The gallery is open. Nothing else. Day 15 – 21.

Previously on WeAreNotSisi:
The first edition of A Sound Night was the last event in a serious of happenings at the show. Apart from the few hours of sleep every day at night, I had been in the bunker almost constantly for 14 days. People talk about health risks if you are in the bunker for one full day, so I do not know what it has done to me – maybe if you stay there long enough it’s menace transforms into some kind of cure and the bunker thus into a sanatorium?
What if Hans Castorp had spent his 7 years together with all his fellow patients in a city-bunker? (Any novelists with too much time out there?) This question does pop up because what happened is that WeAreNotSisi de-activated time and space, it became another planet with it’s own flow. There were many ways how this became manifest, as in the way I did things and how people reacted on them. You are in an own universe and you are in there fully and so convinced, the even people outside think „This is the way it has to be.“ When you are in such a state you can do marvellous things, you have super-powers and who does not want to have super-powers once in a while? The important thing about it though – and this is what makes it a very personal challenge – is not to lose track of reality completely, to find your way back and in the best of all worlds even recognize what you see, hear, smell, feel on this way back. And to see how this way changed you. (This approach or mission was also formulated in the concept and this documentation became to be one of the central parts of that.)
But let’s talk about the positive flow and one of the many more easy to grasp hands-on examples of what I am talking about: When we needed a music stand for A Sound Night, it was obvious that I would just go to the Concertgebouw around the corner (I needed to get toilet paper from the supermarket anyway) to fetch one. And of course, after a few phone calls with the internal concertgebouw-landline in the friendly porters’ lodge at the stage door, a lady came along to give it to me, without asking any questions. She did ask me to bring it back at night though, as there is always somebody in the Concertgebouw to open the door for you. We did of course, we couldn’t wish for a sweeter end of A Sound Night than dropping by at the Concertgebouw to give back a music stand at the back door.

After „A Sound Night“ no more special events where planned and 6 days of usual gallery work lay ahead of me, open daily from 13:00 – 19:00.  I had no idea what this means. When I was beginning my research for WeAreNotSisi in Amsterdam I had to start from scratch in every sense. Not only did I not know the city at all one and a half years ago and was my dutch still a bit tipsy, I also did not have any clue about “the art world”. As I wanted to organize an exhibtion though and as the timeframe was quite short, I made up a crash course for myself, where I would have all at once – improving my dutch, getting to know the city, learning about “the art world”. So I made a map with 20 galleries on it and took some spare days in autumn 2013 to visit them and  ask some naive questions, where I honestly did not know the answer to. Questions like: What is a gallery? How do you make money? What do artists do apart from making art?  What are “independent art spaces? What are “project spaces”? What are art fares? … You get the point. The crash course worked out – I refused to speak English, so my dutch improved, I asked stupid questions – so I learned a lot, I was cycling and walking all around the city, from heart to periphery and back – so I got to know a better feeling for Amsterdam.
„What is usual gallery work now?“, you, dear reader, are asking? Well, let me answer this question with a little story:
In my crash course I already observed that first of all gallery-life means sitting in front of the computer. We know from office jobs that this does not automatically mean that something is actually happening, so I wanted to find out more about it. When I asked gallerist Oeke Witteveen about it, he as asked me to sit down.  I took the chance to bum a cigarette and he was telling me, that he was doing nothing, just clicking around randomly. Around the corner in another gallery, somebody about 40 years younger than Mr. Witteveen reacted rather differently on my question. Without offering me a seat, the chance was not missed, to underline how annoying it is, that gallery visitors so often do not understand that the people in galleries and in front of computers are ACTUALLY WORKING and do not have time for random chitchat for everybody that is dropping by in the opening hours.
That’s all I needed to know. After the big flood of building up, kicking off and hosting events, I was ready to go and to do everything right. I was looking forward to open my laptop, sit in the corner, look very busy and unapproachable and at the same very open for guests to have a chat. No need to to note, that with this air of professional ambiguity I fit the space and the expo perfectly.

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