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Kristina Benjocki and Stijn Verhoeff: Het Hoogt en Het Laagt (The High and the Low)

Film 'Het Hoogt en Het Laagt' (The High and the Low)

Artist Kristina Benjocki has made a film together with filmmaker Stijn Verhoeff that offers a poetic exploration of the Plan van Gool. It attempts to capture their multifaceted habitat in image and sound. You can view the film via your mobile device using the QR code, and it will be screened at a number of times during live gatherings. The dates for these gatherings are: Saturday July 27, Wednesday July 31th, Saturday August 31st, all at 12h. Location is then: Bovenover 241.

In the late 1960s, architect Frans van Gool was commissioned by the City of Amsterdam to design the ‘Plan van Gool’, a concrete housing complex in the vast polder landscape of Amsterdam North. Over 1,100 ‘stacked porch houses in nature’ appeared, in ten flats connected by footbridges, with a gallery on every fourth floor. It became a unique neighbourhood of rhythm in concrete where for more than fifty years many thousands of people lived and resided; from the beginning pioneers who literally gave life to the space, to migrant workers who later came from all directions. Some think the Plan van Gool is hideous, others seek the neighbourhood especially to live there: ‘I am glad there is no colour in the architecture. Colour is created by the trees, plants and people, and not by the architecture,’ says a resident during an audio walk from the website of Museum Amsterdam Noord. The Plan van Gool has many faces and carries a rich history. 

The film is a catalyst for conversation between strangers and aims to bring them together in an unfolding process of filmmaking itself. Het Hoogt en Het Laagt film hopes to contribute to defending the last communal space, the archive where at certain moments the film will be screened. Benjocki and Verhoeff’s short film is based on conversations with residents and includes detailed film footage of daily activities and work in the neighbourhood. In the coming months, they will continue gathering inside of the Plan van Gool archive to record interviews. Excerpts from these conversations will be compiled into a podcast.

‘We wanted to focus on the neighborhood and work within it rather than from within our own home. The interviews, observations and collaboration with the community are at the heart of how the film was created.’

While there do go and see this artwork. You find it opposite of The Breed 701. The work is called Ontmoetingsplaats (Meeting Place). It is exceptional in the oeuvre of artist Shinkichi Tajiri (1923-2009), which frequently features knots of heavy materials. This object is not just to look at, but a place with a clearly defined use function. You can sit there, meet with stranger and just pause for a while. With this, Tajiri links up with a new movement in visual art in the 1970s, which aimed to integrate art as fully as possible into everyday life. Works of art had to fulfil a function in people's everyday existence. The work resonates well with Plan van Gool and the film Kristina Benjocki and Stijn Verhoeff made. 

Ontmoetingsplaats (Forum) 1976, Shinkichi Tajiri, Breedveld t.h.v. Het Breed 701, Amsterdam-Noord. Foto: Shakuru Tajiri


Kristina Benjocki was born in 1984 in Zrenjanin, the former Yugoslavia. She has exhibited her work at various institutions and platforms worldwide, including Rijswijk Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Serbia; Museum of Contemporary Art in Eupen, Belgium; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka, Croatia; Izolyatsia in Kyiv, Ukraine; the American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Benjocki’s oeuvre is strongly influenced by archaeological practices and reflects on archaeology itself. Her work makes us aware of how narratives are constructed and how these constructions influence our perception of the world. She examines the conditions under which fragments of time are collected, recorded, documented, represented, shared, omitted, repressed or overlooked, and the implications this has for knowledge and the formation of identity and community. Central to her work is the archive, which she sees as an instrument for writing new histories.

Stijn Verhoeff is a filmmaker and writer. In addition to his own projects, he often collaborates with other artists, writers and musicians. Since 2022, he has been a board member of Fossil Free Culture NL and an advisor to the Student Council of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Sandberg Institute. Stijn Verhoeff was born in Amsterdam in 1981.

Het Hoogt en het Laagt (The High and the Low) is the second collaboration between Benjocki and Verhoeff after the film While the Pile of Rubble Grows Towards the Sky, which came out last year.

Since 2020, Welcome Stranger has invited several Amsterdam based artists to make new, temporary artworks on the facades of their homes. In doing so, they are revealing something personal in public space within their own neighborhood. The facades create an environment for new observations, where every passer-by is welcome to experience strange encounters through different parts of the city.

More info you will find here or via the map below.