The following projects came about and were executed independently of each other. In most cases, an appeal was made to the (National) Institute for Research of the Public Body for their realisation. The institute often helps directly with the execution of projects. Images are also made available, funds generated and data stored. With the warmest of greetings from the (N) IRPuB.
Rich Amsterdam is an ode to diversity and variation among people in general and those of the Amsterdam population in particular. The project uses the book 180 Amsterdammers.180 Amsterdammers, by Ahmed Larouz and Chantal Suissa-Runne, with co-authors Eberhard van der Laan, Michiel van Nieuwkerk, Story Supply and Russell Shorto, for project 180 Amsterdammers, Lannoo publishers, December 2016, 1st edition, EAN 9789401442176, 24, 7x17.7x4.2 cm, 480 pages.This book is part of the project of the same name, in which 180 foreigners of different nationalities have been interviewed and portrayed.
Russell Shorto says in a column in the book: “But where the diversity of Amsterdam stands out is how far it goes back in the past. It is perhaps an exaggeration to claim that Amsterdam invented the phenomenon of diversity, but it is certain that the growth of Amsterdam and the flourishing of the city during the Golden Age had everything to do with its diversity. In any case, it is no exaggeration to state that Amsterdam, as a melting pot of Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, formed a blueprint for modern city life.”
Different parts of the images of the 180 foreign people portrayed have been used to create a number of works in the Rich Amsterdam project
Eyes 1 – Rich Amsterdam (127 eyes of 127 people of 127 different nationalities, living in Amsterdam in 2016) / printed paper, pins, wood, paint / 45.5 x 45.5 cm / 2018 In the middle the 1st (right) eye is of Zakya Haidari from Afghanistan. On the following circles, from inside to outside the eyes belong to people of countries alphabetically ordered. Each circle runs clockwise from the top center till the last eye, the 127th (right) eye of João Gonçalves from Portugal at the top left. The buyer of the work receives an overview with the exact placement and names of all people.
Eyes 3 – Rich Amsterdam (169 eyes of 169 people of 169 different nationalities, living in Amsterdam in 2016) / printed paper, pins, wood, paint / 45.5 x 45.5 cm / 2019 Of the 180 eyes, the 1st eye on the first row on the top left is the 128th (right) eye of Mo Tamimi from Qatar. Then per row from left to right the number is increasing till the 180th, (right) eye of David Kelly from Zimbabwe. Then the rows are continued with the first (right) eye of Zakya Haidari from Afghanistan to the very last eye, the 116th (right) eye of Adreniyi Brown Balogun from Nigeria, at the bottom right. The buyer of the work receives an overview with the exact placement and names of all people.
Rich Amsterdam is carried out together with the (National) Institute for Research of the Public Body, (N) IRPuB.
Image side of the Other / wood, glass, paper / 823x250x72cm / 2008-2011
Detail image side of the Other / wood, glass, paper / 823x250x72cm / 2008-2011 / foto AT
Text side of the Other / wood, glass, paper / 823x250x72cm / 2008-2011
Detail text side of the Other / wood, glass, paper / 823x250x72cm / 2008-2011 / foto AT
’Long ago is far away. There was a time when meeting other people and cultures was seen as an exciting European voyage of discovery. Travelers were shameless collectors and taxonomists of exotic customs, remarkable practices and strange faces. Old travel documents are still witness to this zoological approach of the exotic other.’ Source: Gosewijn van Beek in his article ‘Culture in tatters’ in the book Rood Katoen [red calico]from artist Roy Villevoy.
During WW II, the amateur anthropologist Paul Julien (1901-2001) carried out research into pygmies in Africa. He was perhaps the last Dutchman who belonged to the previously mentioned group of European explorers. He wrote several books and gave talks for KRO Radio. In a video he introduces his practice. Although his research methods were, in terms of science, increasingly controversial, Julien had a major influence on how Africa was perceivedat that time.
In the years before and after the war, large numbers of people sat huddled around their radio when Dr. Paul Julien held his talks for the KRO (public broadcasting organization) about his experiences in Africa. He was researcher and explorer, and passionate traveller. Julien died on 17 February this year, a month after he turned 100 and as such (as far as is known) the oldest KRO employee.
His KRO radio talks were particularly popular. Julien gave them in the years from 1932 to 1938, in 1946/1947 and 1949 to1952; they were reports of his 29 expeditions, with titles such as 'As blood hunter in Liberia', 'Crusade in Africa’ and 'Campfires along the Equator'. KRO studio bosses regarded him as one of the two best radio speakers of the time. Source: ‘In Memoriam: Paul Julien’ (KRO). ’Campfires along the Equator’, 2 March, 2001.
Paul Julien travelled through the African jungle with a caravan of indigenous carriers and initially carried out research into body and skull measurements. Later he carried out blood research and investigated the occurrence of sleeping sickness among the population. He was one of the first who researched the way of life and world view of pygmies. He wrote and behaved like a colonial, Roman Catholic and extremely paternalistic. But Julien managed to transcend this attitude by his unmistakable care, attention and feeling of belonging.
