We met late in the afternoon in front of the ferry, set to head north. Mahmoud Hamdy, Osama Dawod, Karem Lotfy, Ganzeer, Ahmed Kamel, Malak Helmy and Femke de Vos were ready with their bikes for a weird night. It was supposed, in fact, to be a night of encounters with the wild life that can be found in Amsterdam North. The organizer of the Over het Ij Festival had planned a bike tour that would show us all the animals that, surprisingly enough, have survived the contact with civilization, and profit from the exposure to human beings. Experts would help our urban crowd to get in touch with the primal, animal side of the world, which you can still find in our North-European city.
Nothing went as planned. The typical Dutch weather ruined our nature-friendly intentions: the idea of wandering in search of snakes and rare birds in the rain, was not really appealing to our Friday evening minds. Dinner provided by the organization proved much more appealing. Of course, we do love the flora and fauna, but not as much as we love good handmade food and genuine artificial seats.
Once we had all dried up, and were settled down, accompanied by curry chickens and bottles of wine, it was time for some good slowstyle conversation. Needless to say, we quickly found ourselves discussing politics. What I learned is that the artistic world of Cairo is apparently not very pleased by the current president, Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, who has been ruling the country the last 28 years. What they learned is that I can become unpleasantly chatty if we are to speak about Berlusconi.
We soon had to change locations. In the fifteenth floor of the Overhoeks Tower (the former Shell Office) the premiere of the Project Wildeman was going to take place. The endless climb up the stairs was well worth it. An experimental theater show, which was described as "a musical ritual with a pointy jungle idiom and immersive soundscapes”, succeeded in remembering us that, however much we feel surrounded by nature, the story of the modern man in the modern city is more linked to machines rather than to the environment. The show narrates the increasingly taxing quest of keeping man and machines strictly separated, when boundaries between the two are becoming more and more blurred.
But we would have time to consider the philosophical implication of the performance another day. It is late. We are tired. Lets go home.