Between the waste disposal service, the KwikFit, Dossche Mills and a few garage boxes, stands the red-painted Pavilion in Rotterdam South, almost disoriented in its surroundings. After Kamiel has given me a short tour and handed over the keys I am alone in the building. Through the six windows I look out over the city and the water of the Maashaven. The place is an observatory in which the city is the play. Many towers, buildings, architectural constructions and cranes stand out above the horizon. The Erasmus Bridge, the SS Rotterdam, the Zalm Tower that seems to keep on growing forever, New Orleans, the Erasmus MC and De Rotterdam are the main characters.
I have just given notice to terminate the rent of my apartment in Crooswijk, Rotterdam. Literally an hour ago I delivered the house white, empty and clean. The keys went in a sealed envelope through the mailbox of the property manager. The Pavilion is the first stop on my journey. I try to imagine how this place will be my home for one month.
WHERE AM I? I'm trying to imagine how this place will be my home for a month
WHERE AM I? It's the first text I programmed into the news ticker placed on top of the roof. Kamiel explains how I can describe the news ticker via a laptop with Windows Vista. The laptop has seen its best days, and only has this task left to perform. I decide to install the news ticker as a means of talking to the city. Every day I ask a new question to the city.
The Pavilion has hundreds of plates, knives, forks, spoons, glasses. There's a bar. Never mind You can easily work with five people in the kitchen, without getting irritated about a cutting board that is too short. In the summer the Pavilion is a restaurant.
Because the Pavilion is anything but a house, the building breathes to invite people in; to be an open house. Because there are several bedrooms, I invite during my stay various artists, architects, designers, choreographers from a few days, a week or just a few hours with me in the Pavilion. Spontaneous collaborations take place, never ending conversations with a view over the city that can be day changes, breaks down and grows, do not keep on. Many questions to the city, and leads for collaborations find their basis here.
The Zalm Tower. It is a building with a large construction on top; a hoist. It is a technique where the building, without the aid of a crane, floor by floor. floor, is built further up. The building seems to grow almost by itself.
Every day I ask a new question of the city
Javier Acevedo is staying in the Pavilion for a week. With his background as architect, maker and builder of many spaces, founder of collective LU'UM, we fantasize and dream about the city. The Zalm Tower forms an essential part of our conversations. The building gives the illusion of continuing forever can continue to grow. We calculate during Full Moon how many floors the tower would have to have if the building were to grow to the Moon. How many people could live in it? Assuming each floor had six apartments, and each inhabitant occupied one apartment, the tower would only be half occupied with the entire world's population. The earth would be our garden.
Rotterdam would look different if we based the layout of the city on this
the centre of the city, the observation room of Rotterdam, the Pavilion is from on the other side of the water. In a bicycle tour on Katendrecht we count the buildings from left to right and finally we find the Pavilion. With only one floor, the building disappears among the grand industry surrounding it.
The Pavilion makes me wonder if the view that we're looking at isn't much more important than the space we're looking from? Rotterdam would look different if we based the layout of the city on this. If homes were only built on the quays of the river, the Maas would be framed by one long high wall of apartment buildings. Houses could be smaller, and the views grander.
Raquel Vermunt, artist and filmmaker, will stay with me in the Pavilion for a few days. From the interior space, Raquel and I get the view: the outdoors. Like Raquel often approaches space in her work, probing and scanning as she looks through the lens of the camera, we also approach this room. The six windows form the lens, and we are inside the camera; the Pavilion. How can this camera function at its best to perceive its view? We rebuild the space. First it has to be empty. We remove everything that is in sight towards the window. Joran Koster sits on a chair in front of the window, writes for the neighbourhood newsletter and reads a book. He also moves into the Pavilion for a few days.
If we take all the CD cases, books, chairs, tables, have removed the carpet and the plants, Joran will have to disappear from the viewing area as well. Undisturbed, he has lasted the longest.
After everything is empty we move back and forth through the space. Observing, we search for a position in relation to the view. Putting down objects and furniture and taking them away again. After an hour we only put two benches back, right in front of the window. The setting stays like that for a few days. We talk about the view. About how the view changes, how the space where we we find ourselves in changes as soon as the view changes.
We'll let the Pavilion fill with the dark air of the city
The sun is setting, the sky is darkening. One by one the lights in the city go on and illuminate the many indoor spaces where we to look out for. Joran called it: capsules. Only in our case the light stays off. We let filling the Pavilion with the dark air of the city. The space is still minimally lit by a few lights that reduce the distance to the Pavilion. Because of the darkness our inner space almost seems to be non-existent. Only the view is still present in the Pavilion.
We're wondering what else we could do if the lights were to remain off all over the city. Would we then look out over a black vista, in which Rotterdam has momentarily disappeared? CITY CAN YOU TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS, PLEASE? appears on the news ticker that night.
At the end of the week a ship parks right in front of our window. Despite the fact that every day and evening ships are parked in the small harbour in front of our window, this ship is bigger than usual. It blocks the view of the water and the city. The light force was used once not to ask a question to the city, but to issue an order to the city.
On the last morning I wake up in the Pavilion are Sander, Kamiel and Mladen in front of the house, ready for the renovation. I have already packed my things. The rooms are empty again and my presence is undone. made. Where I and many other people with me, lived, worked for a month, lived and slept, the corners of the bedrooms changed into open spaces with long exhibition walls. Through sliding walls, the entire Pavilion is transformed into a restaurant and exhibition space. That Monday I helped with, and documented, the transformation of the Pavilion.
Where previously only the view was visible from one room, the view now extends to the other. now extends along the entire length of the building. It's already there at the front door.
During my residency, Hilde Speet, Joran Koster, Tiana Hemlock-Yensen, Kai Chang, Raquel Vermunt, Wouter van Nienes and Javier Acevedo in the Pavilion with me.
Currently I am staying on the Island of Brienenoord at the Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam. Here I am working for three months (April, May, June 2021) at Buitenplaats Brienenoord on the project Waterworks. I'm investigating the relationship between the island and its surrounding space: the New Maas. During Art Rotterdam, from 1 to 4 July, the final presentation of this project will take place at Buitenplaats Brienenoord.