(HERE, Rotsoord, networked landscape) is a 9 month field research that took place within the context of Utrecht Manifest NO4, Biennale for Social Design. It builds on the way of working developed during ICI, Casa (2010).
UM NO4 artistic director Jurgen Bey appointed four curators to develop the idea of The Working Landscape – a new geography that is emerging from shifts in the way we work, live, and form communities. The formerly industrial district of Rotsoord was chosen as test site. Each curator explored the topic from a specific angle, such as how to rethink work from a theoretical perspective (The Reflective Landscape, Christel Vesters) or how to literally cultivate the area (The Eating Landscape, Ester van de Wiel). For The Networked Landscape I initially gathered various sorts of expertise and production modes in the area, in an effort to disclose their potential for the community. Designers, academies, a documentary maker and a social geographer were then invited to set up test projects that would activate this part real, part imaginary inventory of knowledge and skills.
Field work and auditions were carried out to distill the area’s hidden talents. By asking: What kind of work do you do? What do you need to be good at? And what value do you produce? An inventory of professions, skills and meaning was put together. For instance, S. Remsar, car repairer, summarises his work with the words: “I am satisfied with my work when you cannot see it.” The quality he generates is thus invisibility, and the main skill he trains is handiness. In total 60 such entries were edited into a paper alphabetical inventory that was distributed door to door. Can these principles help us to rethink how we organise and shape the space and time we work in? This question is still actual.
Using the inventory as an entry point into local networks, pilot projects and studies were set up: Rijdend Alfabet (Driving Alphabet) – An alphabetical parade of skills and expertise, designed by Cathelijne Montens. Car Mekka– The local gas station turned into a hub of expertise, designed by Cynthia Hathaway. Schuurtjes (Sheds) – A life size set up to test if sheds can function as strategic (economic) reserve for the community, designed by Joanna van der Zanden & Arne Hendriks. Know-How|Show-How – Video studies of craftsmanship edited by Dima Stefanova. Homework – Studies of the spaces of the homeworker by Design Academy students, guided by Mara Skujeniece. Work of Work – Artist in residence by Jonathan Muecke and Bas Princen. Wacky Work – Children workshop about their future profession led by Jacqueline Besemer. Workspace – analysis of the conditions of the work space by social scientist Jan van Duppen.
Curated by Sophie Krier. With contributions by PutGootink, Cathelijne Montens, Cynthia Hathaway, Joanna van der Zanden & Arne Hendriks, Dima Stefanova, Jan van Duppen, Bas Princen & Jonathan Muecke, Jesse Howard, Conor Trawinski, Tony Michiels, designLAB, DAE Man and Living, Mara Skujeniece, Virginia Tassinari, Joost Konijn, Ingrid Bal, Kirsten Algera. Local experts: Jokko Voogt, Ruth Catsburg, Carin van Dongen, Bart Jilesen, Joost Kramer, Luc Brouwer, Remco van Straalen, Steven, John van Eezik, Hossaini Mahtab, Emile Valenteijn, Ardy Kuipers, Esmeralda Klinkenberg, Nienke Fluitman, Winnie Helmes Ham, Top Team Utrecht, Baban, Monir Goran, Jacqueline Besemer & BSO Rootz & Eigenwijs, Nienke Fluitman, Winnie Helmes Ham, Top Team Utrecht, Jan Willem Campmans, Bram Boomgaardt, Baban, de Buurtvaders, Bill & Glenn, Paul Serto, Peter Sprangers, Melle Smets, Dom City Dolls, Esmeralda Klinkenberg, barn owners, Repair Café Utrecht, Louis Cuijck, Maurice van Peursem a.o.