so it happened that the Cultural Capital’s Committee imploded by its own internal fighting. Nationalists against radicals against Madrid. The harbour authorities took the chance to send the Fools, now without protection, far away. Suddenly, all the reasons for detaining the ship evaporated. Regrettably, by impeding the ship to sail to make money, they impeded the ship, without money, to sail. By now, the fine fleur of Basque performing artists abundantly boards the ship’s hold to perform. Hard to leave. The Fools greatly succeed in engaging the harbour district. And they took the chance to set a new course: The East. They take their time: as Sunday Sailors they leave in spring.
THE SHIP IS SINKING
Gradually, the fine fleur of Basque performing artists came to pass by the ship’s hold. Then the February storms struck and sunk the ship. The ship was moored against a steel buffer without rubber that acted as a steel attack and hit a weak place behind the port side bunker. A little hole enough to inundate the motor room. The captain, at that moment being in the Czech Republic, had no other option then to alarm the fire brigade and so all harbour authorities. The shipyard’s chef confirmed that the Fools still have a solid ship while the ship’s mechanic Niels Keizer, Amsterdam’s best, restored in a few hours the running order of all four immersed machines. The show goes on. The summer show we based on Molière’s ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme’ in which the aristocrats speak Spanish and the servants Basque. The Basque harbour towns required the show in Basque language, since their kids don’t speak other. But at the moment of leaving the ship was ‘detained’ by the Capitanía Maritima, the ship inspection of the central Madrid power that couldn’t dig the fact to have no competency at all over a Dutch flagged ship.
Trintxerpe, Pasaia + San Pedro, Pasaia
WELCOME TO THE BASQUE COUNTRY
The ship sailed to the Basque country invited by the committee of Donostia-San Sebastian Cultural Capital of Europe 2016. We would start a long-time cooperation. At that stage the Cultural Capital was the pride of the country and the committee run by artists. We were there to engage the poor harbour district that anyhow would be forgotten, to the festivities of the Cultural Capital. The day upon arrival we sailed to the old harbour of San Sebastian, to participate at the finale of the national Basque passion: the rowing races. We kept a distance but were easily repaired by the crowds and the TV-camera’s in the helicopter. At the press conference in the garden on the after-deck they were all there: the committee, the harbour and city authorities, the newspapers and again the TV. The Fools opened a Friday night theatre cabaret, a monthly ‘Theatrical Visit to the Ship’ and, for the Christmas holidays, a satiric play for children, very entertaining for adults.
Francia, España, Euskal Herria:
Port Saint Louis du Rhône, Vilagarcia de Arousa (Galicia), Pasaia
A One-Way Voyage to Lucidity
Vilagarcía, Spain. Voz de Galicia, 27-08-2012
The biggest pleasure of this summer was performing in the old harbour of Marseille, down town. Everything went OK. Every night full house. Every night we had to moor the ship at anchor, with the stern to the quay. And we painted the ship in a razzle dazzle camouflage, in the medieval colours of foolishness: yellow and green. The home town Port Saint Louis has some nice festivals but is small, and isolated, only accessible from the North. Not a public to sustain a theatre company. The leaving proved to be difficult, stuck in the mud of the river. And the Fools, by lack of routine, lost their anchor! The echo-sounder vessel of the Marseille Harbour Authorities easily found it but the divers of the Gendarmerie National Maritime, on an agreed exercise routine, couldn’t retrieve it from under the mud. An identical anchor we found attached to the wreck that was for years our neighbour. The anchor chain, virtually impossible to find elsewhere, appeared spare under the anchor room. E La Nave Va!
Marseille, France. La Marseillaise, 28-07-2011
THE BUTTOM OF FRANCE
The Fools found a base in the little harbour town of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, at the mouth of the Rhône. By a convention with the communist Lord Mayor, the ship would stay in winter in the Communal harbour while in summer, when not sailing, she would be moored at the majestic Rhône, the French cloaca, excellent swimming water. Pelican’s flow over, just like in Levkada. The town accommodates a top art pyrotechnic company and a famous theatre company specialized in water works. It became quickly clear that of all the Mediterranean, and beyond, France is the most open to the street arts. We didn’t guess that, 13 years earlier, when the ship visited the region for the first time. That must have been because of the customs officers. Their incessant controls spoilt all appetite to visit their country. We were wrong. We moored at their custom’s barracks and became big friends. We’ve had these officers drunken on board. We went demonstrating with their trade union. But by now, helas, the good times have passed in France and the budgets are squeezed out.
