Beste Amsterdam

From July 15 - October 8, 2010 I gave invitations to people in Amsterdam.

I did this in several ways. 


Beste buur,

Hierbij nodig ik je uit, om mij uit te nodigen, om je te vergezellen tijdens een van je dagelijkse openbare bezigheden.

Ik ben geïnteresseerd naar het openbare leven in Amsterdam. Wellicht kunnen we samen er iets over uitvinden terwijl we wat tijd met elkaar door brengen, als stadsgenoten, als onbekenden die een stad delen.


Dear Neighbour,

I would like to invite you, to invite me, to join you, in an act of your everyday public life.

I am interested in finding out what public life is made of. I’m hoping we can learn something about it, while spending a little bit of time together as strangers who share a city.


1. B I C Y C L E  D E R I V E

I made a list of colours to follow in a random order: Red, Yellow, Blue, Orange, Black, White. At the exit from the courtyard of the building where I live, I waited. Some days only for few moments and other days for several long minutes. The first person I saw cycling in any direction on a non-rental bicycle, and wearing the colour red, I followed.

When that person stopped and got off her/his bike, I approached her/him with an invitation letter in a small envelope. From that geographic point, the spot where I gave the invitation, I waited for the first cyclist I saw wearing yellow.

And so on through the list of colours...

So, beginning from my own place of residence, I followed a "neighbour" who led me somewhere. I followed and approached the next "neighbour" based on where the previous "neighbour" had lead me. I surrendered control over my traveling; each invited person determined the subsequent invitation. This chance procedure forced me out of the zone of my own taste, in people and place, and led me to locations unknown to me.  

Here are the places I was led to; the spots where I gave an invitation:


View Invitations in a larger map

From July 15-26, I made from five to thirteen invitations each day until 45 invitations had be given in this way...


2. S I G N

On 21st September I made a sign that read:

I N V I T A T I O N
I have an invitation for you... Just come and ask me for it.

I invited people to approach me for a paper invitation with the text above:

"Dear Neighbour, I would like to invite you, to invite me, to join you, in an act of your everyday public life..."

For the next few weeks I used my sign in a number of locations in the city...


3. F I V E  M I N U T E S

A Wednesday in September, just after I had moved to the east side of Amsterdam, I began inviting people to spend five or more minutes with me on the spot. After our meetings I made photographs of the spaces where we had met after we were no longer there and wrote retrospective-verbatim scripts of our encounters.


Translations and dramaturgical support: 

Marloes van der Hoek

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