A redeemable bond, is a bond that the issuer may redeem before it reaches its stated maturity date. Redemption value is the price at which the issuing company will repurchase the bond from investors before its maturity date.

 Understanding Redemptions, Investopedia

REDEMPTION VALUE, a three-hour collective performance piece designed and directed by the artist took place in Amsterdam’s city centre on the evening of 15th November, 2014. For this work, commissioned by the arts program of de Oude Kerk, (Old Church) [built c. 1213] as part of a series titled Nachtelijke Dwalingen (Night Meanders), Noorda led a walking tour and clean-up crew through the centre of the red light district encircling Dam Square, the ancient trade and transport hub and a significant site over the centuries of political and religious protest. The route traced out the secret history of Amsterdam via the lines of spiritual intensity, persecution, quackery, transcendence and immersion in the flesh that crisscross at the city’s heart. 

The dwaling (meander) began with an organ recital, composed and performed by Gunnar Gunnsteinsson in the main body of the church. As the recital ended, the clean-up crew, dressed in orange robes and matching iridescent jackets led the audience out onto the Ouderskerkplein. The group walked in a slow, silent procession through the narrow, crowded streets of the Wallen directly in front of the church past the windows behind which sex workers sat or stood, bathed in bright fluorescent light. 

In planning the piece, Ruchama looked for a site roughly midway on the route with a significant link to Amsterdam’s esoteric history. This site would serve as a temporary resting place and the spiritual fulcrum of the dwaling, a place where the participants could pause, re-centre, and open up to the ambient energies concentrated in the chosen spot. The Albert Heijn supermarket at Prins Hendrikkade 20, directly opposite the Central Station where, according to hermetic tradition, the city’s spiritual energies are centred was judged ideal for this purpose. The supermarket is housed in the Mercurius building, a mannerist folly designed by the architect Yme Bijvoets in 1882-83, complete with cast iron Corinthian pilasters, elaborate friezes with occult devices and pastel stained-glass windows set in ornate circular frames. The building is fronted by a statue of the wing-hatted figure of Mercury (Hermes), the Roman god of commerce, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves whose task it is to lead the souls of the dead down into the underworld. 

In the 1990’s, Ronald Jan Heijn (b.1960), New Age entrepreneur and heir to the Albert Heijn fortune took over the premises and renamed it the Oibibio Spiritual Centre which flourished at first, but was forced to close in 2001 due to financial difficulties, though the Albert Heijn chain still retains the lease. According to dowsers, the epicentre of the city’s ley lines /spiritual energy field can be located in the store directly underneath the shelves assigned for baby food and infant diapers. The clean-up crew led the dwaling through the turnstile at the supermarket entrance and formed the group into a circle at the designated spot, then continued on the route. Along the way, at random points, the clean-up crew handed spiritual Redemption Value vouchers to passers-by. The vouchers, designed to look like supermarket discount coupons, made the following redemption pledges: 


With sister Georgia Haagsma and the artist leading, the dwaling wound its way through a narrow alley past the central police station and the world’s first Stock Exchange (founded 1602) heading for Dam Square. 

Once there, Noorda drew a circle on the ground with chalk and placed emergency vehicle lights at intervals to further mark out the encircled space as sacred. In silence, the crew approached members of the crowd, patted them down as if conducting a strip search, then knelt before them grounding their disparate energy flows with the earth. 

Our dwaling had shadowed at an angle the route around the Oude Kerk taken every year on March 15th by the Stille Omgang (Silent Circumambulation), a Catholic ritual commemorating the Miracle of the Host (1345). With the audience formed into a ring around them, the clean-up crew doused their twig bundle broom heads in flammable spirit and set them alight. A bona fide city clean-up crew in orange jackets circled the Square in a motorized cart picking up litter as the torches were tilted toward the centre of the circle to form a short-lived pyramid of flame marking the end of the event.

REDEMPTION VALUE: performance/dwaling, Oude Kerk, curated by Julia Geerlings and Rieke Vos, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, November 14, 2014.


Photography: N. Pike

Video documentation: