The odissey of Radoslava Ivanova

“I have always looked upon my life as a journey to discover the meaning of life, I have always searched for some deeper meaning, a secret, the essence of things and maybe that’s why I went through so much disruptive changes” Radoslava Ivanova said.

Radoslava Ivanova is now 22 years old. She is originally from the outskirts of Sofia in Bulgaria.

Ivanova currently lives in Bulgaria in the same small village in which she grew up. She builds handmade furniture and organizes small art exhibitions.

But it took a long time for Radoslava to reach such an outcome: in just an handful of years she has gone through, and experienced, probably more than what many people try out in their all life.

Going through changes, different countries and expoloring different directions in which her life could go.

Already in her early teenage years Radoslava exposed herself to literature which could be considered premature for a 14 years old: ” I read everything, I started reading mythologies and then the big books by the big authors, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche and shit, basically as i look upon it now, I was taking too much information that I could not really digest”, Ivanova said, ” Same age I discovered marijuana and the magic that it brought really gave my imagination a lot of work. The high ideals taken from literature combined with weed made me think a lot… all of this thinking brings a lot of isolation from friends and family and most of all it deprives you from the energy to act. I wanted to learn so much but now I know that the best way to learn is by doing stuff”.

Nevertheless, Ivanova remained really successful in the academic context being an excellent student in Bulgaria: “I have always sensed that there is something very elusive  and just not right in the education they gave us,   I couldn’t tell what it is, but I would intuitively respond to it with disobeying, I started skipping school in 9 grade and continued to do so for the rest of my academic record. Maybe for the whole 5 years of high school I have actually been to school 2 without exaggerating. I didn’t have problems with skipping school because I did all the work for the grades and had high ones, in a lot of cases the highest. I was not skipping school because I didn’t like to learn. I was skipping it because of the repulsive ways that knowledge was presented with all the rules and jail-like atmosphere”, Ivanova said, ” After grade 10 I enrolled in the IB (International Baccalaureate program) exactly because I was in need of more knowledge and the program was with standards higher than the Bulgarian ones. The IB was better because it lacked the post-communist taste of Bulgarian education”.

During IB Radoslava experienced at a really young age what freedom was: away from her parents and family, she was able to simply hang out with her friends while still managing to pass all of her classes with excellent grades.

However, there seemed to be something that constantly bothered Radoslava, the feeling of urge which pushed to somehow sort out her life: ” at the end of 12 grade I was very sad and confused, soo confused that I would often get angry at myself saying After all of this reading, why can’t you get how things work? What is the problem here? I really couldn’t understand.” Radoslava said.

Growing up in a smaller European country, eventually less developed than its “big” neighbors, often causes many issues. The probabilities of growing up with the myth of the “western developed” countries are higher. Anything which is done in those countries appear as somehow superior, more legitimate.

As a consequence, big European cities become, in the popular imaginary of smaller countries, real boiling pots of opportunities in which any kind of interest and talent can be cultivated and in which incredible results can be achieved.

“I was kind of brought to the conclusion that I MUST do some kind of a business, to make a lot of money because this is the most serious thing in the world and anything else does not make sense..It was not because my parents told me too, but they too were worried with the unstable economic situation in the world so they were quite pleased when I said I wanted to study in the Hague University of Applied Sciences. After all it was proper western education, in Bulgaria this is sacred. So, feeling so lost, I said to myself that my sadness is because I had not sorted out the security of my future, and this will be done with studying business.” Ivanova said.

Unfortunately things did not go the way Radoslava expected it: the school in De Hague demanded really strict rhythms and demanded a marketing mindset which Radoslava was simply not willing to accept:  “only one thing is left – money. The world is Economics. It is all about the money. You start with money, you invest the money so that you can make more money with the ultimate goal to make more money.”, Ivanova said, “It was very interesting to see that most of the other kids that stayed and continued with this prestige education were seriously drug addicts. Cocaine, E-candies they got it all, lots of weed, speed, they had it all. They used more drugs than hard core squatters”.

