This underground network is where you find the Interzone, an imperfect utopia about the future. A place where everything makes sense and still everyone feels uncomfortable because nobody takes us seriously. This contradiction makes bonds stronger; people belong to these displaced territories; they relate to these spaces and yet they do not call it home. Everyone has left and yet we need a better credit to pay the rent, we pay an incalculable debt, so we search for an alternative going through the pipework and the glue under the cracking paint, to find there is no alternative.
There is no future, and this is where we will always meet, in the wild where there are no rules and no one to make them.
One day… the building was demolished, leaving in its place an ugly cavity and a residue of psychic debris.
Arnhem in the morning…
And so… the years passed. Every Wednesday without fail P1 and P2 would meet at the building for lunch.
In late November, the Presikhaaf was finally torn down. Not even its structure survived; there was no sense for it anymore.
This is the place whose story we are telling.
On this particular Wednesday, an image of the past, a city on permanent state of reconstruction, the peripheria of Arnhem, a claiming rumor of resurgence that always failed.
An image of what we thought it was a city on permanent construction, yet it has always been a ruin.
The walls that surround them, you could still read some writings on the background: “Because humanity has survived… we can’t refuse our own past and the way we survived”.
Marks over marks of what once was life on the building.
The Presikhaaf was built of leftovers of unwanted buildings, left for the others, and yet, came back again to the waste.
P2 recognizes his hair, his face configuration.
Without worries and still with some unspoken trust, she welcomes him without surprise.
On the other side of their meeting point you can still read the smashed flag of the resistance movement: "Universality, heedlessness, war, form, love, hope, courage, autonomy, assertion, resistance". Words that used to mean something so broad that now they don’t hold any meaning anymore.
She calls him his little neighbor.
This year the future came sooner than expected, and the reality is just a handful of debris, that do not resemble the original design and leave in its place its exposed degrading materials.
Through the violence of the collapse, you could gaze over its skeleton in a radiant copper and scraps of metal.
It suddenly appeared, it was just there almost as a wounded animal, exposed over the decades and not moving anymore, motionless.
These walls, we thought our most valuable things would last forever, trying to reach eternity, thinking we could scape it’s unavoidable fall.
Over the dead grayness of this non-existence it was the ashes of something that burnt a long time ago, now dead, but almost as if it could burn again.
They finally meet. As strange as it is to get close to a body now, nearness to someone is always a risk, bodies are strange mass of flesh, even though we still own one.
An immense landscape of debris covers the sight. Walls piled over walls, bricks broken down. A fog that it’s nothing but the smoke of the particles of concrete floating over the place.
Like ink, his blood is too thick, he wants to escape to his shelter, his last hope.
Slabs of wood, that could be either Ikea chairs, or some luxury that was paid over the years, now it’s just an abstract image that can only give a sense of the past.
Portions of monolithic concrete and steel that are trying to speak to us: what do they say? What do they hold? It’s just gray matter.
Its direct projection to what could be a consumption utopia, commodities as friends, yet now it’s full covered with dirty walls, plaster of time, twisting wires and ghost electronica.
Something once contained a value, now its void. A desolate horizon, worthless and still waiting to be discovered, when we find value on our own vanity.
An immense landscape of debris covers the sight. He smells this fog that it’s nothing but the smoke of the particles of concrete floating over the place.
These places which are supposed to be preserved or mummified, as a sort of habitable mausoleum, fall outside this expectation.
Rather, they are assembled over and over, but not for the needs of the moment, these places can bear the coming of the time, but they are not made to resist its context: the people and what people do.
This waste land became a common point for the followers of the obsolete, lungs filled with black substances invading the flesh, these people were outside of dreams and memories of the rise of the country –non people living in non-places-, a loophole in time where profit became the real rebellion.
As strange as it is to get close to a body now, nearness to someone is always a risk, bodies are strange mass of flesh, even though we still own one.
They finally meet.
He can smell her body. She recognizes his hair, his face configuration. Without worries and still with some unspoken trust, she welcomes him without surprise.
Above the ground of the Presinkhaaf, as most part of the world, it was uninhabitable; there was only a feeling of lifeless bodies walking around, insentient bodies wandering through different zones. Most of them did hide, they were not there, there was no sense for feeling, and consciousness didn’t need presence anymore.
He remembers her neck, her nail polish, her nose had the same red but crusts of white and brown came out of her eyes. ‘What should I say now?’ probably his language is more rusty, does it matter?
