Freek Van Arkel / Paloma Polo / FGA / Ben Wind / Latitudes / Hans Schabus / Bik van der Pol / Ilana Halperin / Jorge Satorre
Curators

Portscapes

Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, throughout 2009

With the participation of: Lara Almarcegui, Bik van der Pol, Jan Dibbets, Marjolijn Dijkman, Fucking Good Art, Ilana Halperin, Christina Hemauer & Roman Keller, Paulien Oltheten, Jorge Satorre, and Hans Schabus. Website: Maria Barnas (poetry) and Markus Miessen (interviews).

‘Portscapes’ was a series of new commissions initiated by the Port of Rotterdam Authority with advice and support from SKOR (Foundation for Art and Public Domain, Amsterdam) and curated by Latitudes. Ten new projects were produced and presented incrementally throughout the course of 2009, in parallel to the construction of Rotterdam's Maasvlakte 2 – a land reclamation project realised between 2008 and 2013, that extended Europe's largest seaport and industrial area by 2,000 hectares.
With the involvement of Dutch and international artists, ‘Portscapes’ considered the physical and conceptual implications of the emergence of ‘new’ land in The Netherlands, as well as the city-port as a distributive network – a hub of exchange across different registers at once artistic, marine and mercantile.

Portscapes’ evolved around the leitmotif itineraries and destinations by producing events varied in size and scale such as temporary interventions, film screenings, performances, guided visits and site-specific audio tours. ‘Portscapes’ unfolded as a cultural guidebook to Rotterdam's port area, exploring the material narratives and the ecological pasts, presents and futures of the construction site as well as the ripe contexts of trade and energy.

A multi-part publication box designed by Ben Laloua / Didier Pascal was published in February 2010, including a miscellany of contributions by the artists, as well as texts on each of the projects (available online), the prologue publication presented in February 2009 during Art Rotterdam, and a DVD with 'behind the scenes' footage with interviews with the participating artists. An additional limited edition box was produced including a copy of Jan Dibbets' film '6 Hours Tide Object with Correction of Perspective' (2009), Portscapes inaugural project.

An exhibition of the projects was presented in February 2010 at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Commissions in chronological order:
↪ Jan Dibbets
6 Hours Tide Object with Correction of Perspective (2009)
Production: 8 February 2008; Presentation: Screenings on 14 June, 22 June, 29 June and 5 July; and during 'No Soul for Sale' New York.
Press Release here

The inaugural ‘Portscapes’ project took place on Sunday 8 February with the filming of '6 Hours Tide Object with Correction of Perspective' by the Dutch Conceptual artist Jan Dibbets (1941). Originally filmed in February 1969 in black and white 16 mm and titled '12 Hours Tide Object with Correction of Perspective', the film was included in Gerry Schum's seminal 'Land Art' series of films broadcasted on April 1969 on German TV. The film presents the drawing of an isosceles trapezoid in the sand using a bulldozer – the shape consequently appears as a rectangle in the resultant film due to the angle of perspective. The new 2009 realisation was filmed 40 years later to the month on the beach of the Maasvlakte, an area that was soon to be forever transformed with the construction of Maasvlakte 2. The new resulting 8 minute-long film was premiered in the Futureland visitor center in June and during Latitudes' participation in the New York festival NO SOUL FOR SALE – A Festival of Independents (24–28 June 2009).

With thanks to Fijko van Leeuwen, cameraman; Jan Vader, bulldozer driver; Jan Willem Stoof, hydraulic lift operator and Olaf Schuur, 'Making of' cameraman and montage.
↪ Hans Schabus
Europahaven, Rotterdam, 17 juni 2009 (2009)
Production: June 2009; Presentation: 1 July–30 September in Futureland.
Press Release here | Text Metropolis M (Dutch)

Hans Schabus’ project was the next chapter in his ongoing series of ‘arrival photographs’ featuring the sailing boat Forlorn. The artist produced a new photograph, titled ‘Europahaven, Rotterdam, 17 juni 2009’ which could be seen on a 5 by 9 m roadside billboard on the way to Maasvlakte, and was also distributed as a large-format postcard, available from the Port visitors’ centre Futureland. In the new image the sailor navigates towards the huge container terminals of the Port of Rotterdam and a vast cargo ship. Sailing at a point which would become the new entrance to Maasvlakte 2, the simplest of water vehicles and a single man appeared in stark contrast to an overwhelmingly modern manifestation of seafaring trade. Despite the speed, scale and efficiency of the port, the image seemed to indicate that on a human scale the vastness of maritime space nevertheless remains a vulnerable and mythologically rich territory.