His book, ‘Pygmies’ first appeared in 1953. In this book, Julien published several stories about his expeditions that had taken him deep into the African interior. The book is illustrated with his own photos. Amazingly, the book was reprinted in 1997. Apparently the (partly) outdated text was not seen as sufficiently objectionable. Perhaps it had more to do with the photos. And maybe we haven’t changed all that much.
Book ‘Pygmies’ by Paul Julien. Left the early print from 1953, right the newest reprint from 1997
For the installation, the book ‘Pygmies’ by Paul Julien was re-used in its entirety, both the 292 pages of text and the 76 black and white photos. It became an installation in which to meet other people. Firstly, the Pygmies, as collected and presented by Julien in text and images. In addition, we meet Julien himself, as taxonomist, collector and missionary.
We recognize ourselves in him – his audience, readers and listeners who delight in his stories about exotic Africa. And then we are confronted with ourselves as the present observers of an installation that leans on the ‘exotic other’. Still, meeting other people and cultures is often seen as the most important component of our own version of the voyage of discovery, the vacation; the more exotic the better.
Overview and details image side of the Other / wood, glass, paper / 823x250x72cm / 2008-2011 / photos AT, AT, WH, WH, AT AT
Overview and details text side of the Other / wood, glass, paper / 823x250x72cm / 2008-2011 / photos AT, JL, JL, AT, SV
The Other is formed by a free-standing wall with 40 panels, each of about 70x100cm; 2 on top of each other and 20 next to each other. Each panel consists of a wooden frame inside which a collage is clamped between 2 glass plates. On one side of each frame, 4 enlarged photos from the book can be seen. The other side displays 16 pages of text. The photo side and the text side are always pasted back to back.
All the ‘human skin’ has been cut from the photo side. The more detailed the photo, the more detailed the cutting out. Because the layers are pasted together, the holes in the photos are at the same time holes in the text sections on the other side.
On the lustrous black and white photos in the book, the physical appearance of the pygmies is particularly noticeable. In the installation, the effect is less direct, our gaze is no longer drawn to the skin of these people. In the open places, a space opens up for the spectator to focus on questions about appearance and personality.
Here, we look back in time and at the same time, through the glass we see the spectators on the other side of the wall, our present reflection. On the text side, we read the observations of Julien where his silent witnesses loom like ghosts. That experience is enhanced by the view of the spectators through the glass.
The wall is physical in the sense that you have to walk around it to see everything and it is constructed in such a way that it evokes an image of frames and windows through which you can look inside or outside. The 4 black photo areas per panel look like windows in which the passer-by is reflected, while the words and text resemble net curtains.
The making of the Other / wood, glass, paper / 823x250x72cm / 2008-2011 / photos WH
The same method is used to cut out the images as that of the Archive department of the Institute for Research of the Public Body.
A print of 4 images per panel is made for one side and a print of 16 pages of text for the other side. Both prints are pasted back to back on each other using a type of glue that does not immediately harden.
On the image side a cutting plan per image is drawn. Then all the parts of the image are cut out using a sharp knife. Cutting out occurs taking into consideration the function of the part of the body depicted. The organs, skeleton shape and appearance of the body are taken into account.
Once all 4 images of the body have been cut out, the double, glued sheet is pressed between two glass plates and mounted in a wooden frame. When the frame is turned around, it becomes clear that holes have appeared in the original text on the other side. In the text about the people on the images, the same people now emerge again, grouped in parts.
Sya van ’t Vlie wrote an article about the Other. Sya van ’t Vlie is a historian with a special interest in modern and contemporary spatially oriented art. She calls herself a sculpture promoter. She promotes sculpture in her various roles: as exhibition maker, as publicist and as guide. website Sya (Dutch only)Read this article the Other
Johan Lammerink retells 'Pygmies' by Dr. Paul Julien
by Sya van 't Vlie (text and photos by Sya van 't Vlie; translation by Geraldine Nesbitt)
Dr. Paul F.J.A. Julien (1901-2001) was a Dutch explorer and anthropologist why became famous after WW II with his African travel reports. Between 1926 and 1952 he led almost thirty expeditions through ‘Darkest Africa’, which he reported on in radio programs and four photo-illustrated books. With a caravan of indigenous carriers, he took off through the jungle for research. Initially into body and skull measurements of the indigenous population and later for research into blood groups and the occurrence of illnesses such as sleeping sickness. He was one of the first to research the pygmies. As he said himself, his books belonged ‘neither to scientific literature nor the belle lettres’. In his preface, he calls ‘Pygmies’: ‘a book that wants to talk about the small hunters of the jungle and wants to see these primitives not in the first place as scientific problem but above all as fellow creatures and people alongside us’.
Visual artist, Johan Lammerink, who himself lived and worked in Africa for three years, stumbled upon the 1997 reprint of ‘Pygmies’ ten years ago. What fascinates him is the duality that came over him as he read. He finds the travelogue informative and even entertaining, but at the same time he noticed how biased and patronising Julien is. In the time of Julien’s voyages of discovery, Africa was still completely colonized by Western powers and the colonial relationships were taken for granted. Julien’s ethnocentric vision was quite normal for the time, just like his paternalistic tone and missionary approach. We now tend to condemn that type of research. After all, aren’t we civilised to people from a different culture these days? However, Lammerink does not want to criticise. Nor does he want to make allowances for Julien as ‘a child of his time’. That would be just as patronizing. He does however, wonder to what extent we have managed to shake off our prejudices when it comes to our encounter with ‘the Other’. That is why he decided to re-tell ‘Pygmies’, challenging our audience to allow the eyes of now to take an unbiased look at the other, whether that is a pygmy, Julien or a fellow visitor.
