I discovered the archive by chance.
I was researching the night, asking what it could bring to the curation of theatre. My encounter with the ‘DAS Archive’ has just one connection with the night, a text  recalling a memory from a night in Amsterdam in 1989 of watching VHS Tapes and drinking Jenever. Ritsaert ten Cate (RtC) was the host and the owner of the tapes.
I asked and got access to the archives after the winter holidays of 2019. This is when I was curiously trying to unearth (any of) the “20 VHS TAPES” which RtC owned back in 1989.
I got very intrigued by this night spent with RtC drinking Jenever.
What are these 20 VHS tapes containing the short history of avant-garde? What history? Who made them? From that moment onwards I set out on the impossible quest to reveal these 20 VHS tapes from that long-ago night of 1989. And this is how I discovered the archives of DAS.
After discovering the space and a lot of objects, I have chosen to access the archive from those who are alive. I wanted to bring in the personal narratives, memories, objects, connections, the unofficial and sometimes the forbidden and the unknown. Not much has been written or published about the Mickery and it is not so much of a distant memory for the theatre and the art scene in Amsterdam. Through a series of conversations and sometimes interviews I started to fill in the blanks of this archive and shed some light on the blind and shadowy parts. A never ending tapestry to be re-woven..
 In the 55th edition of Frakcija: Curating Performing Arts (2010), on page 34 in the chapter ‘Looking Backwards’ by Goran Sergej Pristaš “a dramaturgy student and a theatre critic of an independent radio station ... ” writes “In 1989, ...I bought an InterRail ticket and, together with a friend who had nothing to do with the theatre field, decided to travel around Europe and visit the new centres of theatre production. Memories are hazy and unclear, but here is what I believe happened:... ...The next stop was The Mickery. Unfortunately, it was already clear that this was its final year. The Mickery wasn’t a new institution, but it remained the phantom of the new. Ritsaert ten Cate with a bottle of Jenever and a bunch of video tapes that we watched until early morning – the short history of the avant-garde theatre in 20 VHS tapes....“...
in the attic of Overhoeksplein 2, 1031 KS, Amsterdam. © Jimmy Grima, DasTheatre
personal note In the case of the ‘ birds ’ I started off by documenting my father’s ability of reproducing bird songs who happens to be part of the controversial community of bird-trappers in Malta and Gozo. Here I am creating an archive of this community and looking for occasions where in disguise of an artist and for the sake of art I motivate them to come together. It was also very important to involve international collaborators, far away from the Malta context as external eyes to such a personal and controversial subject for myself and the Maltese. summer.
Blurry Memories, Corridor Conversations And Boxed Obsolete Media: A Research Space
Open research space by appointment
The research space was based around a VHS archive of Ritsaert ten Cate, the founder of Mickery Theatre (1965-1991) and DasArts (1994-2016).
The research space gathered notes, gossip and archival documents gravitating around the history of experimental theatre in Amsterdam. It circumvented its holes and shadows. The space followed accidental stories and moved laterally, intimately, questioning the linearity of major narratives and characters.
One can imagine this research space as marginalia of a book: scribbles, comments, glosses, critiques, or illuminations.
by Jimmy Grima in conversation with Sergej Pristas, Marijke Hoogenboom, Juul Beeren, Corine Snijders, Andrea Božić, T J Etchells, John Meijerink, Jan Zoet, Maria Antoinette Reuter. with the kind assistants of Matar Pershitz, Ruth Borg, Michael Grima and Ira Melkonyan; Artistic advisor - Sara Giannini; conversation partner - Florian Malzacher
-The research space opened for the public on the 21st and 22nd of June 2019 in the evening at 7pm and by appointment from 10 am-10 pm at DAS Graduate School, Amsterdam University of the Arts
An introduction to the DasArts Archive
Introductory Guide, Essay;(72 pages including cover; 10.5x18.5cm)
Here is the first introductory guide to the DasArts Archive. An archive currently housed in the attic of Overhoeksplein 2, 1031 KS, Amsterdam. Grima wanted to leave a record of his findings for people who may also want to explore this space-of-the-past. May this document serve as a subjective guide through the records of an institution, from my perspective as a student, in 2020.
by Jimmy Grima edited by Isobel DryBurgh
personal note What remains very precious about this for me is that it was an intra-community affair. What came out of this research is a lot of filling in the gaps for myself, for the archive and for those who came to visit me.
Jimmy Grima - Selected Works 2020 - © 2007-2020 JONATHAN GRIMA ALL RIGHTS RESERVED