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Joost Meuwissen and Matthijs Bouw, Read this book, ‘3D Manuscript’, commissioned by the Vedute Foundation, Amsterdam, 1999. Hard-board, felt, paper, and spiral, 44 x 32 x 7 cm.
© Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam. Vedute collection 00:00 Time & Duality, Nr 0137.
Peter Struycken: “[…] The aim of this work is to show that the different colours of the two boxes cause a different, physically perceptible sensation, if the viewer puts one hand in each box …
© Peter Struycken, Couleur locale, 1993. Two painted wooden boxes, one grey, the other yellow, 44 x 32 x 7 cm.
… simultaneously. The hands need to be kept inside the boxes until the sensation is felt. The sensation itself is indescribable.”
© Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam. Vedute collection, Nr 0030.
Carel Weeber, Vedute, 1998. Painted metal, 44 x 32 x 7 cm. Realized by Cosmas Weeber.
© Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam. Vedute collection Colour & Space, Nr 0097.

Post

Posted 01 May 1996

Nederlands

Joost Meuwissen, ‘Candidly 3D. A speech at the opening of the presentarion of 3D manuscripts from the Vedute Foundation on Sunday 5 June 1994 in the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam’, Views on Vedute. Translated [from the Dutch] by Michael O´Loughlin, with a Foreword by Mirjam IJsseling (Amsterdam: Vedute Foundation, 1996), 31-34.

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Candidly 3D

Joost Meuwissen

Ladies and gentlemen, 3D manuscripts is the name given by the Vedute Foundation to the things or objects they are collecting, not for Bosnia, but for Amsterdam, not for Sarajevo but for this other, mentally heavily damaged city, which has become too complicated to still be a meeting place itself but where meeting places, such as this exhibition here, must be given form. As the treasurer of the Vedute Foundation, Mariska van der Burgt, put it in the NRC Handelsblad yesterday: “A Vedute presentation has become a meeting place where it is possible to talk candidly about the projects…”
You must therefore soon talk candidly about these projects.
I would rather say something self-consciously, enthusiastically and obsessively, about the entire project of these 3D manuscripts.

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With a variation on what the Governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, said some years ago after a dust explosion had taken place in the World Trade Centre in New York and before any investigation had taken place: “It is reminiscent of a bomb, it is like a bomb, it has the same effect as a bomb, it is a bomb,” I would like to say that these 3D manuscripts look like a book, they have the format and form of a book, they stand or lie like a book on their bookshelf, they refer to a book, they remind me of a book, they are a book.
It is more reassuring to call it a book, it is more reassuring to call the dust explosion a bomb, as any other possibility is more disturbing.

Although the collection as a whole is called a library, the board of the Vedute Foundation has had the courage not to talk of books but of 3D manuscripts, in order not to confuse these objects with an artist's book.
The task of creating an image of your space, your mental space, is interdisciplinary.
For an artist it is an architectural task. For an architect it is an artistic task. The latter appears more difficult than the former. Architects have trouble with this task. They want to but they cannot. Not that their mental space is too big or too small to be reflected in this format, but in fact because it is a matter of creating an image of it. I will return to this point later.
In an age of computers and electronic communication, now that the phenomenon of the manuscript has almost died out, or at

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least is no longer in general use, and if it does appear it is for a special reason, the word manuscript seems almost archae­ological – an archaeology of our age. And the word ‘3D’ should not be understood literally but metaphorically.
Everyone who has a bookcase knows what a huge amount of space books take up. And what an enormous weight. A bookcase is always too small. It is always bulging and the largest part of the Vedute Foundation's budget goes not on acquisitions but on keeping and conserving.
Nevertheless, it is not this natural or literal space which I mean here but a space which is reproduced within the volume of a book. I think this is the central question.
No matter how mistaken they may be, architects have the impression that they create space and do not reproduce it. Where they come closest in their work to reproduction and not a literal description in drawing or models, is in collage or diagram, in their conceptual plans, but these are almost always two-dimensional.
To make a three-dimensional diagram of a relatively unified thing, of your mental space, is too much to ask of an architect. Or too little to ask.

The thing that strikes me most about these books is their complete positiveness.
The mental space which artists in the Netherlands, chiefly Amsterdam, give form to in this manner is exclusively positive, contented, uplifting, encouraging, elevating, constructive. There is no book which negates

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the collection. There would appear to be no negativity in the mental space of the partici­pants or at least in its reproduction. This seems to me sociologically intriguing and artistically disturbing.
All great art is negative. Where is the negativity in these 3D manuscripts?
This is associated with another question which has been running through my mind since yesterday's newspaper. If the Vedute Foundation invites chiefly unknown artists, although not all are equally unknown, how has the Foundation found out about these unknown artists? Furthermore, is the obscurity of the artists related to the fact that their mental space, or at least their own reproduction of it, is purely positive?
Even if the mental space is erotic or at least is depicted as something erotic, as in one of the recent manuscripts, with an abdomen as mental space or even if the mental space is a tactile perception, such as the weighing of colour in Peter Struycken, it still turns out to be purely positive.
In the candid discussion I would like to ask whether books can also be bad.
In our culture the phenomenon of the book is seen as purely positive. Why?
The question is not whether the mental space of the artists who have been collected is purely positive. I do not believe this for a moment. But why its image should be so.
With these words, which I hope are encouraging, I declare this beautiful exhibition, this candid meeting place, open.


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