“POP-UP Bijlmer”, Amsterdam 2023


The “Pop-Up Bijlmer” took place last Saturday from 10am to 6pm in front of the entrance of the ‘Kruitberg’ building at Kraaiennest in Bijlmermeer, Amsterdam. The purpose of this Pop-Up event was to distribute Vittoria Martini’s recently published book titled “Thomas Hirschhorn: The Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival. The Ambassador’s Diary” to the individuals who were involved in the “Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival” during the summer of 2009. It proved challenging, 14 years later, to contact these individuals via email, phone, or social media due to changes in their contact information, relocation from Bijlmer, departure to Suriname or, sadly, some of them passing away since then. Therefore the idea arose, after my participation in a Book Launch at ‘Staedelschule Frankfurt’, to do a ‘Pop-Up’ event right where “The Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival” had taken place in order to personally connect with some of the involved persons and provide them with a copy of the book.

I was aware that such an uncertain event, besides its affirmation through this one-day presence and the intention to ‘give back,’ required an element of chance, hazard, or even grace in order to successfully distribute the books. Surprisingly, the event turned out to be a success, and I am very happy with the results of this ‘Pop-Up’ initiative, as all 40 copies of Vittoria’s book that we brought with us were distributed. What was particularly astonishing was the fact that, once we were present in Bijlmer, residents began informing each other about the event, and we had the opportunity to meet several of the participants, especially those from the ‘Construction Team’ in 2009, who joined us on the spot to receive a copy of the book. I am extremely pleased with the unexpected, warm encounters and the positive outcome of the ‘Pop-Up’ initiative, which, in its modesty, dignity, and humility, I felt fitting with the character of the people of Bijlmer.

The preparation for the “Pop-Up Bijlmer” was organized by my intern, Merlin Rainer, with support from our local partner ‘TAAK’. We received valuable assistance from Jeff Croese from ‘Open Ateliers’, who aided in preparing the event. “Pop-Up Bijlmer” was supported by Pro Helvetia.

Thomas Hirschhorn, 25/09/23