Six artists have been selected for the River Upstream project, an initiative of Leonie Castelein and Nieske Ketelaar, from Museum Drachten. They each explore the Southeast corner, the landscape and the history from a museum. On 28 May they will present their results, each in their own form.
Sarah Engelhard explored the area from the Oold Ark museum in Makkinga. The photographer, illustrator and biologist stands in front of the class as a guest teacher for Groen Doen. She takes the Shifting Baseline Syndrome as the starting point of her research. Marine biologist and fisheries expert Daniel Pauly made this phenomenon known in the discussion about catch quotas. Both fishermen and researchers regard the populations as they know them from the beginning of their careers as normal. ‘Such a personal baseline changes, and you can’t use it for science.’
From generation to generation, people pass on stories about the landscape, flora and fauna. But if you don’t have good stories about what it was like, you have a different premise from “normal,” she says. She finds it interesting how people experience changes. Her neighbor ‘is getting nervous about climate change. In the winter when it doesn’t freeze, now when it’s warm for so long and stays dry…” The man feels by his biological clock that something isn’t right.
Sarah would prefer children to be the ‘makers’ of her contribution to Upstream. She sees it as her role to set things in motion with questions: What was the landscape like? How are you now? How can it be? For children, the current situation is a given. ‘They hear on the news that the climate is changing, but they have a different starting point. They do not physically experience that it is not right. But they will soon have to deal with the consequences. That’s why… if no one tells you what it was like, you don’t have an emotional one trigger to work on it.’
Inbal Ann Hershtig is linked to the National Braid Museum in Noordwolde. She walks and cycles in the vicinity of the museum, studies local history and crafts, and buys books from the thrift shop in Noordwolde. Cahiers from the series Like yesterday , and a book about reeds. She works like the Linde, finds artistic director of Upstream , Sjoerd Wagenaar. Self: ‘I let the landscape guide my movements.’ The landscape is her guide.
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She shows a map of winding De Linde from 1923. A wide, straight strip runs through it from left to right. ‘Improvement of the Linde, 1923’ reads below. “Improvement?” she says. This is how it was seen in 1923. ‘Now that it appears that the water has nowhere to go, they are working on restoring the natural watercourse.’ She compares it with pictures from Prune, when and where Also a second hand one. ‘Look at this. It’s like the Spanish Inquisition for trees!’ Her stage name Artisanne is made up of three elements: artisane, partisane and Anna. Like a modern hunter-gatherer, she collects material, photos and information, illustrating the routes of her trips. She has picked leaves and put them in a book exchange cabinet. A small ‘intervention’ by herself. ‘Giving back to nature.’ In this way she makes connections between her environment and the people who live there. ‘Because I don’t just make a performance, but I think participation is just as important. Commitment is key.’
Sanne van Balen is linked to Museum Opsterland in Gorredijk. She wants to make a new map of the area from textiles. She called on people to bring rags in her favorite color, red. The result will be three quilts. The first is an enlargement of a historical map, in which the peat peatland divides the area between Linde and Tjonger into all kinds of compartments. Then follows one based on current road maps, and the third shows a map of the future.
Landscape artist Merijn Vrij operates from Museum Belvédère in Oranjewoud, video artist Pat van Boeckel from Museum Heerenveen and composer Ilya Ziblat Shay is linked to Museum Drachten.
Upstream is covered by Arcadia: https://arcadia.frl/projecten/stroomopwaarts/ † An appropriate exhibition has been set up in each of the museums involved.