maandag 31 december 2012

sideways polaroids

zondag 28 oktober 2012

Suit thoughts

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles. (p. 23-24)

Kings and queens who wear a suit but once, though made by some tailor or dress-maker to their majesties, cannot know the comfort of wearing a suit that fits. They are no better than wooden horses to hang the clean clothes on. Every day our garments become more assimilated to ourselves, receiving the impress of the wearer's character, until we hesitate to lay them aside, without such delay and medical appliances and some such solemnity even as our bodies. No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes; yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience. (p. 21-22)

From Henry David Thoreau's Walden

maandag 15 oktober 2012


a new old friend wrote a few lines to me
after I had flooded him with words and suggestions
telling me he didn't have as many worlds as I have

I was puzzled
did he mean words or worlds
or is it the same thing?

when I don't know what I'm thinking I'm writing
words make things clear to me
and I do move in different worlds to gather food for thought
to feed my words

but what for?

I could stay in this one and be silent
if I don't need the words I don't need the worlds

there's one dilemma though
should I send these words to my friend?
to tell him he made me think?
are they for him or are they for me?

he doesn't need these words
and I don't need them either
but I've got a suit I can sew them in
nobody will see them there

zondag 7 oktober 2012

Just before leaving


zaterdag 6 oktober 2012

Why would you want a river when somebody offers you a fjord?

Somebody offered me a fjord today.
Or even more than one.
"Good luck Monique - if you need anyone to design the fjords, let us know." (An e-mail from a person I have never met.)
I think I do. I never made a fjord myself and what would this new continent be without fjords?
I bet canals won't do, too straight. Some rivers might be good but why would you want rivers when somebody offers you a fjord?
I will accept. And ask if they will make it there and bring it over here or build it on the spot.
Is there a handbook for the construction of a fjord?
So many things I do not know. But some I do. I once lived at a fjord. It wasn't long ago. A mountain in my back. The water, sometimes black, on other days the color of the eyes of someone dear to me, sometimes a silvery shining like a treasure, copying the sun, the stars, the darkness.
I felt safe and small. I didn't dare to swim in it. I talked to it (I didn't really but ever since I read a poem to a river there's an urge to talk to water, let my words sink in a see-through shiny world. To drown their meaning.)
Many things I do not know. But some I do. I'd like to know where they learned to design a fjord. And if there is a way to learn this skill myself.
If you read this, please let me know.

Plastic Metaal Kathedraal

Watch the video HERE

Retracing the missing link

I'm still carrying it in my pocket, the MISSING LINK. It is symbolic for how my walking soles led to a walking soul. A tiny smelly piece of plastic. But in the eye of the beholder everything can look like gold. Even turn into gold.

What happened to Don Quichote? I forgot about him for a while. Although I felt the shadow of a table on my back. The madness of a master in endurance. I felt a donkey standing on my toe. I traded my full house for unknown cards. No blisters on my foot this time but soaring spots on other bodyparts because of memories rubbing against other memories.
I need a plaster. Or maybe just another walk.

I won't pray to the plastic gods. But I will throw their boomerang tomorrow.

vrijdag 5 oktober 2012

Plastic dreams

My first night at the 8th continent. After I soaked in a steaming bathtub outside in the woods behind the Metaal Kathedraal I slept under the church's wooden arches surrounded by shiny plastic. Over my head six giant plastic fish were watching over me. Earlier that evening I had seen them float through the air, slowly exploring their new territory.
The rain ticked a rhytm on the roof. I dreamt my first plastic dreams. Colourful and light, in every shape possible. Undestroyable.

Hunting & gathering day 4

Today I had the speed of a turtle, I got bigger and bigger. I found a big yellow arrow pointing in the direction I was heading. Hours of suffering felt like seconds the moment I had reached my goal. Like always I felt happy and sad. Happy to be somewhere. Sad not to be nowhere anymore.

Today I walked through a storm, along windmills, through empty fields and streets under construction. I walked along a long row of women sitting behind windows offering their bodies to men

driving by slowly. Right next to it Turkish men were collecting walnuts in a small park.
I walked through the city centre of Utrecht, over bridges, under tunnels. When I was almost there, the road was suddenly blocked. A last detour. The plastic gods were on my side.

I was welcomed like a hero and I felt like the Plastic Crusader I have been called. A red carpet, music, people applauding and best of all: plastic everywhere. This must be paradise.


donderdag 4 oktober 2012

Hunting & gathering day 3

Today was a good day, like the other days have been good days but different.
It was hard, the load got heavier but I didn't mind. People were nice to me, the route was beautiful, I ate my lunch at a place where time had stood still. The plastic is piling up and I'm over a meter wide now. Too big to be mistaken for a tramp.
The question "What are you doing?" is being asked a lot. It is hard to explain, although my story is a simple one.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not on the road to educate people. To warn them for the dark side of plastic. That's not my mission. Although lots of people think so and start telling me about the mess on their streets, their own plastic habits, fears for the future.
Today when I was walking I thought about people who had travelled to reach paradise. Not in the literal sense but in the meaning of a new, perfect place to settle down. I thought about the early pioneers in America, Marquez' One hundred years of solitude, the Israelites traveling through the desert, Dutch farmers in Canada, 19 the century explorers discovering unknown parts of the world. I thought about the Metaal Kathedraal, also known as the Mekka of de Meern.

What am I doing here?

On the internet I'm being called a plastic crusader. It strikes me, because in my last project the newspapers called me an art missionary. Not my words. But it is always extremely interesting how people see you, want to see you. What they think is a good story.

My story is a simpler one. I am walking. Apparently in order to get somewhere. Apparently with a goal in mind. But in fact I am only walking.


I lost my sunglasses today
they're made out of plastic but that's not the point
I'm in the habit of loosing and finding things

I already lost two pairs earlier this summer
one fell in the Albert Canal in Belgium, the other pair found its way to Barcelona
sunglasses are one of the objects I loose most

my favorite sunglassloss happened in Italy a few years ago
I went on a walk and lost my sunglasses, I only discovered it when I'd returned to my startingpoint
so the next morning I made the exact same walk

I didn't find any sunglasses but I did find the antlers of a deer
I thought it was a brilliant trade, thanked the deer and took the antlers home
I thought about wearing them but never did (HERE's what I thought)

I also walked back today
I knew they couldn't be far and they weren't
one eyeglass had fallen out
to mirror the sky on his own

woensdag 3 oktober 2012

plastic memory

at first I thought I had upset the plastic gods, no idea how I had done that
the weather was awful and there was hardly any plastic
I walked through fields in the pouring rain, being stared at by cows and horses
the few snippets of chocolate wrapping and a lonely plastic cup weren't enough to fill two hands
what to do? I didn't know. just follow the route, stay as dry as possible and not use the camera
after a while I realized I was thinking about plastic
my head started to fill itself with plastic thoughts
some were new, triggered by things I saw in the landscape
plastic labels in the ears of animals, hay bales covered in white plastic
others had been in there for years, almost forgotten
one in particular made me smile
I think it is my oldest memory, I don't quite remember when it happened
I must have been 3 or 4, I was playing outside in the small courtyard behind our house
I don't see myself in the memory, not even my hands
the only thing I see is the sand I'm playing in and the object I'm using
it is bright orange, it has a handle, you can open and close its two identical parts,
a small container in which round objects had been stored
I am using it to make perfectly round balls of sand

I realize the plastic gods work in mysterious ways

Hunting and gathering day 2

Second day. 18 km. A rainy day. I have some nice talks with people. Two women who think I'm living rough feel sorry for me because of the weather. When I explain they wish me all the best. Two young fishermen (they can't be older than 10) ask me what I'm doing. I explain and they offer me their plastic bottles and when I tell them I only collect items people left on the road or in nature they throw their bottles in the gutter. I laugh and tell them more about plastic, how it defiles nature and kills the fishes they are trying to catch right at this moment. I ask them what is more ridiculous: to throw items out of your window that will ruin the land because they don't perish or walk around with a carload of plastic on your back, looking funny. They hesitate and I tell them they don't have to answer but maybe they can think about it. They nodd and offer me a sandwich.

Later on in the day I find bags filled with plastic along the road. One bag first, then six, then twenty or so. At first I'm delighted. Then I realise how many people live along this road. More than 27. More than 270. Maybe even more than 2700.

dinsdag 2 oktober 2012

Hunting and gathering day 1

First day. I walked just over 20 km. Half way I found a giant boomerang. I wonder who threw it. I wonder what will happen when I throw it.
Plastic is amazing. It has the most beautiful colours. You can shape it in whatever shape you want. It is waterproof, you can see through it. It doesn't weigh a thing. It lasts forever. The promise of eternity. Who wouldn't want to build an island out of it?

But it is autumn. The smell of decay is stronger than the shine of plastic. I love the autumn smell. And I believe Wittgenstein.
“If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.”

maandag 1 oktober 2012

Plastic route (65.9 km)

Read more about the content of this journey under "The missing link" (scroll down 3 posts)