Thursday, October 1, 2009

Going Dutch

There were a couple of art shows happening simultaneously on Governors Island while I was there. It was a little confusing since everything seemed to be mixed together and I only had two hours to enjoy it all (on top of taking in the island itself.)
The Pioneers of Change exhibit highlighted various aspects of Dutch design while an invitational exhibition called This World Nearer Ours was installed through the public arts advocacy group Creative Time Both shows utilized empty buildings on Governor's Island in varying and interesting ways, and both were so grand that I will have to write about This World Nearer Ours in a separate post.

Designer Lotte Dekker developed a new view of gluing porcelain based on kintsugi, an old Japanese technique in which porcelain is repaired with gold leaf. It’s an extremely time-consuming, expensive method. Dekker found Bison glue to be the perfect Western variant for making beautiful yet simple repairs.

Highlights from the Dutch festival included Repair Manifesto which was set up by the art group Platform 21. This exhibit demonstrated ways to creatively repair broken things as metaphor for fixing a damaged economic system. Included was special wallpaper designed to cover chips in walls, and a group was sewing wool felt into the worn out parts of old Persian rug hung on the wall with veins of neon blue felt running through it.
I encourage you to read Platform 21's Repair Manifesto It makes a lot of sense.

Also noteworthy was the house that artists were "accessorizing" with handmade lace and beautiful fiber decorations. Paralleling the building with the human body, doorknobs, banisters, holes in walls and radiators were decorated with simple pieces constructed by Dutch and American designers.

Videos of the real time clocks of Maarten Baas were installed throughout one building. With his clocks Baas makes us aware of time by showing it passing in ‘real time’. He makes clocks by projecting footage of people in action, and their recorded movements become the clock hands, moving minute by minute.

Then there was the huge woolen carpet that Christien Meindertsma was knitting with her six-foot-long needles using wool from three different species of Dutch sheep.
Meindertsma is interested in the origin of things, raw materials and the history of techniques. She also made a book called, PIG 05049, in which she shows all kinds of products that have been made out of a single pig, unraveling the lack of transparency in the world of products. Simply fascinating.

The Slow Cafe also peeked my interest though I didn't have time to enjoy it (not surprisingly.) In wake of the Slow foods movement all the food was prepared by elderly chefs, teabags were constructed on site, menus embroidered by hand, and food portions were dependent on the distance they had to travel -- a salad made with local greens, for example, was abundant compared to a banana pudding which might have been the size of a dime.

To learn more about all of the projects and art groups involved with the Pioneers of Change go to www.pioneers of

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