I’d like to chaperone you to an audio visual trip of the mind, body and soul. A chamber opera for Soprano, Electric Trombone, Pilates Trapeze-table, Electronics and DJ. Kimisis is an introduction presentation by Australian Opera Director Konstantin Koukias and an entrée to the feast of original works that will follow. Hosted in one of Amsterdam’s musical and cultural havens…an old bath house hidden in the center of the city. Splendor is a collective of musicians, composers, writers and other artists who have created a place for sharing dreams, experiments and imagination. 6, 7 & 8 April – 4 performances per day – 20mins duration. A perfect opportunity to whet your palate. Tickets can be booked through the Splendor website.
Sometimes the best way to respond to some silly immigration law, is to make an amusing campaign that’s just as silly. This is Desperate Dave’s Love Story - in response to being told that the only possibility for him to legally remain in the Netherlands is if he has a Dutch or European partner. Despite that he has lived here since 2008, paid taxes, purchased a home, started a business and actively contributes to the economic, cultural and creative landscape that makes this country such a great place to live. Dave claims “This is not a protest, but rather a fun last project if I am forced to leave. What I find interesting is that I don’t know how this project will end… as it is being ‘scripted’ as it goes along.” Here’s a short bio about his creative management agency Zulus Can Draw, who genuinely offer a unique creative service. It would be a great shame if he has to shut up shop and head home. ”Talented creatives around the world is in abundance. Getting noticed is not an easy task for many. Zulus Can Draw, an illustration based creative management agency was established with the intention to help promote talented South African based illustrators and graphic designers in the Dutch and European advertising industry. Some notable campaigns Zulus Can Draw has worked on include The Dutch Red Cross, McDonalds and Revive Recycled Paper.” Tips, advice or words of encouragement can be sent to Dave here.
This was the image that featured on the cover of UK magazine – The Drum, who recently published a 48 page supplement on Amsterdam’s advertising, design and digital industries. They spoke to some of the city’s top agencies (eh hem, including yours truly) to find out why the Dutch capital is such a hotbed for creativity and why brands, agencies and creative talent want to establish themselves here. They also look at some of the international brands founded in the city, and how Amsterdam’s global outlook has played a key role in their development. Officially you need a subscription to access the magazine, but I’ve put a sneaky link online where you can download the Amsterdam feature supplement. There’s a bit of blowing our own trumpet, but it’s still a strong showcase that presents Amsterdam as “a global game-changing hub of creative excellence”. You can also read the online interview with Lode Schaeffer from INDIE, in which he compares the traditional advertising industry to a scene in Disney’s The Jungle Book: “It’s like King Louie’s temple, falling down around him as he tries to hold it up, but it gets smaller and smaller until all he is left with is a little rock.” Luckily for all of us (and our clients), Amsterdam is defining the new future of creative agencies.
I love festival season in the Netherlands – it’s the time of year when this humble land likes to cock its colourful feathers and show off its hybrid creativity and endless imagination. I must admit that I’ve spent alot of my recreational time as a Buitenlander, plowing Amsterdam’s underground habitat and basking in all its creative glory. What I truly love about these summer months, is seeing the real artisans of Amsterdam rise to the surface and tout their talents for all to see, hear, taste and touch…if you dare! Here are a few fave festivals to keep on your radar. More…
Whenever I come back to visit my homeland, I’m always amused, surprised and somewhat cringeful at the state of social disarray reflected by the official government advertising warnings. Australia is infamously known for its dangerous species, from the great white shark to the deadly red back spider. Now there appears to be a new threat lurking Down Under, known as… ‘Drinkwalkers’. So prolific and volatile are they, that the Australian government has released a public awareness campaign warning citizens to “Watch out for Drinkwalkers”. The official page of the Motor Accident Commission website reads: “Some Drinkwalkers can’t remember how they got from one pub to the next, or how they got home. Like Sleepwalkers, Drinkwalkers don’t know they’re doing it. Which can been pretty annoying, inappropriate or just plain dangerous.” Listen to the full radio commercial here.
The most deeply moving human stories you will ever hear are beautifully told by photographer Lisa Kristine in this 20min TED TALK. The atrocity of modern day slavery is something each and every one of us need to know about, and as consumers ensure we make responsible choices. Those of us who work within advertising, design, marketing and communication, have an even greater responsibility to use our skills and talents to find a way, so that their dreams — for freedom — can be realised in our lifetime. If only a part of the energy we put into helping our clients sell more products, was instead devoted to helping our fellow humans, experience what it is in fact, to be human.
I took this picture on a recent visit back to Australia. I walked out of the airport terminal, happy to smell the familiarity of my homeland again. And was greeted by this government warning / piece of personal advice. It made me smile, I was home.
[*a 'tosser' is Australian slang commonly used to describe someone who is a jerk or an idiot, AAB]
One of the things I love most about living in Amsterdam is continually being amazed and inspired by the astute people, recycled spaces and impressive events that take place in this little creative village. If you don’t deviate away from your routine, scenic canal bike-route to and from the office, you might miss out on finding this one. Robodock is truly one of the most mindblowing experiences to come out of the Netherlands and it is taking place this weekend on 7, 8 & 9 of June at the ADM terrain in Amsterdam’s Westport. Here you can come face to face with real fire breathing dragons by The Flaming Lotus Girls, watch a performing robot orchestra and interact with kinetic sculptures and gigantic fantasy creatures. Peter Hudson‘s Strobo Sculpture CHARON (see picture – taken by Trey Ratcliff) will also be there. This was one of the most awe-inspiring installations at last year’s Burning Man. If you have never been to Robodock, you’re in for an adventure that you’ll remember for the rest of your life!
There was a recent ‘Positive Protest’ on the Dam Square to celebrate the arrival of Spring. The season when everyone smiles again and good vibes start rolling. The Waterbar was giving away cups of water charged with ‘Positivity in Action’. The catch was, you needed to add your own positivity. So you were asked to think positive thoughts while drinking a nice cold cup of water. “Tastes much better, doesn’t it!” declares Sorah, the Waterbar dealer.