Facts on the ground Bik Van der Pol

One-channel video 17’40”, sound. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn.

This video depicts fragments from the process of land reclamation and establishment of the Maasvlakte-2 terminal (MV2) in the port of Rotterdam back in 2009. It was created with a film camera and from a helicopter in times when drones weren’t as common as nowadays. The creation of new land emerges through a process of continuous spraying of sand through trailing suction hopper dredgers that suck up huge quantities of material from the seabed.

Founding the MV2 followed years of preparations and was aimed at expanding the port of Rotterdam into a leading position in Europe. This allowed the city and its port to economically grow and created a wide range of labor opportunities supported by a large infrastructure of services and transportation.

Making this video resembles a drawing activity, in which the helicopter functions as a pencil and the camera as a paper that turns into a map of temporary traces. This work was thus routed toward researching the poetics of 'making' (poiesis), and exploring the similarities between the becoming of an artwork and the production of new land. What role do poetic aesthetics play in the development of such a project? And how do these poetics influence the design and engineering of territorial and urban expansion?

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