LISTEN: SYB ON AIR. Podcast in colloboration with SYB and writer and artist Céline Mathieu, production by artist Erica van Loon. On how we make-belief, stretch narratives, crumble words and speak through our digestive systems.

Friday 25 May: Moving Image Club, Goleb, Amsterdam
I’ll present and discuss a selection of film excerpts that inspire my practice. The evening is hosted by Ruth Legg and starts at 8:45pm – all welcome!

New work: Eat my words in collaboration with composer Katrin Hahner, and artist book We always need heroes in collaboration with designer/publisher Hans Gremmen/Fw:Books are currently in production


We always need heroes, artist book, Fw:Books
SYB Triennial, Beetsterzwaag

In short


constructs of self-storytelling, belief, reality and (spoken or wordless) language


audio material from recorded conversations  


active listening and close reading


revisit interviewees; explore the underbelly of individuals’ testimonies of profound real-life events


phenomenon of belief: its affect on our perception of reality and sense of will


interweave multiple voices: snatches of sentence selected from tens of hours of testimonial audio material


sentences and scenes built through a choreography of memories, interpretations of history, and readings of phenomena: mirroring and playing upon the construction and destruction of belief worlds in times of crisis


audio and video works, performances, artist books, photographs and installations



Saskia Monshouwer on Rosie Heinrich (2017, solo puntWG)

It would seem that mythological worlds have been built up only to be shattered again, and that new worlds were built from the fragments.’

                                      –The Structural Study of Myth, by Claude Lévi-Strauss

Rosie Heinrich’s studio is a small, high-ceilinged space in North Amsterdam. It is warm when I come to visit. She greets me heartily and walks down the hallway to make tea. At her suggestion, I take a look around. I am amazed. I am curious. Everywhere, there are notes on the wall. These are the beginnings of a work, a scenario – that much is clear. I read short segments of text: a sentence from an interview, then another sentence. Some of the comments are underlined. There are comments in a regular handwriting on A5 index cards. Comments are typed out. There is a mathematical formula on a large sheet of paper, and several photographs – beautiful, clear portraits of two roundish men with blonde hair and blue eyes, and a woman. The blonde contrasts with the light blue haze of the background. There are photographs of a landscape with low growth, in which white balls are scattered about. In another photograph, there is dark stone – later confirmed to be lava – with black balloons. The white and the black balloons resemble the patches you see when you have a migraine in your eyes, empty patches in your field of vision. A not seeing, which you only later realize is announcing something concrete, like a headache.

Rosie Heinrich creates sound works, films, performances and publications. The notes I describe here are a single, specific stage in the long, long process of the evolution of a work. They form the beginnings of a scenario, a piece of the puzzle, a part of the process in which numerous interviews are transformed into a work of art: a story, built up of the meaningful silences between the words, the sound of a voice, rhythm, stopgaps and gestures that convey the reality of a person. They are a ‘stream of sound and consciousness’ that, for It was big enough to get me completely inside (2012), clarifies something about a esoteric experience. For It's possibly the only way that I can walk through myself (2014), it was about what it means to live with manic depression.  In We always need heroes, it is about the financial crash that took place in Iceland in 2008, when the country’s three biggest banks went bankrupt. It is this most recent work, soon to premiere in Iceland, and which is being presented in installation form at puntWG, which we will be speaking of here. The notes and comments I described above are all part of this work.

‘The economic side of the crisis was one thing,’ says the artist. ‘But for the Icelanders themselves, it was more. The people I interviewed confirmed that for them, it was primarily about a social and cultural collapse. That is what I am trying to visualize: what the crisis meant in the greater social perspective. I peel away the myth and investigate the politics of perception. I reconstruct what people experience and think about reality. They tell the stories themselves, and I reconstruct their observations and collective fantasies. That statement by Claude Lévi-Strauss, that it seems like mythological worlds exist only to splinter apart, so that the fragments can be built into new stories, seemed like a motto for the Iceland project.

