When Gijs moved, around the same time as we moved into this space, he didn’t know what to do with his big table (same model as the desks in his art school). So we adopted it. This Big Table probably became the most used piece of furniture. It’s a lunch table, meeting table, radio table, salad bar, stage, workbench, temporary work spot, dinner table (with a cloth), presentation table, occasional seat, flower vase pedestal, mail collector, waiting room, jam station holding all of our small synths together.
Something was missing. We recreated our treasured art school classroom but it didn’t quite feel like one. You come in silently because someone is on a call, open your laptop, look at your mail, reply with – wait this feels like, well, an office. Part of that is the reality of living in precarity and the need to do moneywork. Another part is that the space was quite encouraging for that kind of work. Not for rest, play, read, chat, snack, hang. Thus, soft surfaces!
There’s only one best moment to paint the floor: right at the start. So what colour? This was our first real practice in collective decision making. One thing that helped was the limited availability of cheap paint. Another thing was that this led us to accidentally buy wall paint, which required an extra layer of varnish to not wear off from spilling coffee or shifting your chair, which in turn required more collective labour, which meant this space felt more ours.
The basic unit. We each have one now. Conviviality needs your own place to retreat to sometimes. They can vanish easily to the walls to make space for an event like today.
These are from Gijs’ old anti-squat in Afrikaanderwijk. It had a basement storage with a lot of shelves. So when he heard the building was going to be demolished, we adopted them. Some of the shelves are from left-over wood from our Desks. They function as library, display space, and hiding spot for plants, which unfortunately means they often get skipped when watering.
The first effective measure in coliving with clutter was coloured plastic crates. This worked until the crates themselves started to become clutter. Yes they can stack but if you need something in the bottom one that means clutter everywhere. Jack showed us an image of a studio that made drivable racks for these crates. Those were nice and expensive and too small. So we made illustrator drawings, checked bouwmarkt prices, chose Bouwmaat (tip!), got wood cut, aluminium rails, wheels, screws. And for one day XP was a maker space where we sawed, screwed, sanded, until there it was.
It was convenient to bring in Gijs’ sewing machine to make the Cushions to your right. And after that it was convenient for Jack’s flag project. Sometimes it’s convenient to just fix clothes. It’s always convenient as an invitation to start making something. Now I wish we had time to make a Conviviality flag for today. One of the best things about it is the sound. Deep, smooth, soothing. See if you can keep yourself from softly pressing your foot against the pedal.
Nov 20, 2020. After many space visits, Emma decided to give Woonstad a call. We could come check out a space that would be empty soon. It must have been the smallest we visited: only 39m2. In spring and summer you may add the pavement, but still, would it be enough space to host five of us? On paper it seemed to work, but perhaps it never really was enough. Perhaps this meant that we regularly had to meet to negotiate, rearrange, lunch together, build things, collaborate, make a website, write a newsletter, host events and invite you. Who knows?