In the context of the exhibition /manifestation AIR-Southbound/Southbound in the NAI in Rotterdam Hans van Houwelingen made the film De Dorpskerk, about the discovery of the Hoeksche Waard, a rural area with a few villages south of Rotterdam. Unlike the big city, because of entanglement of cultural, religious and political interests, the ssumed separation between church and state is less evident in these small municipalities of the Hoeksche Waard. The central question in this film is how the village church is preparing for a future in which people from different cultural and religious backgrounds will settle in the Hoeksche Waard. The three pastors of the Protestant village church of Old Bavaria accurately indicate the areas of tension that are developing between their own population, the church and the foreigners.
As a follow-up to this film, at the request of Hans van Houwelingen, reverend Ton Honig is willing to preach on this issue, in the village church of Old Bavaria. If this strict Protestant community accedes to this request, on one or more Sundays the village church will be opening up, in the broadest sense. As part of the manifestation, AIR will invite people to attend these sermons. The Word, the community of faith, the artists and architects will all shine a different light. Perhaps a two way cut between past and future. The village church denied the request.
Het The AIR-Zuidwaards/Southbound project is using modern theory to internationalize the Hoeksche Waard local identity, to transform its specificity into a generic problem. Directed by the organization, artists provide the alibi that gives architects and urban planners the go-ahead to unabashedly interfere with the area. Perhaps this approach is successful and will also work for this AIR manifestation. But shouldn't architects be aware of the detested social democracy? Democracy is participation. Radical democracy does not determine the themes for research from the metaphor, but from the bottom up. Like vagrants walking through the polder, we are asking the people of the Hoeksche Waard what the heck we should meddle with. Democracy in action.