In the autumn of 2008, new land started rising from the salty waters of the North Sea, to the west of the port of Rotterdam. On the one hand, this forms a logical step in the expansion of the port: a major infrastructure project. On the other hand, it is a typically Dutch phenomenon: the reclaiming of land from the water. In this perspective, the construction of Maasvlakte 2 is in line with the country's long struggle with the water, from the impolderings like those of Leeghwater and the IJsselmeerpolders to the Delta Works. As a project, Maasvlakte 2 involves dredgers, and an enormous amount of sand, rocks, steal and concrete. But it is also a project that revolves around people, nature and the environment. And a project with a historical, cultural dimension. A project like this demands to be closely tracked by visual artists and photographers. They observe, analyse and interpret the developments along this new edge of the Netherlands and allow society to share in their perspective.
Dorothée Meyer, the first artist to set to work for the Visual Project, focused on the existing landscape. In 2007, she made a photographic record of the preparations for the work on Maasvlakte 2: the first changes on location. In early 2008, her work was exhibited in the Nederlands Fotomuseum.
Marcel van Eeden
On 5 January 1942, the steamer Cornelia Maersk, en route to Copenhagen from Rotterdam, was bombarded. It was hit by two bombs. A salvage operation failed and the ship sunk. There were no casualties. The Cornelia Maersk sailed under the Danish flag. Basing himself on this fact, Marcel van Eeden published from the start of September 2009 till 19 January 2010 drawings on the internet daily under the title The eventful history of the Cornelia Maersk during WW II.
Together these drawings form an exciting and titallating strip cartoon. The work can be viewed at the Nederlands Fotomuseum from 22 May till 4 July 2010.
After Dorothée Meyer and Marcel van Eeden, several other artists will also be keeping track of the arrival of Maasvlakte 2. For example, Rosa Barba has since started with the preparations for her work 'Letter to Shanghai'. She is making a film about the changing lanscape of Maaslvakte 2. In the film, these facts are interwoven with fiction, ideas and statements made by people in and around Rotterdam and by the artist herself about the expansion of the port and the relationship with this town of Rotterdam.
The Maasvlakte 2 Visual Project was set up by the Port of Rotterdam Authority (Project Organization Maasvlakte 2), the Nederlands Fotomuseum and Foundation Art and Public Space (SKOR). The project will run from 2007 to 2013, the year in which the first ship will dock at the new port area.