Les Domeless Homeless
Performed at Sandberg Instituut Graduation Show 2015, Burgerweeshuis, Amsterdam as part of sic a project by Gianmaria Andreetta & William Pollard
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Aldo van Eyck (16 March 1918 – 14 January 1999) was a Dutch architect who designed the Amsterdam Municipal Orphanage in which the Sandberg Instituut Graduation Show was held in 2015. Apparently, in order to make space for the show the Orphanage had to be cleared of those who had made it their home after the building became vacant.

This was a Skype conversation held between Aldo van Eyck (ALDO) and one of the project organisers Gianmaria Andreetta (GIAMMA):

Listen HERE or read BELOW:

ALDO:
Hello everybody, my name is Aldo Van Eyck and I am the architect of the Amsterdam orphanage.

GIAMMA:
I thought you were dead.

ALDO:
Ok, so that's the basic premise. I say, "Hello everybody, my name is Aldo Van Eyck, the architect of the Amsterdam Orphanage" except I'm not really. I'm not an architect. I'm not Dutch. I'm not a man. And I've never been to the Amsterdam Orphanage, unlike all of you, who are there right now. And in that respect are all more "Aldo Van Eyck" than I could ever be. Especially if you're a man or Dutch or an architect... Any of these attributes would make you an excellent Aldo Van Eyck. But they would also make you an excellent Rem Koolhaas. And that is not the same thing. Maybe then it should be your humanist values or your belief that The Bauhaus's Walter Gropius represented "the tyranny of dullness, mediocrity, non-creativity and pseudo-humanity" that would make you an excellent Aldo Van Eyck. So in no particular order this is our "Aldo Criteria": - MAN - DUTCH - ARCHITECT - HUMANIST VALUES - CRITIQUE OF THE BAUHAUS' WALTER GROPIUS. As Aldo Van Eyck used ‘relativity’ as one of his compositional techniques in which connections between elements are determined by their mutual relationships rather than by a centralised hierarchy... please can everybody stand up? and apply your own hierarchy to this criteria: to decide where you should sit on this Aldo scale where the left side of the room is "More Aldo" and the right side is "Less Aldo". For example, if you are Spanish with humanist values and you see humanist values as the most significant of the "Aldo Criteria" please sit in the "Most Aldo" side but if you are Spanish with humanist values but you see being Dutch as the most significant of the "Aldo Criteria" please sit in the "Less Aldo" side. Does everyone understand? Check with the person next to you! Ok, go for it!

[PEOPLE MOVE TO "MORE ALDO" OR "LESS ALDO"]

ALDO:
Looking good…Ok…Well done everybody! Once you've found your place can you share with the people around you why you have sat where you have sat? Why you are "More Aldo" or "Less Aldo"?

[PEOPLE TALK ABOUT WHY THEY ARE SAT WHERE THEY ARE SAT]

ALDO:
To complicate matters, I now need to reverse my previous assertion that you are more "Aldo Van Eyck" than me because you are in the Amsterdam orphanage right now. Because Aldo's not there, just like me. Because he is dead. Just like Giamma said. Giamma invited me there tonight.He's going to keep us on course. Listen to him. I died on 14th January 1999 so that means I've been up here for just over 16 years now. It's….ok, we have to wear white obviously and the decor is pretty bland but the internet connection is ok...Sometimes it cuts out so my apologies if that's already happened. I guess it's understandable you know, a bad connection. Anyway, I'm sat on the shared computer calling you at the Amsterdam Orphanage because I've got a friend called Lance who I thought would be there.

GIAMMA:
Who's Lance?

ALDO:
Lance is my friend. He's been homeless for a while and I heard he was staying there in the Amsterdam Orphanage.

GIAMMA:
They cleared out all the homeless people so we could put the graduation show on.

