Podcast #4: Ida van der Lee

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Ida van der Lee talks about her project Names and Numbers in Amsterdam's Oosterpark neighborhood. In the fourth episode of the podcast What's that doing here? Esther Didden and co-host Rachel Bacon engage her in conversation. We also hear from Wendela Kloosterman, one of the volunteers closely involved in the project.

Van der Lee explains how Names and Numbers received a national variant, and she was therefore able to let it go (in part). What it's like to work with dozens of volunteers and how this project has held its own in the art discourse where artistry is heavily weighted. Another art project that can also be found in the Oosterpark neighborhood is Stolpersteine by Günther Demnig; Van der lee explains why her and his project complement each other well.

Van der Lee explains how Names and Numbers received a national variant, and she was therefore able to let it go (in part)

Saying goodbye seems to be the central theme for Van der Lee. That which is difficult can be alleviated if there is an appropriate ritual. She founded Studio Ritual Art, a network of artists, volunteers, students, clients and teachers who nurture, perform, invent, question or design ritual activities. Van der Lee designs and guides rituals to make lighter and more bearable that which should not be there because it is taboo or painful.

Her project Demolition Hammer Treasury (2003-2006) in the Het Vissershop neighborhood of Zaandam is one of the 100 Key Works, an overview compiled by BK-information in 2020 of outstanding and often high-profile art in public space after 1945. The neighborhood was being demolished and Van der Lee was asked to supervise the changes in the neighborhood. Having to leave your home because it is being demolished is a major event for many people. The emotions and memories that then surface are material for Van der Lee. Where it chafes, hurts and perhaps even disrupts, she sets to work.


At www.bkinformatie.nl/podcast, in addition to listening to podcasts, you can comment on the statements we formulate for each episode. The statement accompanying the podcast with Ida van der Lee: Artisticness is not an imperative condition for important visual arts.

About the podcast

Under the title What's that doing here? BK-information brings a ten-part podcast series about artists and the social issues they deal with. In each episode, philosopher and expert on art in public space Esther Didden and a co-host discuss artists who realize their work within a social context. A context in which very different criteria apply than within the "usual" art discourse. Why do they work within that context and what does it bring to their artistry? What criteria do they have to deal with? And what does it bring to society? What does an artist add when he or she sits at a conference table?

You can also listen to the podcast via:
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The next podcast appears on March 17. In it we will talk with Ida van der Lee. Her project Names and Numbers has been ritually commemorating 2,800 Jews deported from part of Amsterdam's Oosterpark neighborhood since 2012. A special memorial site has been set up on the Kastanjeplein where everyone can symbolically bring a Jewish victim home step by step. Participants in the ritual commit to a name, make a personal nameplate and place it at the correct address in the large map of the neighborhood. This Street Monument grows every year.
What is that doing here? is made possible in part by the Mondrian Fund and the Pictoright Fund.

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