“Sindbad Le Marin”
NARROW ESCAPE FROM THE GREEK DEPTHS
The Fools survived their last Greek winter on the island of Lefkada by serving a three-course meal and theatre for the English and German inhabitants, mostly yachtsmen. They paid in advance, for the crew to be able to buy the food. The local fine fleur, especially in winter, would escape to Athens and those left behind didn’t dream to come. Again, it was an exotic spot, at the foot of a Venetian castle and only a few sea miles from where Cleopatra lost the sea battle and her empire. The harbour master insisted that the Fools, in spite of not having money, were drug dealers and only gave permission for the farewell performance by the intervention of the Lord Mayor. In the next town the Harbour Master forbade the construction of the seating arena, which provoked the indignation of the public who loudly protesting besieged the officials. The Fools decided to undertake the 8-day trip to Marseille, a harbour at a few miles from the city centre. Here the Algerian mafia burned the captain’s bicycle, as a notice of burning the ship for not paying protection. Happily the Cultural Director of the City District originated from the same Kabylian mountains and knew the extortionists from childhood.
The Fools got a brand new 250 persons seating area that replaced the waggling semicircle dating from the forties or earlier. It became increasingly more difficult to get a permission for it. Last millennium things surely were a lot easier! And the Fools got an 18 meters of red canvas with ten letters, I AMSTERDAM, to seal their status of ambassadors of the hometown. The tour of the islands went on. Much later, the Corsicans would steal the canvas..
IN BETWEEN THE SUPER YACHTS OF MALTA
Arrived the most blessing time for the Fools: touring islands. Islands traditionally are turned to their harbour that is their connection with the outer world. On islands, news spread fast: The Fools Have Landed! Islands are little republics, with their own little laws. At the Malta Art Festival the show had to pass the Church’s permission. And their harbour was for plutocrats like Job Steven. We had to dress our tires not to spoil the quay. But the Fools were the only ones to be moored with full length alongside. Our neighbours, for all their helicopters and jet scooters, had to prop their poops against the quay. Some had some plants but nobody a garden. At the Art Festival of Herakleion, Crete’s capital, there were three theatre directors, including the Festival’s director, who confessed that their biggest dream always had been to tour with a theatre ship. With her many islands, Greece certainly has a potential for that. Except, the time of the big Greek sailors apparently long had gone. By now, the Ship of Fools was approaching the twenty years of sailing of the Odyssey..
A satirical music comedy
A Travel to … Laughter
Heraklein, Crete, Greece. Nea Kriti, 23-08-2007
BARCELONA HARBOUR SQUATTED
In those days, Catalonia had its own, national, alternative, theatre-company, called “La Fura del Baus” (The Fury of the Bull). They sailed their own, national, alternative, theatre ship, called “Naumon” (The Ship of the World), that was adopted by the Presidents’ Wife Herself. Alongside this huge ship the Fools found a mooring and protection. The Chance and Crash Meeting Point experienced there such a dazzling revival that by the excess of visitors the harbour police had to close the premises. By now, the Naumon is lost somewhere in a harbour along the Rhine, with no rights to sail. By now, the President - and his Wife, go unmasked as crooks. By now, that mooring in the Barcelona harbour is a posh dependence of the Hermitage Museum next to a posh hotel. But Azart still sails and still bears proudly her name: La Nef des Fous et du Monde (The Ship of Fools and of the World), as runs the title of the first French translation (1497) of the book The Shyp of Folys.
“The World Turned Upside Down”
A satirical music comedy
Malta. The Weekender, 19-08-2006
Formentera, Spain. Diario de Ibiza, 19-09-2006
"One hour of Death”
Daniil Charms, a black theatre. By Robbie Baars
THE SHIP ON WHEELS
The Shipyard in Tarragona teached the Fools that driving the ship is not difficult
400 YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS HOLLAND-MAROC
The Ship of Fools and the three-mast topsail schooner “Oosterschelde”, both build in 1918, set sail to Morocco to celebrate the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Soon it became clear that the organization of this celebration was bankrupt, leaving the Fools without means in the Moroccan town Al Hoceima, nicknamed ‘Small Amsterdam’, since many of the Moroccans living in Amsterdam originate from there. In the end the city provided the Fools with crates of potatoes and tomatoes. In the end the Fools, with three sailors left, returned to Europe, not without difficulties to refrain the custom officers of boarding the ship for a fresh future.
