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find:Visual ArtsThe Netherlands

Joke van Stuijvenberg

visual artist / sculpture / installations / performance,
The Netherlands.

Skylines, 1997,
installation, performance in New York.

Seventy-five flags were strung across the rooftop of the studio Joke was working in as if following the lines of a one-point perspective view of the city skyline.

The flags reached out towards and became part of the city skylines, and each bore the personal signature of an individual's word received from the streets of Manhatten.

The idea behind this was similiar to that of a Nepalese prayer flag, where an individual writes his or her own prayer onto a flag. Here, in the manner of a performance, Joke asked for an ´essential´ word from people on the streets - a word that a person didn't need or want and was willing to give away in writing, or a word that the person felt was special.

Sometimes this evolved into a discussion about the word itself, and from that she gained an insight into American culture -"what´s behind the skylines".

...the person couldn't give me a word because she said she needed every word she knew to express herself. Another gave me the word "arabesque" because it was a word she would never use and she wanted to give me a beautiful word. Others gave me words that they wouldn't say because they found them awful and wanted to get rid of them. There were a number of people who couldn't write, so for them I used a rubber stamp to put letters on the flags. I learnt a lot from the way people reacted to the associations they made with these words. In the end I collected 75 words from a great diversity of individuauls after many many kilometres on the streets of Manhatten and Brooklyn. Each written word was then reproduced onto a cotton flag in the colour, skyline blue.

dust house, 1998,
Installation of 9 plaster casts, branches, and a slide projection at the Plüschow art residency, Germany.

In 1998 Joke participated in a three-month residency in a castle in former East Germany, where she created the installation, dust house. See Arts Dialogue, June 98 for another view and for a description of these plaster ´shields´.

Approximately thirty branches emerged out of the knots in the floorboards in front of the shields. These branches determined in part the path visitors could take in the space. They also affected the way people approached not only the nine shields or the slide projection but also the whole installation.
A tiny slide projection of a branch with leaves cut into figures was projected onto a skirting board near a corner, while the words ´dust house´ were visible on the box covering the slide projector.

Hangmatten (Hammocks) 1992, paper and cardboard.
Made, while in art school, for outside a church in Rotterdam. Here people could lie on the hammocks to gaze at the sky and relax or meditate, supported by nothing stronger than paper.

excerpts from, Arts Dialogue: September 98, pages 7 - 8.

See The Living Creature: an arts project, May 1999, London, U.K., that Joke participated in.

Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands