You cannot live in crap
Via the Arts Council I received a request from the municipal district to include the Labour Party politician Jan Schaefer (1940-1994) in the artwork ‘You Are Here’. The following statement was passed on to integrate in the artwork: ‘You cannot live in bullshit’.
‘You cannot live in crap’ was on his 1978 election poster for the Amsterdam city council elections. I have based the design for the Jan Schaefer artwork figuration upon these words.
The realization of the quotation in the material of concrete contributes to the content and stratification of Jan Schaefer’s column. As Councillor for Public Housing between 1978 and 1986 in the city of Amsterdam, he preserved Betondorp (Concrete Village) in district Oost from the sledgehammer.
Johannes Lodewijk Nicolaas (Jan) Schaefer (1940-1994) was a PvdA (Labour) Politician. ‘The Eighties were the years for doing what had been forbidden for two decades: enjoying status, money and power. Away with the illusions of equality and manipulating social change.’
Jan Schaefer, councillor responsible for public housing, was a man with charisma. He could only oppose the squatter’s movement with one thing: good public housing. And above all, you had to listen to what the man in the street wanted. You had to build for them and build more for them because you cannot live in crap, was his most famous pronouncement. ”You cannot live in bullshit”, cried Jan Schaefer in the Dutch Lower House when he was Secretary of State for Urban Renewal (1973-1977). The Praesidium of the Lower House thought this was ‘unbecoming use of language’. So in the proceedings taken and on his later election poster, it was replaced by “you cannot live in crap.”
The statement “You cannot live in bullshit” is written on the street sign of the bicycle path named after him in the Amsterdam neighbourhood Gein 3 – one of the neighbourhoods developed under his Aldermanship.
Artwork: You Are Here
Artist: Martijn Sandberg
Measurements: (lxwxh) 80cm x 80cm x 40cm
Project: Legacy of the Twentieth Century
Realisation and completion: 2019
Location: Oranje Vrijstaatkade, Oostpoort, Amsterdam
Commissioned by: Amsterdam Municipality, District Oost