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In 2007 newspaper printer Trouw moved out of their building at the Wibautstraat in Amsterdam. After that the office block, built in 1969 by Van den Broek en Bakema architects, became a restaurant and a venue for converts, club nights and events. On April 19th 2012, the event Hear It! #2 was organised by Amsterdam renowned Stedelijk Museum. I was asked to participate by ‘doing something’ with a machine room in the basement. The machines that controlled the heating and air conditioning throughout the building were still in working order. I composed the piece Kamermuziek, which visitors could listen to while strolling around the pipes and cauldrons of the dim-lit space. The sound of the machines would blend and get into a dialogue with the soundtrack playing through their headphones.

When I visited TrouwAmsterdam (as it’s now called) for the first time, I had access to two connected machine rooms. Due to safety regulations I could only use one of them for the Hear It! event. Also, only eight people at a time were allowed in the room, under guidance of an usher and myself. So despite the big interest among the visitors, many weren’t able to experience the ‘tour’. Photographer Sanja Harris was one of them. We got into a talk, and that’s when the project got wings...

Inspired by the event, Sanja and I developed new ideas to translate the experience of the Kamermuziek installation to a work that was not restricted to the actual machine rooms. We were kindly given permission to make new sound recordings and photographs, which resulted in an audio-visual project consisting of a cd, a series of cards, two downloadable videos and a pdf document.


released May 15, 2013


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Machinefabriek Schiedam, Netherlands

Rutger Zuydervelt

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