cartography of chairs and other contingent catastrophes
by Roy Voragen

The hands of the wall clock show the time: 8:41 (and 28 seconds). However, it is unclear whether this is 8:41 in the a.m. or 8:41 in the p.m.; but what is clear, though, is that at that exact moment – coincidence? – someone googled the definition – connotation? – of the word ´everything´, i.e.:




      – all things
      "they did everything together"

                       the whole shebang
                       the full monty
                       the whole nine yards
      – all things of importance
      "I lost everything in the crash"
      – the most important thing or aspect
      "money isn't everything"

      the current situation; life in general
      "how's everything?"
      antonym: nothing

Now, what would an archive of everything look like? Or, as a subset, because we don't have all ff-ing day, an archive of all chairs? The whole shebang!

    All chairs ever imagined.
    All chairs ever drawn & designed.
    All chairs ever made.
    All chairs ever gossiped about.
    All chairs ever bumped into.
    All chairs ever photographed.
    All chairs ever entered dictionaries.
    All chairs ever narrated and theorized.
    All chairs ever affected bodies and things.
    All chairs ever taken up residence in our heads.

An all-encompassing archive of everything chair-related requires the invention of a new field of cartography and, also, librarians who leave copious notes and other imprints in margins. Such as:

Homes. Ephemeral homes. The solid melts. Liquefies. Chances. Coincidences. Coincidences composed. Coincidences remade. Orchestrating contingencies. Bodies. Bodies moved. Bodies moved to another zip code. Homes without organs. Homes that require legwork. Where is home? Who is home? Can homes swap? Can we shift continents? Rumah isn't thuis. Fragility. Finitude. Geography of empathy. Hugs. How to make it home? When does home become a burden? 
Homes shattered. Bodies slammed into tilted things. Foreign objects. Aliens. Shared idiosyncrasies. Lingering Bodies. Lust. Longing. Transferable loneliness. Naked vulnerability. Negated spaces. Negative space. In-between spaces. Isolation. Things not as ding an sich. Archipelago. Ambiguity. Frail failure. Words words words. Ghosts too. And etcetera and etcetera.

The directory of such an archive has probably as many pages as the largest known prime number has digits, in short: when the catalogue becomes this immeasurable the thing being catalogued must be out of this world.

So let’s


               dictionary entries of chairs;

               (don't burn
               chairs residing in our heads);

               and, perhaps, keep
               some photographic evidence.

And, in other words, move from an all encompassing archive to a stuttering archive. The all encompassing archive is totalizing as it offers the delusion that  complete and unified closure is possible. An all encompassing archive is an impossible answer to the wrong question: how to satisfy the desire to completely understand, once and for all, all objects by a singular, autonomous subject.

A stuttering archive, on the other hand, results from an understanding of our fluid world as continuous processes in continual transformation. In this view of things there is no separation between knowing subjects and known objects; we are affected by things, and things are affected by us. Affects are in our encounters in and with the world of things. Brian Massumi writes: ¨To affect and to be affected is to be open to the world, to be active in it and to be patient for its return activity. This openness is also taken as primary.¨ And Sara Ahmed adds: ¨We are moved by things. And in being moved, we make things.¨

Stuttering, stammering, murmuring – to speak with Gilles Deleuze – is to have faith in an archive as a collection of wobbly encounters, i.e. relational. Or: a territory of the not-yet.

In the meantime, artificial light touches a stretch of abandoned pavement. And we – we see but don't see all that can be seen, not because we are visually impaired perse or because the light doesn't illuminate much but because our bodies are oriented in certain ways, directed towards certain things, so that certain things will come into focus over other things (and, obviously, this has ethico-political causes & consequences, so much so that there can – should – be a need to dis-orient/re-orient ourselves).

Stuttering, stammering, murmuring – we make things, things make us, we make archives, archives make us and any cartography crumbles under the un/bearable lightness of contingency…

Roy Voragen is a Maastricht-based writer and curator, and this essay was written in response to the work & practice of Rotterdam-based artist Liza Wolters

b. 1992, lives and works (from Rotterdam since 2014)

Selected Exhibitions

  • THE THINGS THAT FIND US, group exhibition together with Ceola Tunstall-Behrens, Florian Braakman, Rawad Baaklini and Sarah Rose Guitian Nederlof during Rotterdam Art Week.
  • Generous Bodies, Generous Minds, group exhibition with Moosje Moti Goosen and Marleine van der Werf, Science Gallery, Erasmus MC Rotterdam.