With thanks to Claus Föttinger, The Wien Museum, Kerstin Engholm from Engholm Englelhorn Galerie and Freek van Arkel.
↪ Paulien Oltheten
Great if two pairs of legs are synchronized for a moment (2009)
Production: throughout Spring 2009; Presentation: October–November 2009
Press Release here

Over the spring and summer months of 2009 Paulien Oltheten made repeated visits on foot and bicycle to Maasvlakte by ferry from the Hook of Holland. Through chance encounter, intuitive and a sensitivity for the implicit, she witnessed and interacted with fishermen, ship enthusiasts, dog walkers and site workers. On 14 August 2009 a billboard with an image produced during her visits was placed along the A15 on the Maasvlakte. Oltheten made use of the lack of reference of natural elements, such as trees, bushes and people by staging actions. These stagings mostly took place in locations on the Port area that would soon disappear or be displaced and often involved variations of the theme ‘one becomes two’, referring to the Maasvlakte 2 project – of which there would later be two. This resulted in a series of photographs and two video pieces, which were presented and screened during October in locations nearby the visitor centre Futureland.

The film "MOOI, ALS TWEE PAAR BENEN EVEN GELIJK LOPEN" is now in the collection the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
↪ Fucking Good Art (Rob Hamelijnck & Nienke Terpsma)
Portscapes_ON AIR Station Maasvlakte (2009)
Residency: 21 August–21 September 2009.
Press Release here | Interview RTV Rijnmond here (Dutch) and here |

Rob Hamelijnck and Nienke Terpsma, the artists and editors of Rotterdam-based magazine Fucking Good Art were ‘embedded’ on Maasvlakte for a month during August–September 2009 from where they produced ‘Portscapes_ON AIR Station Maasvlakte’. Comprising a series of audio walks, field recordings and conversations with guests from different disciplines ‘Portscapes_ON AIR Station Maasvlakte’ was broadcast on the Portscapes website. Inspired by their camp’s proximity to the pipeline which carried sand from the Yangtzehaven to the future Maasvlakte 2, the editors of FGA approached their endeavour both as inhabitants of an industrial and man-made territory and in relation to the redistribution and displacement of knowledge. Alongside other grand movements of transportation and trade taking place in the port, FGA’s broadcasts took shape through encounters with others and considered the role that art and artists have in other registers of exchange. Starting from the principal that in order to understand a place one needs to inhabit it, and the question of how to represent a place like Maasvlakte 2 which does not yet fully exist, the editors of FGA also aimed to stimulate discussion about the representation of Dutch landscape.

Portscapes ON_AIR was a collaborative effort of: Frank Bruggeman, designer, artist and editor of Club Donny; Hans Aarsman, columnist 'De Volkskrant' and writer; Remko Andeweg, botanical analyst Lino Hellings, Errorist and editor of P.A.P.A., and Rob van Maanen; Gijsbert Korevaar, industrial Ecologist; Aurélie Barbier, urban planner; Martin Blum, artist and farmer; Marjolijn Kok, theoretical archeologist; Line Kramer, artist – drawing; John Lonsdale, architect; Maarten Jansen, Hydraulic engineer and morphologist; Achilleka Komguem, artist, and Lionel Manga, writer.

