Blue MateRiAL

Seán Hannan
October 24 – December 5, 2015

During his residency at HMK the Irish/Dutch artist Seán Hannan researched the history of the British music hall comedy and American vaudeville in relation to contemporary conspiracy theories and censorship. The title is a historical reference to the early form of stand-up comedy where, prior to a performance, the Lord Chamberlain ran through the texts and censored all material that could possibly disrupt the peace by underlining it in blue. The underlined, censored text is also called ‘blue material’.

In a reversal of this history, Hannan has provided stand-up comedian Adam Fields with contemporary ‘blue material’, such as leaked documents of the NSA and other secret information that was never intended for public eyes, and asked him to base a show on this. This show isn’t funny. The performance will be done in absence of an audience, isolating joke after joke, exposing the political message behind it. The comedian is left isolated and transformed into a man with a failing, abject, conspiracy-like vision of the world.

The registration of the show will be displayed in the cinema of HMK. The elements used for the performance will become part of an installation inside the chapel. What happened in the past will become tangible in the present, and the principles of comedy will be briefly relived in order to write its final chapter.


Nothing to Hide Open Mic Night
Saturday November 21, 17:00 – 19:00

In line with the exhibition Blue Material, in which historic principles of stand-up comedy and state security are merged, HMK and Seán Hannan have invited hacker ‘rbt’ to be the host of a unique kind of comedy show that uses unconventional ways to tell jokes. By opening up comedy’s stage to the world of hacking, to those of us able to penetrate digital security mechanisms and pry behind things most of us consider ‘secure’, a comedy act will unfold which does not use verbal language, but rather the language of computer code to deliver its punch lines. And much like a ‘traditional’ comedy club: the public can become part of the comedian’s material…

The Nothing to Hide Open Mic Night is a comedy show that is communicated to you on your own computer devices; using your activities, your laptop or your phone as material. Your own screen becomes a stand-up stage as you browse the web, chat with your fellow visitors, roam freely through the 16th century chapel and have a drink at the bar. So, lighten up, have a drink, throw your privacy values overboard, and expect to get ‘trolled’.

Though the techniques used by ‘rbt’ in this comedy show are benign and will not (in any way) damage your smart devices or laptops, a certain degree of willing participation is required to avoid unlawful conduct. Being a visitor to the Nothing to Hide Open Mic Night could entail that you and your activities in the space, as well as your tablets, smart phones and laptops become part of the comedy act for the duration of your stay in Hotel Maria Kapel. Your privacy might be infringed upon, but only with your prior approval and only for the duration and purpose of the comedy act in HMK.

Blue Material is made possible by the kind support of Mondriaan Fund, the municipality of Hoorn, and Stichting Niemeijer Fonds