Automatische concepten

BORDER WORLD

Invitation to experience the world between salt and sweet/fresh


An installation by Jeroen van Westen and Anne Ausloos in The Bewaerschole, Burgh-Haamstede (NL), as a contributon to the ongoing program: Balancing between Sweet and Salt
Opening March 22, 2015
Icc Koos de Muinck, composer, and Pablo Guridi, bass clarinet
introduction by Rob Maaskant, storyteller

There is no clear demarcation between Salt and Sweet, there is a world in between, a border world of primary creative frenzy. that border world can be experienced in the ‘single celled’ exhibition space of The Bewaerschole. Daylight entering, shifting, projects a border world of salt and sweet.
Jeroen and Anne Ausloos peal off, what they ‘think’ they know, and attempt to observe processes as purely as possible. To make these visible more clearly, they destill simple test set ups from questions raised while exploring the landscape; they creat a condition, and follow (observe) the natural process. Eventually this process will come to an end, naturally or culturally. That defines the moment at which they will look back, pick up the material collected in a different way, transform it, and present it in a -new- cohesion. A report/log of this research is available in print in the Bewaerschole.

Balancing between salt and fresh 2014-

How do people and nature retain or adapt to the changing balance between fresh and salt water. Center for the arts De Bewaerschole invited 12 artists to react on this theme over the next 5 years (2014-2018). De Bewaerschole promotes collaboration with economic, social, and cultural organizations on the island Schouwen Duiveland and beyond.

Together with Anne Ausloos I participate as a duo with a sensorial research into the beauty of salt and how the (brackish) line between salt and fresh in clay and sand can be observed. Everyone is kindly invited to follow our research on facebook: Jeroen van Westen – Kunst en landschap (sorry Dutch only, but images are without language barrier).

Forestry 2014-

Over the last five years I slowly developed a bonding with a small forest, it has a view at each side, I love the horizon. This patch of forest is like a house without walls, the trees form windows.
Somebody once built a tiny house in this forest, more like a shack in fact. If the forest is itself aware of the house I don’t know, I do observe the shack turning into forest soil. From time to time I put things in the house. Things? Rather thoughts materialized to a certain extent, thoughts that well up while being in the forest. When I add something in the house, I take away something else. It is in this exchange that I record in drawings, photography, film, … that I live in the forest. That way I build a memory, a bonding with the forest and the world at the horizon.

You are invited to follow this project on Facebook: Jeroen van Westen – Kunst en landschap

INVERSE photo works 2011-2014

Over the last six years I made several trips to Gujarat, India. My friends Parth and Brinda Shah, architects in Rajkot, introduced me and my travel companions and family to the stepwells which are typical for the northern semi-arid part of Gujarat. Stepwells are often deep pits with staircases leading to the ground water. Water is sacred in a semi-desert. So these places are not only functional but also sacred, temples on could say. Parth joined me on many trips after that first one, everywhere we met hospitality, people were helpful in guiding us to stepwells and pointing out to more at other places.

“To visit a stepwell is to enter into the earth. One leaves the world’s sense of time and space behind and rediscovers the sky in the infinitely still water at the bottom. It is a transformative experience, difficult for me to explain, but one that has utterly changed my understanding of spatial reality, and thus of myself in the world.”

This research project resulted in a little over twenty panoramic photo collages, several drawings and video’s and a set of two books.

The stepwells in Gujarat are relatively unknown outside India and inside! The few researchers and photographers that published work on them are drawn to the rhythmic effects and tricks of light around the pillars, as well as similar effects on the stairways and relief sculpture throughout the architecture. Such images are easy to fall in love with, and are to be enjoyed. But what I find myself gravitating toward more than anything else is the bare-bones structural reality of a stepwell rooted in the earth. This is the level of perception at which the kinesthetic and sensual experience of a stepwell really begins to resonate for me.

