“Coincidentally I now have some people working in my shop—and a discussion about nature pops up you know? I say to them ‘all that the earth needs right now, is some rest’ and so rest it will!
What we see in these times is that the earth is bluer, we uh, we have more oxygen, and the animals walk around without fear. So things are getting better.
My input would be, let’s keep this rest for four months, stop stressing each other out, and then things can become normal again.
That’s the best you can do—and I’ve been saying it for a lot longer, I was saying this last year as well. I was saying “None of this makes sense, it’s all going to go terribly wrong you know?” and as you can see everything has gone wrong, that’s where it’s at.
But I can’t say what I did wrong, you can’t say what you’ve done wrong, because we haven’t done anything wrong! We just continue on working, and it’s the government that has to provide and mange things, and that’s it.
But will anything change from now on? Nah (laughs) let me tell you: I was going back to work, first day of the crisis, and I forgot to put money in the parking meter. Instantly got a fine! Nothing has changed, nothing will change. Everyone just goes on and on; they’re all insane. Bloody mad as far as I’m concerned.”
“In the past years we have regularly given workshops in the space we had, but we’ve had to leave because of the full-on renovation. Straightforward workshops with themes like ‘eggs’ but also ‘food and sex’ for instance. Some locals were enthusiastic to participate.
When I think of emptiness, I think of the gargantuan mountain of stuff we have gathered in the making of our workshops. You get so many things when you set up a project! And if you want to be able to offer these workshops more often, you have to keep a lot of stuff around. We had an enormous storage, which became filled to the brim. You get yourself in a tipping-scale situation. On the one hand you want to keep things, keep possibilities open, on the other you want to declutter.
It is nice to have some emptiness around you, if you ask me it is creatively stimulating. When you’re surrounded with emptiness you always want to fill it, bring something new into it. When you have too much stuff you’re always distracted by it, you become smaller and smaller. As we ourselves move out of the space now, we have focussed on handling everything twenty times. ‘How does this speak to us now?’ ‘Is there another way we can utilize this, going forward?’ That is what we ask ourselves, as we try to empty out.”
“So I was taking a long walk the other day, which I do more often now since there isn’t much else to do, and I went past this super cool nature reserve behind the Wielewaal—or maybe its more of a weird dike with houses on it here and there. I hardly know anyone there, but it looked really cool. I was walking there with a friend and we were wondering how life here would be. You imagine living here would be sort of pure—but then you go, wait a minute, and you realize Waalhaven is on the other side, so could it really be that healthy living here? That’s the question. It looks like it’s all so good for you, but I can’t help but wonder how polluted the air of Rotterdam is…”
“This wind-story thing makes me think of closeness. We live here in a flat, and we try to look out for each other. I could see the neighbor opposite to my house cleaning potatoes, and I thought I should lend her a helping hand—so we reached out and since then cook for her. I find it comforting that we have these arrangements and this contact in the neighborhood. I help them out and they in turn come to me, with the 1,5 meter in between of course.
My grandson called me, and said ‘hey grandma I’m not coming for a while.’ I told him well, if that’s how you get peace of mind that’s what you should do. It should be up to you, right? Of course he also did it for me, but I think you can’t oblige children to do things. My son comes to me, every weekend on Saturday morning or Sunday morning. And he just comes in.
I, myself find that it has been very good, all of this. People used to be all busy busy, and hurrying their kids up as well. Maybe people now come to realize, hey, there’s more to life than work. That’s how I see it at least, as an outsider. Previously they would call me up and and all I’d hear was ‘I have to go do this’ or ‘Have to do that.’ I’m not sure how to express how this relates to wind, but I feel people are starting to slow down in their daily lives. I’m not sure if we should see this situation as a ‘this too shall blow over’ sort of wind. I think it’s the kind of wind that confronts people with things in their daily lives.”
“I’m actually always on the road. I don’t really—I have so much work. Right now I’m behind on my schedule, I sometimes travel up and down to Limburg, just to pick up a package. I come home at night and I try, really try, if there’s time left, to quickly see my children… I try to do some homework with them, to give them some guidance—and then I have to go to sleep again. I have to be on the road again in a few hours. On Sundays I have a bit of time but I try to get some sleep that day. We export to other companies for relief supplies. People in the Netherlands send packages around the world, and I see to it that it gets where it needs to be. And that’s what I drive for. I drive to Germany, to Belgium, to France. Bigger objects are brought directly to the airport to be put on a plane, or continue on a boat. Me personally, as an individual, am extremely busy with this. To get the packages that people want to have delivered. All this transport means we have little time for our children and and… but we do our best to make time.”
“Rotterdam originally was sort of a village. More… native Dutch people lived around this neighborhood, whole families of them. And then there is foreigners. It is, shall we say, very multicultural. In recent times a lot of the families are gone. They have moved to the edges of the city. Because people didn’t really like the neighborhood—it has been concluded from research, you know. And now, more recently, you see the house prices are rising again. There were all kinds of efforts to elevate the neighborhood: things based on income, or trying to get start-ups here. Some European fund or another, I’m not sure, we also got some money from it.
You know the ‘Zuidhoek,’ right? My granddad started there in 1925. They went door to door with horse and carriage. We have a shop now, with which we supply the fanciest restaurants in the city. We are a bit a specialty shop, higher calibre, you could say. So people can’t really afford to shop here regularly. We expressly chose to stay in this neighborhood even though it doesn’t really make a difference for our business. I think the people around here are happy with us. We are very happy with the changes you see in Katendrecht for example, and we are keen to see more ‘starters’ pop up.”
The Wind log is a specific category connected to the program Taming the Horror Vacui. Its purpose is to document the process and to more broadly reflect on its structure and to further extends its possibilities. Charlois (Wind)tales are wind stories collected by our staff—from the south of Rotterdam, in particular from neighbors, friends, businesses and colleagues living and working in the vicinity of Rib.