‘My work begins with the interviews. Depending on what those I interview can handle, they last for two or sometimes three or so hours. If all goes well, and the interview is interesting, I return to that person, often four or more times. I enjoy being in conversation; it is a way of learning about my subject while simultaneously collecting material that I can later work with. I love listening, giving people the space to talk about the specific subject of my project as well as deviating from the main topic, in whichever direction they find relevant. I take notice when  people formulate something in a beautiful way. I look for special moments that I can use later. As you can see here, I have transcribed everything. Even the uhs, ahs and ums, the silences and the unfinished words, the tiny gestures that may indicate a particular feeling. These moments become some of the starting points for the editing process of my films.’

Rosie Heinrich stands up and shows me a folder with the complete transcriptions from her interviews. Some sections of text are highlighted yellow, others annotated. She sits down at a computer and shows me a segment of film. Slow, black-and-white images of modernist buildings pass by. A woman, Birna Bragadóttir, is speaking: a beautiful, slow and carefully spoken voice set against a background of the archives of the National Library of Iceland. As the landscape and architecture move past like pieces of a puzzle, the people being interviewed speak. The subtitles dance. Rosie Heinrich takes the disentangled images and words and transforms them into typography and silence, subsequently weaving them all together. She even developed her own notation system so as to write down the sounds of stammers and stuttered repetitions within spoken language: symbols for a meta-dialogue.

It is truly exceptional to follow Rosie Heinrich’s linguistic expressions: the sound, the rhythm, the weight of voices. You immediately realize that stories are more than just sentences strung together. That, in our reading, writing, television-watching world, knowledge sometimes seems to be lacking. We forget that telling is more than a reconstruction of a reality bound by rules. It is itself a construct!

The work of Rosie Heinrich can be seen in the context of Wittgenstein’s game of language and the remarkable experiments of Georges Perec, an often misunderstood writer. It is not about ordering for its own sake: it is about the emotions that such orderings keep under control, that, despite all the fences and barriers apparently restraining the chaos, still come to the fore.

Contact and CV

De IJsbrand
Berberisstraat 16
NL–1032 EL Amsterdam
+31 [0] 642177327

Visual artist | Translator and text editor specialised in the arts (Dutch to English) | Teacher
Generously supported by the Mondriaan Fund and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts


2018–Fellow of THIRD, 3rd Cycle Research Group, DAS Graduate School
2016–Research Collective APRC, Dutch Art Institute
2013–Translation Preparation Course, City University of London
2012–MFA, Dutch Art Institute
2008­–BA, Utrecht School of Arts

Exhibitions and Performances (selection)

2018–We always need heroes, SYB Triennial, Beetsterzwaag (g)
2018–We always need heroes / Eat my words, Kunsthuis SYB, Beetsterzwaag (g)
2017–We always need heroes, puntWG, Amsterdam (s)

2017–We always need heroes, Cycle Music and Art Festival, Kópavogur, Iceland 2016–The Breakfast Show, PuntWG, Amsterdam (g) 2015–N8 Tour Noord, Museumnacht Amsterdam
2015–KorpArt, Korpúlfsstaðir, Reykjavik
2015–monthly residency exhibitions, SÍM Gallery, Reykjavik (g) 2014–Doors of perception, A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam (d)
2014–Prospects & Concepts, Art Rotterdam (g)
2013–Words Live 4, Perdu, Amsterdam (g)
2013–Words Live 4, Wallgallery, Rotterdam (g)
2013–Composing Through Words, Veem House for Performance, Amsterdam (g)
2013–Alongside#program, (text contribution), Jeanine Hofland Gallery, Amsterdam (g)
2013–DAI Printed Matter, Wilson Project Space, Sassari, Sardinia (g)
2012–It was big enough to get me completely inside, Sub Urban Video Lounge, Rotterdam (s)
2012–DAI classroom, Kunstvlaai – INexactly THIS, Amsterdam (g)
2012–Cabaret Night, 98 Weeks, Kunstvlaai – INexactly THIS, Amsterdam (g)
2012–Group – Installing, The Showroom, Arnhem (g)
2012–Routine, i.c.w If I Can't Dance, Raw Material Company, Dakar (g)
2011–Space the Final Frontier, Chitra Kala Parishad, Bangalore (g)
2011–Greyland - State of Statelessness, i.c.w Foundland, De Balie, Amsterdam