Nevertheless, Radoslava was convinced that she had simply chosen the wrong field. A western university was still the right choice for her future, she just needed to pick more carefully this time: ” I immediately enrolled in AUC… There is a business for young confused people that are smart, but also don’t know quite what they want to do, so they portrayed it as the divine crib for a person that wishes to develop himself in every possible direction, to endeavor in every sphere you are curious about and become a master of both art and science. Best of both world. Best of everything. The people that study there are super special. They are different. They are unique.” Ivanova said.

Radoslava soon realized that AUC was really different from what she was looking for: ” The word “academic” was put on pedestal, it was sacred, you were free to choose but they had carefully selected the things you could choose from, so there is not a chance for you to choose something that they didn’t want you to choose. Also they would be strictly observing  and regulating the process of choosing it and if you even stepped  a step aside the rules, you were punished.” Ivanova said.

Radoslava realized that it was simply not possible for her to do as the university demanded to.

Soon after the semester started she was kicked out of AUC. Due to her expulsion, she also lost her house in Amsterdam (AUC provides a room for each one of their students, but they have to leave the dorms in case of drop out or expulsion). Houseless and broke Radoslava remained in Amsterdam, unable to go back to her home country facing  her “failure”.

She kept on looking, convinced that in the city she would have managed to find an opportunity that would have allowed her to somehow reconstruct a life which seemed to be lacking any certainty. throughout this research she got to know different groups and met many different people, experiencing the downsides of a big city: ” I started squatting. First I lived in a refugee squat, some of the people there had lost their relatives, they didn’t have a place to go, it was starting to know reality. It showed me how civilized people in Europe live in a bubble where the troubled people are put in prison, or just are not paid any attention to because they are not pleasant to look at…It is forbidden to sleep on the streets and parks in Netherlands! And when there is no place for you to go where the fuck are you supposed to go? And if you get caught, you go to jail.” Ivanova said.

Radoslava grew more and more irritated with what, in her opinion, was an inhumane system. She started to grow intolerant, encountering the consequences of her “misbehavior”: “I went to Den Haag the night before the International Nuclear Summit and started spraying Peace for Tibet on the walls of buildings on the way of the procession of the World Leaders so that they could see it. I got arrested and then got to experience the beautiful wonder of jail time. Jail is something you cannot talk about and discuss if you haven’t actually experienced it. It’s really fascinating thing, such a simple action – you just get locked up in tiny room – but so powerful! The moment I got in the cell I realized what it is to be human! You have so many abilities, you are a God-like creature, able to manifest in so many magical and amazing ways… when you get locked up you suddenly realise that you cannot do anything! They take you your humanness! It is so humiliating! You have every right to kill me if you want, it is your choice, your sin, you can do it if you decide, but not lock somebody up! The jail system if really ridiculous. It absolutely fails to resolve social issues, to lock a person up is like the parents locking out their child – they are just helpless and hide from the problem.” Ivanova said.

She was kept in jail for a week and then released she was facing the same situation in which she was before. Slowly she became more and more involved into squatting, even if the community still demanded rules and codes of conducts. Radoslava had no choice, after her jail experience she was feeling so alienated from the rest of that society that to her eyes just looked like a system: “The last squat in which I lived in was a complex of 5 squatted buildings. The scary punks and outcasts were actually supporting each other, always helping out, taking care of each other, and they were happy! We cooked food for everybody, when you went to a place you could always get food and something to eat for free, just people being kind to each other. I could not believe it. Were they using drugs? Yes, they were, but not more than the posh business kids I had met in den Haag or more than any other modern person. We live in a drug society but only the people that just don’t look  pretty when taking their drugs are being judged.” Ivanova said.

Living in an environment in which she felt more accepted, Radoslava had finally the time to think over the two previous years of her life, finally realizing that (for her) it did not really matter whether she was living in a place in which she could turn her abilities into some greater good for the world.

All she wanted was to find an environment in which she could work on herself, and that was home in her small village: ” I lived more than half an year in crazy places, sleeping in my sleeping bag, painting all the walls I wanted in the squats, sharing food with people, trying to save Tibet, trying to save the world. I always had some master plan, some plot to save the world… My greatest lesson actually from being abroad was that I love Bulgaria. In Holland I was an immigrant…I also realized that instead of changing the world, I must first change myself.. And now I am here in Bulgaria, I am happy, magic is happening, next month I am participating in a alternative festival and I am making a workshop for traditional Bulgarian dances and also an Art atelier. I am making exhibitions with other people and everything that I have ever dreamed of is slowly materializing. It’s just that I found the right soil for it to grow – home!” Ivanova said.

