Sequin Monument, Bijlmer

view from the metro

The emotionally charged history of the aeroplane that crashed into this high-rise apartment building was constantly on my mind while I was designing this work. Still, I didn't want to turn the façade into a monument of remembrance. Gradually I reached a decision to use a light image, like a swarm of sequins scattered across the façade. Only in an indirect way does the work reference the 1992 disaster.

In many cultures sequins, or spangles, serve a talisman-like purpose. Attached to clothing, these small mirrors or shiny coins protect the person wearing them against evil forces. The reflective surfaces literally bounce off disasters and blind the evil eye.
Of course these round shapes are also reminiscent of satellite dishes; the – sometimes hallucinogen – portrait of an era identifying a neighbourhood of many different nationalities. Together they create a play of light between the reception of images from all over the world and the warding off of disaster.

In some of these ‘dishes’ a subtle photographic image has been placed, showing organically build cities from various parts of the world. Inside the dishes the pictures of these chaotic urban landscapes coincide with the reflection of the utopian, ordered architecture of the surrounding Bijlmer suburb. These images function like an extra layer, only visible for a few days a year: only when there is fog preventing the reflection of the surroundings inside the dishes can these images be seen from below.

Most spectators will see this work go by in a flash while travelling by metro. At metro speed, all of the changes in the reflection of sunlight, trees, clouds, and high-rise buildings produce an ephemeral spectacle.

location
end façade of the Groeneveen high rise, Bijlmermeer

material
38 high-polished stainless steel dishes, black foil

commissioned by
Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Patrimonium housing corporation

year
1999