Catching Up in the Archive 
Improvisation session Social Music Club

On Friday the 20th of May at 5:00 PM, the Social Music Club will host a public improvisation session in the exhibition Catching Up in the Archive. The session is open to musicians, non-musicians, amateurs, and professionals alike. Everyone is invited to join in making sound and playing music. To join, you just need to bring instruments, sound-making objects, or just your voice and body. The session will be followed by a social gathering in the living room with drinks and snacks.

For Catching Up in the Archive, the group will actualize a few improvisation exercises from the book Search and Reflect by John Stevens. A copy of this rare book will be offered to de Appel Archive to contribute to the valuable legacy of Stevens’ experimental musical and pedagogical work.

John Stevens was an important musical thinker, drummer and visionary figure in the development of Free Jazz and Free Improvisation in Europe. The book Search and Reflect: A Music Workshop Handbook is a compilation of improvisational prompts and exercises first published in 1985. It compiles notes and exercises developed by Stevens while he worked on the project Community Music, where he facilitated his idiosyncratic approach to music outside of art circles and venues, such as in youth clubs or mental health institutions. Stevens’ contribution lies in developing an idealistic, but at the same time grounded, and democratic framework for music-making, where radical listening and awareness of each other can free a person’s approach to making and creating with sound.

The Social Music Club is a musical improvisation session without dogmas, where the emphasis lies on meeting, listening, and getting to know each other, while also discussing, bringing into practice, and stretching the understanding of what exactly music is, and can be. The Social Music Club is an initiative by Aimée Theriot-Ramos, Abdelmalek Mellouk, and Koen Nutters and has been happening bi-weekly at the community center De Havelaar since February 2022. More sessions are upcoming from July to September 2022.