Oosterbeer, a walk of fame for my neighbourhood.  Amsterdam 2007

> This is my neighbourhood

Amsterdam city centre invites four artists(groups) to design a work of art for one of the new stops of Tram ten (a circle line) at the Sarphatistraat and the Czaar Peterstraat. Tram ten follows the old city wall. That is the startingpoint of the commission and that is why kind of artists are invited who consider research a part of there work. The artists are Q.S. Serafijn, De Geuzen, Rob Moonen en Loek Grootjans and I.

For me it is a home match. I live around the corner for 30 years now.

  < Phil Verdult polishing my WALK OF FAME.
I decided to make a walk of fame for my neigbourhood with THE FACTS OF LIFE relating to the old city wall underneath Tram 10. The oldest fact is the existence of the windmill De Gooyer since 1583, the bastion the Easterbear is from 1726, the Potato revolution dates back to 1917, the novel Ciske de RAT is written in 1942, Rinus the flowerman is selling his flowers here since 1979, the Supermarket war (opposite the Tram stop there is a AH supermarket) started in 2003. The last star points into the future: 2012 Hydrogen pump reminds the Texaco gas station next to the Tram stop of the fact that it has only a few years left to realize this.
> Early in the morning the Tram plates with the stars are put back.
oosterbeer is the name of the work, after the bastion on this special part of the city wall. The stars are spread over the tram-plates in the shape of the star sign The great bear.
Thanks to Rob van Maanen's system of marking the plates they all fit. Petrumus Natuursteen BV did a good job in milling the stars in the plates. The people waiting for the tram will read THE FACTS OF LIFE relating to the old city wall. Whenever the tram arrives the work of art will vanish under the carriages.


< opening:
In the thirty years I have lived here in this neighbourhood I have seen it change from an undefined industrial area into the popular, almost posh living quarter it is now. I tell the audience about the former bathhouse under the windmill. As I lived in a boat with no running water I used to have a weekly shower there. In the waiting room there was a big birds cage with almost naked canaries. I told them about the former coffeehouse where I used to pass by with my just born son. The coffeehouse was always filled with retired workmen drinking beer at ten in the morning. I have enjoyed and used this atmospere to become an artist. I do not miss it anymore, but I do know a city needs that kind of places for young creative people to take off. I am worried rough area's like that are moving away from the citycentre and might disappear completely.