2018–We always need heroes, Rosie Heinrich, Fw:Books, Amsterdam
2014–Prospects & Concepts, Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam
2013–Appendix Composing Through Words, Veem House for Performance, Amsterdam
2012–It was big enough to get me completely inside, Rosie Heinrich, DAI, Arnhem
2012–Unfixed, Jap Sam Books, Heijningen, Unfixed Projects, Amsterdam
2012–Greyland - State of Statelessness, i.c.w Foundland, Literairtijdschrift De Gids


2018–Kunsthuis SYB, Beetsterzwaag
2016–SÍM, The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists, Reykjavik
2015–SÍM, The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists, Reykjavik

Grants and Nominations

2015/16–Stipend for Depth Development Artistic Practice, Mondriaan Fund
2015–Development budget, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts
2012–Starter stipend, BKVB/Mondriaan Fund
2008–Nomination, Piet Bakker Prize
2006–Nomination, student award, Holland Animation Film Festival

Guest lecturer (screening and artist talk)

2018–Master Fine Art, Iceland Academy of the Arts, Reykjavik
2017–Master Non-Linear Narrative, Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, The Hague
2017–Master Photography, The Master Institute, Den Bosch
2017–Bachelor orientation programme, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam
2017–Master’s introduction week, Iceland Academy of the Arts, Reykjavik
2014–Cure Master, Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, at Het Vijfde Seizoen, Den Dolder

Commissioned (selection)

2014–Hokjesgeesten, Movies That Matter film festival, The Hague
2011–Dans, Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Amsterdam
2011–Unclaimed, Movies that Matter film festival, The Hague

Other work


2017–present–Study coach, The Master Institute, Den Bosch
2012–present–Teacher and workshop developer, EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam

Translator and editor

2011–present–Translator and editor of artists’ publications and other art-related texts (Dutch to English)

Worked for (selection): Roma Publications, Hans Gremmen, The Eriskay Connection, Fw:Books, FOAM Amsterdam, Toneelgroep Amsterdam, LhGWR, FoMaa, Marleen Sleeuwits, Sarah Carlier, Marieke van Rooij, Henri Jacobs, Jaap Scheeren, Petra Stavast, Nadine Stijns, Miek Zwamborn, Lorenzo Benedetti, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Bureau Europa, DasArts, Fucking Good Art, Henriëtte Waal, Van Breugel & Mudde, Chris Keulemans, Jason Coburn, Sjoerd Knibbeler, Jan Rothuizen, Submarine, Mevis & Van Deursen, Daan Paans, Frank van der Stok, Celine van den Boorn, Elspeth Diederix, Bert Danckaert, Kay Schuttel, Rieke Vos, Yvonne Grootenboer, Toine Horvers, Charlott Markus, Nina Folkersma, Castrum Peregrini, Fleur van Muiswinkel, De Brakke Grond, Sandberg Institute, STUK, M – Museum Leuven

Publications (selection): The Female Perspective (2018, Nina Folkersma, Castrum Peregrini), Liggen (upcoming, Toine Horvers, Onomotopee), Material Utopias (2017, Sandberg Series, Sandberg Institute, Sternberg), Illusions of a Frisian Landscape (2017, Eric Giraudet de Boudemange, Rieke Vos, Festival of Sports), Fashion Matters (2017, Sandberg Series, Sandberg Institute, Sternberg), Aeronautics in the Backyard (2016, Xiaoxiao Xu, The Eriskay Connection), The Extras (2016, Bert Danckaert, Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp), The Promise (2015, Celine van den Boorn, Hans den Hartog Jager, Kodoji Press), Refugee Republic (2014, Jan Rothuizen, Martijn van Tol, Dirk Jan Visser, Submarine, de Volkskrant), Between Screens (2014, Van Breugel and Mudde, Kummer & Herrman), Henri Jacobs – Journal Drawings (2013, Henri Jacobs, Roma Publications), Screendump #2 (2013, Karin Krijgsman and Suzan Geldhoff, The Eriskay Connection), Letters from Utopia (2013, Daan Paans, The Eriskay Connection), The Moon Has a Complicated Geography (2013, Lorenzo Benedetti, De Vleeshal, Roma Publications), Lying Awake (2013, Geert Goiris, Roma Publications), The Flanders Peninsula (2012, Bart Lodewijks, Roma Publications)