21 – 29 Mar 2010

Blinded Tourist - a residency

Zhou Bin, Caroline Doherty, Henrique César de Oliveira, Davide Savorani, Marielle Videler

(In 1992 Ulay and a group of students from the Rietveld shut themselves in W139 to prepare a performance. It was winter and inside was even colder than outside. Without a shower and with a freshly laid concrete floor, everyone suffered from the cold and damp and, with noses and lungs filled with dust, the group tried to continue in the face of mounting tension. With no input from Ulay, the society-in-miniature gradually fell into anarchy. One student was unphazed and, surrounded by the others tried to bathe; some escaped to post letters or warm their bones in a cafe. After this had gone on for a week, Ulay declared the performance had already happened).

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During my first time in Paris as a child (my family and I were driving through, on our way to a campsite in the South of France) my brother and I didn’t want to leave the hotel. To us, the city was just like any other and we weren’t convinced that climbing the Eiffel Tower or visiting museums would change our minds. Staying in a hotel was such a novelty! The cliché that our generation “has seen everything but experienced nothing” is generally used as a criticism of the information society. But do unmediated sensory perceptions guarantee authentic experiences? How does the world get through to us? It seems that, apart from external media, inner layers and filters protect us from experiencing the world. It takes quite a lot to breach the filaments of that web. And if that it happens, it’s often prompted by traumatic events. An intimate experience of the outside world relies on protection, tranquillity, dedication and luck.

From Sunday 21 March until Sunday 28 March a small settlement of paper huts inhabited by four artists and their hostess will take up residence in the middle of the rear space of W139. Selected from 59 hopefuls responding to an international Open Call, none of the guests have been to Amsterdam before. They will be picked up from the airport and station, blindfolded, and taken to the Warmoesstraat where, for the full 8 days of BLINDED TOURIST, they will not leave the building. They will get to know the city through Mariëlle Videler and the experts she has selected. The sequence of days will be devoted to different aspects of the city: its history, inhabitants, biology and spatial structures. Observers will be on hand to help the residents carry out the research tasks they have been given. During their stay, the blinded tourists will be in W139 where viewers can observe and visit them during opening hours. On Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 March they will give a presentation of their findings.

The work of Mariëlle Videler comprises performances, drawings, objects and installations. Her guiding principle is that personal attention can change everything. In 2004 she founded Performance Lab, an instrument to work with other (performance) artists, gain knowledge and share experience. BLINDED TOURIST is a kind of ‘turbo version’ of Performance Lab. The entire collaborative process is not only concentrated into a once-only 24/7 but Videler takes the four artists captive, and by so doing assumes responsibility for their wellbeing. Consequently, she decided to give her four guests an environment largely designed and created by herself, becoming both the creator of their experiences and gatekeeper of their information.

concept and execution: Mariëlle Videler

With thanks to:
De Bakkerswinkel