[蒸汽船] Steamboat is an ongoing research by three ArtScientists, Nele Brökelmann, Katarina Petrović and June Yu. Focusing on the methods and conditions for collective interdisciplinary making, we present our findings in different formats: exhibitions, collective writing and collective drifts, workshops, artist talks and our website.

The image of a Steamboat emerged through a collective drawing session, when we were joyously talking and imagining building a place for ourselves. A place where we can support each other by engaging in stimulating dialogues, a place where the imagination can run free, a place where the plant of our interaction is carefully cultivated. We took the image as a mythical origin from which our inquiry materialized into reality.

In our first exhibition at ruimteCAESUUR (Middelburg), we approached the project by scouting the fields that the Steamboat relates to: the history of steamboats, the technology of steam engines and the contemporary analogy of steam engines to search engines. This rough sketch was documented in a video essay (watch below). As we were mapping out the relations, we started to get a clearer sense of the way we work together. This has led to a reflection on the importance of the way collaborations are constructed, in our specific situation as artists and social production in general. How are ideas — considered as steam — formed from a multitude of singular beings? How is collective and collaborative working talked about in the contemporary capitalist framework? What are the limitations and potentials of collective creation in terms of artistic production and the general idea of societal progress? We looked deeper into these questions through our second exhibition at Trixie (The Hague).


Collective Writing

[说话中] Being in Utterance (v.3) (February 2022) - collective writing
[说话中] Being in Utterance (v.2) (August 2021) - collective writing
[说话中] Being in Utterance (v.1) (April 2021) - collective writing

This ongoing utterance is written by the members of sssttteeeaaammm in multilogue with each other. It is a body of text in becoming. We wish to develop it further with you, the reader, joining into the multilogue. To do so, please first read and find the instructions at the current end. We are looking forward to experiencing and publishing the developments.

[蒸汽船] Steamboat in the Making, navigating the turbulent world-seas. (2020)

This text is a screenplay for six characters (three artists, two curators, and the steamboat), extracted and adapted by the members of sssttteeeaaammm from the transcript of our artist talk.


[蒸汽船] Steamboat @ Trixie in The Hague (NL)

2020.09.04 - 2020.09.25


During the exhibition at Trixie, in September 2020, we initiated a series of events that take steam as the conceptual material and propose explorative methods on collective imagination and creation.

During the four weeks of this exhibition at Trixie, we opened up the gallery space as a collective “steam” making plant. Every Saturday there were workshops that take steam as a conceptual material. Together we constructed a world in which steam can exhibit its full conceptual potential. We practiced collective writing in its broadest sense, through different exercises, games and reading materials.

[蒸汽船] Steamboat @ ruimteCAESUUR in Middelburg (NL), organised in collaboration with Witte Rook

2020.07.11 - 2020.08.23


[蒸汽船] Steamboat is an ongoing collaborative research, that focuses on new explorative ways of making-together. Departing from a shared interest in support structures and how we could create one, we take the ‘steamboat’ as a metaphor, being a technology that facilitated global change and transformed world relations. We presented our research as an installation, website and a score that was performed together with the audience and is still available here.


[蒸汽船] Steamboat Workshops @ Trixie in The Hague (NL)


The Collective Writing of our Quest

Steam, considered as a mental process, has the capacity to disrupt existing borders and inject different trajectories of thoughts. In the world of steam, multiplicities of bodies move around each other, and push and pull in various directions. Once the state of condensation is established the bodies slow down and their relations solidify. We are skating on a shield of ice that is our culture until it melts into a non-homogeneous patchwork of ice/water mixture. As the motion of water continuously erases the boundaries of ice, no static border can be kept.

How to make steam in a Scientific World?

This first chapter in our workshop series departs from our current world based on the reading of a chapter from a steampunk novel: The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, wherein the computer age arrives a century earlier. Based on this we engage in several writing exercises.

How to manage steam as an unwanted byproduct?

The second chapter in our workshop series looks at steam as an industrial byproduct. We look into existing industrial management strategies and take the description of these complex processes from academic papers as an inspiration to write steam poetry collectively.

How to make steam in an Extro Scientific World?

In the last chapter of our workshop series we will take the writings produced in the first two chapters to inform us how an alternative world of steam could look like. We will also collectively read and discuss a short paragraph from Science Fiction and Extro-Science Fiction by Quentin Meillassoux. Concluding into collectively enacting, testing and thereby building this alternative world of steam.

Artist Talk

2020.08.23 | [蒸汽船] Steamboat Online Artist Talk

Nele Brökelmann, Katarina Petrović and June Yu in conversation with Hans Overvliet (ruimteCAESUUR) and Esther van Rosmalen (Witte Rook)


In the exhibition at ruimteCAESUUR in Middelburg - the first [蒸汽船] Steamboat presentation, Nele, Katarina and June traced the origin of an image and a metaphor of a Steamboat in the form of an installation, video, website and a sound walk. As they continue to think further about the possibilities and limitations of making together, we invite you to listen to the conversation with Hans Overvliet and Esther van Rosmalen, both initiators of artist-run spaces ruimteCAESUUR, Middelburg, and Witte Rook, Breda.

The [蒸汽船] Steamboat research developed from the ArtScientists coming together based on a shared interest and wonderment about the notions of origin. This has informed an inquiry about the beginning and condition of the creative process between them. “Our experimentation is based on this reflection on the necessary support for collective practices, for its initiation and flourishment. Thereby, we arrive at the metaphor of a Steamboat, that could carry us through the exploration of different forms of artistic making in relation to its assumed responsibility towards the world. We embark on a quest for new horizons of relating and responding to the world.
We are looking forward to thinking together with you!”

Collective Drift

[蒸汽船] Steamboat Drift

This score is a sound fragment that will invite you on a drift through your immediate surrounding, it will take about 30 minutes.

| performed @ Trixie in The Hague (NL)

| performed @ ruimteCAESUUR in Middelburg (NL)