SAFE has an exposition room in a former nuclear air raid shelter. The walls have a cross-section of one metre and the cellar can be sealed hermetically. When entering the exposition room it is tangible that thick walls, both above as well as around, surround one.
Several corridors lead to several rooms and a central area. It is not directly noticeable that one of the long walls in the central area is made of plaster. On the other side a foundation is accommodated that collects cloths for Eastern Europe.
Even though both rooms belonged to the same space at first, now a clear contrast is to be seen between the nicely finished white exposition room of Safe and the overloaded uncompleted yellow room of Foundation Eastern Europe.
‘Other side’ shows a hole in the wall of the further empty exposition room. The hole is merely 10x12 centimeters wide and seems to be ‘beaten’ in the wall.
When you look through the hole you see a wall with a cross-section of one metre and behind that the area where the Foundation Eastern Europe collects, washes, folds and organises clothes and puts it in boxes. To be able to see more of the room you have to move your head to get a different angle. Because the wall has a cross-section of one metre it is impossible to see the whole area. What you see is boxes with bin liners full of clothes on one side and pallets with folded clothes on the other side. There is also a door visible, a painting hung on a wall, a stepladder, a hand truck and fluorescent lighting.
It isn’t until one looks attentively one will notice the room is visibly upside down.
The boxes hang on the ceiling and the fluorescent lighting is on the floor.
The room is not really upside down. There is a mirror construction inside the hole that optically shows the room upside down. The construction itself is in no way visible for the spectator.
Nor is it visible that the room behind the wall is being hung with extra lamps to compensate the light loss of the mirrors. No more will people notice that the cross-section of one metre (that one sees through) is part of the construction in the only thin plaster wall of the cellar.
From the air raid shelter one sees the world upside down, where Western clothes are being collected that will now largely be send back to where they were once produced.
De Weekkrant, 6 februari 2008