Title: Hoog Bezoek
(High rise visitor)
photos by: Joep Lennarts
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Project commissioned by Utrecht city council.
UTRECHT – Pensioners in sheltered housing, Zuylenstede in Utrecht were surprised when a Japanese geisha suddenly appeared at their window. The geisha was descending from the tenth floor to ground level in the window-cleaners cradle. She made contact with the residents and performed a dance using movements derived from the traditional tea ceremony and modern dance as she passed the windows. The apparition of a geisha at this Dutch old people’s home is an art project developed by Sjaak Langenberg and Rosé de Beer during their stay as artists in residence in Utrecht, Overvecht. Their attention had been drawn by a call for volunteers to visit the elderly which they came across on a bulletin board in an old people’s home. They located a 'volunteer' in Japan - the population in Japan is aging rapidly to the extent where sometimes robots are being used to relieve the loneliness of the elderly. Japanese dancer Sato Endo performed the role of a geisha in the performance ‘Hoog bezoek’ (High rise visitor). Afterwards the inhabitants all received postcards of the event. "Good, now I have proof," said one resident, "My daughter will think I'm becoming demented if I tell her I saw a geisha through the window."
© Sjaak Langenberg & Rosé de Beer