Julien’s book consists of text pages and a mid-section with photos. Lammerink has printed out the text pages at full size and enlarged the photos. Then he pasted a sheet with four text pages to the back of every photo.
Using the photo side as guide, he then cut away all the visible skin of the people, making sure to leave the structure of the body intact. An inevitable consequence was that he also cut the text side along with the photo. Paradoxically, by cutting away information, Lammerink adds a new dimension. The effect on the photo side is different from the text side. On the photo side the skin has been cut away, but the human form remains recognisable in its surroundings. However, on the text side, pieces of text are missing, while the people the text speaks of loom like ghosts in the text.
Because, in his re-telling, Lammerink wants to show both the photo side and all the text sides at the same time, he made a free-standing wall for the observer to walk around. He has made twenty windows in it, in two rows of ten. He has mounted four photos in each window and sixteen pages of text on the other side. Inside every window, small bars on the photo side divide the photos into two rows of two, and on the text side for a division into four groups of four pages. Lammerink compares his installation to a gable wall with windows. He sees the text side as the inside with a lace curtain, the photo side is the outside of the gable where the windows appear black.
With his installation, which he calls The Other, Lammerink saves Julien’s research from fading to oblivion. By removing text and photos from their cover, he unlocks a piece of the past. He not only gains insight into Julien’s research, but also into the living conditions of the pygmies. We see the caravan travelling through the jungle, measuring of the pygmies, and how they make music. If we want, we can read more about the research and ways of life. However, Lammerink has only enlarged the photos and cut away text to make room for image. His re-telling is mainly a picture story.
Not just a picture story but an interactive picture story. The installation connects the past with the here and now; with the space where the wall is erected and with us, the viewers. The cut-out holes act as vistas on the space. In turn, that space colours the photos in. Additionally, the installation invites interaction and even play, because suddenly through the cut-out heads we encounter another viewer. Lammerink lets us look at each other and pose for each other through a head from the past. What does that do to us? We are not only marked by that past, but we have also partly filled in that cut out head again. We also appear in Julien’s text, not as ghosts but as people of flesh and blood. By making his image story interactive Lammerink stresses that it is not his intention to criticize Julien’s research methods. He does however allow us to compare how Julien then, and we now, look at ‘the Other’.
Things to consider by the Other
Overview map of the missionary terrains in Dutch East India from ‘Atlas of the terrains of the Protestant Mission in Dutch East and West India, 2nd Edition 1939, published by the Mission Agency of cooperating missionary corporations of Oegstgeest.’
The mission - As a child I was fascinated by the fathers and nuns from our village. They were the missionaries in their wide robes who occasionally returned from remote places somewhere in the world to tell their fantastic stories from the pulpit of the church about the mission. They were glowing stories of hardship, conversions, poor brown babies and baking stones. But also about hiding in the forest and murder and arson by yet another ‘insurgent’. I remember stories from Belgian Congo, Dutch Indies, and Dutch Papua New Guinea. I was equally fascinated by the unfamiliar green one hundred guilder notes that suddenly piled up in the collection bag: simultaneously local development aid and indulgence.
The mission - 'Mission’ is a monologue, written in 2007 by David van Reybrouck. In it, the Belgian missionary gives his entirely independent but also disconcerting vision of Congo, where he worked for decades and experienced horrific things. Some suspicion towards this figure is not misplaced. As missionary, is he trying to convince us that Belgium’s colonial past also had its positive sides? Will he try to convert us? A haunting monologue by Bruno Vanden Broecke. From the synopsis: “Here, an old but still vital missionary in Eastern Congo looks back on his life. And does so with surprise resilience and sorrow. In a fragmented monologue, he reflects on his choices, commitment and above all, trust. A theatrical text based on interviews with missionaries in Congo today. The missionary reassessed as tragic person – and this without irony.” For a more critical note about the same missionaries, see Didier Goyvaerts in DeMorgen (Dutch only) of Bambi Ceuppens & Sarah de Mul in Rekto Verso (Dutch only)
Unsettled Objects - Influenced by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, Unsettled Objects was the outcome of Lothar Baumgarten's image documentation and intervention through language, of the ethnographic collection and display at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. The Pitt Rivers Museum exhibits the archaeological and anthropological collections of the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. Curious what the presentation of the Pitt Rivers Museum looks like? See the tour (adobe flash needed) with panoramas.
Each slide visually depicting display cases and object arrangements features a word, ranging from “rationalized”, “narrated”, “valued” to “typified” that captures the museum’s attempt towards accessibility and rational classification. Unsettled Objects formed one of his studies of how several European ethnographic museums display objects and frame perceptions, and the ways objects have been uprooted from their original contexts and remain unsettled against western discourses. Source: Magdalen Chua in ‘Unsettled Objects’, an internet article from 2011.
