Bedroom in de oude kerk
December 2020 – Museum de oude kerk
Our spaces spiral inward and outward. From private to public realm. The ultimate private realm is the bedroom, a space to let your guard down, become one with your body and give in to gravity. The ultimate public realm is a large crowd, constantly moving, a mass of bodies in which any individual becomes anonymous, visible but not recognized. In between, spaces where conversations and connections can occur, are essential. The spiral needs to keep moving over time. Being alone, then with friends or family, then with acquaintances, then in a large crowd, makes it possible for people to get a point of reference, understand where to situate themselves.
It seemed to me, both from how I experience de Wallen, and from my conversations with residents, that this spiral seems broken in this neighbourhood, lost. Straight from the doorstep of your home, you enter the endless flood of people, the large crowds. Extreme individuality and anonymity rule. The streets are a place to sleep, and bedrooms are commercialized. The binding, bonding atmosphere of a local community which could still offer a point of reference, is evaporating. Maybe, this is because any specific location that could provide the feeding ground for such an atmosphere is lacking in the neighbourhood as well.
I was wondering if the oude kerk, at the center of the Wallen, the oldest church in Amsterdam, could become the gathering space for the local community again, since it used to have such a function in previous centuries. It was a space for contemplation, where people would catch up with one another and receive help. With this installation, I tried to symbolize these thoughts and help people feel at home and calm in a public space, a situation which has become rare in de Wallen.