Spinoza and prostitution • Encounter under the trees • The Hague (NL) • 2002

A small park between a statue of Spinoza and a street with prostitutes. (Paviljoensgracht The Hague) ‘Hot Red Lokaal’ invited artists to make a temporary work for this location.

Work Judith van den Berg:
A prostitute and a philosopher were reading to visitors. I provided them with specific texts. The prostitute read texts written by Spinoza, or texts about Spinoza. The philosopher read from books written by prostitutes or writings about prostitutes.

Both readers were female. The visitor chose the person that he/she wanted to listen to. Visitor and reader grabbed a chair and sat down somewhere in the park. The reader decided what she would read to this visitor, she could choose from a number of texts.

The texts read by the philosopher contained a poem about a prostitute, research on the state of health of prostitutes, a story written by a prostitute and a story of a dutch writer who loved to visit prostitutes.

The texts read by the prostitute contained a text written by Spinoza about his aversion against emotions, the curse that banned him from the church, information about the life of Spinoza and a letter which Spinoza wrote.

This intervention was part of the group show ‘Encounter under the trees’ (ontmoeting onder de bomen). The group show was initiated by ‘Hot Red Lokaal’ in The Hague (NL).