Upstream: Music x Design – 5 projects selected

Five proposals have been selected in Upstream: Music x Design. Coordinator Ibrahim Alaoui Chrifi reflects on the first round of the year.

30 June 2022

general impression

The variation within the submitted applications was relatively large this round. Apart from the fact that the projects vary greatly in scale and scope, it is also notable that more starting grants were applied for in this round than in previous rounds of this grant scheme.

Several applications focus on the themes of loneliness, alienation and the influence of technology. In different applications, spirituality, philosophy and mythology appear to be an important source of inspiration. Also recurring in the intended results of various projects is increasing self-awareness, utilizing your own strength, meditation, going beyond the ego and being together physically.

Besides the usual applications that focus on the development of a digital application, an installation or scenography for a live performance, this round also includes applications using fashion design, and one application was submitted from the field of architecture. The representation of design disciplines that the Fund covers is therefore stronger in this round than in the past.

Notable projects in this round include:

phantasy club

Subfiction – Enter – phantasy club
Subfiction – Enter is a collaboration between musician Beau Zwart and designer Vincent Snijders that studies the responsiveness between music and design. The aim of the research is to explore the friction between technology and nature and to question how data flows affect our reality. The result is an audiovisual live performance with music and animation where world-building and storytelling take centre stage. Combined with the research into natural and artificial sources in the creation process, the project explores ways of controlling surreal digital landscapes through sound. In the design process, music and images will be constructed side by side, weaving an album into digital 3D worlds. Based on a programmed algorithm, parameters within music software (Ableton) are linked to a video-game engine (Unreal Engine). The projection of the animations covers the entire surface of the hall while live music is played. In 45 minutes, the audience makes a journey through three worlds that progress from organic to mechanical in an innovative technical system in which music can directly manipulate animations. The premiere of the project takes place at Remastered Rotterdam; it can be seen later at various festivals, including Motel Mozaïque. Collaboration partners for this project include Tijmen van Wageningen (music mixing), Gideon van der Stelt (animation coach and VFX), Vincent Boy Kars (directing coach) and Ian Biscoe (video-mapping coach and live performance).

Lieselot Elzinga

Baby’s Berserk – Lieselot Elzinga
Baby's Berserk is a collaboration between the band of the same name and fashion label Elzinga, which investigates innovative forms of performance and entertainment. While working on fashion, Lieselot Elzinga discovered the effect that light can have on fabric. At fashion shows, she noticed that some fabrics, colours and prints faded or conversely stood out in certain light. With this project, she wants to investigate that concept further by exploring the possibilities of shining light on clothing in the setting of a live performance. The final performance will consist of a light installation and costumes. The light, the clothes and the music are linked during the performance: the light changes in time with the beat of the music and is projected onto the clothes, making the costumes that have special prints appear to change. In the start-up phase, it will be investigated how this can be developed further in order to increase audience involvement by making the visual aspect as unpredictable as the playing of the band. In a later phase, the work will be presented during the Amsterdam Fashion Week. Collaboration partners for this project include lighting technician Danny van de Werf, Amsterdam Fashion Week and Paradiso Amsterdam.


The Bird Of A Thousand Voices – Stichting
The Bird Of A Thousand Voices is an interdisciplinary total artwork that combines film, music, dance, digital art, photography and performing arts in a cross-media telling of the Armenian myth of the same name. The description of other beings and dimensions in this story is fantasy-filled and appeals to the imagination in a way that calls for an interdisciplinary approach. The work builds on earlier collaborations between filmmaker and scenographer Ruben Van Leer and jazz artist Tigran Hamasyan, and explores synergies between music and art (including digital art). The intended result is a concert lasting almost two hours with a music band, a cinema screen and a light installation in an open-ended scenography. As in the old story, the public and local artists go on a ‘pilgrimage’ together in search of the symbolic bird. Holland Festival has confirmed this work for a premiere in Het Concertgebouw in June 2023 and is co-producer. Other confirmed partners are Emio Greco & Pieter C. Scholten (choreography), Florian Hellwig (dramaturg & writer), ICK Ensemble (dance group), Wes Broersen (lighting designer), Roy Gerritsen (creative coder), Edwin Jakobs, studio RNDR (digital design) and Chouchane Tcherpachian (costume designer).

You can see the entire selection here.


The available budget this round was € 150,000; there was an underspend of € 27,401. Of the eleven subsidy applications taken into consideration, five are receiving grants. This brings the percentage of applications receiving grants to 45%. The second and last round this year of Upstream: Music x Design closes on 1 September 2022. The underspend from round one is being added to the budget for round two.

Photo above: Bas Kosters x Stippenlift – JOY BXS