☰ Edwin Stolk
in progress 2021
This proposal entitled 'Mission Dhuicque' was developed during my Konnektor residency in the summer of 2020. Here I was given the assignment to investigate freely the Langerbrugge-South coupling area and the Langerbrugge Power Plant and to make a proposal for the light festival in Ghent 2021. I would like to thank the Konnektor team for this opportunity.
On this page you will find a description of the proposal 'Mission Dhuicque'. It serves the social issues surrounding the Langerbrugge Power Plant, which is protected as a heritage site. Where spectacle often dominates at light festivals, I have chosen here to highlight the complexity of this heritage in a corona proof setup.
'Mission Dhuicque' consists, among other elements, of a triptych in three parts (positions) that are interconnected in terms of content and form a (temporary) artwork that deals with the complexity of this landscape. 'Mission Dhuicque' deals with the perception of the Langerbrugge Power Plant and is based on conversations I have had with a variety of people and policy documents that I have read. Unfortunately, 'Mission Dhuicque' as a proposal for the light festival in Ghent 2021 could not count on the support from Konnektor.
Residents of Langerbrugge and former employees of the power plant have been witnessing the decline of this heritage for years now. Their perception appears to have little or no influence on decision-making at this point. The observation of these witnesses is central to this work of art.
On Saturday, January 30, 2021 at sunset (5:00 PM) and Sunday, January 31, at sunrise (8:00 AM), I will look at the Langerbrugge Power Plant. I want to investigate the significance of this observation. This is a try out of Position 2 - View of the Langerbrugge Power Plant. I can then be found in the 'historic room' of the Langerbrugge-South coupling area. Nice if you come too! We will look together at 1.5 meters distance. Send me an email and I will keep you informed. Here you have a magnificent view of the Langerbrugge power station!
By working together on location I try to integrate art into real social issues. Every subject requires a research period and based on my findings I make proposals such as 'Mission Dhuicque'.
'Mission Dhuicque' forms the starting point for researching this heritage site with all those involved - citizens, companies and governments. A broad dialogue is essential in order to arrive at new insights. I try to free up knowledge and resources in order to shed a different light on situations that have often been 'stuck' for years.
'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 plant is seen as an important building in his oeuvre. It is tragic to see the poor condition of this heritage today.
This 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 implementing a green 'curtain' here. Can and especially is art allowed to offer 'a view' of what appears to be hidden in the 'green' and (temporarily) make visable the 'sum of the parts' as 'food' for a meaningful discussion? In addition to the three visual parts, I therefore also want to organize a substantive side program.
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 Plant made the city lighting possible so that we were able to see in the dark. That is why today I want to exhibit this heritage 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]
Best regards, Edwin Stolk
During my research 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: (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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