Photo: Irene O'Callaghan






project and installation, W139, Amsterdam

Discorvering Amsterdam without seeing the city.

The installation consists of paper, wood, ceramics and embroidery.
Cottages: 2.44 x 2.44 x 4m, table 3m in diameter
For the project Blinded Tourist in W139 Mariëlle Videler created a handmade settlement: a village formed by paper cottages and a big round table. She invited four foreign artist to live with her in this installation without seeing Amsterdam. None of guests had been to Amsterdam before and were selected from the 59 respondents on an international open call. They arrived on the same day from China, Brazil, USA and Italy. The guests were picked up from the airport and transported to the exhibition space wearing blindfolds. They never left the installation during the full eight days of BLINDED TOURIST. They learned about Amsterdam through a 'Travel Program' including thematic lectures (see below) and conversations with reporters, Mariëlle Videler and invited experts from the domain of science and art. The blinded tourists could be observed and/or visited during the opening hours of W139, the audience mingled with what was going on. The last weekend the four gave a presentation of their findings. One of the four finally disappeared on the last day, transformed into an ordinary tourist, and thus unexpectedly placed the concept into focus. A precarious moment whereby the intentions with which the residents and Mariëlle Videler had entered the project were undermined, yet at the same time confirmed and intensified.

The different days of the Travel Program were devoted to different aspects of the city of Amsterdam: its history, inhabitants, biology and urban planning and art. Mariëlle Videler invited several guests to come and talk about four main topics: HISTORY, PEOPLE, ART and NATURE. The program consisted of two parts: a day program and an evening program. During the day program there was contact with five reporters, the ears and eyes of the outside world. The reporters were on hand to help the residents and carried out the research tasks they had been given. The second part was an evening program, a series of small scale and personal meetings with different experts. The evening program was only limited open for visitors.

HISTORY > Lecture by Gabri Tussenbroek, historian, expert on Amsterdam, writer of the book ‘Amsterdam in 1597’. Lecture by Leon Deben (sociologist) about people living and working in and around the Amsterdam Warmoesstraat.

> An evening with guests who work and live around W139. Thanks to: Stock Exchange Amsterdam, Prostitution Information Centre, ‘de Bakkerswinkel’, ‘de Condomerie’ and the Old Church.

> Lecture by Remco Daalder, urban ecologist of Amsterdam and writer of the book ‘Urban Animals’. Lecture by Grieta Spannenburg, meteorologist and co-writer of the book ‘Dutch cloudy skies’

> Lecture by Ad de Jong (artist and founder of W139) about the creative and chaotic times in begin period of W139.
Gijs Frieling (artist and director of W139) about his work as the director of W139. Frank Koolen (artist), Els van de Meersch (artist) and Eric von Robertson (artist) finished the evening with a presentation of the work they exhibited in W139.

Blinded Tourists: Zhou Bin (China), Caroline Doherty (USA), Davide Savorani (Italy), Henrique César de Oliveira (Brazil)