Text often comes first. As the introduction to our joint project: ‘Mapping the Neustraße/Nieuwstraat’, for example, the text you are reading now offers a preface. In actuality, however, it came last. It is only meant to invite you to consider the actual outcome of the work cultural studies researcher Eline Schmeets, and cartopologist Marlies Vermeulen did in the Neustraße/Nieuwstraat between the 8th and the 28th of February 2021.
After the removal of the ‘last wall of Europe’ and a period of redevelopment, the Neustraße/Nieuwstraat, a two-kilometer-long border street, was reopened in 1995 as a European or ‘shared’ street. As a physical representation or approximation of a utopia—a ‘borderless’ border street—it holds the potential to both represent and at the same time invert or distort other border streets by calling their reality into question. A space like this has multiple layers of meaning and relationships to other places – more than immediately meet the eye. Through participant observation, this project has taken account of, described, and questioned, what happens—inside, at, and across—this border that has become everyday, quotidian, common: a fully integrated part of the urban fabric.
This project is as much about the Neustraße/Nieuwstraat, as it is about embracing how our joint representation of it has come into being. We asked ourselves: how can we ‘get in’? How can we produce this border street as some kind of object for contemplation? How do we pretend we are not part of it all – so we can see it anew? By modeling, by externalization, by metaphor, by presenting, by analogy. As two witnesses, cataloging—conscious and subconscious—gestures in the direction of Europe, or European integration. The outcome is a transdiscursive ‘re’-representation of this border street which brings out a more complex understanding of border streets / regions, as well as the type of knowledge generated at the edge – of disciplines, and nations.
Rather than a written report, the results of this research project are brought together in maps. Download the complete publication of the Mapping the Nieuwstraat/Neustraße research project over here in your desired language.
Besides these free PDF’s, we have a limited amount of printed and numbered versions available. They come in a custom sleeve. Interested? Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 27th, we presented the results via Facebook Live. This is the full recording of this presentation (if desired, you can put it on full-screen).
Join Eline & Marlies in their walk along the Nieuwstraat/Neustraße. In about half an hour they introduce the research project and take you along their most remarkable findings and insights:
Mapping the Nieuwstraat/Neustraße is an initiative of PhD researcher Eline Schmeets of Studio Europa Maastricht in collaboration with PhD researcher Marlies Vermeulen of Dear Hunter. The project is made possible by Stadsregio Parkstad Limburg, Charlemagne Grenzregion and Zuyd Hogeschool, Lectoraat SURD. The exhibition and online presentation were generously hosted by HuB.Bibliotheek Kerkrade. Special thanks to Calvin Schijns for the collaboration.