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52.066483,4.344785 and 52.101675,4.258719, thank you Harold

I wanted to share a few pages of the book that I have made for the project that I was working on for our exchange this year, and most importantly I wanted to thank Harold De Bree who helped me with the images. Harold kindly accepted to take pictures from the water in The Hague and let me know when he had done so, so that I could do the same in Ottawa. The pictures were taken a day apart, or the same day, in The Hague and Ottawa. He took his pictures at an inland harbour: 52.066483,4.344785 and at the sea harbour: 52.101675,4.258719 over the course of the year. I took mine at Latitude: 45°25’36.18″N and Longitude 75°41’55.91″W. The photos made it into a book that I have made about Julia Grace Wales and her travel to The Hague. Here are the pages:





Virtual walk: Lepelstraat to Nieuwe Kerk

I couldn’t stay in The Hague until the 27th of August so I didn’t get the chance to participate in Rachel’s performance ‘Leaving‘.  I had plan to do a virtual walk in front of my screen using google maps, reading Paramjit text and thinking of Spinoza.  Little did I know that it would prove so difficult. I am aware that what I was planning to do had nothing to do with the real performance, of course,  but it was my way of participating, and exploring. So, I walked the way, almost to the end, but I got stuck and I hesitated a lot along the way. Finally,  in front of the Kerk, I decided that I wouldn’t finish the walk. I needed the group to walk with and to be physically part of the performance.  Walking with my fingers was really not fun. Nevertheless here is my futile attempt, the 24th try to be exact.

Bertha von Suttner, thank you Ingrid


Thinking about Leaving, I remembered that I wanted to thank Ingrid Rollema for the role she played in my education about the Peace movement. In may 2013, via Marlies, Ingrid gave me a book printed on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Peace prize given to Bertha von Suttner. Hearing that I was interested in the women’s peace conference that had taken place in the Hague she got me one of the few copies left of the book. I finally realized that what I was working on was the International Congress of Women, not the Peace Conference of 1899, so not really the same, but through the report she sent me, I learnt about the Hague Peace Conference of 1899 and I got to read Bertha von Suttner’s Nobel lecture and be introduced to someone I did not know. In the Hague, Ingrid explained with lots of enthusiasm how great of a figure she was. I also learned about her monument for Bertha von Suttner. We are still in Nobel prize season, here is Bertha von Suttner’s nobel lecture ” The Evolution of Peace” from 1906 if you are interested.


At last I made out that it was the feeling that through war we are somehow contemporary again with those grim old times, of castles and prisons and heavy doors and sombre courts and arches

I have spent a good chunk of last year, reading and learning about Julia Grace Wales and trying to make connections between The Hague and Ottawa. Now that I am back from The Hague – thanks to a travel grant by Canada Arts Council – I find it easier to understand her depiction of places. I thought to share some of her descriptions, specially where she talks about The Hague, as well as the letters that I found them in. What follows has been written on May 11th , 12th , 13th of the year 1915.

I must tell you a little about the Witteburg. It is a very picturesque hotel with a garden and lots of chairs and tables, out of doors. Inside the walls are white and the carpets bright red. The big hall place is full of wicker chairs and tables. All the ceilings here are very high, and the windows seem to disappear up into the clouds pretty nearly. They have heavy hangings. Nothing is a bit like New York. Did I tell you about my first impression of Rotterdam? I was absolutely unprepared for the vividness of the experience of coming into my first foreign city I suddenly forgot the war absolutely and was in a sort of trance for the rest of the day. That river in the sunlight–the barges, the masts, the color, the strange outlines of towers and gables! When we drove through the city to the Hague station, those people who had never seen Holland, we could not talk; we could only hold up our hands and gasp. If you have seen Holland, you know what is it like; if you haven’t, nobody can tell you. Every side street was like the new leaf of a picture book. The train ride to the Hague was another experience. The rest of the party in the compartment I was in–who had been in Holland before–put me at the window and with great glea watched me gasp. Not having any vocabulary I did not attempt to say anything. I merely crowed and oh-ed like a baby. The Hague itself is also very charming but not so picturesque–beautiful, clean and airy, and cosmopolitan.

Well, where was I? I seem to have interrupted myself as usual. May 13 1915 page 2 and page 3.

The same afternoon we went to see the Peace Palace. It is very beautiful, furnished and decorated with all that is wonderful within the artistic power of man. As I looked at the gifts from many nations, testifying to the cunning power of human intelligence, I wondered how it is that humanity is still capable of the utter stupidity of war. The thing that impressed me the most was the long table with the inkstands and the leather chairs–places for the representatives of the nations of the earth. Here is where sometime the collective brain of humanity will be active. We have yet to learn the true meaning of science, its high authority, its beneficence. As Miss Bulch said, the Palace is a beautiful thing, but thus far it is only a body uninformed by spirit. Wait!!! May 13 1915 page 5.

In the course of the day also we saw the [Binnenhof and Ridderzaal] and the museum. The olds courts and arches and grim walls, the Gothic interiors, lofty roofs and windows and dim heavy hangings and [tapestries] -how mediaeval it all is. And the curious part of the whole experience to me was a sensation that at first I could not define. It was a thrill of imagination mingled with almost a sense of fear. At last I made out that it was the feeling that through war we are somehow contemporary again with those grim old times, of castles and prisons and heavy doors and sombre courts and arches. May 13 1915 page 7.

Spellings in [ ] have been corrected.

Honingbank: for Svetlana

I saw this poster in a bakery in The Hague and I thought of Svetlana and her bees. I just had time to look at the link and it is a very interesting project. Since the project has been developed with Stroom Den Haag which in its turn is somehow related to Quartair, I thought to post it here. What follows is from Honingbank website. They have reached their goal of 45.000 €. What follows is from the project’s website.

The Honey Bank is an art project that was designed by the French art collective Parti Poétique (‘Poetic Party ‘) and was developed in collaboration with Stroom Den Haag. This project provided a tool to save bees: the Bee Savings Account. Thus everyone was given the opportunity to do something tangible for the bees and the environment. Action is needed in this area, because the bee is not doing well, not in our country nor globally. This is bad news for us: more than 30% of what we eat is dependent on pollination, the bee is responsible for a lot of this. Also for the ecosystem as a whole the disappearance of bees will have major consequences.

LEAVING, an international performance event in The Hague


an international performance art event 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rachel Kalpana James, Jessy Rahman,  and Ingrid Rollema

invite you for dinner and discussion at 5pm

address: Lepelstraat 1 The Hague 070-4271277

Join us in procession 6pm to Spinoza’s grave

and Participate in performance reading at 7pm

Please bring lenses, optical magnifiers, microscopes

and bicycles to ride or walk in procession.   ImageImage

Julia Grace Wales: The Canadian Girl Who Has Won World-Wide Fame

The Canadian Girl who has won world wide fame
Here is an article about Julia Grace Wales by Carol Lawrence printed in “Woman’s Century”, vol. 4, no. 1 p. 8 in 1916 that I have found at LIbrary and Archives Canada.