INVISIBLE ENCOUNTERS
2008, Amersfoort

Over a period of several weeks I asked people living in the Amersfoort district of Schuilenburg whether I could accompany them on their daily walks in the neighbourhood. I blindfolded myself and asked them to describe to me what we encountered on the way. In this way they gave me the opportunity to taste, hear and feel all sorts of things ‘en route’. The combined routes (I chose seven in total) formed a pattern which I marked on the road using enormously long lines – thin, hand- painted, wiggly lines – of different coloured paints. Only from the air is it possible to see just how these lines connect spaces and people to each other.

I met a couple who had followed Mrs. Vreeman’s yellow line. They wondered where the line would lead to but discovered that the point of the line was the line itself and not its starting or finishing point. They told me how they had come across unexpected things on the way and by following the line had found themselves in parts of the neighbourhood which were new to them. Lots of children played with the coloured lines but, unlike adults, children do not ask themselves what the lines are for. They interact in a direct and spontaneous manner with them. In this way seven routes of seven residents of the district acquired a new meaning for other residents of the district.

One of the people I walked with, Manja, said the following:
The lines are not lifelines but I find this word to be a fitting description of them. The line is my life. I walk a lot and I think. Day in, day out. I walked the yellow route once until 20.30 as far as Albert Heijn. I am the yellow route – if you follow that route you are walking a part of my life”.