Jan van Duppen was born in Tilburg, Netherlands. Currently, he lives in Utrecht, where he also finished his studies in urban geography. His research practice deals with the re-appropriation of urban spaces, he attempts to reveal the tension between the conceived spaces and lived spaces of cities. What are the rhythms of everyday life? How does self-organisation and informality manifest itself in the increasingly controlled and privatised urban spaces? Van Duppen uses several research methods: (un)structured observations, interviews, photography, and discourse analysis.
In 2011 he has been working on ‘urban trajectories’, a project that studies the embodied experience of mobilities in the city of Utrecht. This will result in a collection of stories, which deal with questions of speed and slowness, friction and connection, fragmentation and cohesion. Additionally, he took part in the workshop rePLACE Berlin, which entailed a common re-performance of his former daily bicycle route through Berlin. Besides, van Duppen participated in the summer school ‘Group Affinity’ which was organised by Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory and Kunstverein München. In collaboration with other participants, he investigated and reflected upon the architecture of youth centres and other gathering points of youths.
For his master studies in Urban Geography, Jan conducted a research about the diverse meanings of a wasteland in Berlin, which most temporary users called ‘Cuvrybrache’. This ethnographic study revealed the diverse activities that took place, and it told the multiple stories of an ‘empty’ space along the river Spree. The thesis underlined the conflict between neo-liberal planning practices and the everyday life of people. It is a plea for more awareness within the public sphere for the socio-cultural value of these informal public spaces. Along with the text, an exhibition took place at the site in cooperation with Artitude.
During a half-year study programme at the University of Hong Kong (2007), van Duppen analysed the causes of radical changes in the Wan Chai district. The old neighbourhood lost its thriving local economy and established social networks, due to an intense urban renewal programme. Despite protests by inhabitants and professionals who collectively proposed an alternative plan, the characteristics of the neighbourhood changed radically, caused by a mix of global economic forces, urban planning policies and local factors .