explorations

We don’t exist

20142015
Residency at Kunstvereniging Diepenheim
Fictional proposal for moving a ruin to a forest
Photography, collages, construction drawings, proposal, public presentation and debate

We don’t exist
The first thing someone told me during my residency in Diepenheim was that in this village, abandoned sites don’t exist. Diepenheim is indeed known for its gardens, castles and lordships. But one hour later I found myself in a complety overgrown ruin of a burnt farm. It got burnt twenty years earlier and had been abandoned and neglected ever since. And this would not be the only abandoned site that I would find in and around Diepenheim.

 

During my residency I collected these sites and created models as sculptural interpretations of the objects I found there. From the ruin I borrowed objects to install in my models. These objects were reinstalled in the ruin after my residency.

Collage, laserprints and glue on paper, 21 x 28 cm

Fictional Proposal
In order to examine the meaning of the ruin and to find out who owns or wants it today, I designed a fictitious proposal to remove the ruin out of its original environment and install it in the nearby forest as a sculpture. This proposal was publicly presented and discussed from different perspectives: a local architect technically worked out the proposal by drawings and calculations for transport and construction. Opposed to this technical approach, the local historical society invited the last (alive) farmer who had lived in this farm and who was born and raised here. He reconstructed the lost interiors of the farm by sharing his personal memories of living here. Historicians noted the disappearance of many traditional ‘Twente’ farms like this one as part of a bigger transformation of the local landscape. Local politicians argued the relocated farm would be unsafe, a worry they did not show on the original location which was easily accessible and actually more dangerous. Local residents prefered the farm – which they did not remember until this project – to be restored instead of relocated.

As this proposal was fictional, it was never intended to be realised or even valued. It did however put this long forgotten site back into the minds of the local residents and activated them to think about its future.

 

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