ALDO:
They cleared out all the homeless people so you could put the graduation show on. Ok…we'll definitely come back to that! But even if Lance has been 'cleared out', he'd definitely still be there to see the show. He loves art and design, especially graduate art and design. He'd always say, "Aldo, it's so fresh, so new"... you know, NOTHING like the shows we have up here -he'd hate them- everyone's ideas are so revered, so weighed down with years of enthusiastic praise and critical approval. It's really rather stifling. Giamma, because Lance is such a massive fan of graduate art can you just check that he is definitely not there?

GIAMMA:
Lance! Are you here?

[NO ANSWER]

GIAMMA:
Lance is not here.

ALDO:
This is surprising. The only thing that could keep him away was if they planned to charge an entry fee - because he has no money obviously - he's homeless. But there's no way they could do that, I mean, it's a graduate show…

GIAMMA:
Oh well yeah it was gonna be 3 euros to get in.

ALDO:
It was gonna be 3 euros to get in?

GIAMMA: 
Yeah but you'd get a free coffee or something.

ALDO:
Right.

GIAMMA:
Yeah they said the mandatory consumption was something to do with the size of the building, it's location, how many intruders were around.

ALDO:
Intruders like Lance? Ok, so let's address this now. Let's just have a closer look at that statement. "They cleared out all the homeless people so we could put the graduation show on". Can everyone say that together? 1,2,3...

[THE PEOPLE SHOUT: THEY CLEARED OUT ALL THE HOMELESS PEOPLE SO WE COULD PUT THE GRADUATION SHOW ON!]

ALDO:
Louder!

[THE PEOPLE SHOUT LOUDER: THEY CLEARED OUT ALL THE HOMELESS PEOPLE SO WE COULD PUT THE GRADUATION SHOW ON!]

ALDO:
One more time, with feeling!
Louder!

[THE PEOPLE SHOUT WITH FEELING: THEY CLEARED OUT ALL THE HOMELESS PEOPLE SO WE COULD PUT THE GRADUATION SHOW ON!]

ALDO:
How did that feel?! Presumably how it feels to say that will differ according to where you are in the Aldo scale: if you are "More Aldo" or "Less Aldo". Clearing out all the homeless people so we could put the graduation show on could be seen as a cruel act at odds with the ideology of that intrinsically humane building you're in right now or it could be a purely practical decision based on the desire to celebrate the achievements of the graduating students in a space that should be made suitably secure. What do you think Aldos of the Aldo scale? Talk it through with the Aldos around you.

[THE ALDOS DISCUSS]

ALDO:
Look, either way it hasn't been easy negotiating this much time on the shared computer so if Lance really isn't there I need someone to be him. Who wants to be Lance?

[NO ONE ANSWERS]

ALDO:
Giamma, honestly I wouldn't ask if I wasn't desperate...but if Lance really isn't there….could you be him instead?

GIAMMA:
What do you mean?

ALDO:
I need you to take on the role of "Lance".

GIAMMA:
But...I'm not sure, I...

ALDO:
Hey, I know what you're thinking but it can't be as bad as what I've had to do to get to speak to you today. Guess who - here where I am - normally has the 5.30 Skype slot on a Thursday….

[ALDO LOOKS AROUND TO CHECK NO ONE'S LISTENING]

ALDO:
Le Corbusier.

GIAMMA:
Le Corbusier?!

ALDO:
Le Corbusier. Have you ever met Le Corbusier?

GIAMMA:
No, but…

ALDO:
Ok just imagine for a moment then. Imagine trying to swap your Skype slot with Le Corbusier. Because that's what I've had to do to get to speak to you right now. What an asshole. I've had to tidy his set squares, sharpen his pencils, wipe down his drawing board...

GIAMMA:
Ok, ok.

ALDO:
Ah brilliant, thanks Giamma! To help you get into character let me give you a little bit of insight into what mine and Lance's friendship was like. Is there someone there, who's elbow you'd feel comfortable touching? Have a look around.

[GIAMMA LOOKS AROUND]

ALDO:
There must be someone you don't mind touching. Especially if there are no homeless people there!

