ANDSTERDAM is developed by Johannes Bongers / Booleanworks for Gemeente Nieuwe IJssel 02/2021. Bongers is a conceptual artist and critical theorist.

ANDSTERDAM is a public art gift and an invitation for everyone to participate in a collective identity experiment.

ANDSTERDAM is an experiment to create an identity based on multiplicity. This is the opposite of promoting a hyper-capitalist construction of City as Self, so successfully executed in I AMSTERDAM during the 10's. ANDSTERDAM as an identity is not static or branded, is not leaving a mark or is self-producing. It is different from identity in commerce and identity politics: ANDSTERDAM is an identity of becoming. The Municipality of Amsterdam, the city, all its inhabitants, ideas, objects and dreams is the environment for this experimental becoming identity.

ANDSTERDAM is not a project. ANDSTERDAM invites everyone to put effort into rethinking, reacting, and reconnecting the three ecologies: the ecology of mind, the individual who is bombarded by signs of desire, the ecology of the social, that is polluted by neo-liberalism, social mass media and tech, and the ecology of the environment, the milieu. The mind, the social and environment are affected by the same excessive forces of capitalism. One consequence of this is that we learned to think the three ecologies separately.

The Three Ecologies is a concept of Félix Guattari from his 1989 book with the same title. Guattari was psychoanalyst, social philosopher and coined the term ecosophy.

The ANDSTERDAM attributes
ANDSTERDAM is a combination of three related attributes.

ANDSTERDAM is built around the Boolean operator AND. AND OR NOT are the three operators of Boolean Logic, invented by George Boole in the 19th-century. This logic is the basic logic behind each and every computer calculation leading to TRUE of FALSE, 1 or 0. AND is the popular operator since it represents CONNECTION. In ANDSTERDAM this is the reconnection of the human mind, the social and the environment, together the three ecologies.

The logosign XXX of Amsterdam is transformed into OOO of ANDSTERDAM. The X as sign, represents rejection, stop! and X negates. While ANDSTERDAM aims at openness, multiplicity, access, permeability, at alterealities, new possibilities and transversality.

The letterhead and logosign of ANDSTERDAM is identical to Gemeente Amsterdam, same color and font type but disconnected from all ideology that is hiding in the original.

The three O's represent the three ecologies. ANDSTERDAM invites to reinterpret, rethink, re-experience and reconnect the different modes of belonging. And.... the Lions. The Lions in the heraldry of the coat-of-arms of Amsterdam represent Zoë, all living organisms. The lions carry the diversity of the family of living species. We are in the process of redesigning the species and gender type of the two Lions.

We live on one Planet but in different worlds. Therefore we need to dive into the deepest structure of living together, and reconnect the parts we are mentally, socially and as inhabitants of the planet together with all living species. ANDSTERDAM operates on many levels - horizontally, vertically and transversally- and continuously reminds and invites each participant of Gemeente Amsterdam to try to put each activity and action and idea within the interchange of the three ecologies.


Today, the environment, the milieu, gets all the attention, understandably through the cascading crises of global warming. But please be reminded that we act ecological only because Earth screams and hits back on us. We fight reactively and not proactively to avoid the causes of global warming. The future of all living beings though is not secured and will certainly not be prosperous when we obsessively focus on the ecology of the environment. And leaving the ecology of mind and the social ecology out of the equation. Human beings have not only over-exploited earth and its atmospheres, but human beings are also neglecting and homogenizing the human imagination, the uniqueness of human subjectivity, and individually and collectively exploit and pollute the social environment. This pollutive behaviour leads to social and economic inequality, rough media politics, conflicted social interaction, loneliness, depression, the struggle of identity over social acceptance, is expressed in housing, care, and education policies, and in transferring public interest into private property.

We argue there are a few explanations why human beings act the way they do and they are related.

The first explanation is given by Gregory Bateson: organisms are always organisms ín an environment. Darwin separated these two and made the individual organism and family line the unit for survival... But by separating organism from environment, and exploit and destroy the environment for its own survival (that is what capitalism is) the human organism destroys itself. Human beings do not understand how they are.

The second insight is given by Jacob von Uexküll (1934). He was theoretical biologist and developed the concept of Umwelt. He showed how different species have a completely different Umwelt that is organised by different concepts of time and space. His famous example is a tick. A tick can wait up to 18 years to jump on an animal beneath, after a scent of smell. Human though look at other species, plants and animals as if they live in the same Umwelt, in the human Umwelt. But they do not.

When we combine the two insights, organism that separates itself from its environment as unit for survival, and one dominating Umwelt at the cost of a huge volume of different Umwelten, this creates a lethal mixture. The expressions of this deathly misunderstanding are so various they pop up where ever you look. ANDSTERDAM argues the ecology of mind, the organism and its ideas in constant interaction with its environment, and the ecology of the environment, the milieu, being an endless series of interacting and exchinging Umwelten, including the human Umwelt, is one foundation for ANDSTERDAM. This leaves us with the ecology of the Social. Just like the organism ín its environment is in flux, the social is not one concept either. But it is not hard to recognise the pattern: when organism ín environment is one ecology, the social ecology is interaction of social domains, housing for example, and organisms (which are one with its environment).

Communication and ANDSTERDAM
Even the development of an anti-marketing identity concept on the basis of common language and values has become impossible: today a sign communicates with all others signs and signals within a disintegrated semiotic field. Tech/Capitalism wiped out the common denominators and now communication, in an over-purpose to connect, erases diversity instead of creating it.

It is a paradox that diversity, being a creation of communication, can also be destroyed due to excessive communication. Indeed, communication makes Umwelten more similar to each other. Or, in other words, too much communication can be described as a general reason for many ecological problems that lead to homogenization of the world and loss of diversity. This is the case both in biological communities and in cultures (Kull 2005, p. 186).

Therefore we need an identity concept that avoids communication and activates and interacts between an increasing amount of modes of belonging.

The becoming in 'becoming identity' of ANDSTERDAM is inspired on Rosi Braidotti's fabulous notion of 'ceasing to be in the process of becoming', inspired by Deleuze. Ceasing to be in the process of becoming frees us from 'being' in the different concepts of time - past, now and future, which humans can hardly imagine or live by. 'Becoming identity' is a vital concept and is hard to capture.

ANDSTERDAM as a public art gift
ANDSTERDAM is a public art gift. From one individual to the earth. The Dutch philosopher Henk Oosterling argues 'resistance', ANDSTERDAM ís a piece of resistance, is only possible through a meso-layer, think of politics or a social gathering. Johannes Bongers introduces the concept of per-sonal agency: individual people - artists - can create cosmologies, end-to-end, without being dependent for a meso-layer to start.


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ANDSTERDAM opens March 2022 in GROND KNSM-laan 708, Amsterdam. To keep you posted, subscribe to our updates.

© Gemeente Nieuwe IJssel 2021. All rights reserved. Gemeente Nieuwe IJssel is an initiative of Stichting Nieuwe IJssel

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© ANDSTERDAM, Per-son, Per-soon, Gemeente Nieuwe IJssel 2020. All rights reserved. Gemeente Nieuwe IJssel is an initiative of Stichting Nieuwe IJssel