Temporary Permanence

Intervention in VINEX-site Vathorst - 2002


As the project Number 0, Temporary Permanence is an attempt to activate and improve the public space of VINEX neigbourhoods in the Netherlands.

During summer holidays the construction of the housing is postponed until September. Using the unfinished buildings in this period as a clean canvas, a temporary outdoor exhibition is created. People from the neighborhood, the close bye city and tourists from elsewhere will now find a reason to visit this normally so isolated neighborhood. Choosing internationally renowned artists can evoke an even lager impact.

As I liked the idea to intervene and evoke an ephemeral event in public space on a large scale I wanted to make the first move. As a graduation project I could not organize the event totally but I could test the impact the painting would have on it’s surrounding.

The subject I chose was of topical nature. By incorporating local, national or international issues, the building is enriched with a sense of time and narrative.  At the time the pope was a regular topic in the international news for many different reasons. No greater contrasts to depict this world icon in the most unknown and soulless place of the Netherlands. While painting people came by, there was an item broadcasted on television and some articles in the newspaper. The people in the neighborhood talked about it and in their daily routine it became a meeting point. Inevitably after summer construction continued. Step-by-step the painting disappeared under layers of insulation and brick. But the painting was still there, locked in the façade of the house. People moved in, they showed me their collections of photo’s and articles.  The house looks like any other house in the street but the people remind it as the ‘pope-house’. The layers of time, have marked this space. The image lives on a different level and therefor the intervention has contributed to the narrative and common history of the site. It is still there and one day, maybe, the image will be revealed again. As in old houses where one scrapes down the old wallpaper and discovers older layers and newspapers underneath. A different world, a different time, now invisibly captured in brick, but still present in the minds of the people.