Merlin uses art to drive change: ‘Bring art closer to the common man’

Peels the elitist aura of art and encourages the common man to claim art. With that goal in mind, composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven (46) hopes to increase the power of change in society. “If we give the artist in ourselves a little more space in our lives, we can better deal with this time of change.” This Wednesday, Merlijn will be a guest in the latest episode of NH Strijders.

Melle Bos

Twaalfhoven, who was born in Wapserveen in Drenthe, can and will not call himself a conceptual artist. “For a conceptual artist, the idea is the work, but I would like to encourage the power of change in society. So in that sense, art is more my toolboxand not the goal. “

According to Merlin, the ultimate goal is to be meaningful. “Do not just ask yourself: can I make a difference? But also how you can take people around you. I see that many artists have many good things to offer, but that they are too much in their own world. It is also difficult because you have your hands full making art. “

Forbidden and dangerous places

Twaalfhoven has been making progress for decades now. In 2007, he moved into an old weapons factory in Zaandam. By living in the old weapons factory, he discovered the stories and the places that are in the area. “Such an exciting area (Hembrugterrein, ed.) Filled with forbidden and dangerous places. It has now been cleaned up nicely, but we really were not allowed to go into the forest at that time due to the risk of unexploded ordnance and mustard gas. When we started on The Hembrug terrain is still very bare, but it is nice that it has become a nice place. “

It was something of a quest, says the composer. Not only to the physical space, but also ‘to space to be able to connect people, to take them with you and to embark on an adventure with people’. The consequence of this approach was that his concerts no longer had an audience but only participants.

Melle Bos

One might not expect this immediately, but Twaalfhoven had ‘a lot of culture’ around him in his youth on the drastic land. “There is an open-air theater in Diever where Shakespeare theater is performed every year. Fantastic! But when I wanted to deal with music, I came to Randstad and studied in Amsterdam. And I have lived there ever since because there are so many lines, so many connections. “

His ambition to bring art closer to the common man stemmed from the realization that an expression of art has a different meaning for each viewer. “If you’re a musician yourself, you’re very precise with the tones of the music. What exactly do I say? What do I express? What does it mean?”

“Musicians know nothing about comfort”

Merlin Twelvehoven

“While people also come for a social moment, people also come to a concert to be out, or maybe to find comfort. While musicians know nothing about comfort. They think: this is Johan Sebastian Bach, and you can do in this fun way to play. “

“Music therapy is a profession, I’m not saying I’m a music therapist, but I’ve noticed that it’s very important to use music to let people’s emotions flow in intense situations. Music is really part of your basic need, it’s not something you do not need until you are completely okay. ”

Out of your comfort zone

Twaalfhoven emphasizes that art can help achieve things that require you to step out of your comfort zone. “The existing world, that’s where your loyalty lies, you have invested in it, you are committed to it. But there is also a new world that you want to, something with an ideal. How do you want to give up what you have because you believe that something new can emerge? The artificial power we can use in that process. ”

Warriors: Merlijn Twaalfhoven – NH Nieuws

Since his meeting-based performances at the Zaandam Arms Factory, Merlijn has been permeated by the idea that we in our society need more forms of meeting.

Search for meaning

“And not just go to pubs together, but also meet on difficult questions. Not immediately: why are we on earth? But for example around the search for the meaning you have or the relationship you have with the other person in your environment. . “

“Can we apply at all, or should we all be safe?”

Merlin Twaalfhoven

“Can we apply at all?” Merlin wonders, “Or should we all be successful and confident? Because it’s a value that dominates. We all try to raise our children so safely and send them out into the world. But doubt is perhaps also an art, and it is you can also learn with your senses. ”

In the Warriors program, inspiring people from North Holland tell their story. Each and every one of them is trying to make the world a little more beautiful in their own way.

Fighters is broadcast on NH Nieuw’s TV channel and via our website. The stories can also be listened to as a podcast. Subscribe to it via your favorite podcast channel. Here you will find an overview of all Warriors.

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