Ever since launching the Unmaking the Netherlands programm in Utrecht’s Werkspoor area in 2015 we have seen the formerly neglected area with our feet, again and again. At the same time we have seen Werkspoor reappear in the city’s collective imagination. The area transformed from being an edge of the city – as exotic as any far flung destination – into an integral part of Utrecht’s landscape. The area therewith became subject to the same modernization that has withdrawn the element of time from journeying, with Werkspoor being in danger of losing its reality of space. Time for the flâneur or flaneuse – the modern urban spectator, an amateur detective and investigator of the city – to appear. Yes, that’s you.
Come walk along.
Because walkers are the practitioners of the city, as cities are made to be walked. With Rebecca Solnit we believe a city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and that walking is the act of speaking that language. And no, this will not be a guided walk. You’re doing it for yourself, increasing your own store of particular knowledge, walking your own eccentric version of the city. Under cover of the darkness for – as Nick Dunn wrote – we need to explore the rich potential of the dark, of the nocturnal city as an alternative frame for thinking and being.
Nightwalking opens up both the city and ourselves.
Our walks take place almost every last Thursday of the month. We gather below trainstation Zuilen, next to the Werkspoor locomotive. We’d be more than happy if you join us for an exploration of our city: the existing, the probable and the possible.
Werkspoor, de Opera
Since its’ premiere in 2015 the team behind the koren opera ‘on the rise and fall of Werkspoor, on the coming of age of Zuilen, on changes in our post-war societies, all described via the microcosm of a Utrecht family’, has been working on realising a complete opera: Werkspoor de Opera.
With the students of this year’s Master of Fine Arts spatial practice program at the HKU we embarked on the adventure of constructing a sonic lexicon of -and perhaps even for- the city of Utrecht. Naturally all of us will have all liberty to decide what should be part of this lexicon.
And then Corona came. We had had only one day out in the city altogether before life moved online. Encouraged by the perseverance and curiosity of the students [Thank you!] we had to explore how we could continue ‘walking as an artistic practice’ in a virtual surroundings. In this text we try explaining what the course meant for us.