Time out – Op slag verliefd

O, wat zou het toch heerlijk zijn als je je voor altijd verliefd kon voelen. Maar ja, elke langdurige relatie komt eens in een sleur terecht, ook de jouwe. Ténzij je naar de Rotterdamse Museumnacht gaat.

Een museumbezoek verheffend voor je relatie? Jazeker. Want wie niet bang is voor een beetje kunstmatige hulp, kan tijdens de Rotterdamse Museumnacht op slag (weer) verliefd zijn. Zonder xtc, mét het knuffelhormoon Oxynosine 5Mille+. Laboratoire d’Odeur brouwt het in haar mobiele lab in het Natuurhistorisch Museum en zorgt ervoor dat het direct in je bloedbaan komt. Als dát geen goed startpunt is voor de avond…

De Museumnacht, vanwege het tienjarig bestaan onder het thema ‘10×010’, gaat trouwens officieel van start in het Museumpark. Daar blaast Rotterdammer, schrijver en fantast Ernest van der Kwast letterlijk de kaarsjes uit van de verjaardagstaart. Vervolgens transformeert het park tot een andere wereld – eigenlijk de hele stad verandert. Op elke straathoek zijn wel performances te vinden. Heerlijk om gewoon tussendoor te dwalen, maar ook leuk: volg een wandeltocht van AroundTown! Er zijn drie routes: ‘Johnnie en Anita Favorites’ (met het accent op de Witte de Withstraat en het Museumpark), de ‘Tiny en Lau-tour’ door het centrum en ‘Niet beppen maar steppen’ over de Kop van Zuid. De twee uur durende tochten (met begeleiding) beginnen om 21.00 uur bij reserveringspunt op de Coolsingel 195-197.

Natuurlijk kun je het, genietend van die hervonden kriebels in je buik, ook rustiger aan doen. In de Kunsthal bijvoorbeeld, waar om 21.30 en 23.00 uur Anneke van Giersbergen optreedt met Agua de Annique. Wandel je meteen even door naar de voodootentoonstelling in het museum, waar je kunt laten voorspellen hoe jouw leven er over tien jaar uitziet.

Echt lachen is het in het altijd leuke Schielandhuis. Daar verbouw je groente en fruit met behulp van powertools tot muziekinstrumenten, om vervolgens om 20.00 en 22.00 uur mee te spelen in het Vegaphonisch Orkest. Met een fijne party toe natuurlijk, want een beetje normaal vertier blijft belangrijk – ‘ja toch, niet dan?’

Rotterdamse Museumnacht, op zaterdag 5 maart van 19.45 tot 2.00 uur. Passe-partout € 13,50; € 17,50 op avond zelf bij de deelnemende musea. De wandeltochten kosten € 10,- extra en € 15,- voor de steptocht.

Born and raised in Bordeaux, France, where she also completed her undergraduate studies in architecture, Noemie Benoit’s desire for knowledge and interest in other cultures has led her on a grand tour of many countries in Europe and Asia. She has lived in London and Florence, Italy, where she obtained her first Master’s degree in architecture. Benoit is now hard at work on a second MSc degree in architecture at TU Delft, but this time with a specialist focus on sustainable urbanism and building sciences

What is it about sustainability that fascinates you?
“Sustainability motivates me. It’s daily life. There’s something in the world that is killing the nature of the human. And the environment is getting destroyed. We need to fix it early. We’re at a place where we have reached a high level of awareness. Now it’s time to start acting. We’re affecting the green nature of the planet.”

How has your interest in sustainability motivated your travels?
“In the cycle we’re on, if we make a change in one place in the world it could affect another part of the chain in another part of the world. So we need to open up our perspectives. And understand our choices in everything – in education, life, politics….”

And what choices are you making now in this context?
“I’m currently working on the “Sustainability Is…” campaign, to inform people about what sustainability really is. Once informed, people can assume their own roles. We want this campaign to be different from normal publicity. We want to share our passion. It’s important to share the right information with everyone.” 

