The journey takes five days by train, but who benefits? We as artists of course, because we can do research, gain experience and expand our network. But when you talk about sustainability, it’s not just about what it delivers to you, but also about how nature, animals and other people can benefit.
I noticed that not only our physical world, but also our social networks are less designed in a sustainable way. In the past people were married for life and once you worked for a boss, you could often stay there until your retirement. Love and work relationships have become much more flexible. Friendships also changed a lot due to increasing mobility and have become less dependent on their place of residence. Contacts are easy to make through the internet, but also easily forgotten.
Another big change is the expansion of tourism. We in the Netherlands have become tourists. We are people who consume and use exotic locations for their own purposes. What is the connection with colonial activities? In this project we are going abroad to work. We are expats, labor migrants for one week. But what are the benefits for the local populations? Apart from some money, work and nuisance?
How can our temporary presence become sustainable? I want to investigate this during the trip and focus on the relationship with the people who provide us services. The staff on the train, waiters at the meetings, cleaning personnel, concierges and store employees at the trainstations for example. It immediately suggest a form of hierarchy, an unequal power relationship, based on status and money.