Radoslava Ivanova concluded her story with a sentence that struck me, a saying which I had never heard before: ” I think that a person is born in a given place for a reason, there is a saying that when your soul is being reborn and comes down to earth it makes two choices – first is your parents and second is the land. All your lessons, all your energy flows from these two choices.”

story ideas

The situation for Amsterdam refugees is progressively getting harder, since many refugee centers are getting shut down. But what is the refugees voice and what do they think are the reasons for this change of scenario in Amsterdam’s hospitality? -News Brief

ITTP lecture in AUC- the upcoming lecture about the economic agreement will be incredibly  important, not only for the importance of the agreement’s consequences themselves. But also for the debate that will take place among AUC students. Many people will probably have really different ideas regarding the topic.

studio K movie screening May 20th- Synecdoche city by Charlie Kauffman

if the newspaper begins recommending places and events, than it must not miss the opportunity of suggesting the screening of this great movie in a place which is close to AUC but that many people might still not know.

UNI SHOWDOWN: AUC and UCU face each other again on the football field. 2-0 is the result, and AUC can run for the first place in the inter-UC league again.

On Wednesday the 16th of April a football match was played on the football field of TOS ACTIEF (the field is situated next to Science Park station).

Anyone unaware of the school traditions, might have thought that such a game is actually not that different from the many games played among the inter-UC league.

But most people know that this was absolutely not the case. This time, the two teams facing each other were the football team of AUC and the one of UCU (University College Utrecht).

Between the two teams there has now been an intense rivalry for at least three years. The players of both teams acknowledge it, while their reaction to it seems to be really different:

“One of the reasons might be that the two teams have always been the best in the entire league. Many times AUC has ended up battling for the first place with UCU. Such a thing has become sort of a tradition and UCU has become our rival”. Pietro Zappalà, AUC player, said.

The tension between the two teams could have not been higher than last Wednesday. UCU had, for the first time in two years, defeated AUC in the previous match, not only hurting its pride but also endangering its chances to win the whole league. In order for AUC, to have a chance of winning the league this year, the players had to absolutely win the match on Wednesday.

Such tension though seems to also be a source of excitement for the players of both teams: “I consider the tradition fun. It makes the game more intense and fun to play, both teams give their best.” Salman Bocca D’oro, UCU player, said.

There is no doubt that both teams gave their best. The first half of the game, the two teams had both many opportunities, without though actually scoring a goal. In the second half, AUC was able to score twice. First with a shot from outside the box made by Urbano Moreno, followed by a finish signed by Thomas Souk. Winning the game, AUC opened up another opportunity to win the league again this year.

Both teams proved to be quite respectful of each other since, once the game was over, all the tension seemed to disappear as well. Both from the winning and losing side.

” Both teams played well, unfortunately we were missing two strikers. It would have been a more interesting game if they would have been able to play as well” Bocca D’oro said.

“The previous match, UCU won the game 3-0. We did not expect that they would prepare so well for it, and we ended up losing, due to our misjudgement. This time we were ready to give our best, and the results agreed with us”. Zappalà said.

Now AUC can momentarily relax, enjoying its newly restored pride. While waiting to face Leiden in two weeks the next match will be an away-match and it will still play a crucial role in the overall results of the league. And, as we all know, the inter-UC league never ceases to surprise.

AUC 2-0 UCU  TOS ACTIEF/ WEDNESDAY 16th APRIL

Luca Lomonaco

UNI SHOWDOWN: AUC and UCU face each other again on the football field.

On Wednesday the 16th an important football match was played on the football field of AUC.

A person alien to the school dynamics and “traditions” might have thought that such game was actually not that different from the many others played among the University College League.

But most people know that this, was absolutely not the case. On Wednesday the two teams facing each other were the football team of AUC and the one of UCU (Utrecht University College).

Between the two teams there has now been for at least three years an intense rivalry.

Such rivalry is no urban legend, the players of both teams acknowledge it,  while their reaction to it seems to be really different, according to the player.