Image from La Javanaise(2012) by Wendelien van Oldenborgh and David Dibosa with Sonja Wanda and Charl Landvreugd. The film is a double projection that plays with the notion of authenticity. The use of cinematographic aesthetic in Van Oldenborgh’s work supports an informed treatment of historical and contemporary material.
Hollandaise – When I was working in Tanzania, I became impressed with the colourful cloths used by many women as dresses. Basically, the garment consisted of no more than a single or double folded cloth. Prints could vary from colourful patterns and pictures of products to memories of political manifestations. The cloths were bright and expressive and I soon bought several. The names of local textile factories like Mwatex or Sunguratex were printed along the edge. Interestingly, the name of the factory was often followed by ‘designed by Vlisco, Helmond’ (Helmond is a small town in the Netherlands). Up to then, I had never heard of this company.
‘Hollandaise’ is the title of an exhibition that was held in 2013 in the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam. In newsletter No. 130 that appeared at the same time, the organizers, Jelle Bouwhuis and Kerstin Winking began their introduction with: “Names such as Wax Hollandais, Hollandaise, Dutch Wax, wax print or batik print were freely used interchangeably, but the meaning is always the same: the exuberant and colourful textile that we know mainly from African countries, and particularly West Africa. It is less well known that in the colonial era, the Dutch and the British imitated this textile print of the Indonesian handmade batik using industrial production processes and then found their largest market in Africa. Even today, the Dutch textile company, Vlisco is the market leader. Hence ‘Hollandaise’.” Originally, Vlisco was called ‘P. Fentener van Vlissingen & Co’. The company was founded in the Netherlands in 1846 and has produced textile for the African market since about 1927.
The curator of the exhibition was the director of RAW Material Company in Dakar, Koyo Kouoh. In her exhibition concepts, she establishes cross-links between Europe and Africa. Read more in her contribution to the newsletter.
HOLLANDAISE A journey into an iconic fabric Koyo Kouoh
(Under here a few excerpts from her text in the newsletter, JL)
The bright and distinctive wax prints are generally regarded as African fabrics, while there is nothing African about them, be it in their production technique, their design, their manufacture or their commercial marketing. The history of wax prints is an emblematic tale of commercial domination that began in the middle of 19th century and continues down to today. It is also a tale of the – to put it mildly – transfer of the skills of the Indonesian batik tradition to Dutch textile manufacturing. The specific wax technique used today by the Dutch company Vlisco, and many others, was traditionally developed in Java, Indonesia and brought to the shores of Africa in a grand project of commercial expansion.
Ever since I came across the Nigerian conceptual artist Yinka Shonibare MBE's work in the early 1990s, I have been very interested in developing a curatorial project that would look at the historical background and contemporary meaning of Dutch wax prints in the light of the multiple readings that they provide today. My interest lies in the interlacements of colonial ideas, cultural perceptions and the construction of identitarian attributes. It has always been a mystery for me how, unlike France or Great Britain, The Netherlands has achieved an almost total erasure of active knowledge about its colonial enterprise. The colonial discourse on the common (market) places of history hardly ever refers to The Netherlands; and this is even more pronounced in Africa, despite the evidence of South Africa.
While the French and the Brits get more than their share, one rarely hears the Dutch mentioned. I was intrigued by this, especially when you look at how an iconic Dutch product has become the defining metaphor for African design, fashion and expression that symbolizes identitarian “authenticity” within Africa, and in the eyes of those looking at it: wax prints (also commonly called Hollandaise, in its high-end version). It is both a fake, and nevertheless a true sign of Africanness worldwide.
It is fascinating how quickly this purely European product was appropriated, embraced and adopted as a means of self-expression. The perception of the Dutch as well-meaning traders, as opposed to colonial masters, may provide a clue. In fact, except for South Africa, Dutch “travelers” in Africa back in those days displayed little to no “civilizing” zeal or assimilationist expansion, in contrast to their French, British and Portuguese colleagues. One could argue that trading with them was almost an act of rebellion.
The use is its meaning.
Regardless of its origin and the exploitative mechanisms attached to it, this fabric has been adopted, and through its use has created a local meaning of its own and a hierarchy of styles and quality that should not, and cannot, be denied.
According to postings on Vlisco’s website, it was estimated that 75% of all wax prints in Africa displayed Vlisco designs, but only a portion of these were theirs. Around 2006 the cheaper imitations from China seriously threatened the continuation of the firm. To combat this trend, Vlisco decided to become a leading fashion brand in Africa. Since that date Vlisco advertises with the subtitle “The True Original”. The company now not only produces new designs for wax prints, but also launches these as collections with the rhythm of the fashion trade. An advertising campaign accompanies each collection, and flagship stores have been opened in major cities of West Africa. The photo shoots for the quarterly advertising campaigns are organized by a Dutch agency in Amsterdam. Black models are hired to perform Africa and the ultimate look of the stylish African woman. With this strategy, Vlisco perpetuates the biased idea of African authenticity by suggesting that the authentic African woman is dressed in wax prints, and preferably “true original” ones. Read the complete article in the SMBA Newsletter No 130, page 3.
