Bookmark and Share

Facts on the ground¹, 2009

Bik van der pol
Courtesy: the artists

For Portscapes, Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol initiated a study focusing on how the template was developed that shapes the new land of Maasvlakte 2, which is sprayed as formless sand on carefully selected locations. They wondered in particular whether poetic or aesthetic considerations played a role at the start of this typically Dutch undertaking. The artists developed a kind of guided tour, in the form of interviews with the people who were involved in the project. Talking with, among others, engineers, policy-makers, planners and environmental organisations, Bik Van der Pol go through the different phases of the process. Which decisions were ultimately determinant for Maasvlakte 2's appearance and for its precise location? Which knowledge was utilised and how did the parties work together to achieve a final result?

In the end, the artists made a video work by circling with a helicopter over the area where Maasvlakte 2 will arise and filming its outline. This represents the research process as an aerial drawing, with the helicopter as pencil and the film as paper. This way the viewer can form a drawing in his mind's eye and it also will serve as a poetic translation of the acquired knowledge.

¹ similar to fait accompli, used as an oblique way of saying that discussions over the possession of a given piece of territory are irrelevant.