“One of the reasons might be that the two teams have always been the best of the entire league. Many times AUC has ended up battling for the first place with UCU.  Such thing has become sort of a tradition and UCU has become our rival”. Pietro Zappalà, AUC player, says.

“I consider the tradition fun. It makes the game more intense and fun to play, both teams give their best.” Salman Bocca D’oro, UCU player, says.

“The tension between the two teams could have not been higher than last Wednesday: UCU had, for the first time in two years, defeated AUC in the previous match, not only hurting its pride but also endangering AUC’s possibility to win the all league. In order for AUC to have a chance to win the league this year, it had to absolutely win the match on Wednesday”. Pietro Ponchia, AUC player, said.

Indeed, last Wednesday, both teams gave their best:  the first half of the game, the two teams had both many opportunities, without though actually scoring any goal. In the second half, AUC was able to score twice. Winning the game, and opening up another opportunity to win the league again this year.

” Both teams played well, unfortunately we were missing two strikers. It would have been a more interesting game if they would have been able to play as well” Boccadoro said.

“The previous match, UCU won the game 3-0. We did not expect that they would prepare so well for it, and we ended up losing due to our impreparation. This time we were ready to give our best, and the results agreed with us”. Zappalà said.

AUC can momentarily relax, enjoying its newly renewed pride. But the next match against Layden will still play a crucial role in the overall results of the league.

Luca Lomonaco

proposal

De Slang huis has just been the tip of the iceberg. However, in the past couple of years many squatter places have been shut down (Vaalreep, De Slang), marking a line between a phenomenon that was vastly spread and (apparently) socially accepted in Amsterdam.

What is the cause of the sudden change in the squatting situation and its integration within the Amsterdam community?

Did the squatters or the municipality play an active role in distancing one from the other?

Or does the main reason lye in private businesses “buying off” vast parts of Amsterdam?

My enterprise project would aim to make light of such questions reconstructing the facts which have been happening in Amsterdam and interviewing different people (citizens, squatters and eventually people involved in the municipality).

Zooming In, the story of a young photographer

Gavin de Boer was only 7 years old when his grandmother gave him a disposable camera as a Christmas present. The connection was immediate, and Gavin began to test his ability to take pictures. For a 7 years old, his results were definitely impressive: not only he showed a particular ability to take proper pictures in focus, but he was also experimenting perspectives and different shots which are quite uncommon for a boy of such age.

Eventually his journey with photography kept ongoing. Gavin moved to Arizona when he was 12 and, at the same age, he was given his first digital camera from his parents. The picturesque landscapes of the area surrounding the city of Phoenix allowed Gavin to deeply experiment Nature photography: for four years Gavin kept on improving his ability to portray landscapes and animals.

At the age of 16 he moved back to Holland with his family. At this age Gavin started to cultivate his interest within High School as well: he began to take art classes in order to further exercise and improve his photography skills. A drastic shift also occurred to Gavin’s photography style: it became more portrait focused and natural landscapes and animals were substituted by an urban environment and its inhabitants.

During his Junior year of High School in Holland though, Gavin took part of a school trip that would have become probably the most important moment (and eventually even the beginning) of his career as a photographer: Gavin joined Most of his High School in a school trip to India.

The incredible environment of the country revealed itself to be the biggest source of inspiration which Gavin had ever encountered (even now, after 4 years, he still considers the trip to India the most important moment of his experience as a photographer).

During his trip he was noticed by one of his teachers while constantly taking pictures. the teacher appreciated Gavin’s work and asked him to give him the pictures so that he could publish them immediately as a reportage of the trip. However, Gavin refused the offer.

According to Gavin de Boer, photography is a process: the camera initially absorbs what is there to be seen and then, through the process of editing the photographer finalizes the piece, adding its own personal filter to it. Therefore, Gavin refused such offer simply telling the teacher that the photographs could be passed only after he would be done editing them. The teacher was initially skeptical, but once he saw Gavin’s final pieces he was so impressed that he heavily encouraged Gavin to participate in competitions in which he would have been able to test his skills.