Window on the world – “In their folders, travel agencies use numerous photos of indigenous peoples. The exotic effect is meant to encourage customers. There is the prospect of a visit to the indigenous people, of which the indigenous people themselves are usually unaware. They are a product and are sold in advance. At best, they may earn a small amount or a ballpoint pen on the spot if they allow themselves to be photographed. If they are lucky, because the tourist may pay hundreds of euros for a flight, but will argue over paying a couple of cents for a photo, some even refuse ‘in principle’ to give anything. … During these group tours I notice that for some of the travellers it really doesn’t matter where they are… Sometimes they seem to not even be fully present and travel only so they can tell stories of their adventures later.” Source: Matthijs Blonk (Dutch only) in ‘Zip off pants seeks animal hide’ (Dutch only), a journalistic article on his internet site, also published in Indigo, February 2007.
In this self-sufficient ‘capsule’ tourists traverse their vacation destination. A sleeping compartment has been built on a four-wheel drive truck. The seating area up front seats between 22-36 passengers. There’s a fold out kitchen in the back. This hotel on wheels is a patent-protected German concept. Rotel Tours now has thousands of these ‘beds on wheels’. The travel company, which has already been around for a couple of decades, promotes ‘contact between man and nature’, operates worldwide and offers trips such as Cairo-Cape Town.
M/F 1 is the start of a series of unique portraits that come directly and unprocessed from the internet - ‘net portraits’. They are images of transsexuals, people who believe they were born in the wrong body and have had work done on their bodies and appearance.
The images are grainy, the pixel size is 0.5cm. This refers to the medium where they were found, the internet, but also to the way those portrayed are perceived. From a distance, the images are sharp enough to recognize someone. Up closer, the images become blurred, just like the exact gender of the person may also be unclear. The colour variations reinforce the idea that the bodies have been worked on.
In the stairway of Arti et Amicitiae – wooden plaques, chandelier, stained glass windows
model - miss may 1956 & miss december 1967 / slide projections / 2 parts, each 150x350cm / 2002 Work on location, non-members only - group exhibition, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam
Artists' society Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam is an important art institute that has existed since 1835. To add fresh blood to the membership, in 2002 several artists were asked to take part in a special exhibition.
The premises of ‘Arti’ on the Rokin has a stately stairway with stained glass windows, a chandelier and wonderful wood stairs leading to the exhibition halls. 2 rectangular wooden plaques with the names of (famous) artists, founders and board members from the rich history of Arti hang in this stairway.
Invitiation to model - miss may 1956 & miss december 1967
As brand new member it seemed appropriate and interesting to me to create an ode to those who have shaped and carried this institute for more than a century and a half. It has become a tribute with a wink, in the tradition of ‘the artist and his model’. To warm them up a bit again, I ‘spoiled’ the ‘old’ artists and board members with 2 large as life models.
model - miss may 1956 & miss december 1967 / slide projections / 2 parts, each 150x350cm / 2002 Work on location, non-members only – group exhibition, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam
On the wooden panel on the left there are the names of visual artists, with the caption: “arti et amicitiae” to Dutch visual artists.JOZEF ISRAELS J. BOSBOOM A. MAUVE CHs. ROCHUSSEN JACOB MARIS GEO. POGGENBEEK H. W. MESDAG L. ALMA TADEMA J. H. WEISSENBRUCH MATTHIJS MARIS WILLEM MARIS ALB. NEUHUIJS AUG. ALLEBÉ B. J. BLOMMERS P. J. C. GABRIEL TH. SCHWARTZE – VAN DUIJL G. H. BREITNER W. WITSEN G. W. DIJSSELHOF JAN VETH A. J. DER KINDEREN PIETER DE JOSSELIN DE JONG FLORIS HENRIK VERSTER JAN TOOROP M. A. J. BAUER ISAAC ISRAELS JAN VOERMAN JAN EDUARD KARSEN MARTIN MONNICKENDAM J. H. JURRES JAC. VAN LOOY JAN SLUIJTERS LIZZY ANSINGH COBA RITSEMA C. J. MAKS
On the wooden panel on the right there are the names of the founders and members of Arti, with the caption: “arti et amicitiae” to her founders and deserving members. J.A. KRUSEMAN J.W. PIENEMAN L. ROIJER A.B.B. TAUREL M.G. TELAR VAN ELVEN A. SCHELFHOUT B.J. VAN HOVE CH. ROCHUSSEN C. SPRINGER J.A.B. STROEBEL H.J. SCHOLTEN J.H. LELLMAN JOHN F. HULK BART VAN HOVE CAREL L. DAKE A. HESSELINK A.M. GORTER C.G. ’t HOOFT N. VAN DER WAAY A.F. REICHER HUUB LUNS S. GARF M.J. VAN RAALTE H.J. WOLTER GEORG RUETER DAVID SCHULMAN A.P. VAN MEVER RIK VAN DER MEY THEO KURPERSHOEK G. BRINKGREVE JOH. GEORG SCHWARTZE KARSPER KARSEN H.P. BERLAGE WILLEM VAARZON MOREL
One visitor wrote: “The projection in the hall stopped me in my tracks. Fantastic.” Arti et Amicitiae
O point, a new clothing line, or in short, O point, is a performance with the emphasis on the details of a person’s body. Instead concealing spots, lumps and scars as much as possible, these are presented as special, specific and individual.