Exhibition prints mounted on dibond, ‘floating’ 15 mm from the wall, width 500mm height varies – Indian edition of five per photo (full gloss) + European edition similar five of each five (satin)

Thanks to Loek van Vliet, digital color management, Martin Zwaan prints and mounting

INVERSE drawings 2011-2014

I notice while perusing my notes that, although I can read and understand the significance of an architectural cross section of a stepwell easily enough, it is incredibly difficult to actually communicate the experience of being underground in words and images. Normally a building has windows, doors, and floors that help orient the viewer to a sense of inside and outside. Here, however, there is no outside, only a layering of insides. How then can the sensation of being ín the earth be represented? Gravity is an important part of the experience, and I explore that in my video’s. In my drawings I discover light is the key structuring factor after all, even more convincingly when the architecture itself is left out: just shadow (= just light).

Artist paper prints 250mm wide made from scans of the drawings originals sizes about 100 mm wide, mounted on dibond – edition of five.

INVERSE books 2011-2014

Inverse is a set of two books. One book brings people inside the stepwells at different positions. The tall photo’s printed over spreads guide the readers eyes just like one moves through a stepwell.

The second book is a travelogue. It is based on notes I published on a blog. In an intense dialog with friend and artist Michael Pestel we rewrote the text including much more reflection on the experiences. In the epilogue, Michael writes:
“While my own exploration of Inverse has helped to recalibrate and intensify connections between architecture, nature and language, more than anything, I have been inspired by the binary of the sublime experience and pragmatic motivation that runs deeply through Jeroen’s text – the discovery of the stepwell as an entrance into self knowledge and art, and the call for more enlightened water management throughout the world.”

Jeroen van Westen, co writer Michael Pestel, book design Eloi Koster, printed and bound by Silverpoint Mumbai on paper by Kyoorius Mumbai – introduction by Parth Shah, epilogue by Michael Pestel

Books as a set, 120x263x20mm – 200 numbered and signed + 500 in India, of which 300 are gifted to schools of architecture + 50 epreuve d’artiste
Book launch India: IHAG Pune December 13 – 2013
Book launch NL: Johan Deumens Gallery, Gabriel Metsustraat 8 1st floor Amsterdam, april 2014

INVERSE video 2011-14

We watch the video images on three walls. On the central wall a projection of video’s showing stepwells as architectural constructions. On the right are images of a slow camera drop into a well. On the left are sequences of recordings from inside the water pots. We quickly discover analogous associations between the images. For example, how the shape of the pot is similar to the image produced when the camera slowly rotates on its descent into the well. Or, how the color of the well’s stone makes a strong connection to the pot’s terracotta, or how the wall’s textual surface mirrors the ceramist’s imprints in the pot’s soft clay. The reflection of water at the bottom of the well finds a perfect analogy in the submerged camera’s hazy, liquid image looking up from the pot’s bottom. The camera captures the dark interior belly space while peering into the backlit sky.

Links to video’s: Passage ; Reflection; Intimate Distance; Inverse; Inner Steps; Inward Out

Thanks to Curdin Tones, travel companion and critical reviewer; Allert van Westen, sound and Raymond Oostenenk, editing support

SKY DEEP 2013

Sky Deep, Jeroen van Westen & Anne Ausloos

Nothing is what it seems to be looking at this concrete slit in the earth. The tapered walls play tricks on your eyes, and the angle matches our perception of perspective. Entering from one end you are stopped by a steep drop. Looking down into the drop results into looking out into the other entrance. Upon entering this second entrance under the stone roof one is immediately almost blinded by light coming from the end of the narrow tunnel into the earth. The walls are warm red, the roof is a natural stone, the light is striking. The binding element in this work is a mirror, placed at an angle in such a position that it is almost impossible to see oneself in the mirror. The mirror is a window between the depth of the earth and the sky above for anyone standing in the earth. At the equinox, sunrise and sunset are almost exactly in line with Sky Deep.