VOYAGE TO NARRAGONIA
Barcelona, Spain. El País, 26-03-2004
THE FIRST TRAM 10 – WAITING FOR THE LAST VISITORS
All those years a pile of 6mm. steel measuring a hundred square meters was gradually being hatched away by an Ukrainian and Polish welder to be transformed into new cabins, new boards and a new anchor room. The Saint Bernard Cultural Foundation did a great job funding it. Their ship got slowly ready for Narragonia. Then, a nice day, the first tram ten arrived at Azart Square: The End of Tram Ten, The Beginning of a World Trip. The Amsterdam music group “Virtuoze Matroze” made a special song for the very first ride that was reserved for the crew & guests for a special view of ‘Voyage to Narragonia’ in the Westergasfabriek cinema at the other end. Later, the Saturday early morning tram used to be parked straight in front of the ship, waiting for the last guests stumbling out of the hull. Still later, the Fools showed every week a one-minute video of their trip to Morocco on the screens of all Amsterdam trams.
Production of several animation and short films
THE VERY LAST SHIP IN SCHEVENINGER SHIPYARD
In her centenary history the Ship Azart (SCH4) has been there countless times on the "Scheveninger Hellingwerf"
As this wharf was going to be dismantled for modern urbanisation Azart was invited for a free maintenance visit
VOYAGE TO SCHLURAFFENLAND
Schluraffenland is the same country as Narragonia, the dreamed destination of the Ship of Fools. Did they reach destination? Some of the crew went to the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, in the Czech Republic, to witness the jubilant first run of Germán’s melo-docudrama. At film festivals it seems to be customary that after ten minutes a third of the public runs out of the audience and Karlovy made no exemption. The best comment came late at night from a Czech who identified the Fool’s trip to Narragonia with his 25 years fight against communism. In the meantime the judge decided the Fools were guilty. A ticket of forty-odd thousand euros. On condition that this stayed a secret they would accept half of it. And the Fools did pay it! Their parties payed for it. The ship sails again. Only, their lawyer wanted the other half. When he didn’t get all of it, he impounded the ship again. Before the crew knew this, they were already thousand of miles away, searching for Narragonia.
" The Bald Primadonna"
DRUG TRANSPORT TO HELSINKI
In a vain attempt to raise some money the Fools thought it a good idea to undertake a five-day trip back to Helsinki, where they’d experienced such a thunderous success seven years earlier. The arrival was planned to coincide with a press conference that proved quite spectacular: while in the hold the Saratov Trio Baroque played the Azart tunes to journalists and the City’s Cultural Chiefs, the whole ship was invaded with drug officers and drug dogs that actually found some forgotten crumbs in the pockets of some sailors. Vainly, vainly. Finland experienced such dog days of extremely high temperatures that the whole city, including our public, had escaped to the lakes and their datcha’s. Some thousands of naked people, assembled by an art photographer, said us good-bye when we left early morning. Later that summer we made a 30-minute trip to perform on an ADM party in the Western Docks of Amsterdam that was most fun but that didn’t raise money either.
The Fools At Sea Live Happily
Mariehamn, Finland. Åland, 27-08-2002
“Otto Fidelio Broomstick Jr. Dreamzz”
Helsinki, Turku, Mariehamn, Amsterdam
An Absurdly Funny Imagination on the Ship of Fools
Mariehamn, Finland. Åland, 28-08-2002
A DEMONSTRATION IN THE AMSTERDAM COURT
Being back on Azart Square, again the fine fleur of Amsterdam performing artists passed by the ship’s hold. Now the question was to fight the electricity-company NUON that had the ship impounded. At least, at the expense of a very expensive lawyer, the ship could continue to sail, under conditions. That summer she sailed to the Waddenzee, passing Alkmaar again, for some film shots with the ship grounded at low tide. The Chilean director Germán Berger Herz was preparing a documentary and wanted the Fools walking around their ship. Back home, to put some pressure to the NUON, about two hundreds of Fools held a demonstration to the Amsterdam Court that filled up the public audience. The captain had his own court case, for sailing without license. Before attending the court he quickly passed his multiple-choice exams, flabbergasted how dangerously easy they were. He got acquitted but the lawyer’s fee easily exceeded the possible fines. At last the ship got a licensed Fools as captain.