In an intimate atmosphere, a shirt with holes is made for every buyer. That is then labelled and wrapped nicely. The performance is part of the exhibition 'The Sweatshop' in W139 in Amsterdam.
For this exhibition, artists were invited to make unique, wearable clothes from a personal vision.
Beauty spots of celebrities: Enrique Iglesias, Amy Winehouse, Robert de Niro, Scarlett Johansson and Elizabeth Taylor.
A spot, blemish or lump on your face, is that something to be proud of or would you prefer to have it removed? For many, this is an important issue. Marilyn Monroe turned the spot near the corner of her mouth into a beauty ideal. Beauty spots on the face are now also seen as a plus. For that reason, they are sometimes drawn or even tattooed onto the desired place. The beauty spot is a skin condition that has become one of the seven signs of beauty, after it was introduced by Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s. After that many other famous women all over the world have made this beauty ideal important, sometimes by deliberately putting a spot on their face. Madonna is one well known example. Source: Wikipedia
On the rest of our body we prefer not to show unusual features such as lumps, warts, beauty spots and scars, with the exception of summer freckles. The principle of O point is deliberately to show these unusual features on the body, as an expression of the individual. O point displays our body the way we ‘got’ it at birth and what we later added to it. A lot of what takes place in the body, manifests itself as an exterior feature. Our outside is not an unwritten sheet, but rather an interactive screen. As such, it is a personal passport.
O point, a new clothing line / performance with customer and T-shirts, hangers, paper / 2001
O point offers a customized T-shirt that has holes around the unusual features of a body. It openly emphasizes the uniqueness of a body.
O point, a new clothing line / performance with customer and T-shirts, hangers, paper / 2001 / photos WH
In a dressing cubicle, the right size T-shirt is found. The places where the unusual features are on the body of the buyer are transferred onto it. The T-shirt is then prepared for cutting out the holes. It is then tried on again. In this way, the buyer gets a unique product that ‘fits’ his or her body precisely. As is fitting for a special shop, the product is wrapped in tissue paper and given a band and a label. The buyer is handed the T-shirt in a special bag with the O point logo.
Presentation material by O point, a new clothing line / performance with customer and T-shirts, hangers, paper / 2001
Art critic Anna Tilroe wrote in the PS supplement of the newspaper Het Parool: “Artist Johan Lammerink has developed his concept quite well. ‘O, a new clothing line’ is the name of his black shirts, ‘customised’ on the spot by cutting holes in them on ‘places you yourself indicate’. Apparently, this intimate performance, carried out by the friendly artist himself, is particularly popular with the older lady.”
Think Thin was a publicly performed striptease in 3 stages. To be clear, a striptease of a fridge. This took place in the shop window and two upstairs windows of a building in Amsterdam. After each stage the ‘situation’ was temporarily frozen and exhibited.
Part of Think Thin / performance and installation with refrigerator, light boxes, resin, wood, paper / 4x6x2m / 1996
The image (found) of the other body showed a rather voluptuous lady with a curious name that referred to a mosquito and a fridge. As ‘Miss Icebox’ she graced a list of calories of various food products with the promotional title “Midge Fridge, Miss Icebox International, sez: Think Thin”.
Think Thin – 1st stage / performance and installation with refrigerator, light boxes, resin, wood, paper / 4x6x2m / 1996
In the first stage a fridge freezer was placed in the shop window with a processed and enlarged photo next to it of Midge Fridge, alias Miss Icebox. In the upper windows, 2 light boxes were hung with the processed and enlarged images of the Public Body in front of the open fridge. Processing the images was done by the Archive department of the (N)IRPuB that also helped in the performance of the installation. The (N) IRPuB is the (National) Institute for Research of the Public Body. It uses typical terms such as PuB (Public Body), PPuB (Parts Public Body) and RPuB (Remains Public Body). These terms refer to processing of images of the body in the public domain that the institute researches.
Think Thin – 2nd stage, begin / performance and installation with refrigerator, light boxes, resin, wood, paper / 4x6x2m / 1996
In the second stage the image in the shop window – the fridge – is slowly stripped down. Part after part is removed. First the hard outer layer, then the soft middle layer and then the harder inner layer. One part per day is removed. The parts that have been removed are placed on the side of the shop window.
Halfway Think Thin – 2nd stage, middle / performance and installation with refrigerator, light boxes, resin, wood, paper / 4x6x2m / 1996
After stripping down, only the skeleton of the fridge and the ‘content’ are left over. In this case the materialised Parts Public Body in the upper windows; a reference to the solo exhibition Cold Storage, which also featured a fridge – albeit symbolically – for storing the Parts Public Body (PPuB).
At the end of Think Thin – 2nd stage, end / performance and installation with refrigerator, light boxes, resin, wood, paper / 4x6x2m / 1996
At the end of the second stage, the contents of the fridge were also removed. What remained was a stripped-down skeleton of a fridge in the middle of the stripped Miss Icebox and the stripped model in front of the open fridge in the upper windows.
Think Thin – 3rd stage / performance and installation with refrigerator, light boxes, resin, wood, paper / 4x6x2m / 1996
In the third and last stage, the skeleton of the fridge was taken out of the shop window. Its contents were hung up on wooden presentation boards; these were Parts Public Body from the two upper window poured into thick slices of resin.
