Installation by ISLANDS for Dag van de Architectuur at Huis Perrekes (2021)

This is a short story. Short stories are concentrated reflections which give space to the questions, dialogues and encounters influencing our work.

Together with Huis Perrekes, we invited our frequent research collaborators, architecture-research duo ISLANDS, to produce an installation in the old parsonage of Oosterlo in response to the qualities and rhythms of life at Huis Perrekes.

The following is an excerpt from the installation guide produced by ISLANDS:

Between dereliction and reinhabitation, the disused parsonage of Oosterlo is in a state of transition. We revive it not only for the Dag van de Architectuur, but as an additional layer that will remain in the building while it awaits renovation as a new amenity for Huis Perrekes, a local care organisation offering support and residence for people suffering from dementia. The installation looks to imprint the memories and rituals of Huis Perrekes onto the material reality of the parsonage.

At Huis Perrekes, living itself is treated as a form of art; an ongoing experiment of highly thoughtful and empathetic work developed by carers, musicians, artists, architects, residents’ families and volunteers. In order to produce this installation, we spent time at the Villa of Huis Perrekes observing, drawing and photographing. From these observations, we curated a series of conversations with residents and carers during a short but intensive series of visits. Our aim was to illuminate the stories behind certain objects and daily rituals that held a deeper meaning.

This interest in the dialogue between the material and the immaterial led us to working with light as the primary transformative element in the space. Excerpts of conversations are illuminated on the windows of the three rooms of the installation, transforming with the natural light and atmospheric conditions outside the house.

Outside, a slender ribbon of chalk text wraps around the building’s exterior with the message ‘you are beautiful, here is beautiful’. These warm words, borrowed from a resident of the Villa, act as a rhythmic mantra to hold the building, a gesture towards its future intention.

In the first room, material objects from the Villa are presented on a central table as physical footnotes to accompany the illuminated texts. Above the fireplace, textile and mixed media work by artist and Huis Perrekes resident Ann Vandecasteele are exhibited.

The second room is largely empty apart from a sand floor, inviting playful interaction from those who pass across it. On the opposite side of the room, we display hand-stitched aprons worn by the carers and residents of Huis Perrekes.

The third room features Ingel Vaikla’s intimate short film Cradle Bed, exhibited alongside a cradle bed which has been brought from the house.