AN ISLAND WITHOUT ELECTRICITY
For the first - and yet last - time in their history the Fools had their ship’s chest full of money. They’d sailed to Reykjavik, Cultural Capital of Europe, where they politely dismissed the last tons of fuel, by having the bunkers filled. No, no, no, thank you! They sailed a joy lap around Ireland, they headed the Sail Parade to Amsterdam. The Lord Mayor of Alphen, where ship and motor has been build, welcomed them; the Lord Mayor of The Hague wrote that their return to former homeport Scheveningen illustrated the importance and beauty of this port. Untill Alkmaar. Since the nautical maps of the region were sold out, the captain consulted an XVII-th century map that evidently oversaw some changes. The ship got stuck in the mud. It took the valance of an Admiral de Ruyter, who broke the chains over the Thames, to maneuverer to ship back on route. Much later it became clear that these manoeuvres provoked the breaking of an electricity cable which plunged a whole island in the dark. The farmers couldn’t milk their cows. The arresting officer regretted his miserable job in his miserable boat and would have loved to join the crew. Again the ship – now with her chest, was impounded.
Corc, Ireland. Evening Echo, 23-06-2000
THE PILGRIMS TO THE END OF THE WORLD
The World knows many Ends. That Holy Year the devoted Fools went on pilgrimage to the Galician port Fisterra (The End of the World), beyond Santiago de Compostella. Where all pilgrims deposed a little jar of their home country earth, the Fools had stuffed their jar with authentic Azart rust. Afterwards, sailing north, the ship was kidnapped on high sea by the French Coast Guard who abducted her to Fisterre (The End of the World) in search of tons of drugs. The Fools were enraged by such a display of stupidity. Twelve years later the abducting Coast Guard Officer, walking in the same anti-government demonstration in Marseille, approached us to confess to be marked for life when he boarded the ship at high sea. He said to have suffered the panic of the Chilean crew members that were marked for life by the Pinochet suppression. Up further north we moored alongside the Amsterdam restaurant The End of the World and still later, for winter, in the Irish town Cork which is An End of the World in its own right.
Vigo, Spain. Faro de Vigo, 20-07-1999
Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal. Jornal de Noticias, 18-06-1999
THE LIBERATION OF THE ENCAGED FISHES
All these years we sailed with a ‘borrowed' captain, a friend or guest with a captain’s licence who would take the responsibility for sailing. But we run out of them. When time came to leave the Moroccan fishing village Al-M’Diq there was no one left, so the Fools took the helm themselves. It took quite some trouble to insist not to take the drugs. It took some years before a Portuguese Harbour Master dared to ask for the papers but he was too short of stature not to be intimidated. So the Fools sailed on. When preparing for winter in the Mallorca port Portocolom we spend weeks making a special anchor to have the ship moored at bay. We bought and welded the steel, taking the advice of New-Zealand sailors and dismissing the warning of the local fishermen. The first storm proved them right. At five in de morning the ship invaded the local fish farm. The next days showed an unusual activity of enthusiast fishermen all around the bay. But the ship was impounded again. Except, nobody could count the escaped fish. Except, with no anchor or quay to stay, there’s nothing to impound. So the Fools were invited to leave port. The town, proud to be the pretended birthplace of Columbus, has no grudge against great sailors and was happy to receive the Fools next summer again for their spectacle.
Spain, Morocco, France
Algeciras, Gibraltar, Al-M/Diq, Roses, Port-Leucate, Vilanova i la Geltru, Denia, Cartagena, La Olla de Altea, Palamos, L'Estartit, Benicarlo, L'Escala, Mao, Portocolom, Alcudia
SHARING THE POSTER WITH U2 & THE LENINGRAD COWBOYS
The Fools were received in Palermo in quite the same manner as in Helsinki: long cues to reserve the tickets. One of the reasons was that the Lord Mayor, Guanluca Orlanda, became an ardent fan who invited all the Fools in his official residence. The city experienced a cultural revival in a rare lull in between the mafia-appointed Mayors and the arrival of the Ship of Fools just happened to be what the city longed for. He came late and saw the show standing aside with his dozen of bodyguards, so we actors had to push their revolvers away to enter stage. When we left for Napoli he waved us good-bye with a 12-member orchestra, having given us quite a lot of money and hundreds of exemplars of the book “Fools of Palermo” to redistribute. That year, the last shows were in Thessaloniki, Cultural Capital of Europe, where the ship moored in front of the city’s gutter. The Capital lost billions of drachma’s with the U2 concert and, although we shared the poster, couldn’t pay us anymore. It took years to retrieve our miserable money.
