My first Noord-inspired sketch (digitally-altered), which most likely will have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual project I'm gonna do here, because I think I want to do something that involves the ferries.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
There's an exhibition on urban bike culture at Mediamatic on show now called Sur Place. There, they have a little bike track with nice turns and curves that visitors are allowed to ride.
video from Mediamatic.net by Eveline Wiegmans
Naturally, I couldn't resist, and took it for a test ride myself:
(BTW, music borrowed from Janelle Monae's Come Alive, thanks to a recommendation from my buddy Haisam.)
In honor of the much-anticipated Scott Pilgrim vs. The World movie (and videogame!), directed by Edgar Wright, which is based on one of my all-time favorite comic books, Scott Pilgrim, written and illustrated by Bryan Lee O'Malley, I did a little self-portrait in O'malley's insolubly expressive Scott Pilgrim style.
The day I arrived in Amsterdam, I took the bike out to explore the neighborhood, and noticed a young girl on a bike with a broken chain, doing a maneuver I hadn't ever seen before to keep her bike moving without using the pedals, panting and in an obvious nervous hurry.
As I ride past her, she says something to me.
Girl: Gaat u naar de ferry?
Me: Uhm, what? I'm sorry, I only speak English.
Girl: Oh. Are you going to the ferry?
Me: Uhm, no actually, but I can if you need a ride.
Girl: Yes, please. Just keep pedaling and I'll grab onto your bike.
And then while still on her bike, she uses one hand to grab onto mine.
Me: Just tell me which way to go, cuz I'm new here.
Girl: Right. These people are coming from the ferry. (referring to dozens of people biking in the opposite direction)
Me: Oh okay. How often does the ferry come?
Girl: Every three minutes.
Me (in my head): Three minutes?
Me: Thirty minutes?
Girl: Three minutes.
Me: Three minutes?!
Me: So if you miss this ferry, you have to wait for three whole minutes to catch the next one?!?!
Me: That's so bad!
Girl: I know!
The girl then proceeds to look at my pedaling feet.
Me: I'll pedal faster then! Are you holding tight enough?
First, I gotta say, the people who work at Mediamatic are freakin' great. Not only did they prepare a massive folder filled with maps, information on art galleries, shopping places, food places, etc, but they also set me up in a nice little groundfloor apartment in Amsterdam-Noord equipped with all the essentials.
the apartment building
You'd actually be surprised; the information folder/welcome package thing is actually something not a lot of cultural spaces involved in international residencies do. For most of the art residencies I've been involved in, I mainly had to just figure shit out myself. Kudos, Mediamatic! And everybody who works there of course!
Although maybe a total of 5 minutes away from the center of Amsterdam, my neighborhood in Amsterdam-Noord is predominantly peacefully residential, even with the major construction happening near by.
To cross the river from the island to Amsterdam's city center, a ferry comes and goes about every 3 minutes.
With Noord's history of being so isolated from the rest of Amsterdam, I was expecting to be in a neighborhood dominated by minority groups, but to my surprise, it is actually pretty culturally and ethnically diverse.
visual representation of cultural diversity
The best thing about Amsterdam, Noord, Oost, Zuid, or anywhere is the biking as the main mode of preferred transportation. I love it, and no matter how long I'm here, I will never get over the sheer number of bikes everywhere!
this photograph is very real
You'll even see them when you least expect it.
I've had to respond to intern requests on an individual basis for a while now, so let me just put this out there:
And the reason is the following:
The reason is a little project taking place in Amsterdam-Noord, an island across the river North of Amsterdam. Historically, this Island has been relatively ignored by the city in comparison to the rest of Amsterdam, as far as I understand. Currently, however, the city is working on re-developing the Island to, in short, make it more appealing and commercially valuable.
Being a critical time for the island, I, along with a group of international artists, have been invited by dynamic art space Mediamatic to initiate a mapping project on the island, appropriately titled "Mapping for Tourists," curated by Nat Muller.
More information available at this link.