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How the city breaths



Swinging a spotlight on our invisible city heroes


In these precarious corona times, disparities in society seem bigger and more noticeable. Who has the joy of their own outdoor space while we’re all forced to stay inside? Who can still feel healthy both mentally and physically? But also: who has a job that is safe? Some of us do have the luxury of being able to work from home, while others don’t. A corona-proof work environment is not available to everybody.

During these times, the city depends on people who keep the city running behind the scenes. The vital powers of society that often remain invisible, that are not clearly present and cannot or should not claim their space in public areas. For many of them working from home is not an option – think of cleaners, sex workers, nurses and bus drivers.

In the gallery ‘How the City Breathes’ we collect different works that place precisely those invisible city heroes on a temporary pedestal. Temporary ‘monuments’ for Amsterdam residents who are indispensable, but also works that show how these times force us to reveal the (in)visibility of certain groups with their own stories, ideas and aspirations.

The title of the gallery was prompted by the project with the same name by the artist collective Frerara, consisting of Frederick Calmes, Raquel van Haver and Raul Balai, which they developed as part of a drawing assignment by the Amsterdam City Archives. Their project consists of drawings and zines that focus attention on the underexposed Amsterdam residents and their stories. In this way they reveal a different side of Amsterdam while creating a temporary ‘monument’ for those that generate the oxygen essential to the city.




This room is curated by:
Stichting NDSM-werf

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Het huis van Amsterdam Soundtrackcity met dank aan: Gemeente Amsterdam West