He eventually joined a competition given by Olympus, the photographic brand. Despite his low expectations Gavin’s “Indian  picture” made it to the second place and Gavin won a workshop with the Olympus photographers. Once again, he was noticed by the other professional photographers of Olympus, which kept on inviting him to more and more workshops. After awhile Gavin finally felt confident enough to ask to the management to let him join the Olympus crew. Initially his request was denied, since the management argued that he was too young and inexperienced. However, the rest of the photographers of Olympus decided to support Gavin’s request arguing that they had had multiple chances to witness his growing talent and skills. Therefore, Gavin became an Olympus ambassador, gaining a sponsorship from Olympus consisting in paid material, free workshops and the opportunity to represent the brand in different jobs and events. Joining Olympus also gave Gavin an important push for his CV, allowing him to find more and more jobs and opportunities on his own. He started dedicating more and more of his time to artistic photography and conceptual portraits, while still working most of his time for Olympus.

He was also able to make contacts in the world of fashion modeling: Becoming each photo shoot more and more required from different modeling agencies to shoot their models. In Amsterdam Gavin has been working for the modeling agencies of  Alpha Male   and Elite.

After High School, Gavin was first undecided on whether he wanted to make photography his full time profession. Due to his indecision, he decided to first attend a business school. However, after one year of such studies he realized that the only thing he wanted to be his full time occupation was photography.

In 2014 then, he decided to start his studies at the Fotovak school of Amsterdam, which he is currently attending. Gavin hopes that through focusing on photography as his study he shall be able to improve and polish his skills more and more.

When asked about what his dream would be Gavin’s reply knew no hesitation, he immediately answered:” wherever my career will take me I hope that one day I will be able to be a source of inspiration for young photographers like me”.

article

The battle in the streets of Amsterdam knows no frontiers: the long-lasting battle of De Slang huis.

Many people that are anyhow familiar with Amsterdam are well aware of the existence of De Slang huis occupied building in the center of the city (Spuistraat 199). Which has always been renowned as a magnet for different types of exhibitions and cultural events and, most considerably, incredible street art gathered there from many artists coming from all over the world.

It is almost ironical how while the all city’s attention was turned over the events occurring at the Maagdenhuis, and the ongoing student protests, Another “battle” has sparked in the streets of Amsterdam: the Squatters occupying De Slang huis have repelled the eviction through fires and paint bombs the 25th of March and have then been evicted the day after, the all block now seems like an abandoned battlefield. Traces of paint, fires, broken bricks and bicycles and the destroyed building now are the only remains of what once was probably considered the most flourishing cultural area of Amsterdam.

It is an interesting odyssey, the one that De Slang huis has been through: squatted in the 80’s when Amsterdam was going through a financial crisis De Slang huis has been considered one of the most successful examples of squatting  in Amsterdam: the 9 people which initially started the operation have been able to renew the all building implementing electricity and bringing running water as well.

They have been able to reject eviction demanded from multiple different owners thanks to Dutch laws which forbid eviction unless the owner had an actual plan for the building.

This is not the case anymore though, since from 2010 squatting is illegal in the Netherlands.

Moreover, most of the block has been bought by the social housing company De Key which has a plan to make luxury apartments in the area.

The squatters living in the house have tried multiple times to have a dialogue with the company in order to come to some sort of legalized renting agreement. But the company has never answered them. They even got the city council to intervene. Recognizing the value of de Slang huis the council has offered 1.4 million to buy the building off the key. Which has nevertheless refused and asked for 2.5 millions.

The squatters realize that the housing company is broke and that selling an entire block comes way more handy. However, they also conducted multiple surveys in the area realizing that the block is not only incredibly valuable artistically, culturally and economically ( some of the street art present in the block is incredibly valuable) but also that the inhabitants of the area incredibly value De Slang huis.

The proof of that was today when, one day after the squatters had voluntarily given the keys away and left the house, the all building has been re-squatted by civilians (and other members of the Squatting movement) which have fought against the eviction.

Similarly to the other sudden occupations which have happened lately in Amsterdam no one really knows what will happen from now on.

However, it seems that Amsterdam as of now is the “centre” of people fighting the overpower of private businesses in culture, education and decision making which (according to the protesters and apparently most of the public opinion) should belong to the citizens.

http://dutchstories.com/de-slang-a-farewell-to-revolution/

Luca Lomonaco