Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PHOTOS: Rotterdamse Museumnacht

I think most of my intelligent readers can pretty much guess that that means: Rotterdam's Museum Night.

Museumnacht is one night a year when participating museums, big and small, organise special exhibitions and shows from 8pm till 2am. People who attend have to buy a 'passe partout', the all-entrance passport, to access all these museums.

This year was my first time to the Museumnacht and I was really excited about it. The passport cost € 14 and there were 50 museums participating. So in 6 hours, I'd better know exactly where I want to go.

I'd heard that a few people weren't happy with the passport this year being a blinking LED button badge because it was so environmentally unfriendly for just one night. Why not just a normal paper ticket? I tell you why. Because Museumnacht is only once a year and it should be SPECIAL. There will always be waste. So why not put this inevitability to some sort of good use? I am really quite an environmentalist for the common person - I recycle all my paper, I make an effort to keep glass aside for the special bins and I turn lights off and don't use water more than I need to. But sometimes, just sometimes, for a special occasion, I think we deserve to enjoy ourselves and splash out on something fancy.

Besides, I think the blinking LED badge helped to lessen queues and bring people together for one night. Biking around the city, seeing people marching along with blinking green lights, was really very cool, like we were all in one gang, with one purpose. And at the museums, all the staff had to do was look for a blinking green light, so we never had to stop and queue up.

Okay, so I'm ranting a lot about this, but it's because I think that sometimes environmentalists ask for a bit too much.

Anyway, the first place we visited was the Arminius, an old church which I believe has been converted into more of an event venue. It still looks like a church though, so I'm not too sure about what I just said. Maybe just forget this whole paragraph.

The entrance to the Arminius. All participating venues had a green light shone on the entrances, which I think was a great nod to the concept.

Outside the Arminius, the Rotterdam Archive Council were serving free 'crisis soup'. They apparently, conveniently, just discovered this recipe in their archives and had made it for participants. I didn't really like it, but I appreciate the gesture. Who would refuse free soup?

Inside the Arminius was an installation about NL waiting for the next king. The country has been ruled by queens for a few generations now, but after the current queen, it will be her son who becomes king. So this couturier guy and another artist/curator woman decided to imagine the water land with a king. At least that's what the booklet says, although I'm not sure I could relate that to the installation. It was very beautiful nevertheless. Anything set in a church is bound to be awe-inspiring, and this didn't fail.

All the headless dolls were a little creepy but very cool.

Next stop was the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. It's a very famous museum, especially amongst the arty ones. Embarrassingly, I admit that I haven't been to see their exhibitions, but I have indeed been into the lobby, the bookshop, the play area, outside the restoration lab and inside their amazing library. Contrary to how it sounds, it's actually quite a huge area, with some art pieces as well, which made me think I had actually seen everything (what a noob).

I wonder how long she stayed like that.

Schrobbenmaster's idea of taking a photo.


Then onwards to the NAi, the Nederlands Architectuurinstituut. Or with the same initials in English, the Netherlands Architecture Institute. Bet you guessed that already though.

It was pretty crowded at the bar area where there was really good club music being played by a live DJ. And this really cool thingy in the picture above. It's not obvious here, but it's actually a kind of 3D video projection from the phone. It's like those Sith guys in Star Wars communicating with each other through some projection. It looks really cool.

Some exhibition on Dutch-made inventions.

Some Dutch rubbish bins.

Do you know Bob Ross? Apparently he's very famous here. To me, he is so uncool that he's cool. He's this white guy with a kind of small afro and he had a TV show teaching people how to paint in watercolour. He had such a slow, soothing voice and would describe things so... quaintly. Oh, what the heck, here's a YouTube link.

I digress, but anyway, this photo above is of the Bob Rush masterclass. I'd wanted to join it but this guy was so not Bob Ross. Maybe the clue is in the name?

Then a hop, skip and jump to the Kunsthal, where I'm proud to say I have indeed been before. It's an art museum. There was a band playing there called Roosbeef, who Schrobbenmaster wanted to see. And I do agree, their music was really good. Here's a link and I would recommend you guys click and listen. Such an improvement from the terrible folk music most Dutch people love.

After that, we headed to the Sonneveld House to watch another band. We had to wear plastic covers over our shoes to protect the interior which is from the 1930s.

It wasn't my kind of music and I was kinda bored and wanted to roll my eyes, but if you dig that sort of music, then I think it would have been pretty good. They're called Yes Please.

We decided to head back and stop at a few venues on the way, one of which was Het Schielandshuis, which was showing work clothes and denim, and had a very nice arty market in the attic, except that I didn't want to spend money, and those markets are never really as cheap as you would expect. Very good club music though.

And lastly, we went to Laurenskerk, just across the road from our place, who was exhibiting something about food. Except we were there at 1.30am and there was only this left.

I'm always drawn to rows and columns of books.

Some display on world celebrations. This one here is Chinese New Year.

All in all, it was enjoyable and really nice to be part of a big Rotterdam thing. I think I would definitely go again next year just for the atmosphere and for the chance of discovering something amazing.

Friday, March 02, 2012

50 things to do before you die

I read somewhere that we all just can't resist a good ol' list. So we keep reading them and we keep making them and we keep failing to complete them.

Well, Mike Sowden of Fevered Mutterings wrote a list some time ago that I think we could all complete and be proud of it. Somewhat.

I found the list so inspiring that I had to make an easy-to-tick-off poster. Enjoy!

Click on it to view a larger version. Enjoy!