... a continuous line - erasable still leaving traces - a continuous drawing - overflowing cadres - beyond the paper edge - the picture frame - a drawing endlessly bifurcating - turning back on itself - overgrowing everything - foreshadow of the future structure of data networks - - temporary art just for the pleasure of the moment itself - hardly leaving any traces - underground culture fleeing the museum ghetto looking for confrontation in the streets - art becomes politics - though the reversal is even better --- changed signposts point at old building alignments - the past does not need to be denied to build the future - gaining insight into plans goes beyond the propaganda imagery of architect and urban designer - - - each drawing is a distortion - our world picture is mostly mythical and can hardly be mapped - - card-tray and computer speed up the availability of information - but also increases our physical distance to tangible information carriers -- forgotten books are sighing in the dungeons of the library - dramatized catalogues - spatial representations - are liberating tools - making choices with courage of despair - what to pick from an abundant assortment - the extraordinary sinks in - the ordinary is washed away - - a counter current with alternative information carriers bringing variation - counterbalance for the endless repetition of the same
1961-1965 educated as sculptor at art academies in the Netherlands, Italy and England. Revolt against the art school with its emphasis on the fixed and lasting art work.
1965-1966 development of a topological drawing system, a configuration of patterned growing lines, soon moving over the edge of the paper, table, house and street. Mostly with erasable materials like chalk and make-up.
1966-1967 experimental film and ‘expanded cinema’ with Australian artist Jeffrey Shaw: ‘Toward a film as continuous static graphic projections’. A film with neither beginning nor end, with fast wipes based on a thousand non-animated drawings, as a research into the principle of subliminal perception.
1966 basement of Better Books in London, a space for ‘happenings’. Projection of the continuous film on series of half transparent screens, smoke and balloons. Usage of long rolls of PVC tubing a more tangible form of continuous lines.
1967 school blackboard with examples of the principle of an ever bifurcating drawing, as used for pupils following a course ‘continuous drawing for beginners’. A course modeled after the American ‘Famous Artists School’. 1967 continuous drawing from London to Amsterdam executed with six students, starting at the steps of the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, then by taxi and KLM airplane to Schiphol and Amsterdam, where the drawing grows over the facade of the Museum of Modern Art.
1967 environment for heads in the London gallery Keith Alborn & Partners with inflatable tubes, bifurcating water tubes en head phones with completely different sound tracks (from insults and scolding to lovely sweet music).
1967 test for ‘pneumatic arising’ in canals by ‘Sigma Projecten’, a series of street activities with drawings, projections, inflatables and expanded cinema in Amsterdam and Rotterdam together with a.o. Jeffrey Shaw, Theo Botschuijver, Pieter Boersma and Willem Breuker. 1969 ‘Woningburo de Kraker’ (housing agency ‘the burglar’/squatter) resistance against demolition of usable houses in the Dapperbuurt neighbourhood of Amsterdam, a starting point for many years of actions against housing shortage and other ways of urban development and design (adapt itself to the existing city instead of the reverse). 1977 opening ceremony for the alternative international bookshop ‘Het Fort van Sjakoo’, at first a squat, in the Amsterdam Jodenbree street. An initiative for independent information distribution. The bookshop is run on a collective basis and still exists in 2004.
1977 during this opening also a visualization of the old building alignment of the street. before the demolition and urban development of the sixties, by holding an inflatable tube of some hundreds of meters. Elements from happening art are put to use in urban actions.
1986 exhibition ‘Het IJ geopend, de binnenstad gedicht’ (the opening of the IJ (old Amsterdam harbor: het IJ) the closing/poetry of the inner town) about 25 years of urban change in this area. Visualization of urban development processes with hinging door photo-panels on the basis of a database of old and new urban plans (‘Planotheek’). Exhibition system developed with a group of former urban activists of the Nieuwmarkt neighbourhood (‘Het Vrije Archief’) in collaboration with the local citizens council (‘Wijkcentrum d’Oude Stadt’). Transparent overlays make it possible to indicate schematically planned buildings; also comparative photography and historical visual impressions of 25 years of social change in 16 sub-areas. 1986 ‘Archizwenk’ (architectural swerve), a method to understand the movement of the eye when observing our build environment, using photo collage; also comparing these images with the traditional static ways of architectural photography and other forms of representation of architectural plans like perspective drawings and maquettes. Photography Pieter Boersma, in collaboration with Hubert Kraaijvanger. 1973-1998 work as librarian and curator at the University Library Amsterdam and the International Institute of Social History. Founding of the Documentation Center of Modern Social Movements. Observing the change from card-file to computer catalogue. The daily confrontation with big quantities of information materials and the necessity to store these in separate, non-public, storage rooms, gives rise to the idea that other forms of information representation than text card files and computer screens are needed.
984 some of the collection areas at the Documentation Center are ‘appropriate technology’, development policy and environment. A manifestation in the Amsterdam Tropical Museum leads to the making of an international guide and reference work on these subjects.
1 This is just before the common availability of personal computers, so produced by using duplicated paper strips and standardized documentation forms. The making of the guide brings up he issue of the different interpretations of the notion: Third World. A series of analytical maps is made which maps differing world pictures from the First to the Fifth world. On the basis of simple world maps (both Euro- and Asia-centric) only those areas of the world are shown that are part of a specific interpretation of the notion Third World. These compact visualizations help to better understand the differences between ‘world view’ and ‘world picture’. (maps drawn by Bert Baanders). 1987 one of a series of exhibitions dramatizing information in the exhibition space of the University Library Amsterdam. This one is about prison experiences from different perspectives. Historical objects, paintings and projections of posters about political and other prisoners. Chained books and a video surveillance system in which the visitor sees himself next to an original 18th century edition of the famous book of Bentham about the ‘workhouse’ and the ‘panopticum’, predecessor of modern surveillance systems. An ‘emblematic’ form of representing historical documents. Through entourage and arrangement of books, documents and associated objects, a tensioned field of meanings is created, creating different dimensions. Different from the one-dimensional systematic arrangement in a reference library or in textual representations using a card file index or a computer catalogue. 1988 pre-arranged portrait for a magazine article on the special collections of the University Library Amsterdam. An appetizing “window-dressing” which at a glance gives an impression of a collection that in reality covers some hundreds meters of shelving (photographer Bert Nienhuis/Vrij Nederland). The bigger a collection is, the more it becomes invisible: brown archive boxes, grey cupboards, pneumatic compact shelving systems, closed off storage rooms. The growing wealth of available information in our society is progressively taken from our sight. When something is offered to our sight, it is in a vitrine: Do Not Touch! 1988 ‘Extreme information streams’, an exhibition in the ‘center for instable media V2’, at that time based in Den Bosch. A choice from the collection of the Documentation center of Social Movements is put on show, with a catalogue and a microfiche with a selection of documents on show.
1985-1989 creation of the Foundation Europe Against the Current, with the aim to bring together alternative publishers form Eastern and Western Europe to facilitate independent forms of exchange.
An international database of addresses and information about aims and activities of these groups is made. In September 1989, a few months before the ‘Fall of the Berlin Wall’ the first manifestation is held in Amsterdam with hundreds of participants from over twenty countries.
A system of pictograms for different information carriers (book, periodical, video, sound cassette, etc.) and other activities (publishing, collecting, performing, broadcasting) is devised for the production of a big catalogue with a thousand addresses (pictogram design Bas van Tol).
1989-1991 a traveling exhibition with examples of alternative information carriers from East and West European countries, with a flexible mounting system to present the great variety of documents (design of this system in collaboration with Frank Hoogveld).