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Edwin Stolk ☰

The hanging gardens of Babylon
15 August till 26 September 2010

This 'material arrangement' was part of the exhibition 'Schone Schijn' at temporary museum Heemskerk in the Netherlands. This site specific work was developed in close collaboration with Jaap Velserboer and Ronald Tebra, Stichting Beeldende Kunst Manifestatie Heemskerk, The North Dutch water company, Car dealers Klok & Thissen and Poelenburg, Multimade Heemskerk, MIK meubel interieur Koevoets, and all the volunteers who helped to make 'The hanging gardens of Babylon' possible.

'The hanging gardens of Babylon' was realized in the summer of 2010. Curator Jaap Velserboer asked me to investigate the nature in this Euro 2000 protected reservation - a dune area nearby Heemskerk. The title for this work was inspired by a painting of the Dutch portrait and religious painter Maerten van Heemskerck who was born in this region. He had depicted 'The hanging gardens of Babylon' - a garden and one of the world wonders in the city that we know of today as Baghdad. This garden was made by Nebuchadnezzar especially to please his wife Amytis of Media who missed the nature in this big city. In Heemskerk I turned this idea around by inviting 'the city' into this reserve.

By rearranging existing objects from just outside this reserve, like cars from the car boulevard, sea-containers from the industrial area and wooden boxes from the nearby tulip bulb industry and bringing them together in 'The hanging gardens of Babylon' gave rise to a heated debate between corporate, institutional and public actors concerning the parameters of this protected reserve. This valuable discussion outlined and visualized the borders of this artistic intervention and researched what exactly could be considered nature here.

'The hanging gardens of Babylon' made me realize what the potential can be for art when it is reactivating the role of public and contributing to the democratic process of (re)shaping and (re)thinking our everyday surroundings. 'The hanging gardens of Babylon' showed the importance of process based art works that facilitate this interaction and dialogue.

Two video's were made during the realisation of the project; 'Functor' and 'The ode'

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Best regards, Edwin Stolk.

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