At the end of Think Thin - end / performance and installation with refrigerator, light boxes, resin, wood, paper / 4x6x2m / 1996
In the space behind the shop window the stripped-down fridge can be seen flanked by a string of stripped layers and parts.
View Adoption Plan
Adopt a person, a beast, a plant or a product. Or adopt a profession, an activity or an idea. Practically everything can be adopted nowadays. It has become a much-used way of showing commitment. It is more often about making a name for yourself and self-promotion. A hefty financial contribution allows people or companies to make their name and/or commitment known to others.
Adopt an animal Adopt? – support vulnerable children I have adopted a chicken. What about you? Adop an apple tree Adopt a bee population Adopt a Christmas tree Adopt a lion Adopt a cow Adopt a child? Adopt a goat Adopt a tree Adopt a pig Adopt a calf Adopt a dog Adopt a roundabout Breda Adopt an orphaned ape Adopt a monument Adopt a midwife Adopt a granny or granddad Adopt a lucky guy Adopt a foreign child Adopt a waste paper basket Adopt a refugee Adopt a buffalo Adopt Boris Adopt a cockroach for your ex Adopt a kilometre Adopt a stone Adopt an island Adopt a stray model Adopt a cat Adopt an elephant Adopt a sheep Adopt a chimpanzee Adopt a lamb? Adopt a bone Adopt a rainforest Adopt a work of art Adopt a flower disk Adopt talent Adopt an orangutan Adopt a bird of prey or owl Adopt a cock Adopt an organ pipe Adopt an object Adopt a book Adopt a street Adopt a project Adopt a garbage container Adopt a terrorist for prayer Adopt a school Adopt a park bench Adopt a drop-out Adopt a park Adopt a show Adopt a playground Adopt a relic Adopt a solar panel Adopt a zebrafish Adopt a route Adopt a wig? Adopt a mammal Adopt a vine Adopt a bible text Adopt a garden Adopt a vicar Adopt history Adopt a wish Adopt a hamster Adopt a pupil Adopt an are Adopt an electric car Adopt a song Adopt a rider Adopt a class or school Adopt a koala Adopt a word Adopt a bench or plank Adopt a baby boom Adopt a student Adopt a piece of heritage Adopt a square meter Adopt a pipe Adopt a name Adopt a horse Adopt a seal Adopt a yew tree Adopt an artist Adopt a fort Adopt an action Adopt a piece of Sardinia Adopt a plant Adopt Adopt a class Adopt a page Adopt a dream Adopt a holocaust survivor Adopt your son in law Adopt a piece of garden Adopt a summer entrepreneur Adopt 10m2 rainforest Adopt a pikmin Adopt a demented senior Adopt a pear Adopt a motor Adopt Toby Adopt a question Adopt a thing Adopt a park Adopt a stick for a world record attempt Adopt a blue and yellow ara Adopt a friend Adopt a disadvantaged Spanish dog Adopt a room Adopt a scanner/printer Adopt a piglet Adopt a chair Adopt a scorpion Adopt a building Adopt a race-duck Adopt a lamppost Adopt a camping ground Adopt something Adopt a war Adopt a video-interview Adopt a war grave Adopt a sponsored child Adopt and create Adopt a component Adopt a starter Adopt a road Adopt once a care group Adopt a beta student Adopt a Christian Adopt a historical pianoforte Adopt an almost home stone Adopt a metro Adopt a stripper Adopt a hive Adopt the abandoned aids orphan Adopt a WW I soldier Adopt a forest ranger Adopt a yak Adopt a German Adopt an election board Adopt a pool Adopt a place to stick Adopt a member Adopt once a platan Adopt an activist Adopt a rhino Adopt a bio-bear Adopt a typewriter from W.F. Hermans Adopt an activity Adopteer me
By the panthers in Artis I came across an adoption notice board with another panther on it, namely the logo of the cigarette brand ‘Panter’. It consists of a panther lying on a cigarillo. My father used to smoke small Panter cigars before he switched to ‘Karel 1’. The cigars came in beautiful little boxes. They were used for a long time to store nuts and bolts and all kinds of rings. The contradiction evoked by the notice board by the panthers, stayed with me for a long time, it was about an extraordinary commercial appropriation.
On the Artis website you can read the text: ‘Support Artis by adopting an animal. Supporting the Artis organization has many benefits. You will be invited to the annual adoption day and you will be notified of the annual report on the website. There are also opportunities for cooperation, for example by means of a joint promotion. We are happy to share our ideas for an adoption animal and the compensation.’
Between the 1970s and 1990s a lot of people in my surroundings had a photo of a ‘third world child’ on their mantel. A photo of your own ‘adoption child’ was sent to you by the Foster Parents Plan (now known as Plan International). The ‘poor’ children, who often had their own parents and families were the pivot in a financial package with photos as mandatory medium for exchange. If the child (and his family and village) wanted money every month, they occasionally had to allow a photo of themselves to be taken. It seemed to me that as a child you could hardly refuse this, you ‘simply’ got a foster family as well. The peculiar coupling, this appropriation of your ‘own poor child’ through the Foster Parents Plan has always fascinated me.
