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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

This place will never be the same again...

This place will never be the same again…

On a friend’s facebook page (Gijs Nagtegaal, thank you dear for the link) I found this rather haunting picture.

It is a digitally collaged picture of a streetscape in Amsterdam’s Dam Square, mixing the present day with a real view of old.

It is the work of Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse, who is a historical consultant, living in Amsterdam. You can find more pictures on her Flickr site called Ghosts of History or the Facebook group, where she writes short descriptions for each of the juxtaposed collages.

I find it an inspired way to help people understand about the life and context of a building, recreating the sense of place. Old buildings have not always been used in the same way they are used now. Some have quite horrific chapters as part of their building biography. Others have been left for dead for decades…

It is impressive how a building will quietly bear their scorn and in some cases even pay any retaliation from the mob afterwards… Some survive, others do not. Those are left forever in the mists of history.

Work like this shows you quite aptly how in the end it is the people in the place it that bring the space to life. Like a stageset seems fake until the actors come onto the stage…

Are you looking at me?

Are you looking at me?

During my building conservation diploma this thought has never been far from my mind. If you consider a building a living being (anthropomorphism in a long word), with the windows for eyes (aren’t the eyes the windows to the soul?), the hearth or fireplace as the heart, the door as the mouth, and the sewage drains, well…
In a way you could see the people in it as it’s soul.
A house left empty loses it’s gloss and shine, and after a while may be even die entirely…

So show me how you live, and I can tell you who you are.

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