The Amsterdam Museum examines the steadily growing collection of stories about this period: Corona in the City. In a six-hour live broadcast we present the most striking stories, we interview Amsterdam residents about the poems, videos, photographs, drawings and audio excerpts that they submitted, and we stop to consider the one-year existence of this online exhibition.
On 15 May 2020, the Amsterdam Museum and several partners in the city together launched the online exhibition, Corona in the City. The exhibition shows how people experience the corona pandemic, the government measures and the social distancing. The focus is not on the views of experts and decisions by public authorities, but on what it all means or meant in the everyday lives of Amsterdam citizens. One year and 150,000 visitors on, this extra-long broadcast is devoted to conversations with the people who submitted material and with the partners of this online exhibition.
Young people in the city
12 am to 1 pm – presentation by Gonca Yalciner and Ilias Zian
Whereas the first wave of the pandemic mainly focused attention on the health of elderly people, in recent months the concern has increasingly turned to young people’s wellbeing. And not surprisingly, since no age group is oriented as strongly on out-of-the-house activities, while precisely these activities have been curtailed. Hanging out in small groups on public squares, spending the weekend dancing at De School, a quick visit to the library to get an assignment done in time – for example. At the same time, this age group has shown a lot of resilience and creativity in its response to the pandemic. See the young people’s submissions on Corona in the City to find many touching testimonies of a strong generation determined to embrace life. What have they missed, most of all? And what do they hope for today?
A number of them will join us in the studio: Imane Valk (voted ‘Amsterdammertje of 2020’), illustrator Lina Matahariku Tomesen, spoken word artists Anouar Ennali & Luan Buleshkaj, and visual artist Bilal Chahal.
Unrest in the city
1 pm – 2 pm – presentation by Tom van der Molen and Fouad Lakbir
How do we deal with the continued disruption of daily life in the city? Now that the curfew is history, how do we look back on that period? And what impact does it have on the city centre when all the tourists disappear?
We will hear about the different ways that our guests respond to the unrest in the city: Mohamed Atrar (Al Houda Mosque Amsterdam), photographer Björn Martens and Nicole Warners (Bierkoning employee).
Culture in the city
2 pm – 3 pm – presentation by Imara Limon and Josien Pieterse
Although artists and cultural workers are not formally considered to form an essential occupational group, it became clear from the very first wave how much people need art and culture. Browse around on Corona in the City to find all sorts of stories testifying to the absolute need to continue making and sharing culture. A number of these respondents will join us in the studio.
How did culture help them cope with the corona pandemic? We will hear from fashion designer and artist Karim Adduchi, spoken word artist Vivian Deekman, theatre maker and member of the ZID Theater artistic team, Daan Bosch, photographers Anaïs Lopez & Jaap van den Beukel (participants in De Sandwich Show) and new renaissance artist Henk Fakkeldij.
Future in the city
3 pm – 4 pm – presentation by Vanessa Vroon-Najem & Ewa Scheifes
For many Amsterdam residents, the past year was one of looking back: many remembered the loved ones they had lost, while others pined for the time from before March 2020, ‘the old normal’. But it was just as much a matter of looking forward: what are the changes we want to keep, which corona-powered disruptions to life would we actually like to keep as ‘the new normal’?
We will engage a number of contributors in a dialogue about the promises of the future: hearing coach Marja de Kinderen (Slechthorend Amsterdam), Leila Badaou (initiator of Moedernetwerk), social artist Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries, and urban strategy adviser & designer Manon Poliste.
Intimacy in the city
4 pm – 5 pm – presentation by Maurice Seleky and Tracy Metz
Rarely have government measures intruded so far into our intimate lives as during the corona pandemic. It may not have had much impact on happily married people living at home, but during the past year, the approximately 250,000 singles in Amsterdam were largely robbed of perhaps our most essential need: the need for physical intimacy. How have we coped with the prohibition on physical contact? What are the consequences of living under the obligation of social distancing? And what new types of intimacy did we discover in this past year?
We will discuss the theme of intimacy in the city during the pandemic with a number of contributors: film director Lieza Röben, hands-on expert on corona-proof dating Eva van Gelder, poet Iduna Paalman, photographer Cleo Campert and filmmaker Sven Peetoom.
Corona in the City
5 pm – 6 pm – presentation by Margriet Schavemaker, Diana Ozon & Mathilde muPe
Corona in the City is Amsterdam’s first large-scale online exhibition. Compiling a digital collection clearly has spatial advantages, but it also carries huge democratic potential: every Amsterdam resident can contribute a story to the museum collection. The result is a boundless digital space in which the traditional divisions between high and low art, between professional artistry and amateurism disappear, and diversity and inclusivity can flourish instead. At the same time, new challenges emerge: is it possible to collect without applying criteria? How can we find any sort of orientation within the infinity of digital space? If Corona in the City signals a new approach to collecting, then these and similar questions must be addressed.
That is why we will engage curators and contributors in a dialogue on the benefits and drawbacks of digital history: with writer and curator Hanne Hagenaars, Saskia Guyonne (Karaoke host Bulldog Palace & thebackpacksinger), writer and illustrator Ola Enzler, and students of applied biology Arie Ebbenhorst & Didi Serényi.