PAPA Lab Rotterdam the Netherlands 5 - 24 April 2010
Participating artists: Nies Medema, Erika Blikman, Maurice Bogaert, Robin van 't Haar and Martijn Nieuwenhuis. With the support of Mondriaan Fund
Rotterdam has been a transit city and a city in transition for decades. Rotterdam once had the larg-est harbour in the world. In the port goods are reloaded for the whole of Europe and beyond. As the heart of Rotterdam was devastated by bombing dur-ing the Second World War, the city has been trying again and again to reconstruct its city centre. The 'eternal promise' of Rotterdam makes the city alive. It has a freshness that is the envy of other cities. All the building sites are surrounded by fences with largescale photos showing either what it looked like a century ago or what it will look like in the (near?) future. On every fence you can read: 'Listen, the new heart of Rotterdam is pounding here'.Rotterdam has many poor neighbourhoods, some with jobless former dockworkers and some with 90 per cent immigrants, mostly unemployed. It makes the political situation in Rotterdam the sharpest in the whole country. The advantage of being a city in transition is that Rotterdam has a lot of undefined empty space. That keeps the promise intact and attracts artists, designers and architects to live and work here. The promise also refers to the attitude of 'no Consumption/no Production', the reverse of what we found in Lagos. There the acronym is 'no Contribution, no Consumption' (national Council for nigeria and The Cameroons). In the netherlands people have to consume, so jobs are created and the economy keeps running. This is illustrated by people eating while walking in public ('not done' in the other countries PAPA visited) and the politics of demolish/rebuild that leads to perpetual construction sites.
Right next to the mess of the railway station building site, the first brand new skyscrapers welcome you to the city. Offices for insurance companies, banks and a hotel are what I see.
09 March 2010, Lino Hellings
Chips with mayonnaise
It is very Dutch to eat chips with mayonnaise on the street. On the market square there is a stall: 'most healthy chips of the Netherlands'. The multicultural society is supposed to be a failure in our country. Dutch families enjoy Turkish kebabs just as much.
06 Apr 2010, Lino Hellings
Standing with my back to the City Hall. Looking at a picture of the City Hall. A blossoming cherry tree, a 50-foot woman and a gigantic bird. Artist's impression it says. And that it is.
06 Apr 2010, Maurice Bogaert
The old harbour
A man transports scrap metal with his ship from one harbour to another. He says his hands are resistant to poison and acid.
01 Nov 2010, Nies Medema