Many thanks to Bill McBride and Thea van der Geest

Point of Departure 2013

Inhabitants of the ghost town Matfield Green, Chase County, KA, who have been involved with the Pioneer Bluffs Gallery and the Centre for Living Education, have posed the question how art can contribute to the renaissance of their small community. With the arrival of national park Flint Hills in nearby Strong City, Matfield Green has become a departure point for visitors to the Flint Hills. A few of the village’s forty houses have been renovated and are let to visitors. The prairie is barren, open, and vast. While the prairie is familiar to us from cowboy-romanticism, the reality is harder and more poetic at the same time. Man retreats, partially, the beautiful ecosystem heals in this last piece of real prairie.

The proposal ‘Point of Departure’ rests on three basic principles which can support a platform for new work. In Exploration the prairie of the Flint Hills is traversed, looking for the change that has been brought by the dynamic between nature and culture. In Uncovering man-made structures that have been abandoned are cut out of photographs of the places, in order to make room for a next step. In Conceptualisation that step forward is made by going back in time and redrawing a blueprint of the abandoned structures; going back to the moment before it was built. Smoother and cleaner is impossible: a non-materialised concept, with new names. Art reclaims the reality of the structures. In Creation/Re-creation it becomes clear that the artefacts are no longer derelict, but have become the basis for a new artwork. The challenge is to reshape these artefacts so that they become instruments that enhance the contact between you and nature and culture, changing these places into situations where a new understanding of the local landscape can be attained.

Proposal Point of Departure, 2013 by Jeroen van Westen (NL), Anne Ausloos (BE), in collaboration with Bill McBride (USA) and Ton Haak (USA).

Download Point of Departure

Vissend verleden 2011- (Fishing Past)

Commisioned by DLG and Waterschap Regge en Dinkel

The river Regge is becoming a semi-natural lowlands river again. This creates the need for inflows to be connected in an ecologically ideal way. The dam in Entgraven has to remain, but will be moved back to give the river more room in its valley. Beside the dam a spacious fish ladder will be built to accommodate migration through the water.

The long fish ladder will get a special shape, so that it seems to lie in in the landscape of the dam as a barrage. This image refers to the way fishermen historically had to build temporary dams in the Regge in order to achieve water levels high enough for their boats. The fishermen would ‘sail without water’.

It is proposed to keep the old dam as an architectural folly in the Regge valley. Further research into available land and hydrological consequences for agriculture must determine whether this is possible. Retaining the old dam will increase the ‘readability’ of the changing ways we live with water and nature.

This is a further development from the series of REGGE-ONTMOETINGEN within the project ‘Verbeelding van de Regge’ for the redesign Rijssen-Enter by DLG Regio Oost.

Download the design Vissend Verleden (pdf)

Design 2011/2012, under construction (summer/fall 2013)

Elegie voor twee polders 2011- (Elegy for two polders)

‘Buijtenland van Rhoon’ is a project transforming four polders from a purely agricultural function to agriculture recreation and nature. This is part of the zoning and planning decision (PKB) for the tweede Maasvlakte area. It is realized under direction of the Provincie Zuid-Holland. The assignment is to work within the transformation of two polders to nature reserve, and create a tribute to the past of those two polders.

In the accepted proposal a two-part plan is formulated. The first step is a work of land-art with the title Grondtonen (Keynotes in music, but in Dutch also the sound of the earth). The second step is a process titled Tussentonen (In between notes: notes to be discovered). In Grondtonen the dynamic of living with water in the delta takes the center stage: to retreat quietly or to defend vigorously? In Tussentonen the time it takes to transition between dry agriculture and wet nature is used to research and re-evaluate our relation to the landscape in a phenomenological way. The goal of Tussentonen is to come to a special way of access, designing conditions for special encounters with the landscape. By giving shape to the way we sit, walk, cross, see, smell the landscape, elements of what was before will be incorporated in the new landscape.

In cooperation with Karina Hendriks, Theo Reitsema and Remko Andeweg, and twenty-something participants in excursions.

For more information pleas visit the website Tussentonen (Dutch only)
Download the proposal (Dutch only)
Download the final report (Dutch only)

Final design finished winter 2012. Realization expected 2017 and onwards.

