Found one of the nicest spots in Amsterdam today. I wouldn’t have found it had it not been for Justin Bennet‘s soundwalk at Amstel Park for Zone2Source, the exhibition called Secret Signals. The sun was out and I biked towards the park, past my old house and further down the river. The city buildings quickly turned into green lush areas and small fields and I was very relaxed. Biking is just a bit faster than strolling, a really nice pace. Amble along and listen to sounds surrounding you. There are many families out playing.
The Glazenhuis in Amstel Park was the starting point to the Soundwalk. I had downloaded the app yesterday and proceeded to download all the music associated to this particular site and as soon as I got closer I switched on the GPS and started strolling. There was a map too, where certain spots had the strongest signals to the music, a guide. It incorporated some of the more unusual resonant spots. There were other installations and exhibits too: beautifully made string instruments ( elongated ) attached to trees via a string web. Balls of bird feed hanging off them. The idea being that the birds’ weight would start to move the instruments that then would vibrate the strings attached to the trees creating some form of sound. There were no birds this time. The lake nearby also had a string web on top of it with hanging kites and things. Kids could swing some of these things and the whole web would move about. the Kites would catch the wind too and produce movement.
Walking around the Oranjerie and the lake with headphones on is fairly amusing. I’m sure some people would see me and think “Oooo the youth of today! Listening to their music when they should be looking and listening to what’s around them!” Quite funny to think that actually what I am listening to has been recorded at the park with all its resonant natural acoustics, enhancing (in many ways) the sound and visual qualities of your surroundings. You become aware of this immediate parallel duality, of your own personal world within the created nuances of the soundwalk in your ears as well as the ‘real’ world with people totally unaware of yours. Both mixed up with each other. So Thanks for that Justin!
Leaving the park behind me I ride alongside the canal towards a village called Oudekerk. It’s surrounded by fields, with cows in them. Unreal and unusual sight, different to Amsterdam’s physical closeness to canals and tiny thin homes. Here, I find huge detached properties, with an abundance of land. But best of all, lots of cows.
Heading back towards the centre I bike wherever I fancy and end up on a road called Weesperzijd Oost. This part of town is really beautiful, and I find myself really aware of being in Europe. Its like the Boulevards of Paris or something.
I end my day at the big windmill that is the Brouwerij ‘T ij supping on some good tipple with the sun gently setting in front of me.