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☰ Edwin Stolk

Mission Dhuicque
in progress 2021

The imagination plan entitled 'Mission Dhuicque' was developed during a working period at Konnektor in the summer of 2020. With this imagination plan I want to pick up where architect-photographer Eugène Dhuicque left off. Namely identifying, signifying and protecting endangered heritage in various ways. 'Mission Dhuicque' in Langerbrugge relates specifically to the decaying heritage of the power station and looks for alternatives in its own way.

By using the Langerbrugge-South park as an environment to ask questions, 'Mission Dhuicque' tries to focus on the (silent) witnesses of this situation. By means of a landscape triptych, 'Mission Dhuicque' takes an innovative position in a political process.

In the evening of 23 October together with Konnektor I am organizing a debate in Den Hannekesnest in Langerbrugge. This debate listens to the title: The future of the Langerbrugge Power Station. More information in Dutch here.

We are currently working on, among other things, 'Position 2 - View of the Langerbrugge Power Station' and we want to realize this during the Ghent light festival - 10 to 14 November 2021.

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With 'Mission Dhuicque' I want to pick up where architect-photographer Eugène Dhuicque left off. Eugène Dhuicque was the architect of the Langerbrugge power station (1913) and the nearby Herryville garden district (1928) in Langerbrugge. The Langerbrugge power station is seen today as an important building in his oeuvre.

During the war of position in West Flanders (1914-1918), Dhuicque was put in charge of a mission from the Belgian government to inventory, photograph and as much as possible safeguard the endangered heritage. This assignment was also called Mission Dhuicque at the time. Throughout the rest of his life, he remained an active advocate for the skillful restoration of heritage and its careful management. While the Langerbrugge power station has been officially designated as a protected heritage site (2013), bystanders have been witnessing the decline of this industrial icon for years. By breathing new life into 'Mission Dhuicque', I want to try to focus on the role of these (silent) witnesses and their relationship with the building.

Roger De Maertelaere, the former curator of the Energeia Museum (1986 – 2000) which was located in this power station, proudly referred in a conversation to Langerbrugge's power station as the 'Iron Cathedral'. In my opinion, this includes an impressive altarpiece: 'Mission Dhuicque'. A landscape triptych in three parts that serves a conversation about the social issues at stake here.

Together with Konnektor and other partners, we are currently working on the realization of 'Position 2 - View of the Langerbrugge Power Station', which must be ready to be experienced during the Ghent light festival - November 10 to November 14, 2021.

'Mission Dhuicque' is entirely based on conversations that I had with a variety of people. I also went through several policy documents that deal with current issues in this environment. The Langerbrugge power station demands our attention today. Will you help to celebrate this heritage and bring its importance and preservation to the attention of a wide audience? Please contact me.

Kind regards, Edwin Stolk

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 Power 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'.]

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 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, Industrie Museum Gent, Gemeente Evergem (your company, organization, name here?)

'Mission Dhuicque' in the press: BK Informatie

'Mission Dhuicque' follows the concept of #theorganisation

Would you also like to collaborate on this issue? That can be done in different ways. Please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Position 1 | Position 2 | Position 3

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