Who else is involved in the ‘Sustainability Is…’ campaign?
“People from all faculties can join. It’s an educative awareness campaign. We don’t want to organize any new activities because there are plenty already. But we want to be present at all local sustainability activities. We want to generate new ideas, funny ideas, stimulating and interactive ideas, for communicating the message of sustainability. We want to bring people together in other ways, like shopping or cooking together, like supporting the local economy by buying local produce.”

Where have your own explorations of sustainability taken you?
“In 2009 I was in Singapore and Malaysia, to see landscape vernacular architectures as well as cities. To see how people live across the world. In Malaysia we saw some very rich places, but there was no conscience about the environment. Then we went to fisherman villages that are being replaced by the spreading cities. The vernacular structure there is changing with the evolution of the city. We lived in a fishing village, watched people making food, real rural life, people going to work in plantations in the morning. It was terrible to see the nature that was destroyed by the plantations. It was terribly intimidating. You can sense the power behind the big plantations.”

What led you to India?
“My friend, Jan Wouter, who studies industrial ecology, and I both share an immense concern for sustainability, so we wanted to see how it could be achieved there. We wanted to see it from the perspective of the people.” 

You’ve said that you found life in India to be a complete paradox.
“Indeed, the economies completely destroyed the environment. People often eat off coconut leaves for instance, but then they also throw plastic and paper everywhere. Yet people use the minimum for maximum effect. There’s an appreciation of the value for things. They have a certain intelligence of materials. We’d be in a perfectly traditional village but one that also had the stamp of capitalism. A total contrast. You’re completely integrated one moment and the next minute out of the general harmony of things. There is this paradox.”

After growing up in the West, didn’t you miss the material comforts of home?
“No, I was happy there with just minimum requirements. I didn’t have anything – no music, no laptop, nothing. But I was very happy.  Instead, I experienced opening coconuts while talking with the local people.”

You also visited Auroville, the famous township that is experimenting with establishing a sustainable society in every perspective – education, politics, organization, buildings.
“We expected to meet lots of happy people there, but the people there weren’t happy. Western people live there and they wouldn’t let us integrate. We tried meeting all the communities there. We wanted to participate in gardening and cooking. But it was difficult because people weren’t so inviting. You feel it when people are happy, but these people didn’t have that happiness. There were stress and time issues. Auroville wasn’t like other communities in India, where people are so friendly and share.”

And then you went to Mumbai particularly to experience the slums.
“Yes. Everything in Mumbai goes to the slum called Daravi to be recycled. We had a big introduction to what is material – that’s wood, glass, plastic. It’s not a garbage dump, as every bit is to be reused. This place has incredible activity. Huge numbers of people living together. The slums in Daravi are actually beautiful. There’s plenty of space. Garbage segregation bins are everywhere. The people are beautiful and clean. It’s in fact the cleanest area I saw in India. Everyone was working on something. I could go there to live! I felt very comfortable.”

You felt ‘very comfortable’ in a slum?
“Yes, it was a human structure made by humans for humans. I was
looking for that sustainability. Even if some small parts have dirty water, not all parts do. It was a survival slum. It was a place where the inhabitants wanted to live and enjoy. The vernacular structure is incredible. It’s human architecture – people architecture. The proportions are perfectly made – small for house, bigger for streets, different sizes for schools. Public toilets are very clean. The slum smells good. Roofs have a metal structure with stones. There’s only necessary structure, to have shelter and to live.“

What are the keys to this well-functioning urban system?
“Everything is co-coordinated and connected. For example, if there’s a theatre in a house, you don’t know it from the outside. You must be a part of the system to know what’s inside. There isn’t a clearly defined private-public domain. There’s a minimum of space to live and no waste. It’s a transparent system. Everyone knows everything. If you’re not there, you know nothing. But if you live there, you know everything about the system. So it’s very mysterious and by definition attractive.”

And you also visited the slum where ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was filmed?
“Yes, but this Bandra slum is very different – very dense, very dirty. The movie exaggerates certain things, and mostly shows things I didn’t see: the commerce of children, the mafia, assassins…. I only focused on the positive. But despite this focus, I realize that the society is becoming artificial. Happiness is increasingly artificial. Something is happening somewhere which is not right or natural and we need to start acting now to save our planet from superficiality.”

Redacteur Redactie

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