Shelter in Place / Shelter in Solidarity @ Hotel Maria Kapel (2021)

‘Reclaim the streets’ Paste-up poster workshop for kids from the Kersenboogerd neighborhood, with Martijn de Wildplakker

Flyer for one of our ‘info-booth walks’ “Is dit kunst?”, design by Matt Plezier

Sketch ‘final’ installation at HMK

Installation view at HMK, photo by Matt Plezier

Opening installation @ HMK

Exiting the institution

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‘Social’ ‘Art’ Residency at Hotel Maria Kapel, Hoorn with Matt Plezier.

The importance of shelter, in and of itself, lies in how it is provided, by which I mean: within an urban setting, which allows people the opportunity to develop some kind of rudimentary daily life and social relationships, to get to know a city, to have access to services, to be able to form bonds of friendship with each other and with people who are active in their neighborhood.

Maria Louka, interview On Care and Carelessness, Arts of The Working Class, 2021

Shelter amid instability

In these times of global pandemic – where both commodity production and life-sustaining work fight for a place in the interior space – intersectional care work, community building, and alternative economies are needed more than ever. The platforms that we use for work, activism, leisure, and the cross-pollination of these modes of becoming public, suggest collectivity, togetherness, and shared spaces – in the virtual and the physical.

What does shelter mean in times especially of COVID? Domestic violence, loneliness, isolation, inequality, sheer homelessness all exacerbated by the pandemic but have been symptoms of a decades long process of neoliberalism going viral, where social institutions are weakened, leading to social fragmentation and individualization. How do inhabitants cope with these persisting changes, the loss of social cohesion, where the burden has been shifted to the individual citizen and ultimately citizenship has to be earned? Our objective is to not only research these stories and experiences of those connected to Hoorn, but to find and create temporary platforms for long term connections. In this we seek connection with a “non-exclusive audience” (Hirschhorn). How do art, architecture, and activism inform each other in non-exhaustive, non-appropriative ways and how can they aid a community in finding platforms for collective (self-)expression?

A shelter, the act of sheltering, feeling sheltered is a layered and at times paradoxical narrative of situated, personal, collective, universal and political vignettes – a mode of narrating highly situated examples coined by dr. Gloria Wekker. A multiplicity to these narrations is given by taking account of the outsider-insider within, especially in these times of heightened instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the uprising of intolerant right wing politics. We aim to start an investigation on shelters as alternative platforms, as nests for the commons, as collective practice, as reflection and critique. Shelters to watch and be watched. Shelters providing interiors to the many, not the few.

Read more about our project and programme, at Hotel Maria Kapel.