Layers over layers of meaning, language without boundaries, because language did exceed us. Eyes didn’t receive light anymore; projections of reality are no longer true. The memories of a memory, that were the containers of our sense-presence, now have dissolved.
They are without memories, without plans.
Trying to still make some sense of what it is to come, how humans can still relate to each other without an interface that can mask their appearance, their wrinkles, their dry skin, their wrecked lips.
Portions of monolithic concrete and steel that are trying to speak to us: what do they say? What do they hold? It’s just gray matter, a grain of sand that it’s dissolved into the sea. Something once contained a monetary value, a love value, a gratitude value, now its void. A conversation builds itself painlessly around them. They are confident, she sees his hair, he feels her eyes. They are trying to catch up with the week.
A peacetime morning, real graves, real objects, fetishes of the past. A huge billboard that now says “PRSNHKF”.
The news said it was the kids of the immigrants in the neighborhood who set the rest of the letters on fire, once that building was torn down.
They believed that version, they conformed to that version, looking through the curtains of their offices, it was a jungle out there, they were the incarnation of flies that flew over the world to our own country, charged with the smell of dead, precariousness and danger.
Maybe the smell of other corpses, not even close, maybe of their countries.
They are trying to reach that spot… “The Interzone”…. A cave that formed after the building was wrenched. On the back, just there, a quiet unfriendly dark place.
Nobody knew how deep the interzone was, or if it was connected to the cellar of Presikhaaf. It was just there, it just appeared, an elusive feeling.
Once they found it, going through the gap of a shattered steel container, the only connection from the outside to its deep red inside, almost if they knew the inside was red, as the flesh of a corpse.
It was the light of “A”, the last remain of the two AA’s of the Presikhaaf red billboard.
The other “A” was completely blown away, somewhere in the remains of the ruins. This “A” was the last relic of some strange cult.
Now that surface of the neighborhood was unshielded and hazardous, the interzone was their only shelter; the “A” was mystifying.
The cult of the “A”, its unexplainable red light still radiating, even though there was no electricity anymore.
This interzone was the place for many modern rituals, the spirituality of the uncanny and devoid of character. Told by the news as hostile ceremonies, without hope, without goal or aspiration. The intense red light, so concentrated, inspired all the neighbors, outsiders and no-people to do what strangers do: sniff glue, spray paint, pop their eyes, shit on the ground and feast in spontaneous feast. The interzone demanded this.
After going through a passage of shattered concrete and clogged shit-smelling pipes; they arrived to the “A”, they were alone, he saw her eyes again, she smiled. It was them again. They looked at the “A”, they knew that it looked back. But they trusted in it. It was almost a saint, a repository of some illusion, maybe a dream of optimism. A prop of a movie about utopia.
INTERZONE was part of Everything Here Still Seems to be Under Construction and Is Already a Ruin; a two-and-a-half-month residency at the invitation of Claudia Schouten, from mid-May till the end of July 2016. During this residency I embraced many types of media to communicate with the architecture and the neighborhood of Presikhaaf city district. Going from drawings, videos, collage, sound, to spoken word, sculptures and installation. This residency had its first outcome in a brief action, in a cluster of different collaborations with the network of friends at Locatie Spatie that surrounds Motel Spatie. To alternatively coincide with creating an interzone: an installation built inside a trash container, in which also the text above was read. The container was placed in the garage at the backside of the Spatie space, which I consider to be the core of the Winkelcentrum Presikhaaf building. The curtain was raised on the 22nd of July at 7pm only to let this Interzone disappear again the next morning and return to the wastelands of Arnhem, the Netherlands.
Vertaling: Nathalie Hartjes
Erik Tlaseca - Presikhaaf, 2016 - 2022
During five different residency periods between 2016 and 2022, Erik Tlaseca (Mexico) reseached Presikhaaf as a canvas for new site-specific works.
With the BG 22-23 he completes this six year long artistic research with a new site-specific 3-channel video installation. This will also feature drawings and texts which he made in the summer of ´22 on site in Presikhaaf, shuttling back and forth between Arnhem and Kassel, where he took part in Documenta 15.
His work for the BG 22-23 was made and will be shown in a 400 square meter basement from 1965, in the middle of the Presikhaaf neighborhood, as part of the group exhibition in Arnhem. The opening date will be announced later. The spaces are now being refurbished, fireproofed and made accessible to the public. More information will follow.