I had one solid day of fantastic sonic stimulation, documented below, but there were many other days full of surprises. Amsterdam is great for this kind of thing–everywhere you turn, it seems, someone is pulling some odd stunt or staging an experimental something or showing off his/her lifelong obsession.
It’s the kind of vibe that makes this such a friendly city to pot-smokers. (I mean, in addition to the very fact that you can buy the stuff with ease.) You know that feeling when you’re high, and you feel like whatever you’re looking at/listening to/eating must surely have been designed just for stoned people? Well, even if you don’t–Amsterdam is like that all the time, even if you’re sober. Everything seems to have been put there to surprise and delight. (Unlike some cities, where you feel like everything has been put there to make you feel put-upon, stressed-out and unwelcome.)
I write a guidebook to Amsterdam, but honestly, it’s not the best way to see the city. Yes, there are a few things where it helps to have a guide to check the opening hours and how to get there on the tram. But Amsterdam shows its best parts only when you wander along aimlessly and poke your head around interesting corners, into odd museums, into appealing bars. You never know what you’ll see. Or hear.
The first bit is totally missing the beauty of Yoko Seyama’s work In Soil, at the Nederlands Institut voor Mediakunst. I am a sucker for any art installation that involves walking into a dark room and losing your sense of space. The visuals for this don’t show up on the camera, but click the link to see one image.
The second clip is from the Pianola Museum, a “museum” that’s open maybe one day a week. (I think they call themselves a museum so they can get nonprofit status.) But it was Museum Weekend, which meant free entry.
Finally, I went out to see this random band, Bob Billy, with some friends. Immediately transported back to 1993 or so. I wish they lived in NYC.