Research and Storytelling Project, Amsterdam (2019)
Take Care is a collaboration between Affect Lab, creative cultural practitioner Roelof van Wyk, and writer-researcher Bob van Toor. Take Care’s advisory partners include Het Nieuwe Instituut, The Mobile City, STIPO and The Prostitution Information Centre (Amsterdam).
For the past eight centuries the red light district of Amsterdam, de Wallen, has undergone countless societal, political and urban transformations. Most recently de Wallen has experienced a decade of gentrification, billed as a ‘clean-up’ and ‘renewal’. Yet, Amsterdam’s red light district — as a node in a larger network of the city and its changes — constantly reinvents itself. Never static, always in process, de Wallen is a complex urban body that is constantly re-imagined and reformatted, attuned to the human and more-than-human influences that exert pressure on it. It is no ordinary body — de Wallen is a world-famous district that is enormously profitable, popular with visitors and highly contested. What happens in de Wallen has a ripple effect on the rest of the city. Conversely, what happens in the larger anatomy of Amsterdam reverberates deeply within de Wallen.
Take Care is a research and storytelling project that examines the multi-layered physical, historical, digital and emotional textures that make up de Wallen. Taking the red light district as a primary case study, Take Care dives deep into the lived embodied experiences that exist in de Wallen as a network of actors, both human and non-human.
Take Care aims to highlight the urban stories of the red light district as a starting point for a larger narrative about constructive city making and city life. Both the research and the stories that emerge from this work, foreground the ethics of taking care, as they extend to concepts of living responsibly with the awareness that some bodies have come to matter more than others.
Take Care articulates a slice of time, a temporal being, captured (but never final) in the form of a mixed media Atlas, both analog and digital, that creatively mediates the stories of de Wallen.