"The publication Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook is ten years old. Commissioned by the Arts & Ecology programme of The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA), in partnership with Arts Council England, this book was one of Latitudes’s first projects. Through the inspirational contributions of people as varied as Lucy Lippard, Stephanie Smith, Amy Balkin, or the late Wangari Maathai – to mention just a few – the compendium charted the twin legacies of Land Art and the environmental movement while proposing how the critical acuity of art might remain relevant in the face of the dramatic ecological consequences of human activity. The research and reflection involved set Latitudes on a course that led to several further projects engaging with ecology, explicitly or otherwise." Continue reading...
Cover Stories' are published on a monthly basis on Latitudes' homepageand feature past, present or forthcoming projects, research, exhibitions and field trips related to our activities.
Jorge Satorre's project for Portscapes had its beginnings in the eastern part of the Netherlands with a 3-tonne gneissic granite rock from the Svecofennian age, approximately 1.9 billion years ago. Following the artist’s fascination with the environmental compensation practices being instigated alongside the construction of Maasvlakte 2, his project consisted of returning the rock to where it once came from in Sweden – an act of synthetic restitution and transnational sculptural offsetting.
The boulder has now found a permanent home at the Wanås Foundation, near Knislinge in southern Sweden . The boulder was transported from Erica, in the north east of The Netherlands, to Knislinge at the beginning of January (see report on the Swedish newspaper Kristianstadsbladet).
Not insignificantly, the celebrated Land art work 'Broken Circle' (1971) by Robert Smithson, sited in a working quarry near Emmen, incorporates such a seemingly immovable boulder at its centre. Satorre’s reverse geological gesture is also reflected in the fact that much of the existing and future sea defence in the port area will be made from rock brought from Scandinavia. The artists offers an account of the process through drawings, which incorporates both actual and imagined details. One such detail depicts an imagined protest at the beginning of the boulder’s homeward journey – see post 2 October 2009.
Jorge Satorre's project was produced in the context of 'Portscapes', an accumulative series of newly commissioned projects produced in the context of the 2,000 hectare extension to the Port of Rotterdam, the project Maasvlakte 2.
Portscapes was commissioned by the Port of Rotterdam Authority with advice and support from SKOR (Foundation Art and Public Space, Amsterdam) and was curated by Latitudes. [FOOTNOTE 1] The foundation estate encompasses a medieval castle, an organic farm, and a sculpture park which since 1987 has hosted a number of permanent works by international artists.
Images: Journey and placement of the boulder from the newspaper Kristianstadsbladet; Drawings of 'The Erratic. Measuring Compensation' (2009), courtesy of the artist.
Placed along the A15 highway on the Maasvlakte, Jorge Satorre's billboard is the third installed as part of 'Portscapes' – joining those by Hans Schabus and Paulien Oltheten. During the summer of 2009, Jorge Satorre was searching for, and eventually located, a large boulder – specifically one of the giant rocks carried by glaciers into The Netherlands from Scandinavia during the last Ice Age. Following the artist’s fascination with the environmental compensation projects being instigated alongside the construction of Maasvlakte 2, his project seeks to identify this rock’s precise place of origin and then return it to where it came from – an act of synthetic restitution and transnational sculptural offsetting. Satorre’s reverse geological gesture furthermore mirrors the monumental construction of the Maasvlakte 2 as a sculpting of land-form which, like the action of ice but in a far shorter time, is fundamentally altering the morphology of The Netherlands. The action is also reflected in the fact that much of the existing and future sea defense in the port area will be made from rock brought from Scandinavia. The artist’s accompanying pencil drawings offer an account of the process which incorporate both actual and imagined details, like a storyboard. A single drawing which depicts an imagined protest at the beginning of the boulder’s journey is realised as a billboard near the Futureland visitor’s centre.
A second part of his research will be presented at the Portscapes exhibition at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen from 5 February 2010. Paulien Oltheten's videos and photographs can also be seen until mid-November 2009 in and around Futureland, the Maasvlakte visitors’ centre [MAP HERE]. From there, visitors can set off with a route description to the locations on the Maasvlakte where other work can be seen. Locations and some images of Oltheten's mini-billboards:
The public domain and human behaviour is the starting point for the work of Paulien Oltheten (1982), though she has described her approach as closer to that of an anthropologist rather than artist. With her still and video cameras, she generally searches with apparent casualness for moments when there is contact between people, objects and public space. On the Maasvlakte, Oltheten was faced with the fact that the familiar frame of reference of natural elements, such as trees, bushes and people, was almost completely lacking. Oltheten decided to make use of this alienation by arranging meetings with people. This resulted in a series of photographs and two short video pieces. These stagings mostly take place in locations on the Maasvlakte that will disappear or be displaced during the coming years. The photographs and videos are sometimes variations on the theme of ‘one becomes two’, referring to the Maasvlakte, of which there will later be two. Futureland is on Europaweg 909, 3199 LC Maasvlakte, Rotterdam (Havennummer 8213). It is across the road from the E.ON power plant. Open Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm and on Sunday 11am-5pm. Entry is free. Map here.