Projects

Outside Livingroom

Mookhoekplein Overschie, Jan 1994

Duration: 28.05.1994 - 28.05.1998
Location: Mookhoekplein, Rotterdam
Participants: 20
Visitors: People living and working on the Mookhoekplein

For one of the venues of 'Opzoomeren', an annual event aimed at cleaning up and beautifying problem neighbourhoods in Rotterdam with the help of residents, the Centre for Visual Arts commissioned local artists to create a temporary work. Jeanne van Heeswijk was commissioned to create a 'day and night view' for the Mookhoekplein in Overschie, to improve safety. She created the Buitenshuiskamer (Outside Living Room) (1994), which involved a plan for the passageway connecting two retirement homes on the square. Both buildings are very austere and modern. One side of the square is paved in black-grey. Oval flower containers and young trees stand in a row. A glass wall separates this part of the square from the small gardens belonging to one of the retirement homes. Youngsters often use the wall as a football goal.

Van Heeswijk spoke to the occupants of the Mookhoekplein. Many of them felt unsafe. The square was very desolate; it had to become a more pleasant place. In co-operation with the inhabitants, she furnished the passageway as a living room, at the same time planting benches and small trees. Instead of making a pure aesthetical artwork, she wanted to create something for the place and its residents. She constructed a windowsill with flower pots and white lamps on the glass wall, which made the square less desolate. She tried to stress the difference between the two worlds - inside and outside, safe and unsafe - by placing everything on the garden side. The most important thing about the Outside Living Room was the communication that evolved around the project, talking with and among residents, the police helping with transport and the fact that a group of residents took care of the plants. The project started on 28 May 1994 and was planned to last a month. In the end, thanks to the efforts of all involved, it ran until 1998.


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