[GIAMMA FINDS SOMEONE TO TOUCH]

ALDO:
You've found someone? Great. Ask them to put their arm up like this.

[ALDO PUTS ARM UP LIKE THIS]

ALDO:
Now turn your hand into a little pincer like a crab and s-l-o-w-l-y move it towards their elbow like you're a refuelling vessel and they're a space station...that's it...slowly...slowly...

[GIAMMA MOVES PINCER TOWARDS CHOSEN ELBOW]

ALDO:
...you've got to engage with the space station ju-u-u-u-u-ust right...easy...easy!...that's it!!!!!!.............ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………and once you've engaged, massage the elbow skin between your thumb and your forefinger a little bit until you can pull that excess elbow skin away from the bone...that's it...that's what it felt like, our friendship. Me and Lance….Lance and I….refuelling each other when no one else understood....just like excess elbow skin held between a finger and a thumb.
Ok, you're probably ready now. Ask someone else to replace you so we can keep that reference point open.

[GIAMMA ASKS SOMEONE ELSE TO BE THE LITTLE PINCER LIKE A CRAB]

ALDO:
Actually, why doesn't everybody find a Lance and we'll all do it together. So we'll all really feel the reference point. Everyone find a Lance. It could be someone over there or over there. Someone you know, someone you've never met before it doesn't matter, together we'll go on a special journey where you'll get a little bit of insight into what mine and Lance's friendship was like. One of you put your arm up like this. And the other turn your hand into a little pincer like a crab and s-l-o-w-l-y move it towards their elbow like you're a refuelling vessel and they're a space station...that's it...slowly...slowly...

[EVERYONE MOVES THEIR LITTLE PINCER LIKE A CRAB TOWARDS THEIR CHOSEN ELBOW]

ALDO:
...you've got to engage with the space station ju-u-u-u-u-ust right...easy...easy!...that's it!!!!!!...........….ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………and once you've engaged, massage the elbow skin between your thumb and your forefinger a little bit until you can pull that excess elbow skin away from the bone...that's it...that's what it felt like, our friendship. Me and Lance….Lance and I….refuelling each other when no one else understood....just like excess elbow skin held between a finger and a thumb.
Ok, and relax...So how I imagined it was that Lance would walk in and I'd be like "Lance?! Is that you?!"

GIAMMA:
Ok, let's try it.

ALDO:
So let's start again. Giamma, can you go over in the corner somewhere and walk in after I say, "Hello everybody, my name is Aldo Van Eyck and I am the architect of the Amsterdam orphanage?". Hello everybody, my name is Aldo Van Eyck and I am the architect of the Amsterdam Orphanage.

[GIAMMA AS "LANCE" WALKS IN]

ALDO:
Lance?! Is that you?!

GIAMMA/LANCE:
Yes!

ALDO:
It's been 16 years and you haven't changed a bit!

GIAMMA/LANCE:
You neither!

ALDO:
How've you been?

GIAMMA/LANCE:
Well I've been ok, but you know I became homeless and started living here.

ALDO:
Yeah I heard, I'm really sorry.

GIAMMA/LANCE:
Hey, you've got nothing to feel sorry about you were always really supportive...

[POINT OVER TO THE PEOPLE DOING THE ELBOW THING]

GIAMMA/LANCE:
...refuelling me when no one else understood just like excess elbow skin held between a finger and a thumb and anyway, this is a good building to live in.

ALDO:
But I heard they cleared you out for the graduation show!

GIAMMA/LANCE:
Yes! For the graduation show! My favourite type of art and design! So fresh! So new!

ALDO:
Yes, that's what I was just saying! Lance, I've been desperate to speak to you. Do you remember when we went for that walk along the Keisersgracht?

GIAMMA/LANCE:
How could i forget?!

ALDO:
Yes it was the height of summer! We sat outside and you even had an ice cream! And you said ...although I've only just realised this is what you meant… "Aldo, I've been cheating on my wife, drinking loads of booze, losing my job and I think I'm becoming homeless"...

