Maps in stone. 
Text (recording/reading) and performative walk in Sparndammer Buurt - Amsterdam, 2021


Stones say a lot, dirt says a lot.

Even when it, like here, has been shaped, burnt, covered, into something. It no longer says much about itself, its origins and its beginnings. But it talks on the neighborhood, the history. It has work, thought, and precision behind it.

The ones I remember were not even, they moved up and down. Out of synch with the street, the hill, the people walking, cycling, moving along it.

Maybe that is why I remember them, because everyday as I would move along them, they would stop me in my way. Interrupt my daily movements.

-A corner sticking up here, as if for the last hundred hundred years everyone had decided to step only on one corner of this tile, slowly pushing it further down, and in that movement pulling the other corner up. So now it works hard everyday to stop people in their way.

-A stone deeper than all the others here. As if the surface it was put on was softer than everywhere else, not a lot, just a bit. But enough so that over time the softness gave out to the stone, in a way it didn't to the others.

I imagine they weren’t laid like this. They were put down in a specific pattern, so precisely. Not only specifically like this, but specifically here, and for the people here. For them, with this thought, preparing the steps for them to walk on in all years to come. Specific stones, put down in a new beautiful neighbourhood. Laying down the first marks of history. The definition of the area.

 The beautiful yellow stones that used to stop me in my way, covered the sidewalks outside my childhood home. Well teenage home. The streets just around ours all had them. I never thought much about their history, who put them there, when and why. Not until about a week ago, when my mom told me they were disappearing. A couple of weeks before the municipality had come to clean them, even them out. At least so they said. But when the time came for the stones to be put back in, they were replaced with the cheapest, square cement blocks.

-You probably know the ones, they exist everywhere.

Turns out in a bid to make a newer, richer, nicer neighbourhood feel “better”, full of history, the municipality had decided to remove the stones from us, and give them a newer, richer, faultier purpose. 

I love walking. stepping down the street, over, under and often around. But more than walking, I love getting lost, which is lucky cause it happens all the time, even when I really don’t have the time for it.

I get lost because I get distracted. I follow my eyes. My eyes get pulled in, and pull me in, towards colourful or interesting spaces, details. Stones in squares on the wall, tiles in colour covering buildings, small stones lying on the street without intention, but with enough presence to attract me. If it's small enough i'll pocket it, and play with it, for however long it takes me to remember why i left my house to begin with. I can’t get stopped by the stones in front of my childhood home anymore, even if they do come back, because I don’t exist outside my childhood home anymore.

I don’t have a history here, history takes time, events, things to remember. I cannot force it, and I do not want to.

So I remember the stones. I only walked this way once before, but I remember. Because I was being led by the stones, bricks, tiles, as I let myself, and you, be led by them now. I have no interesting or significant memories of this place, but I will remember this place, as that area with the square patterns on the walls, the row of glazed ceramics, light blue to be seen from a distance, weird rods on the side of a house and a window with a weird and colorful little sign. It is not a history, it is a memory, and for now I hope that's enough.