The Cruise Panics
Seyne sur Mer, France. La Marseillaise, 19-07-1997
“Il Passagio Per Un’Isola Particolare”
DESTINATION CAPE TOWN
Since the Russian inland waters were closed to navigation we had to go by the Atlantic Ocean to reach South Africa, our new destination. The idea was first to tour the Mediterranean. Once there, the money proved too little to think about leaving. Moreover, it would have been quite crazy to leave so early, surrounded by an overwhelming scenery. As on the Baltic Sea the crew met with Lord Mayors as well as with the inmates of some high security prisons and mad houses. Here ‘Mad House’ describes matters better then ‘Psychiatrical Institute’. Differently with the Baltic, the trip became an archaeological – and culinary exploration as well. The last shows were in the biblical harbour town of Acco, in Israel - for a public of Uzi’s. The only way to reach the harbour was walking through the Arab soukh of the town and since by another political incident the tension just had risen, hardly a Jewish visitor dared to cross it to see the show. We played for our armed guards. Our prospective Arab spectators were more interested in looking at the girls taking their shower on the deck.
Cádiz, Spain. El País, 23-06-1996
The Amsterdam Art Foundation commissioned artist Jos Smeets to redesign The Ship of Fools
He put a real oak as mast, a sound organ and four church bells in the mizzen mast
SETTING SAIL TO MOSCOW - SECOND TRY
Invited by the Russian Minister of Culture and supported by the Dutch Embassy in Moscow and the Russian Embassy in The Hague the Fools set sail to Sankt Petersburg – to hear that the Russian Minister of Defence had ordered a browbeating “Njet”. Indeed, Fools are Dangerous Elements To The State and used to be already mutilated or annihilated by Ivan the Terrible. At least, the Russian Institute of Theoretical Astronomy did succeed in having a planet being named “The Ship of Fools”. The Fools performed in the Petersburg “Park of Culture and Leisure”, in exchange for food, drinks and drawings of the ship. In Helsinki the Ship of Fools became an instant hit, when the public was lining up to reserve for the tickets. The same limousine that a week earlier brought The Stones to the stadium came to fetch the Fools for a TV-interview.
Åbo, Finland. Åbo Underrättselser, 27-07-1995
St Petersburg, Russia. Soroka, 21-08-1995
Helsinki, Finland. Helsingin sanomat, 05-08-1995
St Petersburg. Russia. Soroka, 21-08-1995
HOME PORT HAZARD SQUARE
About some 2000 signatures of the neighbours and some lessons in democracy by the Alderman of City Development induced the Amsterdam City Council to rename the ship’s homeport into Azart Square. That summer the crew set sail again, on the ship "Papillon" we had to borrow on the last moment, since the lawying singer still had the ship impounded. The Russian hobo player Vladimir Skliarenko, Merited People’s Artist and First Price Winner of the Soviet Empire, experienced a happy culture shock by rewriting in a dark cabin the partiture of the Russian composer Juri Chanin. The Fools gave away a lot of presents to many a Lord Mayor or Großratspräsident. The Lord Mayor of Rostock we presented with a chain of office stuffed with dunce bells since his chain was lost in history. The President of the Big Council of Canton Basel City we presented with a monumental bell to silence noisy councillors.
Basel, Switserland. Basler Zeitung, 15-07-1994
Reception by the Mayor of Lübeck
As nobody showed any interest in buying the ship that the judge had put for sale, we opened, with the Russian theatre director Leonid Vlassov, the ship’s hold as an all-night cabaret, theatre and music stage. This again flourished extremely well, since at that time the KNSM-Java-island was populated by squatters, artists, skippers and nomads while the vodka was delivered at bottom prices by passing Russian sailors. The fine fleur of Amsterdam performing artists passed by the ship’s hold.
THE OPERA SHIP RE-BAPTISED INTO THE SHIP OF FOOLS
The new course of the ship became suddenly clear when South-African artist Robbie Baars proposed to organise a textile parade on the quay under the name “The Ship of Fools”. Bingo! This course would be Germany in 1994, to celebrate the quincentenary of the first bestseller in history, “Das Narrenschyff” (The Ship of Fools), printed in 1494. Indeed, that year Azart would provide the only artistic contribution to this celebration in the whole of Germany. Indeed, this would provide the money to send the singing lawyer back to hell. Indeed, Fools are free – and not that expensive as opera singers! And indeed, Robbie Baars proved to be a worthy Fool staying on board for more then 15 years.
