The Mental Charlois Project

 

A research project by Giuseppe Licari and Cristina Ampatzidou

A series of  workshops revealing the individual differences in experience of Oud Charlois.

Perception is a primal element of our existence as it allows us to negotiate with our environment and affects our everyday actions and behaviour. A person’s perception of the world is known as a mental map. We have mental maps of our room in residence, our home, our neighbourhood, our town, the local supermarket, other places we have visited and even places we have never been to but about which we have acquired information from a variety of sources. These mental maps represent our knowledge of the spatial organization of our environment as well as information about the attributes which we associate with different locations or regions.

The first Mental Charlois workshop took place the 13th of July 2008, in ‘t Ot-je, the inner garden of a new artistic community in Oud Charlois, in the south Rotterdam. In 2010 we continued with 5 more workshops, two in collaboration with the Historisch Museum of Rotterdam, one in the framework of the Kunstweekend Charlois, one  in the Laleli mosque in Oud Charlois and a public workshop in W_lf_rt Project Space. This part of city is currently under a big program of redevelopment. It is considered one of the most decadent areas of the city and the local authorities are putting a lot of energy in changing the urban environment.

The participants in all cases, were inhabitants of Charlois, who were asked to write down the places they visit in a normal day as well as the elements of their neighbourhood which they find significant or distinctive.
The second step was to draw the mental map of Oud Charlois. People had total artistic freedom to translate their texts and their perception of their living space. This generated a lot of different maps, personal and sometimes even sentimental, where the neighbourhood of Oud-charlois has been represented in different ways.
After the Mental Map, the participants had to trace on the real map their everyday movements, to locate the places the have mentioned before and describe the routes they follow in order to get there.

At the end, everybody was asked to draw the outline of Oud Charlois and to define the invisible line which defines the area of the neighbourhood.

The workshop brought people together and generated a discussion over the places each one uses or prefers. Even though the drawings are completely individual and different, anyone familiar with the neighbourhood can recognise his known spaces and share mental routs.

It became obvious that a big part of the people, living in Oud Charlois are spending most of their time in the centre, while there is another group that is spending all their life in the South of Rotterdam, almost without ever crossing the river Maas.

We are aware of the changes happening in Charlois, and the artistic gestures that aim to revitalize the public life in Charlois. We believe that this project can provide useful information, coming directly from the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, which can be used as the starting point for further initiatives.

Mental Charlois was supported by Stichting NRC, Stichting Kick, Stichting NAC, the Mya Fonds and DKC.

 

List of participants:

Roderick Hietbrink, Arjen Spijkerman, John Colenbrander, Samuli Schielke, J van Vliet, Katita Chrysanthopoulou, Mofa, Doner Boyuk Tekin, Gerard Jurgens, Lisa Overmann, J. Jansma, Martijn in t’ Veld, Riet van Egmond, Kamiel Verschuren, Jos Jacobs, Andries, Boris Pas, Yu Kuramoto, Dirk Vehagen, Rikke Korswagen, Steven van Ravestey, Daphne Bom, Annemarie Piscaer, Tjeerd van Wijenburg, Thijs Ewalts, Dursun Koca, Weijun Chen, Samir Eddafir, Sakina Bachrioui, Clara Winifred Mesode, Nuey Leedee, Andrej Cuturic, Alexandra Reznikova, Jenny Wu, Farisha Jiawan, Zino Luciano Roa, Serife Murat, Michelin Padmore, Asli Gulmus, Marta Duarte Afonso, Vanessa Benard, Diresh Moklhansing, Austeja Oniüaité, Victoria Kit, Jenna Teresa Mirasol, Naseem Khan, Sara Wali, Piotr Benedysiuk, Dina Moreno, Memuna Arshad, Kamilia Kaamouz, Gaby van den Heuvel, Iliass Ghalib, Ismahan Azrioual, Latifa el Marzquioui, Jannie Hommes, Gerard Zaan, Tobias Burghouts, Heleen van der Peet, Lidwine Loorbach, Joris Bruins, J. Stan, Nina Boas, Dinko Selimovic, Sanne van der Men, Salome Aussen, Aruna Munga, Allan Pinheiro, Marieke Haandrikman, Lucia Tolenaer, Destiny, Diana van der Sluijs, Semih Kocabiyik, Dolgunca Yunus, Serdar Dincer, D Atalan, Yasin Sahin, Yunus Akdemir, Sinan Karagulle, Osman Sahin, Fatih Boyuk, Sezgin Atalan, Fatih Parlak, Efe Sahin, Hamdi Parlak, Naci Shilic, Ibrahim, Mehmet Parlak, Fuet Ozdemir, Alikara Gulle, Fatih Pasma, Kaya, S L Karagulle, Mehmet Coak, Omar Kouban, Marcel, Donatella di Cicco, Seiji Morimoto, Petar Tuskan, Yolanda de los Bueis, Milan & Marco Douma, Peter van Egmond, Henk van Veelen

We thank them all sincerely.

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