FGA would also like to thank: Menno Steenman and Sjoerd Figdor, Port of Rotterdam; Roeterink, assistance and building the working/sleeping unit; Erik de Plaa and Jaap Korshuize from Delta, green power from Wind turbine; Bas van de Brand and PUMA, container; Eelco Muns, PUMA; Sander Boom, captain of The Spirit; Mooike de Moor, Radio Rijmond; Erik Post, Radio Rijmond; Maarten de Reus, artist, aerial photography; Helmi Weststrate; Roderick Hietbrink, artist - recording equipment.
↪ Ilana Halperin
A Brief History of Mobile Landmass (2009)
Presentation: 18 September 2009. Audioguide available in English/Dutch, between 2009–13. Duration: 45 min.
Press Release here

As her contribution to ‘Portscapes’, New York-born Glasgow-based artist Ilana Halperin created an audio field guide available as MP3 and online. Until 2013 the guide was available to be experienced whilst walking and engaging with the immediate landscape around the visitor centre. ‘A Brief History of Mobile Landmass’ was inspired by a perception of Maasvlakte 2 in terms of formidable geophysical phenomena and a geological sense of time. This 'book on tape' gathered a compelling narrative of fragments which drew on fact, fiction and personal fieldwork – as well as site surveys by volcanologists, geologists and the experts involved in the construction of Maasvlakte 2. It offered echoes, speculations and interpretations surrounding both the artificial and natural processes whereby new land is being created. Recalling Jules Verne’s ‘Voyages Extraordinaires’, Halperin coupled a wealth of scientific information with wonder and vivid description.

With thanks to Will Borst, engineer; Sound design, Navy & Grey; Sytze van Heteren, geologist; Dr. Karen Holmberg, volcanic archeologist; Andrea Otte, marine archeologist; Dr. Hugh Tuffen, volcanologist; Tiedo Vellinga, coastal morphologist; Ronald Nadorp/Bob Kommer Studios; Bas Bökenkamp, Dutch voice for Ilana Halperin audioguide.
↪ Jorge Satorre
The Erratic. Measuring Compensation (2009–10)
Production & presentation: First part in October 2009, second part in January–February 2010
Press Release here

During Jorge Satorre's 3-month residence in Rotterdam, he was searching for, and located, a large boulder – one of the many giant rocks carried by glaciers into the Netherlands from Scandinavia during the last Ice Age. Following the artist’s fascination with the compensation projects being instigated in order to ‘offset’ the construction of Maasvlakte 2, his project sought to identify the rock’s place of origin and return it to where it came from (southern Sweden) – an act of symbolic restitution and fundamental sculpture process. The transposition mirrored the monumental construction of the Maasvlakte as a sculpting of land-form which, like the action of glaciers but in a far shorter time, fundamentally alters the morphology of the Netherlands. The action was also mirrored in the fact that much of the existing and future sea defense in the port area was made from rock brought from Scandinavia. Satorre's accompanying drawings offered an account of the process which incorporated both actual and imagined details, like a storyboard. A drawing depicting an imagined protest at the beginning of the boulder’s journey was presented as a billboard located on the A15 highway, joining those by Hans Schabus, Paulien Oltheten and Marjolijn Dijkman.

With thanks to Erik Cammeraat, University of Amsterdam; Remco van Diepen, Nieuw Land Studiecentrum; Jannes van Echten, Stone garden, Hunebedcentrum; Hans van Essen; Hans Hooghart; Harry Huisman; Paloma Polo, artist and photographer; Eelko Postma, KNAG-Royal Dutch Geographical Society; Elna Svenle, Curator, Wanås Foundation; Tiedo Vellinga; Jaap Venvliet; Marika Wachtmeister, Director, Wanås Foundation; Wim Westerhoff, Geological Survey of the Netherlands and Jorge Aviña.
↪ Lara Almarcegui
Wastelands of the port of Rotterdam (2009)
Presentation: 8 November 2009
Press Release here

Lara Almarcegui developed a newspaper project concerning the ‘wasteland’ areas which can be encountered throughout Rotterdam port, including the existing Maasvlakte. In contrast to the vast planning involved in MV2, she was interested in the spaces which were defined by an apparent lack of human design and development, which in turn relate historical legacies and changing land-use practices. The public could experience the port as an interconnected territory through self-determined tours as well as a botany excursion to a selected sites. For the project presentation on 8 November 2009, Almarcegui gave a tour together with Rotterdam-based biologist Remko Andeweg.

