I started this week in Barcelona, in the midst of the massive demonstrations of the Catelonia strike. Later this week, I was cohost of the charming Jord den Hollander at the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) and I interviewed Julia Gruen, executive director of the Keith Haring foundation for the special restauration of two Keith Haring graffiti works: one at the Stedelijk, and one secret one at the Foodhallen. Furthermore I saw a touching performance of Maartje Duin about the dementia of her father and ate with very special cuttlery at an experimental gastronomic dinner at the Lloyd Hotel.
I had to fly back this week to Barcelona for the Catalan referendum. Such an important historical event, I wanted to be there. I spoke to parents who occupied a school that served as a voting station and were fighting for their right to vote. Also, I visited the Photogenic Festival where artists exhibit in all kinds of special little shops. And earlier this week, we finally had the live edition of Stadsleven about the crazy housing market. I give you a little sneak peek behind the scenes.
This week started with the emotional tribute for mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, who announced this week he needed to stop his work because of his sickness. Thursday, I was at the opening of the Unseen photography festival. I especially loved the new work of Charlotte Dumas about wild horses in Japan. In the weekend, I went to the San Sebastian Festival with the ladiesclub of EYE filmmuseum. Baptist stayed home and went to the opening ‘Traces of War’ of photographer Jan Banning at gallery Fontana.
Hong Kong: that is the world’s most densely populated city, an island of glistening skyscrapers, fashion and fast money, the most expensive real estate in the world against a backdrop of rugged mountains. Right? But the city also has a hidden life, on high and down below. Two fascinating books – as well as the ‘Homes for All’ video that Max Hirsh and Xiaoxuan Lu made for the digital magazine of my talkshow Stadsleven – shine a stark light on Hong Kong’s housing dilemma’s.
Parties, exhibitions and sneak peeks this week. Sunday, I went to a beautiful exhibition of Sarah van Sonsbeeck about refugees in the old church of Amsterdam. I had a surprise party of my friend Leon Ramakers with a speech of comedian Freek de Jonge. On Tuesday, Mohsin Hamid gave a lecture at the John Adams Institute. Journalist Mirjam de Rijk gave us a preview of what she will discuss during the Stadsleven live talkshow ‘Wij Willen Wonen’ about the housing market. Later this week, Art Chapel curator Maarten Bertheux gave me a tour of this great exhibition space. I celebrated with Wouter Veldhuis that his firm MUST, an urbanism studio, exists already 20 years. And I finally got to see the exhibition of designer Maarten Baas in the Groninger Museum.
Again, a week full discoveries in Barcelona. I couldn’t believe I have never been to Hospital Sant Pau before, an amazing art nouveau building in the middle of the city. Also another ‘modernismo’ building opened up its doors to the public: Casa del Punxes which I can see from my apartment and now I got a chance to get a look inside. In Alella, a small town near Barcelona where we celebrated the grape harvest, we saw a glimpse of the huge impact of the upcoming referendum about Catalan Independence: Keep calm and speak Catalan!