4th and 5th week – Public maintenance department Amsterdam north

Monday 17th and Wednesday 19th

Today we are making a next step. After having simply worked with the guys up till now we are inviting them into our world.

We borrowed the van of a friend and gave it a brand new function: It became our "interview booth" or "encounter booth". We built a living room inside, with my carpet, my armchair, Olivia's chair and plants. Some tea and a script. The goal is to have a nomad living room where we can have guided discussions. It is for us a way to create a complete different atmosphere (Moha style) yet still being at the daily working spots of the guys. 


 We told the guys we would like to interview them. In the end It is not really an interview but rather a guided conversation. Most of the guys are happy to play the game. As usual we are a bit nervous when we bring our weird poetics inside of the life of others. As usual it actually surprisingly works good. We interview on Monday Doe and Daniel, on Wednesday Martin, Rut and Abdel. The questions are diverse, such as "Do you think your work influence the way you see life" , "What brought you to the work you do" , "If we were to become friends what would you expect from me", "Do you think you are a role model to someone" among other questions. We always finish with "In which part of your work do you see art". 

The rules of the game are made so that we also have to answer. From starting a little shy, we find ourselves entering slowly more intimate conversations, giving advises to each other, agreeing on many points, realising that as abstract it can be to be an artist it is sometimes not that far from their work. The situation has something touching. 

"Art is the magic you can do with the Machine. Art is starting your shift very early after the Ajax game, looking at the trash everywhere and knowing that you will make it all disappear. Art is the team work. Art is the small conversations with people in the street"

Wednesday 26th

After a week being gone both in our respective countries, we are back on track. We join the early shift to show that we are still part of the routines. The guys ask us how was it back home in Hungary and France. We talk about the culture there. Martin plays some Edith Piaf on his phone to show me that he knows some french songs and to make Ramazan listen. R is not really convinced. He likes better Aznavour.

We clean DeBanne as usual. With Rut and the older Martin we talk about Amsterdam North and how much it changed. People say that now all the yuppies have arrived here, all the "groen links people" came to live here. They say, in the past, people were more relaxed in North. Now people call the police when there are sounds.  They want to live in a "calm place". They find it a pity. It is interesting for me to listen and to realise sadly that there is a gap that is not being bridged. I am thinking secretly that I am actually in between all these worlds. I voted groen links yet I understand them as well.

After this talks we start talking about Mothers. How were our mothers? A universal subject, everybody always have something to say about mothers.

Thursday 27th

We take this day to do our last interviews. We interview Gus and Fabian. Since Olivia doesn't have an Opvang or a babysitter yet, we have to take Bowie with us in our van. How sweet it is to see the reactions of the guys. While we do the talks, Ramazan transforms into a happy babysitter, holding Bowie all along and baby talking to him. We do a series a foto posing in front of the car and of the Machine to immortalised this moment.

 Coming back we have a talk with the boss and the team leader of the  cleaning team. Suddenly we realise that the information about what we are doing exactly with the guys did not reach the big boss. I have a little moment of panic because I know people already booked tickets for some of the days of our sharing. But slowly with a lot of diplomacy we get to an agreement. They do support the project but we need to make sure everybody is wearing the proper equipment. The good news is that most probably we can have the machine for the opening day of over her ij festival. It will be a useful PR tool since it can be still difficult to convice people to book a ticket for a "performance" at 7am. Gus will bring the machine and represent the team. Gus has always been a great support helping us to organise these things.