On the Plan International website it says: ‘Become a sponsor and give a child a better future! With your contribution, Plan supports a child, his family and his community! With contributions of more than 70,000 child sponsors, Plan works on sustainable poverty elimination and permanent improvement in the living conditions of children and their families. As a sponsor, you build a personal relationship with your sponsor child. You can write and even visit to see what Plan has achieved with your contribution'Adopt a panther!
Adopt a child!
Adopt a view!
The View Adoption Plan is a combination of a performance and an installation. The performance consisted of the artist and the visitor/ buyer looking for a suitable view for adoption within a particular area. The adoption of this view was recorded on the spot by means of a board with photo which was visible to everyone and an adoption report. Together, all the views and registrations of these views constitute the work and all the buyers together constitute the ’owner’ of this work.
The View Adoption Plan was carried out 2 times. The first time as View Adoption Plan 1 in a contribution to the summer-long manifestation Culture Nature in the Amstelpark in Amsterdam. The second time as View Adoption Plan 2 in a contribution to Live 2, and evening-long art manifestation in The Garsthof in Tilburg.
View Adoption Plan 1
View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997/ photos AT, JL
When I was asked to participate in the manifestation Culture Nature in the Amstelpark in Amsterdam it seemed appropriate to me to think up a plan that was not bound to one place but would include the whole park. Not least because the Amstelpark was created as an exhibition of different elements and gardens together.
The Amstelpark originated in the 1972 Floriade, an international horticultural exhibition. The exhibition grounds covered not only the current Amstelpark but also the Beatrixpark and part of the dike where the ring road Zuid is now found. International and national contributors designed the park at that time. It consisted of various locations, such as the dahliarama, the rhododendron valley and the rosarium. After the Floriade, efforts were made to preserve the original contributions. That is why you still come across a wide variety of flowers, plants and trees in this park. Some of the original contributions, such as the Japanese garden and the Belgian garden can still be found. See the Floriade catalogue.
The park is still unity in diversity. It seemed extremely appropriate to me to let art grow and blossom here throughout a summer. An unself-conscious growth of the same adoption boards, however with completely different views from the View Adoption Plan 1 (VAP) gradually covered the whole park.
Adoption office by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997 / photo AT
Walk around with the artist by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997 / photo AT
Making a polaroid of the view with adopters by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997 / photo AT
Placing of metal pole with board by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997 / photo AT
Mounting of plexiglas board with polaroid by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997 / photo AT
Board with adopters in their view by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997 / photo AT
Board with view by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997 / photo AT
Writing adoption report in adoption office by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997 / photo AT
Adoption report by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997
Map in adoption report by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997
For the execution of the VAP an Adoption agency was set up by the main entrance to the park. People could register here. Then, by appointment, they could walk around the park with the artist. While exchanging stories about art in the Amstelpark, the buyer, together with the artist, looked for the most appropriate or ultimate view. Then polaroid photos were taken of the buyer with the view.
The first photo was mounted directly on a pre-printed plexiglas VAP board and attached to a metal board on a pole. The whole thing was hammered into the ground on the spot. The second phase took place in the Adoption agency. Here, an adoption report, indicating where the view was made, was drawn up. A description and a polaroid photo were also added. The whole process was completed with a stamp and signature of the artist. For a fixed price, the buyer could take the adoption report home as proof that he was a co-buyer of the work and participant of the project.
Views with board, polaroids and locations by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997
The project was carried out in the first 3 months of the summer. The boards were left standing until midway in autumn. A total of 66 adopted and recorded views were part of the View Adoption Plan 1. This also meant the project had 66 owners. Their adoption reports were the tangible evidence of that.
Tea party with group photo by View Adoption Plan 1 / performance and installation with wooden stand, polaroid photo, plexiglas, steel, paper and cake / Amstelpark, Amsterdam / 1997 / photos AT
To underline the cooperative aspect of the project, all 67 participants/owners were invited to a tea party in the park in late summer. Many of them responded. While enjoying tea and cake, they could meet each other and look at the copies of all the views. To round off and as the cherry on the cake a group photo was taken. This group photo was sent to every participant/owner with the adoption report.
From the archive, the adoption reports follow below.
The Culture/Nature manifestation was organized in 1997 by Ontwerpers Adam in the Amstelpark in Amsterdam. The goal was to see what the influence of cultural expression would be in a natural environment. In addition to workshops for architects and artists, objects and installations were built in the park and there was a theatrical train ride with and around the train that since the Floriade still rides through the park.
Polaroid and adoption report by View Adoption Plan 2 / performance and installation with polaroid photo and paper / the Garsthof, Tilburg / 1999
A second View Adoption Plan was carried out as part of the manifestation Live 2 in The Garsthof in Tilburg.
The Garsthof was a former cloister complex, that at the time of the manifestation was listed for demolition. Live 2 was an initiative of the artist’s initiative the Verschijning from Tilburg.
Performance and components by View Adoption Plan 2 / performance and installation with polaroid photo and paper / the Garsthof, Tilburg / 1999
In the gate house of the Garsthof a temporary Adoption agency was set up. Here people were invited to participate in the View Adoption Plan 2. Every view or vista in one of the indoor or outdoor spaces could be used.