Amsterdam RAI Station
Travelers as extras through artwork RAI Station
Starting in 2015, all travelers at Amsterdam RAI station will play a role in a play. The two-part artwork “Mis-en-scène” by artist collective Polly’s Picture Show has transformed the station into a theater of travel. M2uur bv is responsible for the engineering and realization of the work.
Alliantie Amstelspoor, Amsterdam
Polly’s Picture Show, Amsterdam
HPL with integrated print, painting, light boxes
Theater of travel
Anne Huijnen and Anna de Jong together form the artists’ collective Polly’s Picture Show. They were commissioned to realize a fitting artwork for the renewed Amsterdam RAI train station. The concept focuses on the traveler, whether he is running to catch a connecting train or has fifteen minutes to kill, by making him part of a play. The work “Mis-en-scène” is, in a literal sense, a stage set.
From scale model to realization
Polly’s Picture Show built the two-part set-in miniature. This already ingeniously considered real objects that are part of the location, such as doors, fire hydrants and route signs. By playing with lighting, shadows and different surface areas, the miniature decors were given a second subtle layer. Using a technical camera, the two sets were captured and digitized. Armed with the images and a stack of construction drawings, Anne Huijnen and Anna de Jong arrived at M2uur bv.
‘The complexity of this job quickly became clear to us,’ says Freekje Vervoord of M2uur bv, ‘you have three things that you have to bring into line with each other: Polly’s designs, the drawings of Alliantie Amstelspoor and the actual situation on location, which always differs a fraction from a technical drawing. The size of it all, all in all, some 300 m2 and over 6 meters high in places, is a challenge in itself. In addition, the designs consist of both the flat plane, as well as three-dimensional objects and the incorporated elements on site. With Anne and Anna, we considered which materials and techniques would best lend themselves to the realization of the work, in which we wanted to approximate the vision of Polly’s Picture Show and the models as closely as possible.’
Mix of techniques and materials
To stay within budget and planning and do justice to the design of Polly’s Picture Show, a mix of techniques and materials was chosen. The objects from the scale models were reproduced on HPL with integrated prints. The panels were contour cut and mounted to the walls. Larger areas of color were transferred by painting. The light boxes were cut to size and made to fit precisely. Finally, recesses were made at the level of light points, route signs, fire reels and other elements from the “real” world. This further blurs the boundary between the artwork and its surroundings, allowing ‘Mis-en-scène’ to gain imaginative power.
At Amsterdam RAI Station, the traveler unwittingly and unintentionally participates in the longest-running theater performance in the Netherlands. Anyone waiting for a train automatically becomes a spectator in this theater. Visitors to Amsterdam RAI Station are both audience and actors in the work of Polly’s Picture Show. By choosing a clever mix of materials and techniques, the concept of the creators has become a reality. M2uur bv is proud to have made a significant contribution to its realization.
Amsterdam RAI Station