In the multi-year process called SAM (Social-Artistic Museum), Merel Noorlander and Arthur Kneepkens investigate and translate the effect and anticipated and unforeseen effects of gentrification together with residents, local organizations and art institutions.
The point of departure is an investigation into the feasibility and desirability of such a new Social-Artistic Museum that links up with the local culture and the social and artistic fabric of the city and the borough. The research is inspired by local residents, schools and officials, together with local, national and international innovators in the field of social art. The different wishes, desires, expectations and whether or not attainable ideals around this speculative and provocative proposal chart the initiators in a series of performances, workshops, installations and interventions. As a platform for reflection, SAM explores the possibilities of a future Social-Artistic Museum in Amsterdam-Noord, whereby the ‘museum’ can also be understood as a playful area of encounter and discovery, beyond a fixed physical location or collection in the narrow sense of the word.
The concept -originally developed at Theaterstraat- was commissioned by Frascati for Stadslab # 2: De Onvertelde Stad (2018), for which research was conducted in the Banne, Amsterdam-Noord. The point of departure was the question: Are artists and art institutions in Amsterdam-Noord against will and thanks partly responsible for the gentrification in this district? And if so: is that bad, what else can you do, and how? The initiators thus indirectly reflected on their own (social) artistic practice and responsibility in Amsterdam-Noord. The pitch performance that was developed for Frascati was then resumed at the 10th anniversary of the CAWA, and will play a number of times by invitation.
At TAAK’s invitation, we are joining our initiative with Social Capital for the 2019-2020 program with the Sixhaven -Amsterdam North- as research field, in collaboration with Placemakers and their initiative de Buurthaven. SAM thus represents in this case the research arm of Social Capital and encourages exchange between the various program components and the various parties involved, and ensures embedding in a wider discourse in the public domain.
At Sixhaven, while waiting for a possible metro station on behalf of the municipality, space is temporarily made available for social, cultural and economic initiatives “from the neighborhood” for a period of two years. The contractor is Placemakers agency, which has given the name Buurthaven to the bundling of initiatives. Operating in the area of tension between placemaking and gentrification is the humus on which Kneepkens and Noorlander will develop together with TAAK SAM-Buurthaven.Participants in the participatory process at this location are: the initiatives of Buurthaven such as the Soeptuin, Christmas tree forest, Speelfontein, SalonSix, Gallic dining table, the Hondenspeeltuin; residents and initiatives of the neighboring neighborhood; residents and initiatives of Amsterdam-Noord in general; the local, national and international field of social art. Other types of partners include the Municipality of Amsterdam and the Sixhaven marina. Fed by these communities, SAM will take shape by deepening what is already there and connecting it with what is missing. SAM takes the form of a research and participation program.
We work with SAM in 3 phases that will take place in 2019 to 2020. In this 1th PHASE, there is mainly consultation and public knowledge sharing of a diverse group of stakeholders: experts, committed local residents and other experiential experts. This is followed by a participatory practical study in PHASE 2 with the emphasis on the expertise of potential participants from the neighborhood and their wishes. In PHASE 3 we combine the results of the first two phases into a textual outcome and speculative physical design for SAM. We conclude the research with a publication and a public event, with recommendations for a new Social-Artistic Museum, both physically and in terms of content, as a city museum in particular, and for the social and cultural future of the Sixhaven area and Amsterdam-Noord, with extrapolations to the discussion about the role of art institutions in relation to the city and its residents.