MAX UND MORITZ SAVED THE SHIP
The show must go on! To discourage any prospective buyer and so to secure the continuity of the Chance and Crash Meeting Point we invited as new crew members Max and Moritz, two piglets, to shit all over the deck. They performed brilliantly. But despite the explicit promises of the seller, these piglets, well fed by the leftovers of the squat restaurant The End of The World, grew into huge monsters. Their caretaker was the Ulster sailor boy David O’Sullivan who turned himself instantly into a vegetarian when we presented him in Germany with a tin of canned sausages labelled Max und Moritz. Anyhow, crows, pigs and donkeys are the natural crew members of the Ship of Fools. That year Robin Cooke, co-founder of Mutoid Waste, parked his fire canon truck in front of the ship. He was about to emigrate to Australia in companion of a container stuffed with about 25 dismembered diesel and MIG-motors to roam the roads and to construct a sculpture park. We gladly accepted his invitation to have the ship cross the Australian desert - on condition to be put back in the ocean. This project however, for the lack of fuel, had to be abandoned.
THE OPERA SHIP
THE OPERA: A BIG SUCCESS AND INSTANT BANKRUPTCY
The first and only opera was quite a success, except that the Dutch Ministry of Culture under Hedy d’Ancona decided to withdraw her promised 50.000 guilders of subsidy by not having faith in the budget. By doing so she proved to be quite right. The tour, bound for Moscow, had to be disrupted in Germany. The real disaster came when the lead tenor, Josje van der Land, proved to be much more talented as an obsessive lawyer. He persecuted the ship five years long with juridical procedures, putting her a the chain.
Bremerhaven, Germany. Norddeutsche Zeitung, 02-07-1990
THE SHIP: 160 TONS OF IRON
On February 28 1989 Azart Foundation bought the 1918 ship "Elisabeth" near Groningen, in the North of Holland. Already the first bridge became the first problem: the bridge was too low. We had to cut 1,3 meter of the main mast that later delivered excellent services as a deck stove. The ship was renamed Azart.
The ship was launched as "The Opera Ship" and already the young composer Klaas ten Holt was writing his first opera, to be performed in 1990. In the meantime, surfing on a wave of Russian Fashion in Europe, Azart organized in a few months a preparatory tour that would bring the ship to seven cities in two countries. Azart presented a spectacle of the Moscow theatre group Oleg Kisiljov and Moscow music group Nikolaj Kopernik. At the same time the hull of the ship hosted a permanent exhibition of young Russian artists. The Berlin Wall still stood firm!
A NEW NAME: AZART
To find a ship's name with Russian flavour that would be understandable in the mayor European languages we took the Russian dictionary starting from page one, as words beginning with an "a" never are of Russian origin. Already on page two, in between the words "az" (the letter "a") and "azbuka" (the alphabet) appeared the word "azart", translated as "fire, passion". Bingo! A Passion for Art from A to Z! It took some years of haphazardous sailing before gradually discovering the fascinating, millenary history of the word - and game - Azart. On Sept 30th 1988 was founded AZART foundation with literary the same purpose as CIRC Foundation.
CIRC foundation flourished extremely well, engaged with a cultural artist exchange between Russian and Amsterdam artists. About 15 students of Russian literature of the Amsterdam University were engaged as guide, interpreter, translator, travel manager, investigator or art collector. A big squat in the Amsterdam port was equipped to host visiting Russian artists. One of the highlights was the organisation of an exhibition of erotic art, the first in Russian history, in the "School of Dramatic Art" of theatre director Anatoly Vasiliev, the only one who wasn't afraid to host this exhibition. In the meantime, some Russian artists already made some artworks about a still non-existing ship named "CIRC". Problem: the new collaborators of the Amsterdam University were not at all interested in a seaworthy circus-ship. That made it necessary to look for a new organisation and a new name.
BOT ЭTO ЦИPK
THE ORGANISATION: WHAT A TOTAL MESS!
On June 19th 1986 was founded CIRC foundation with the purpose to buy a seaworthy ship as a "sort of floating circus for the transport of animals, humans, objects, ideas, music et aliae". The name was derived from the Russian expression BOT ЭTO ЦИPK (wot eto CIRC), meaning something like "What A Total Mess!'.