Saturday, January 01, 2005


The new year has started. From today on I’m the official Bridge Guard of the Mária Valéria Bridge. I haven’t seen the bridge in real yet. I only read about it. About the bridge and about my duties:

“In the year 2001 the Mária Valéria bridge between Stúrovo (Slovakia) and Esztergom (Hungary) was reopened. During its history, this bridge was destroyed and unusable for a longer time than it was actually connecting the two towns.

The rebuilt bridge deserves to be saved from further destruction by people. To this aim, mental protection is more important than physical protection. As long as the mental connection between people is intact, the bridge is not endangered.

The post of Bridge Guard requires a person in whose work boundaries of countries of eras are bridged, mental, social, religious or political boundaries are crossed, different scientific fields are connected, or various artistic media are utilized.”

(from the Bridge Guard Residency website, http//

“The guard of the bridge shall be a builder of a virtual bridge. Therefore creative people working across disciplines or shifting boundaries of their own discipline are qualified to guard the bridge”

(from the Trans Artists newsletter, March 2004)

For six months I will live and work as an artist on the border between two countries. I’ll take my videocamera, my photocamera, my books and my paper. I'll be provided with an apartment and an atelier situated near the bridge. I’ll write in the bridge guard logbook and wander the streets of Stúrovo to gather new material.

I wrote the following to Karol Frühauf, the initiator of the Bridge Guard residency:

“I studied history. I learned seven languages but prefer to be speechless. I herded sheep in France. I prefer mornings to evenings. I rather make stories than be the subject of them. I’m fond of rituals. I hate miscommunication. I keep forgetting I’m growing older. I keep forgetting I’m an artist.
For being an artist and being a human being is the same thing to me. I’m trying to make art the way I leed my life. In my artwork, I’m trying to show how I experience the world.
In a way, art is something “out of this world”, art creates a world of its own, mirroring the real world, using elements from this real world. They depend strongly on each other, art and the world we’re living in. One can’t do without the other.
As an artist, I’m balancing on the border of these two worlds. This borderline is my subject.”

I prepared myself well. In the last months, I walked an imaginary bridge. 496 meters. 711 steps. Always starting from my doorstep, always ending anywhere. Anywhere 711 steps from the startingpoint.

Day 1:

I closed the front door of my house in Amsterdam behind me and walked 711 steps. As a child I used to count them. My steps, I mean. I took a certain amount and tried to reach the given goal within that number. Usually the goal was my house or a shop my mother send me to in order to get some things she forgot during her usual morning shopping. If I succeeded, the day would be mine.

I don't remember any specific day I failed my mission. I don't remember any day I succeeded either. I just remember the ritual.

This morning I had a goal, as in the old days. This was to be found at step 711. I crossed a couple of roads on my way, bumped into a woman walking her twin dogs, avoided some kids playing football, noticed a giant pigeon looking at me taking my 699th step and reached my goal. There it was. A grey tile on the sidewalk. Next to it another similar tile. Next to it a bike leaning against a streetlight.
I looked around me. I knew this place. But I never knew it was a 496 meter walk from my front door. I took a picture and retraced my steps. The door was where I left it. I hadn't expected anything else.


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