With thanks to Edgard Vervaecke, British Petroleum; Remko Andeweg, Bureau Stadsnatuur Rotterdam; Sjaak Poppe, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam N.V.; Floor Koomen, graphic designer; Martine van kampen, freelance writer and curator.
↪ Christina Hemauer & Roman Keller
The Postpetrolistic Internationale (2009)
Presentation: Performances 7 and 8 November 2009
Press Release here

'Globalising the Internationale', Christina Hemauer and Roman Keller’s project for ‘Portscapes’, started with the transportation of a wooden stage along the Rhine from Basel, near the artists’ home, up to Rotterdam. Upon arrival a choir performed ‘The Postpetrolistic Internationale’, a song that emerged from the medium of the collective human voice, and the tradition of the aspirational social anthem alongside the artists’ long standing interest in energy use. At two different locations (the old port in the city centre and overlooking the construction of Maasvlakte 2) local choirs performed this song of hope-in-action on the stage, against a backdrop of local industry, to mark man’s changing relationship with fossil fuels and energy use.

This project has been made possible thanks to the support from Pro Helvetia. Thanks are also extended to Brian Burman, musician and translator; Fermate, choir; Haags Ad Hoc, choir; Monique van Dalen and Stephan Warmenhoven, Bureau voor Audiovisuele communicatie, Het Kader; Kammerchor Basel, choir; Jason Klimatsas, assembler; Ernst Ledermann and Christoph Nicolay, Ultra-Brag AG; Mathias Vetter, composer; Fred LeComte/LeComte; Monica Lundström/Havenmuseum.
↪ Marjolijn Dijkman
Surviving New Land (2009–10) and Here be dragons (2009)
Presentation: ‘Here be dragons’ (2009) billboard placed on November 2009; film ‘Surviving New Land’ premiered 5 February 2010, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
Blog here and here

Marjolijn Dijkman’s project for ‘Portscapes’ was inspired by the blank spots on old navigational charts which declared “Here Be Dragons”. Alongside the motifs of the ‘unknown island’ and sea monsters in literature and popular culture, she developed her 20min video work ‘Surviving New Land’ (watch here) by drawing on the mythological and monstrous potential which surrounds the new piece of Dutch land which has come into being with the emergence of Maasvlakte 2 from the sea. An image of Dijkman's research was presented as a billboard joining those by Hans Schabus, Paulien Oltheten and Jorge Satorre and acting as a prologue to her film which was premiered at the Portscapes exhibition at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

With thanks to Maarten Vanden Eynde, artist; Bas Helbers, photographer; Nikolai Geworg Khatchatouryan, cameraman / compositor; Allard Zoetman, editor / compositor; David Gabriël Djindjikhachvili, artist / filmmaker; Henk Hendriksen, 'Broadcastorganisers'; Harmen van Eersel, 'Visual Music'; Hans Egede, artist (1686 - 1758); Maarten Roeper, 'Puma'; Etienne Koman, 'Puma'; Jurjen Semeijn.
↪ Bik van der Pol
Facts on the Ground (2009–10)
Presentation: Film premiered at the Portscapes exhibition, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

Bik van der Pol’s project was concerned with the definition of the design of Maasvlakte 2. What directed the choice for its location? What role did poetics and aesthetics play in this enormous process and typically Dutch undertaking? Their project resulted in the new film ‘Facts on the Ground’ in which they “roughly and continuously circle over and around the Maasvlakte 2 site from the air, approaching the location like prey, recreating the drawn maps that represent the planning of MV2. Using the helicopter as a pencil and the film material as the paper traces will be left.”

With thanks to Sjoerd Figdor, Cees Pons, Jan Konter, Gijsbert Kant, Tiedo Vellinga, all Rotterdam Port Authority and Arie Heystek, PUMA, consortium contractors Maasvlakte 2.
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