Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"OpenLuchtHotel" was a great success despite the storm

Detail of Room of Memories by Sen McGlinn + Sonja van Kerkhoff  
Scroll down this blog to views of our bed for the Fields of Wonder (this links to their website), Plein Air Hotel event (theatre, music, dance followed by a sleeping in a bed in the open air).
Most of the 36 beds were situated in the Leiden Hortus Botanicus gardens (about 10 minutes by foot south-east) and ours was in the courtyard flanked by two 15th century buildings from the days these served as part of the Aalmarkt school for the poor as part of the "Sint-Catharinagasthuis" complex for the poor of the city of Leiden. See my blog for June 18th for more about the history of this location.
Detail of Room of Memories by Sen McGlinn + Sonja van Kerkhoff

"Room of Memories" by Sen McGlinn and Sonja van Kerkhoff ( is a house-like structure inside which a double mattrass was fitted. It was made out of wood and old furniture found on the streets of Leiden in May 2012 except for the suspended window which was made from sticks engraved with texts from wood Sonja collected in Romania in 2002. The text which could be read from the front read: "Trees that yield no fruit have been and ever will be for the fire."

The mirror swivels around and we made some hooks for hanging clothes and there was a small platform for glasses.

We had a few hiccups in building this work because we didn't get permission for the actual location in this courtyard until 10 days before it had to be finished and then we could only begin construction on site 4 days beforehand. However the construction went very fast and it was so easy to work in the OpenMakers studio, so in retrospect it all went very well and we discovered that our work could also be quickly relocated as well.

The weather forecast was for heavy heavy and wind and so we needed to make a plan B.

The four of us easily lifted the whole house and moved it to underneath the concert hall verandeh and then we made covering for the south-westeries that were expected.

Because these were paying guests (100 Euros per couple) we felt they needed to have a plan C and so we made another double bed inside the OpenMakers studio as well should they decide that sleeping outside was too cold.

Then it rained and rained. Everyone got wet and many beds were soaked at the Hortus Botanicus but the rain stopped by 11 p.m.

Our guests wanted to sleep under the stars and to take the risk of getting wet, so the four of us quickly moved the bed-house back into the middle of the courtyard.

Meanwhile our 'reserve' bed was used by another couple because some beds were too wet to sleep in at the Hortus Botanicus. They slept between a piano and a park bench in the studio and Sen even mopped the floor to make it a nicer atmosphere for them.

<< We put plastic coverings over the front and side and they were needed. Just as we finished the rain poured down and so Sen's clever angled shelter for the front proved to be necessary to stop the rain beating into the interior.

>> A new view from underneath the verandeh. Carmen and Tama 'in reflection.'
<< And earlier that afternoon Tama and I did a performance which Carmen and Sen filmed. More to come about this in July. First we are now working on our next sculpture, a 9 part dome-like temple for reflection.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Open Lucht Hotel - Open Air Hotel, Leiden

June 21st: Binnenplaats LCV / Gehoorzaal / OpenMakers.

The Aalmarkt School courtyard flanked by a Leiden pop theatre, the Leiden Concert Hall and the Openmakers studios. More information about this location is in the June 18th entry.

This is one of 36 beds made by artists or designers in various locations around the the historic city of Leiden for the Fields of Wonder, Open Air Hotel event.

More information about the OpenLuchtHotel project in Dutch is here >>

I've also put a summary of this and the programme in the Hortus Botanicus
in Dutch here >>

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Room of Memories" on location

18 June: Robbert Pauwels (sculptor in another of the OpenMaker studios) helped and Jennefer took photos. First we worked without ladders and with 3 directors.

After we had the first eave in place, a manager from the Concert Hall emerged, worried that we might be silly enough as to put nails into the wooden terrace.

He then lent us a ladder and gave Sonja a mini-tour of the Concert Hall Chambers while we looked for the ladder. A truly impressive building (see their programme on this website (in Dutch only).
The front entrance dates from 1826 (see photo of this on wikipedia) and the terrace at the back is a later extension. Next to this is the "Gasthuiskerk" (visible in the photo on the left - the church was part of hospital and poorhouse in the middle ages but these days serves as part of the concert hall chambers), and while we were working we heard an organ being played which was from either this church but more likely from the one next to this, the Waalsekerk which has amazing organ which Tama played on once a week in 2008-9. The two buildings (see photo on left) on the northern side of this courtyard also date from the middle ages and were part of what was known as the Aalmarkt school which in turn served as part of the "Sint-Catharinagasthuis" complex for the poor of the city of Leiden.

And now the framework for our "room of memories" is almost finished we will work on the bed and bed covering, which will fit exactly into the inner space. The window that hangs above bears engraved texts: "Trees that yield no fruit have been and will ever be for the fire." and "Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting." (these and the other texts you can see in part if you stand underneath the window and look up, come from the Hidden Words by Baha'u'llah, and on the left there is a mirror which turns reflecting the inner and outer memories :)

"Room of Memories" tryout in a studio

Try-out in the "OpenMakers" studio in the centre of Leiden (an old shop building at Aalmarkt 15).

June 15th: The mirror swivels and makes a nice "trick of the eye" play with the oval on the opposite side of the structure. Beyond you see the roof which will be added on top.

We then dismantled it on June 17th for rebuilding it on location on the Leiden concert hall terrace in a courtyard at the back of Aalmarkt 15.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our "bed-sculpture" for the OpenLuchtHotel in Leiden

12 June 2012: Change of plans now. We cannot build around the tree as planned so we chose to mimic the forms of some of the 15th century houses in the courtyard instead. What you see in the photo here is a church building from the 16th century. All going well we can start putting it together on Friday.