[ALDO PAUSES]

ALDO:
...and after quite a long pause I turned to you and I said, "Lance, you have my full support"...

[POINT OVER TO THE PEOPLE DOING THE ELBOW THING]

ALDO:
...refuelling you when no one else understood just like excess elbow skin held between a finger and thumb.

GIAMMA/LANCE:
I was actually quite surprised you said that.

ALDO:
Well I really believed it for 16 years until last week when I was in a lecture up here by Gerrit Rietveld. I sat at the back with Mies van de Rohe and Rietveld said "The reality which architecture can create is lace" and I thought wait a minute… "The reality which architecture can create is lace"? I don't remember Rietveld being preoccupied by decorative window dressings and I leant over to Mies van de Rohe and I whispered [WHISPER]: "The reality which architecture can create is lace"? and Mies van de Rohe sighed and whispered back "SPace, Aldo, the reality which architecture can create is SPace" and I was like "OHHHHHH!!!! and I was transported back 16 years to that moment beside the Keisergracht because I realised….I'D MISHEARD YOU. Instead of "Aldo, I've been cheating on my wife", I thought you said "Aldo, I've been sheeting on my wife", which on accounts of your accent I thought meant you'd consensually decided to erotically deficate on each other because of what we'd been talking about the week before when we'd been walking across Dam Square about you and your wife wanting to experiment more, sexually. And when you said "drinking loads of booze" I thought you said "sinking loads of Loos" as in reading LOADS of Adolf Loos, the Austrian Czech architect and influential European theorist because we'd just shared a sandwich in that cafe a plain white sandwich simply filled with smooth cream cheese because the smoothness of the cream cheese on the plain white bread brought to mind Loo's essay Ornament and Crime which advocated smooth and plain surfaces in contrast to lavish decoration and when you said "losing my job" I thought you said "using my hob"-as in the hob on the cooker, where the gas comes out -because after eating in that cafe we'd both suffered from quite bad food poisoning so you'd got into cooking at home more. And finally when you said "and I think I'm becoming homeless" I thought you said "and I think I'm becoming domeless", which really hurt me because we'd just stopped off at the Orphanage where you're sat right now exactly with it's 336 precast concrete domes and I thought you meant you didn't like domes anymore even though you knew I loved them...

[ALDO PAUSES]

ALDO:
…which is why I paused for so long…before I said "Lance, you have my full support" because it really broke my heart but I was just trying to be a good friend...

[POINT OVER TO THE PEOPLE DOING THE ELBOW THING]

ALDO:
...refuelling you when no one else understood just like excess elbow skin held between a finger and thumb...Lance? Say something, Lance! Do something, anything.

GIAMMA/LANCE:
[LOOKS PANICKED AND WHISPERS] Aldo, what should I say? What would Lance do?

ALDO:
Hey! Giamma! You can't just stop role playing Lance part way through!!! Come on! What about the excess elbow skin held between a finger and a thumb people! They're not just giving up! It was going really well!

GIAMMA:
But isn't that the point? We don't know what Lance would do because Lance isn't here  because we're here instead.

ALDO:
Wait, because you're all there, Lance isn't there?

GIAMMA:
Yes and because you're calling Aldo, Lance isn't here.

ALDO:
Yeah you're right. Because you invited me. Because this radio show is part of the graduation show and the graduation show is the reason all the homeless people got cleared out. We're all implicated in it aren't we?

GIAMMA:
Yes, we're all up to our elbows in it. Just like excess elbow skin held between a finger and thumb.

[POINT OVER TO THE PEOPLE DOING THE ELBOW THING]

ALDO:
I should go then, for Lance's sake. And I guess you should all go too?

GIAMMA:
Maybe, but we'll probably stay.

ALDO:
Yeah maybe you're in a better position to do something about it it. You decide....Ok, well goodbye then.

GIAMMA:
Goodbye Aldo.

ALDO:
And that's when Aldo Van Eyck hangs up because that's the end. Thanks everybody.