Bookmark and Share

It’s nice if two pairs of legs walk in sync for a moment, 2009

Paulien Oltheten
Photo: Ben Wind

For Portscapes, Oltheten visited Rotterdam's Maasvlakte on a number of occasions. Due to the enormous scale and the lack of a familiar frame of reference, people in this area are in an entirely different proportion to their surroundings. In the works that she made for this project, she primarily aimed to emphasise the relationship between the people within the surrounding landscape. If during one of her visits, some event or scene caught her attention, she would ask the passers-by to repeat certain actions for her once over. She subsequently made a photographic record of these actions. The ambivalence of 'is it going well, or not at all' can be observed particularly well in the films. Watching the films, you get the urge to interfere in what you are seeing, to personally ensure that the supreme moment will indeed take place.

Oltheten has used the photographic images to make five small billboards, one large billboard and two videos. The small billboards are collages of all kinds of situations and activities that are typical for the Maasvlakte, such as motocross, spotting birds and ships, kiting, but also include images of people out on a stroll. These visual narratives show how people and their environment join to form a single whole. Sometimes there is a form of duplication: one becomes two. Just like there was first one Maasvlakte and there will soon be two.

The photographs and video's were shown form 1 October till 31 December 2009 in and around FutureLand, the information centre for Maasvlakte 2. Earlier, on 14 August 2009, a billboard showing her work was put up along the A15.