5 Houses 5 Cities was a project I carried out in 1983, in collaboration with Galerie De Appel Amsterdam, the Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht, Het Apollohuis Eindhoven, the Museum of Modern Art Arnhem, and Galerie Corps de Garde Groningen.
The project involved my moving into a ramshackle house in each of these cities. I spent one week completely isolated in each house, looking for and reading 'signs' (marks on the wall, cracks in the woodwork etc.), and from these, drawing and planning an installation; then one week constructing this installation. Then the house was opened to the public for a week.
After this third week I allowed myself one week free, whereafter I moved to the following house.
I restricted my working materials to one metal and one chemical for each house, allowing myself otherwise only wood as a construction material and sometimes water.
I drew much from old alchemical texts for inspiration and methodology, and in addition some texts by Rudolf Steiner.
In this house in Maastricht, the first of the series, I pumped a 'solution' of iron oxide in water through a set of large gutters and funnels, from one floor to the other and back again.