7, 14 and 29 June 2014
“The power of a way of thinking has above all to do with its ability to move.” From: 'The philosopher and his poor' written by Jacques Rancière.
'24/7_Trojan' was initiated after an invitation by artist and curator Stijn Van Dorpe. It was supported by artist initiative Expoplu which is based in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The whole collaboration started in January and ended 29 June 2014.
During this difficult visualization process many people contributed active as well as passive to the visual outcome of this research. Its possibilities and impossibilities unravelled structures of power and a direction of thinking. This process also revealed the limitations of a subsidised art institute when it comes to facilitate visual experiments in public space. (more details you can read here.)
'24/7_Trojan' knew many stages, it started with my fascination for an unreachable little park in the middle of a large roundabout called 'Het Keizer Karel plein'. My idea was to organize with citizens and their cars a visual referendum on 14 June at precisely 3 pm. Presented to an audience as an ambigues participatory play from behind the large windows of the City Theatre that faces this roundabout. '24/7_Trojan' was inspired by a DDOS attack and searched in the existing infrastructure for new ways for a citizen dialogue with the design of the everyday environment.
In close agreement with the people of Expoplu I wrote a letter to Henk Beerten on 26 February 2014, asking for collaboration and permission. He was the alderman of Culture, Mobility and Education for the municipality of Nijmegen. My proposal was rejected by the municipality. This decision was confirmed with a letter on 12 March 2014. My request for a conversation in person to explain my intentions was rejected.
After this rejection I started to look for different possibilities for an individual user of the roudabout to relate to the visual appearance of this urban space. The crossing became an important metaphor, it not only referred to the name of the new bridge in Nijmegen and its war history, but also to other times to come, or more literal, to the difficult crossing by foot to reach the little park in the middle.
'24/7_Trojan' consisted out of three public moments on- and around Het Keizer Karelplein in Nijmegen:
- 7 June - The exchange took place at 3pm in the little park. Public meeting where invited experts; Mariska van den Berg, Joost de bloois and Aglaée Degros gave presentations reflecting on the context of this project, related to the use of this roundabout and the design of this urban surrounding. The audience had to cross the street to attend the lectures.
- 14 June - The crossing took place at 10:30am in front of City Theatre Nijmegen. A group crossing facilitated a possibility for elderly and disabled people to reach the park. In the park art historian Feico Hoekstra told us more about the statue of Charles the Great made by the artist Albert Termote (1887 - 1978)
- 29 June - Discussion at Expoplu. Here I presented a report of the realization process and art critic Lucette ter Borg moderated a public discussion with local politicians from Green Left, VVD and D66 about this difficult realization process and the role of art in contemporary society.
In the exhibition 'Subject' I presented the following statement in the white cube (13 June till 29 June):
As an artist I was forbidden by the municipality of Nijmegen to organize a visual referendum.
Now it is up to you to organize it, for example on Saturday 18 October 2014 at 11 am. If you are in favour of innovation and renewal of het keizer Karelplein you take it for one hour that day as destination with your car. When you arrive there you don't step out of your car, you don't make extra noises, you drive around for one hour. As with a DDos attack you take its function 'offline' and facilitate with enough participants the crossing. If you want to leave everything the way it is you ignore this message.
From January till June 2014 an online research archive was established: www.247driveby.tumblr.com
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Best regards, Edwin Stolk.