August Allebeplein and Bureau Postjesweg, Amsterdam
Referring to market on a city square as a space for public life the project asked the question: “How could we perform the city market otherwise?”. I see the city market as a site for gathering and collective action beyond it's established form of leisure and consumption: learning from each other, debating communal matters and sharing.
The project “City Market Otherwise” was a collective action in the form of a series of weekly public events on the August Allebéplein in Amsterdam that aim to reimagine the function of a city market by exploring an alternative. The events were organised in collaboration with an assembly of local citizens and the art space Bureau Postjesweg.
The art space Bureau Postjesweg served as an epicentre, neighbourhood living room and workshop for the projects. Every week on Saturday the market stalls were collectively installed at the Allebéplein and activated through the respective activities.
Over the course of 3 months, we have organized 10 events on the August Allebeplein in Amsterdam Nieuw West. The citizens of the neighbourhood were invited to Bureau Postjesweg to suggest what activities would be interesting to bring to a public square. The events were happening every week on a Saturday to create a continuity in the neighbourhood. Each time more people joined and new functional stalls were built and brought to the square. All stalls were made from second hand material that we collected weekly on the streets and in a do-it-yourself aesthetic to create a feeling that everyone is able to do it.
At Bureau Postjesweg
An unexpected emergence of the Project was the transformation of Bureau Postjesweg into a public space for the neighbourhood. Next to being used for assemblies and as a workshop for the City Market Otherwise, kids and youngsters of the neighbourhood started to come to the Space. Our idea was that Bureau Postjesweg will be a non-hierarchical and self-organised space during the project, Dimitri was living the and therefore present 24/7. In that manner we explained the kids our values of self-organisation and gave them the freedom to co-organise the space and its activities. It was interesting to see the creative force of the kids in a space with not clear rules and restrictions that reached from building furniture and toys, street performances, graffiti and digging to destructive attitudes towards the space and the neighbourhood. We tried to set as little borders as possible and to negotiate the needs of the kids with the needs of the neighbours who started to complain about sounds, smoke and the visual appearance of Bureau Postjesweg. It was a huge learning process for everyone and it seemed that many suppressed conflicts came out.
Next to this also other citizens of the neighbourhood were using the space for collective activities like cooking and music evening.
The clay oven
Another side-line of our stay was the building of a clay oven with the support of the artists Anna Celda and Samira Vogel. The citizens of the neighbourhood including the kids were involved into the design and the collective building of the oven. On the closing evening of the project the oven was used to bake bread together in front of the art space.
City Market Otherwise at August Allebeplein
Activities at Bureau Postjesweg
The Clay Oven
Dimitri van den Wittenboer
Paulina Martinez Marin
Fonds voor Nieuw West
Huis van de Wijk - Nieuw West
Final evening at Bureau Postjesweg