Whitnesses

2016-2017
Fort Beneden-Lent / Hof van HolLand Art Project.

Oak wood and steel construction
4 x 1,5 x 2,5 m

Fort Beneden Lent was built in 1862 along the Waal to defend Nijmegen. The site originally consisted of a bombproof bunker for soldiers and ammunition storage and a fort guard house. Both objects are situated on a site enclosed by a fort wall and a moat. In 1944 the fort was one of the locations where fighting took place during the liberation. That was the main theme that had been told about this site so far.

For my project I also wanted to explore post-war stories, which brought me into contact with local archives and former squatters. Around 1974 the fort was squatted by them, as students, who would live there for 40 years. They lived there as a small and largely self-sufficient community. It is thanks to them that the buildings of this national monument were still somewhat maintained. My interview with these squatters largely informed my proposal.

Despite their efforts, the squatters were removed from the site. In the meantime, the Hof van Holland plan was developed in the area around the fort: a new housing estate in Lent on the grounds surrounding the fort. In this plan, the fort should have a passage to the shopping center to be built behind it. Due to the crisis, the plans were put on hold for a long time, creating ‘waiting grounds’.

   

 

My project consists of two interventions:

1. Making the site as empty as possible, by removing sheds, cars and other non-original, waisted objects, but saving the trees, as they carried unknown stories.

2. An installation of stacks of boxes that conceptually form a bridge between the old ammunition boxes and the arrival of new residents in and around the fort. 

 


Executed and installed in collaboration with Koos Schaart Adventures. Commissioned by the Municipality of Nijmegen.

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