The zuidas ( ‘South Axis')is a recent city development area situated in the south of Amsterdam. Apart form the Free University(VU) and the art academy at its west, the zuidas consist mainly out of towers of lucrative international businesses for whom generally speaking the users and the surroundings of the buildings are not of primary concern. As long as the new built skyscrapers generate addresses for tax advantages it serves its main purpose. At best the towers provide for new company icons, "long" lasting landmarks as if they are autonomous sculptures that has nothing to do with where they are erected. Logos connects the owners to the towers and provide for a strong image about the place.
The general assumption is that the place is a corporate and anonymous taxheaven, a place without Amsterdam roots that could easily be picked up and put down elsewhere in the world. The Zuidas appears to be the outcome of a worldwide, lengthy process of decision-making.
But is this the only way to look at the Zuidas?
After all appearances can be deceiving. The Amsterdam ‘South Axis’ is produced by many actions: by subterranean and surface actors, by chance and hiatus, joined together or in staccato. Thus to do the 'Zuidas' justice the project examines the Zuidas from a different perspective: the logo length.
In an artistic, mathematical research project we deconstruct and construct the place and we characterize the corporate logos. We measure their heights and dissect the logo into stories and sculptures. The aim is to change the general vision on the location and on its logos.
To give an example: the griffin, the logo of the VU, tells us that on the Zuidas the Saalian Ice and the forever blowing West Wind are the main actors for the materialization of a dominant, global ideology: capitalism.
map the shift towards alternative visions we developed the
'logolength'. It consists out of three components: the logo-height (the
distance from the figurative to the ground), the logo-speed ( logos
refer to events/histories that took place at a certain place in time.
The time is converted into a number and the place is incorporated into
a spatial correction factor) and the logo-force( the public figure: the
radiance of the logo). A mathematical formula translates the three
components in a number: that is the length of the logo. LL=Lh + Ls+ Lf.
The LogoLength is an instrument to compare the different logos and a
measure for a vision of an informed public.
The public can vote via a website for the stories and images that the 'logolength' produces. Moreover they can submit information for stories themselves. So the public can influence the length of the logos. Via a database we measure the variation in lengths.
In 2009 and 2010 a pilotstudy of the research logolength took place at the Vrije Universiteit in collaboration with Prof. G. Verstraete, Head Faculty of Arts,VU; prof J.E. Bosma, History of Architecture,VU; and Prof J. Kolen, Inheritage Studies,VU; Drs B. Gietema, mathematics, Drs E. Kraakman, webprogrammer. The pilot was co-sponsored by the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture, known in the Netherlands as Fonds BKVB. From 2011 to date the municipality of Amsterdam Zuid provided the research with a Logolength Laboratory in the schoogarden Dr Alma on the Zuidas from where the research is now taking place independently. In the laboratory exhibitions, performances, guided tours, workshops and company outings take place.