Blueprints for a landscape

Installation, 2019 Thanks to Tycho Hoogland and the Nederlands Hersen Instituut (NIN)

‘Blueprint for a landscape’ connects two individual works which were made during the research for the artist publication ’The transience from villages into lakes’. In this project, I’m researching my family history, starting from the notion of my grandfathers geographical birthplace, which vanished from the map in 1976. After the war, many villages were excavated in order to dig up lignite, a brown coal used to produce electricity. When I was young, my grandfather would take us hiking along the borders of a German lake, located in the region of Nordrhein Westphalen; pointing towards the water, he would tell us that he was ‘born inside the lake; which geographically proved to be true.

Starting with this notion, the work examines the very matter the vanished village was made from and thus forms its Genius Loci - the geographical location, being the lake, and the earth, lignite and debris which was relocated to a nearby coal mountain. The video projection shows a string of microscopic enlarged pieces of lignite, the sole material responsible for the excavation process. By placing these pieces into a continuous loop and dramatically enlarging them through projection, the lignite becomes visible as an own entity, seemingly revealing new landscapes within itself. The slow fading of one piece of lignite into the next emphasizes the changing of matter which happened in this landscape - the transience from villages into lakes and mountains.

The second work in this series contains of a series of selfmade blueprints, showing the artificialness of the current landscape in bird-eye view. When seen from above, the inherent threat of the still-operating lignite site next to the lake becomes visible; the straight and deep lines of the site run right next to the naturally-shaped villages, which will too be excavated within a few years time.