research

Viaduct for silence

2018
Personal exploration

Digital photography and written fieldnotes
Title-sign installed in situ
Non-commissioned and anonymous project.

The Varenna Viaduct
Over highroad A50 near Beekbergen there are two parallel viaducts: one that is in use and an identical other one that has been out of use for almost 30 years. Both viaducts were constructed in 1968. Shortly after the construction, the infrastructural design was changed, after which only one of the two viaducts was in use. Because removal of the superfluous other viaduct was too expensive, it was only closed off and today it is still an empty viaduct. From the first viaduct, the other, empty viaduct can be observed. The obsolete viaduct is accessible on one side by walking through a narrow but dense forest. The double viaduct can be found on Google maps by 52°07’23.3″N 5°57’22.5″E or 52.123143, 5.956244 and is only visible in the ‘satelite’ mode. The ‘map’ mode hides it, which confirms the uselessness of this object.

Research
The Varenna Viaduct had been abandoned and useless for half a century. Although many car drivers pass it every day, most of them are unaware of this object as they only see it from the highroad below. By investigating the upside of the viaduct as a site I aimed to identify this site: what can I find here? What may I experience when walking over it? What is the meaning of this useless object?

Field note
‘From this point, the dense forest slowly rises. It appears to be an overgrown road. After some tens of meters on the road, steel barriers emerge from the ground on both sides between the branches and the trunks. However, the forest remains as dense as everywhere and still does not reveal it’s true identity. But suddenly, the forest ends and black asphalt appears from beneath the soil. Despite some bits of moss and young birch trees, this asphalt is smooth and intact. It is absolutely not expired, rather new. There are yellow stripes on it, not white, which may say something about whether it has ever been used. After all, yellow stripes are temporary, white ones are permanent. The asphalt is easily accessible. By walking, it leads to the other side of the highway. Apart from a broken mirror, there is no trace of human activity. I experience the differences in speed versus slow and between short and long now that I am walking on a viaduct in stead of driving. On the other side, the viaduct disappears into another forest. This black asphalt is a void that floats above the highway, where nothing moves. Underneath, the traffic rages. This contrast makes me experience a deep silence and also a threat. The place suggests that a car can come out from the forest any moment, but of course that does not happen. It is a dead-end road that ends on both sides. Neither people nor animals can go over it.
Only silence can cross here’.

 

Photographic documentation of the viaduct as a site

 

Title sign, 10 x 10 cm, PVC.

 

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