  • (all of it but not all of it), multi- solo exhibition at SCHUNCK*, as nominee for the Parkstad Limburg Prijs together with Floor Martens, Mickey Yang, Mike Moonen, Morena Bamberger, Quinn Zeljak, Vera Gulikers and William Ludwig Lutgens, Heerlen (NL)
  • Ornamenting the Home II, a site-specific installation at A Shop Called LIFE, icw Katrein Breukers, 19.02 - 05.03, Rotterdam (NL)

  • Splintered Thoughts and Fragile Plots, group exhibition curated by Tiiu Meiner and Rawad Baaklini, during Noorderlicht International Photo Festival
  • IT COULD BE ABOUT..., Expo6 - videowork in window of Concordia, Enschede
  • (the symbolism of a peeled tree), 24/7 window exhibition for the ‘Raamwerk Project’ of NEStudio’s
  • Ornamenting the Home II, open studio icw Katrein Breukers during Art Rotterdam, 3&4 July
  • toevluchtsoord, work period initiated with Raquel Vermunt and in collaboration with Emma van der Put, Laplander, Leopold/Emmen, Lorelinde Verhees, Hilton Art Lab, Rotterdam

  • ‘...AND ALL OF A SUDDEN SHE PUT A STONE IN MY MOUTH’, solo exhibition at Het Noordbrabants museum

  • Work period and exhibition ‘Try-Out’ at the graphic workplace in the Hague, together with Iliada Charalambous, Tobias Lengkeek, Roland Spitzer, Jason Terlouw, Mickey Yang and Lisa Blaauwbroek. Curated by Lisa Blaauwbroek
  • Event ’TENT op BEZOEK’ , initiated by programme maker Gyonne Goedhoop from TENTEvent ’TENT op BEZOEK’ , initiated by programme maker Gyonne Goedhoop from TENT
    Event ’TENT op BEZOEK’ , initiated by programme maker Gyonne Goedhoop from TENT
  • Artist’ talk at TENT, Part of the 'THUIS bij TENT' series, initiated by programme maker Gyonne Goedhoop from TENT
  • Participant of Prospects & Concepts, Art Rotterdam at the Van Nelle fabriek

  • Duoshow ‘IT MIGHT BE GONE, IT MIGHT BECOME’ with Jasmijn Krol, Team Thursday HQ (Rotterdam, NL)
  • Groupshow ‘As Far As I Can Reach’, curated by Marilou Klapwijk, Quartair (The Hague, NL)
  • Solo exhibition ‘Knowing that it will change over time, Feeling that it will stay the same for now’, der Neue Galerie Landshut (Landshut, DE)
  • Solo exhibition NOW IS A DIFFERENT BACK THEN, museum SCHUNCK* (Heerlen, NL)

  • Solo exhibition NOW IS A DIFFERENT BACK THEN, museum SCHUNCK* (Heerlen, NL)
  • Solo exhibition ‘I’m trying to understand the universe, so it would be nice of you to give me some space’, de Spiegelzaal, Willem Twee Kunstruimte (’s- Hertogenbosch, NL)

  • Groupshow PERROQUET, Loods 12, Wetteren (BE), Group exhibition, curated by Hans Demeulenaere and Bas van den Hurk
  • Groupshow ‘KINDERGEBURTSTAG’, Paris (FR), curated by René Hausstein

  • Groupshop Best of Graduation 2014, Circa...Dit, Arnhem
  • Groupshow Best of Graduation 2014, SBK, Dordrecht
  • Graduation show AKV | St. Joost, Breda

  • Groupshow ‘Somewhere in Between’, Kunstpodium T (Tilburg, NL), ‘Apprentice / Master’ with Charlotte Dumas, Emily Huurdeman, Yasmin van der Rauwelaert and Charlotte van de Velde

    Residencies and work periods
  • Coming up! April-June 2025 NARS Foundation, Brooklyn, New York

  • Orchestrating Coincidence, accompanied catalog for the project, (
  • (all of it but not all of it), accompanied folder for the site-specific installation at SCHUNCK*, 2022/2023
  • Er is een vrouw in de kamer (there is a woman in the room) - In een andere kamer, ook een vrouw - andere tijd, andere ogen (In another room; also a woman - different time, different eyes), publication for work period H(a)L, 2022
  • YOU COULD ACTUALLY KISS THE STONE, riso publication icw Roland Spitzer, 2019
  • NOW IS A DIFFERENT BACK THEN, publication about the solo exhibition at SCHUNCK*, 2017/2018
  • All of these images are the outcome of certain observations, artists’ book, 2016

