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Featured: Hotel Modern (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

Hotel Modern (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

Hotel Modern was established in 1997. Its members are Arlène Hoornweg and Pauline Kalker, who both graduated from Arnhem Theatre School, and visual artist, model maker and performer, Herman Helle. The group works together with (sound) artists for their performances, including Arthur Sauer (The Great War, Rococo, Shrimp Tales) and Ruud van der Pluijm (KAMP). They blend visual art, object theatre, drama, music, film, modelling and performance in evocative productions. Scale models play an important role in their performances: they are used to, literally, look at the world from a macro perspective. Their approach is unique in the theatre world, and they use it to focus on subjects in entirely new ways.

Hotel Modern are idealistic in the sense that they believe that watching and experiencing of theatre can encourage reconciliation. They try to offer solace to a society and a world in which people sometimes seem fearful of one another. This consolation is not achieved by creating a saccharine performance, but by representing harsh reality in a refined, poetic manner.

Arlène Hoornweg (1969) performed classical ballet from the age of 7, and first acted on stage at the age of 10. She graduated from Arnhem Theatre School in 1992. Arlène has performed with various theatre companies and created her own productions. She performed as Elvis Presley with her band, and formed Hotel Modern with Pauline Kalker. Hoornweg and Kalker were given the opportunity to make their first collaborative production, STUcK, at Maatschappij Discordia’s De Republiek.

Herman Helle (1953) studied at Rotterdam Art Academy. At the end of the 1970s he toured venues for improvised music as storyteller and trombonist with the Jozef Kip Quartet. After this he roamed building sites to create brick sculptures there. Since 1986 he has been working on Being There, an ever-growing and all-embracing photographic portrait of the world, consisting of thousands of images. Herman also made scale models for urban planners and architects, including Rem Koolhaas. He joined Hotel Modern in 1998.

Pauline Kalker graduated from Arnhem Theatre School in 1992. She immersed herself in expressive theatre and scriptwriting, acted with several companies and made her own performances. Pauline created live installations including one that involved hanging from a theatre facade. She formed Hotel Modern with Arlène Hoornweg in 1997.


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Caden Manson is Editor In Chief and Curator of Contemporary Performance Network and co-founder and artistic director of Big Art Group, a New York City performance company founded in 1999.
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