Grades of indifference
Especially early on, when it’s still cold and the robot car is barely moving, passers-by seem mostly indifferent to what we are doing. People come by on bicycles, walking dogs, or carrying briefcases (employees of the Dutch national bank, located on the other side of the square?) Some don’t even look in our direction, and most keep a steady pace, all very ‘early Monday morning,’ to my eyes. I think: Who in their right mind decides to do an art project at such a time? But of course it is part of the point – I am sure Esther P. has thought about it. I think the spiral robot car is her ploy for directing attention to this sun that is there every morning, but is so often treated with indifference by us, including me. Sunrises mostly get lost in the flows of sleeping, waking, attempts at purposeful beginnings to the day, the making of ‘to do’ lists. Besides, it turns out I am too quick in my assumptions about the general public’s lack of interest. To begin with, we encounter rather different forms of it. There is a homeless guy who asks for some food but doesn’t want to be filmed. A bit later, the editor-in-Chief of a liberal weekly magezine, which has its office on the other side of the square (next to the Bank), comes by. She does not stop to look and does not comment, which I find amusing, though of course I could have tried to speak to her. And later on it gets more sociable. A women on her bycicle called Calanne and her dog show up, with the latter walking straight through the sand-spiral in the making, while his boss does not call him back, and instead says with confidence: “It’s a very clean dog, he even walks around cobwebs”. Some tourists were not un-interested in having a chat with us. There are older men on a leisurely stroll; a man with flyers for a tattoo parlour (in the business of printing – drawing – just like us, how appropriate!). I initially think there is more action now because it is later now, not so early anymore. But Esma M. points out that the spiral drawing has become more interesting, the circles are fuller, the sand piles stand out more clearly in the late morning light. And besides, how could I not think of it, it has gotten quite a bit warmer around noon or so, its quite pleasurable in the sun. It is part of the reason, I think, why I myself do not want to leave the square, when it is all done, the drawing completed, the robot cart back in its box.