Video about Solar Bell, a project by Tomás Saraceno for Portscapes 2.
Since September 2008 the Port of Rotterdam Authority has been working on expanding Rotterdam port, by far the largest port in Europe. A large area of land to the west of the existing port is being reclaimed from the sea, increasing the size of the port by 20 per cent. The construction of this second Maasvlakte is the reason why the Port of Rotterdam Authority is collaborating with SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain on this massive art project. TAAK took over SKOR's activities in the summer of 2012.
The Portscapes project was initiated to use art to investigate the manifold meanings relating to this ambitious land reclamation project. For as long as the Maasvlakte 2 area is unused there literally is enough time and space to allow our imaginations free reign. We therefore invited several artists to develop their ideas in relation to the physical characteristics of this newly reclaimed area. Portscapes is an artistic voyage of discovery into the architectonic, political, social and ecological past, present and future of the Rotterdam port.
American artist Fritz Haeg is captivated by the behaviour of animals in urban and industrial environments. This summer, he will put on an exhibition and make an alternative tourist route on Maasvlakte 2 centring on animals in the port, from ugly insects and toads to graceful birds and seals. In Animal Estates, Haeg highlights indigenous animals in areas dominated by people. The project consists of a 19-kilometre-long cycle route, which is lined with information boards and accompanied by a map and a video. Each information board provides information about a different animal and the often complex relationship between the animal and the industrial environment of the port. The animals highlighted include Giant Earwigs, Natterjack Toads in the ponds created for them, the small terns that nest in the grass and the grey seals on the protected beach. Not only these, also pigeons, rabbits and falcons living in the area will be part of the presentation.
The artist duo Helen Evans (UK, 1972) and Heiko Hansen (Germany, 1970), realised a colourful artwork on the southern beach of Maasvlakte 2. In May 2012 circa 75 tonnes of red sand were distributed on this beach. This red stain slowly disappeared under the influence of wind, rain and the sea.
The artists were surprised that, while entirely man-made, Maasvlakte 2 looks like it has always been there. The unnatural red layer of sand emphasized the amalgamation between nature and culture. The artists recorded the process of nature overruling culture.
In 2010 four artists were asked to submit a proposal for a permanent work for the Badstrand, the recreational beach that is being constructed as part of Maasvlakte 2. The commission consisted of designing a functional artwork that invites public interaction, enhances the vastness of the area and the high-tech character of the surroundings, and above all makes a visit to the beach much more pleasurable. Aspects that came under consideration included access to the beach, parking facilities, seating and a lookout point.
Jan Konings designed a beach access consisting of three staircases leading to Maasvlakte 2’s recreational beach. Because the staircases vary in height they also serve as places where visitors can picnic, beat the sand from their shoes, or just while away the time. After its completion in Spring 2012, the staircase will be a functional and beautifully designed addition to the dunes on the new beach.