Miriam Sentler      




Sculpture Concrete Reef, Still Waters Run Deep Exhibition at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, june 2022. Photo credits: Bas Czerwinski







Concrete Reef


This work was made with Deep Time Agency and in the context of the ENCI quarry in Maastricht. It is generously funded by Nieuw Dakota, Mondrian Fund and Stichting Niemeijer Fund. Thanks to Maastricht Institute of Art, Dr. Krien Clevis, Dr. John Jagt, the Natural History Museum of Maastricht and Rotterdam and Teylers Museum Haarlem.

Graphic design publication by Alix Chauvet. Workshop with fossil production at the ENCI with Rutger de Vos, Marie in 't Veld, Florence Corten, Alessio Faustini & Ruud Caenen.






     

(2021-ongoing) Concrete and steel sculpture 220 x 110 cm, monochrome risographypublication, 95x135 mm, 95 pages, edition of 50


In 2020, the exploitation of limestone ceased in the ENCI quarry. In addition to its industrial purpose for the cement industry, the ENCI quarry was a special place for paleontological research. Fossils in this area are especially well preserved due to the soft limestone. The prehistoric sea that once stretched over this landscape was teeming with plants and animals such as fish, sea urchins, bryozoans, coral and shells. In the last century, three world-famous mosasaur skeletons were found in the Sint Pietersberg and the marl quarry. These rare finds made the ENCI into a popular site for fossil collectors.

After the closure of the factory, the area is now supervised by the Society for Preservation of Nature Monuments (Vereniging Natuurmonumenten), which aims to break down the industrial buildings and redevelop the area into a nature preservation area. The transformation from post-industrial area to new nature reserve, with half of the quarry being flooded in order to create a new lake, sounds like a desirable development after so many years of industry. However, more than half of the post-industrial lakes in Europe are not viable due to unwanted chemical residues in the water, originating from the industrial past. The problem reflects the indirect impact on marine ecosystems worldwide, threatened with extinction by the significant CO2 emissions of companies such as the ENCI. The cement industry itself is responsible for 8 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions; a significant percentage in daunting times of climate crisis. This complex issue raised the question of whether we could use the industrial and fossilized past of the site to benefit the (local) ecology, meanwhile highlighting the conflicts between different parties in the redevelopment phase.

In the spring of 2021, Deep Time Agency traveled to various archaeology museums in the Netherlands in order to retrace fossils that originate from the ENCI quarry. These were documented using drawings, which were then used to replicate the fossils, using cement from the ENCI factory. By doing so, we used the last bags of the ENCI cement from the quarry in Maastricht in a ceremonial way. During a workshop in the quarry, we involved students from the Maastricht Institute of Arts, whom we invited during a minor to help us in the production of the fossil replicas. The replicas were ultimately brought together in a sculpture. The construction is made from metal and concrete replicas and its form is inspired by a star constellation, referring to the name that the coral fossils from this area acquired during medieval times: star-stones. This name was derived from the surfaces of the fossils, which, according to some, resembled stars. At the bottom of the ENCI lake, the sculpture will function as an artificial reef, creating a new habitat and benefiting new lifeforms in the post-modern environment. Concrete structures provide hiding places for fish and snails, which will die eventually and sink to the bottom of the lake, after which they may become new fossils and resources again. 







Sculpture Concrete Reef, Still Waters Run Deep Exhibition at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, june 2022. Photo credits: Bas Czerwinski





Sculpture Concrete Reef, Still Waters Run Deep Exhibition at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, june 2022. Photo credits: Bas Czerwinski





Sculpture Concrete Reef, Still Waters Run Deep Exhibition at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, june 2022. Photo credits: Bas Czerwinski





Visitor during Still Waters Run Deep at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, june 2022. Photo credits: Bas Czerwinski





Sculpture Concrete Reef, Still Waters Run Deep Exhibition at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, june 2022. Photo credits: Bas Czerwinski





Sculpture Concrete Reef, Still Waters Run Deep Exhibition at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, june 2022. Photo credits: Bas Czerwinski





Sculpture Concrete Reef, Still Waters Run Deep Exhibition at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, june 2022. Photo credits: Bas Czerwinski






Sculpture Concrete Reef, Still Waters Run Deep Exhibition at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, june 2022. Photo credits: Bas Czerwinski






© Miriam Sentler 2022