A lot of data are available about cities expressed in figures and statistics. But a city is much more than those collections of data. How can we include emotions, stories and memories in plan development for the city of Venlo (NL). Karin Bartels proposed to create an Intuitive Atlas of Venlo.
The municipality of Venlo has 101.578 citizens, this would theoretically mean that there are 101.578 different versions of Venlo. Already leaving out all the people with a connection to the city, who do not live there.
The project consisted of a field research. To take into account and capture the personal perspective of residents and her own experiences. Karin stayed in vacant homes in the neighbourhoods Vastenavondkamp, Op de Heide and Genooi. During these 6 to 10 week residencies, she tried to get to know these areas from the inside out. Gradually learning about the area and getting to know people who live and work in these neighbourhoods by attending their gatherings, talking with them in the streets, organizing micro events for the neighbourhood etc. The information coming from this field research where placed in both analogue and digital maps. In an attempt to visualise these soft data the journey has led to documentation, stories, notes, drawings and photos that give a rare insight into life in Venlo. These assembled elements together form the Intuitive Atlas of Venlo.
The alternative knowledge in the Intuitive Atlas creates room for other narratives and perspectives. Instead of predominant focus on the city centre Karin sheds light on the Infra-ordinary life and images in the neighbourhoods of her residencies. Places that from the outside might appear not so attractive. Whether it is due to negative press, incidents and socio economic stigmatization. They are worth paying attention to never the less and she experienced that they where overall quite pleasant and welcoming places to live in. The Intuitive Atlas invites you to look with fresh eyes at the familiar environment. It is also an instrument to think from the micro level about the macro level.
Karin Bartels' project Intuïtieve Atlas van Venlo is part of Circular Art Lab Limburg (CALL), in which artists are linked to social issues. One of those issues focused on attractive neighborhoods and communities. The Intuitive Atlas of Venlo has been carried out in close collaboration with Museum van Bommel van Dam, the Municipality of Venlo, Wonen Limburg and Antares.
After the pilot project "De Poëzie van Ruimte", Museum van Bommel van Dam invited Bartels to develop and execute the Intuitive Atlas project. Which mapped how the residents of Venlo experience their city.
Intuïtieve Atlas van Venlo, project, Circular Art Lab Limburg - CALL#2 Gezonde Woningmarkt, Museum van Bommel van Dam, Venlo (NL)
Below excerpts of the Intuitive Atlas of Venlo.