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☰ Edwin Stolk

Mission Dhuicque
in progress 2021

'Mission Dhuicque' is developed during a work period at Konnektor in the summer of 2020. Here I've received the assignment to investigate freely the Langerbrugge-South coupling area and the Langerbrugge Power Station. I was asked to make a proposal for the light festival in Ghent 2021. Together with Konnektor we now work on the realization of 'Position 2 - View of the Langerbrugge Power Station' to be experienced during the Ghent light festival - November 10 to November 14, 2021.

On this page you find a description of the layered proposal 'Mission Dhuicque'. This idea serves a conversation about the social issues surrounding the Langerbrugge Power Sation which is a protected heritage site. Where spectacle often dominates at light festivals I have chosen to highlight the complexity of this heritage site in the natural light of the sun.

'Mission Dhuicque' consists, among other elements, of a triptych in three parts (positions) that are interconnected in terms of content and form. This (temporary) artwork wants to deal with the complex aspects of this environment and the value of our perception of the Langerbrugge Power Station. The whole concept is based on conversations I've had with a variety of people in this specific area and policy documents concerning the issues at play here.

'Mission Dhuicque' as an artwork does not take an easy position. After a short break I am therefore more than pleased to share with you that we are back on track. Together with Konnektor we work on the realization of 'Position 2 - View of the Langerbrugge Power Station'. It is our aim to find the right resources to be able to experience 'Position 2' during the Ghent light festival, November 10 to November 14, 2021.

Residents of Langerbrugge and former employees of the power station have been witnessing the decline of this heritage site for years now. Their perception appears to have little or no influence on decision-making at this point. The observation of these (silent) witnesses is central to this work of art.

!Wanted: View of the Power Station!

We are looking for photos of your View of the Langerbrugge Power Station. This can be a photo taken from your house or garden showing the power station or part of it, or photos taken while walking in the coupling area or during a crossing on the Langerbrugge ferry etc. etc.

The heritage of the Langerbrugge power station demands our attention. By sharing these photos you agree that these images may be used on social media to celebrate this heritage together and to draw attention to the importance and preservation of the Langerbrugge Power Station.

email: info[at]edwinstolk.nl

'Mission Dhuicque' forms the starting point for a collective research of this heritage site. I believe it is our responsability as involved - citizens, companies and governmental organizations. A broad dialogue is essential in order to arrive at new insights. I try to free up available knowledge and resources in order to shed a different light on situations that have often been 'stuck' for years.

It is important to mention that 'Mission Dhuicque' wants to continue where architect-photographer Eugène Dhuicque had to stop. During the war of positions in West Flanders (1914-1918), he was put in charge by the Belgian government of a mission to inventory and photograph the endangered heritage and to bring it to safety as much as possible. For the rest of his life he remained an active advocate for the skilful restoration of heritage and its careful management. He was the architect of the Langerbrugge Power Station and the nearby garden district of Herryville. The power station is seen as an important building in his oeuvre. It is a tragedy to see the poor condition of his design today.

My artistic research inspired me to think about the question of whether the coupling area Langerbrugge-Zuid could also be given an innovative design by means of art, instead of only implementing a green 'curtain' here. Can and most important is art allowed to offer 'a view' of what appears to stay hidden in the 'green' and (temporarily) visualize the 'sum of the parts' as 'food' for a meaningful discussion? In addition to the three interconnected visual parts of this artwork I would also like to organize a substantive side program with lectures and presentations.

In a conversation with the former curator of the Energeia Museum (1986 - 2000) he proudly called the Langerbrugge Power Station the 'Iron Cathedral'. As far as I am concerned, this includes an impressive altarpiece: 'Mission Dhuicque'. A landscape triptych in three parts.

Position 1 - View of Kronos Europe NV

[Seveso company Kronos Europe NV emerged from the possibilities of the Power Plant. Seveso companies are companies where hazardous substances are produced, processed, treated or stored. This high-risk company may play a delaying role in the re-use of this heritage.]

Position 2 - View of the Langerbrugge Electricity Station by sunrise and sunset

[MG Real Estate is the current owner of the building. Unfortunately, the director did not respond to my repeated requests to exchange opinions.]

Position 3 - View of the former fly ash dumb from the Langerbrugge power station

[Trees mask a nearby old fly ash dump behind Ten Boekel Castle. I was told this area may be repurposed as 'green area'.]

[The titles 'view of' are inspired by the painting by Karel De Bondt (1888–1974) entitled:Vue de la Lys à Laethem-Saint-Martin au coucher de soleil / View of the Leie in Sint-Martens-Latem at sunset, 1921]

The Langerbrugge Power Station made the city lighting possible so to be able to break with the darkness of the night. That is why today I want to exhibit this former Power Station (corona proof) at sunrise and sunset in the natural light of the sun. Eugène Dhuicque was an admirer of the art critic John Ruskin and his view of the ruin as a bearer of meaning.

'Let every dawn of morning be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close.' [John Ruskin, from The Two Paths]

The Langerbrugge Power Station requires our attention. Will you help to celebrate this heritage and raise awareness about its importance and preservation?

Best regards, Edwin Stolk

During my research in 2020 I have been in contact with representatives of the municipality of Evergem, Het agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed, de Vlaamse Vereniging voor Industriële Archeologie, de provincie Oost Vlaanderen, Comeet and the Projectgroep Gentse Kanaalzone. I was reading a thesis about the architect Eugène Dhuicque written by Roos Pauwels at the University of Ghent and studied many (governmental) reports about this area and the companies active in this area. I spoke with the founder and conservator of the former Museum Energeia, with former workers of the power plant and people who are born and raised with the view of this power station. It was special to meet with supporters and opponents of this heritage.

I want to thank everyone for their confidence.

Slide 1 A quote from Philosophy of the Landscape by Ton Lemaire
Slide 2 A picture from the archive by Eugène Dhuicque
Slide 3 The Langerbrugge Power Station in the summer of 2020
Slide 4 An overview of the three positions of 'Mission Dhuicque
Slide 5 View of the Langerbrugge Electric Power Plant, central panel of the triptych

Gouvernement made this proposal 'Mission Dhuicque' possible during Konnektor and it will be further elaborated with the following partners: Konnektor (your company, organization, name here?) 'Mission Dhuicque' follows the concept of #theorganisation

Would you also like to collaborate on this issue? Please do not hesitate to contact me. I am available to share my insights of the research and I collected material that could be exhibited.

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Position 1 | Position 2 | Position 3

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