The anatomy of dreams and bamboo-reality

Kolakowski, Marcin Mateusz (2000) The anatomy of dreams and bamboo-reality. Architektura & Biznes, 100 (11). pp. 50-57. ISSN 1230-1817

The anatomy of dreams and bamboo-reality [A&B2000/11]
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Anatomy of dreams and bamboo reality
Hemingway used to say "if you want your people to build a boat, don't give them hammers, saws and tools – give them a longing for the sea." Today, we have lots of tools. We have computers, software, virtual reality, smart facades and offices, and various attractive systems... but we're somewhat lacking in longing ... In order to have longings, one has to have dreams, and to have dreams, one has to have courage. Antoon had it. Wanting to design with the people and for the people, he took his art into the streets, using the cheapest materials, such as black plastic bags and bamboo sticks bound with rubber bands. This simplicity was soon to manifest its power.
Antoon Vesteegde's art is closer to architecture than anybody else's. His works have architectural scale, they create public places and often refer to architecture, and conduct a dialogue with it. Their great potential is the social aspect of the building process. His work, which he begins in the morning with a group of friends, attracts dozens of people willing to help during the day. He has even come up with the new concept of “social sculpture".
A few years ago an idea emerged that a Zeppelin could be built of bamboo—a perfect means of transport for the Third World. Antoon himself admitted to me that his belief in it was limited, but his role was not to extinguish but rather to encourage dreams. He was inspired by this idea and made a sculpture of six circles of a Zeppelin situated in two countries. In Germany, the first one seemed partly buried in the ground, the other two were on the ground... and in Holland it hovered high above the grass. "If anything is to come from Germany—let it be a Zeppelin" said the motto... And that slogan was so beautiful that it became interwoven into the idea of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp exhibition last year, staged in the European Parliament in Brussels. The prostrate “Zeppelin fragment" became the scaffolding skeleton of the exhibition. Thus, bamboo sculptures create a living space that becomes the venue of meetings, concerts, poetry readings, and a public space—permeated with dreams.
His own works often begin to live their own lives and builders relate to him by placing their own dreams in them. The sculptures do not refer to sentimental stories, but create new phenomena. The impact of their rather simple forms does not consist so much in their shape as in their scale and the juxtaposition of the everyday surroundings with an unusual phenomenon. The sculptures do not depict any idea (which is understandable considering that Antoon Versteegde started out as an abstractionist). That is how they avoid any didactic or moralising quality. It is, however, hard to appreciate fully the ambience of fun and cooperation that they create (which, in a competitive, hectic society, is a valuable idea in itself). And yet, ideas, such as the Zeppelin, emerge spontaneously. This is the magic of creating dreams.
Yet another application for bamboo trusses has been found. Antoon built a copy of a building that was the subject of a public debate: “rebuild or not?" That was the beginning of the idea that Versteegde calls bamboo reality as opposed to virtual reality. Building such models is inexpensive and yields results that are often better than a computer image, especially in urban debates where the community's opinion is what counts.
To quote Bruce Goff, Antoon does not create "small dreams for great people but great dreams for small people

Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K200 Building
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K110 Architectural Design Theory
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K210 Building Technology
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:18035
Deposited On:29 Jul 2015 13:58

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