DOUBLE BLIND – installation; performance
For her contribution to the wellness-themed group show Cure Park, Noorda built a combination wood and canvas Peace Shrine/Waterfowl Sanctuary/Duck Blind on a wooden platform projecting out into a waterway in the Amsterdamse Bos (Forest), a 10 sq km park next to Schiphol airport NL. Originally proposed in 1900 by pioneering conservation botanist, Jak P. Thijsse as a public health initiative, the landscaping of the Bos took several decades with most of the work completed during the Depression by 20,000 of the city’s unemployed, equipped with wheelbarrows and shovels, and by the forced labour of the local Jewish population during the German occupation in WWII. A shovel and a rake served as symbolic antennae and vertical supports to honor the labor that went into the creation of the Bos.
Ruchama occupied the site on an almost daily basis throughout much of Cure Park’s 6-week span and sometimes slept overnight inside the shrine. Operating like an actor in a living diorama, clad in a rough canvas tunic, she dug a pit to one side of the shrine and squatting in the mud at the water’s edge, sculpted elemental river gods from the excavated clay. Then, she pit-fired the figures using wood collected from the forest as fuel, thereby turning the site into raw material, stage and tool. The installation was marked number 6 on the Cure Park map, and a steady stream of visitors came by to see it each day. Taking on the role of educator, Ruchama would answer questions, give guided tours around the site, and enlist children in fuel-gathering and fire-stoking duties.
A solid ladder, resting on the river bottom, broad enough to accommodate webbed feet had been built into one side of the platform to enable passing ducks to access the shrine should they so choose, though none did. The duck blind was strictly for the ducks. It wasn’t built to accommodate hunters. Viewed on a windless day from the low Japanese-style wooden bridge directly facing the installation, designed by Amsterdam School architect, Pieter L. Kramer, the Peace Shrine was mirrored in the surface of the water.
The day after Cure Park closed, the platform was dismantled by an Amsterdamse Bos ground crew.
DOUBLE BLIND: installation/performance, Cure Park, curated by Theo Tegelaers (TAAK), Amsterdamse Bos, Amstelveen, the Netherlands, June 4-July 16, 2017.