Events and Presentations
• Part of the peripheral program of TENT ‘At home at TENT’ and ‘TENT’ visiting’, an initiative by programme maker Gyonne Goedhoop
2017 / 2018
  • Several guest lectures at AKV | St. Joost (Breda and ’s- Hertogenbosch, NL)
  • Presentation book ‘All of these Images Are The Outcome Of Certain Observations’, Unseen Photo Book fair, represented by PhotoQ (Amsterdam, NL)
  • Event Young Publishing Night, PrintRoom, Rotterdam (NL), presentation dummy ‘All of these images are the outcome of certain observations’ Together with Maurice van Es, Roos van den Oetelaar and Renée Verberne
  • Presentation of the book ‘All of these images are the outcome of certain observations’ by Mondriaan Fonds, ‘Tables’, during ART Rotterdam & ART Brus

   Grants and Nominations
  • 2022 Jaap Harten Fonds for catalogue ‘Orchestrating Coincidence’ icw Hilde Onis
  • 2022 Stichting Stokroos for catalogue ‘Orchestrating Coincidence’ icw Hilde Onis
  • PPR support, CBK Rotterdam
  • 2021 Corona bridging grant, Mondriaan Fund
  • 2021 Makersloket grant for ‘Ornamenting the Home’ icw Katrein Breukers
  • 2021 Makersloket grant for publication work period H(a)L icw Raquel Vermunt
  • 2021 Makersloket grant for audiowork ‘de kleine waanzin’ icw Dean Bowen
  • 2020 Research and Development Grant (O&O),
    CBK Rotterdam, for more info click here
  • 2017/2018 Stipendium for Emerging Artists, Mondriaan Fund
  • 2014 Graduation grant, residency period at St. Moritz Art Academy, St. Moritz (CH)
  • 2011 Nominee BLEND TALENT AWARD

  • Commissioned photography for the representation of individuals, organizations and institutions in and outside the cultural sector (
  • PR & Communication interim August - December '23 and March – June '24, Kunstinstituut Melly Rotterdam, NL
  • Involved to think and work along within cultural organizations and comissions about values, inclusivity, transparency, communication and codes of conduct
  • Part of the collective Networked Collective
  • Workshops Collective Making as part of Networked Collective, Fine arts and Creative writing departments, ArtEZ, Arnhem, NL
  • Masterclass ‘Build-Up’ for the residents of BredaPhoto, Breda, NL
  • Lecturing about my practice, AKV | St. Joost, Breda, NL 
  • Development and execution accompanied workshop for Ilke Gers, TENT, Rotterdam, NL
  • Mentor during mentorship pilot CBK for applying artists O&O funding, Rotterdam, NL
  • Photography and video for the Fair Practice Code interview series
  • TENT and Kunstinstituut MELLY as freelance producer/floor manager, Rotterdam, NL
  • Guest teaching at the academies AKV | St. Joost, Breda and HKU, Utrecht, NL
  • Producer Kunst&Werk AKV | St. Joost, Breda, ’s- Hertogenbosch, NL
  • Film producer and interviewer several cultural committed projects (for de Zaak Nu, Fair Practice Code, NEST and independent filmmakers and artists)
  • Co-initiator and core member artists’ initiative Club Solo, Breda, NL
  • Organisator AiR Hoogtepunt, founded by Femke Dekkers, Breda, NL

    2009 – 2014 Bachelor Fine Arts / AKV | St. Joost, Breda

‘Ornamenting the Home’
Fragments of the open studio during ART Rotterdam ‘21.
In February/March 2022 a site-specific installation of ‘Ornamenting the Home’ will be on show at A Shop Called LIFE.  

Where you come from, what you take with you, and what you leave behind, says a lot about where you are now. The past and the present are intertwined, trickling through to your everyday life, all the while shaping how you see, experience, and act. 

As a starting point for Ornamenting the Home, Katrein Breukers and Liza Wolters drew on their own childhood memories. Both have lived in unconventional home situations and have explored ways to (silently) resist the spaces they were in. Some fleeting situations, expressions, or gestures become clear - and clearly absurd - only in hindsight.

For Ornamenting the Home they work in an associative way, using photographs from their family albums to make sculptural collages from texiles, ceramics, print, video and text.