Zwerferf ’t Sprakel 2009-

Commisioned by Enschede municipality.
In collaboration with Piet Ziel, landscape architect at Royal HasKoning.

The city of Enschede plans a new lay out, but will jump this time across some fields that are since immemorial times. The fields will slowly change into a parklike area, of a local agricultural atmosphere. In these plans it fits to give a thought on how to include the archeological remains of a early 18th century farm excavated in the area that will get new houses.
The design focuses on a role for the remains as a central meeting place for the new a ‘€“agriculture related- activities in the park, a place where old and new neighbors can meet.

Inverse 2009 –

Inverse started in December 2009 when visiting Gujarat (India) for the first time. In this partly (semi-)arid Indian state water has a different meaning, and by that a different tradition compared to Dutch culture.

Water. In the Netherlands there is plenty of it, lots of rainy days, most of it will ‘find its way’ to the rivers of the delta we live in. If I write: find its way, I mean, it will be pumped into the rivers, since most of our land is below sea/river level. The Dutch are very good at pumping and dikes, but discovered that it is not always clever to bring water as fast as possible to the sea. The last couple of years research and tests are done finding new ways, partially to prevent periods of too much water at the same time in the lower part of our land (the pumps cannot keep up with it), and partially to replenish our groundwater table.

It is exciting to live in these times of a cultural shift, almost a revolution: from pumping and dikes to retention and giving room to water, from fighting water to becoming friends with water; maybe we should say from functional to relational. Thoughts like these came up earlier while studying the acequia culture in New Mexico, in the project Desert Passage. Traveling in Gujarat brought a far more meta-physical experience of relations between man, water, earth, and life (heaven?). Read more about the experiences of the project and trips to India on the Framed Water Blog.

Coming soon:
INVERSE a travelogue
Notes, photo’s, sketches, films: an artistbook in three parts based on the experiences of researching stepwells in Gujarat on and off over the last five years.

“Water is never only functional in a desert, in a desert water is always revered”.
Parth Shah, architect, Ourpeopletree, Rajkot, Gujarat India

Laage Diepenveen 2008-

Commisioned by Henk Hengeveld
In collaboration with Waterschap Groot Salland and Noel van Doorn, landscape architect.

In the close vicinity of Deventer there is the village of Diepenveen. A small watercourse, the Zandwetering, is vital for watermanagement of the area. Adaptation to new ecological en climatological insights create the opportunity to re-design the stream including recreational possibilities. Two retention areas are planned, one in Deventer, one in Diepenveen. The design of this area is based on the maintenance cycle of the Waterboard and focuses on giving people the opportunity to meet with the Zandwetering. In the tiny labyrinth and via the well at its heart they can experience how levels of surface water and groundwater seem to fluctuate independant of each other.

Vechtpark 2010

De Vecht, a small Dutch river in the Province Overijssel will be transformed again, this time back into a more natural river. The municipality Hardenberg takes the chance to offer the residents and nature more possibilities to live with the river. The valley becomes a special park. The ‘Vechtpark’ gets its form through the half natural river, half natural and half cultural. Artists are invited to co-design the river or create artworks that are formed by the river.

The municipality Hardenberg has appointed Jeroen van Westen as a superintendant to investigate and designate changes for visual arts and, in cooperation with a projectteam, search for artists who can contribute to this special transformation process.

Verbeelding van de Regge ONTMOETINGEN (ENGAGEMENTS) 2009-

Commisioned by DLG-oost for Herinrichting Rijssen en Enter.
Imaginative/imagination of the Regge ‘€“ Meeting/Encounters.

The Waterboard Regge and Dinkel collaborates with the DLG in the land-reclamation projects Enter and Rijssen on climate adaptation of the Regge. In fact this is a restoration project of this river that was canalized between 1900 and 1970. Recognizing this is a cultural change art is part of the project, the Elsenerbeek was a pilot project for Verbeelding van de Regge.
In Meeting/Encounters there are many proposals for adjusting the river in a way that nature and culture are open to each other. Partly by course and profile, partly by bridges, paths, and sopecial designs for historical, cultural or natural focal points.