Our World in TWOTHOUSANDANDSIX
VREDESPALEIS DEN HAAG, 2012
The basis of the work I conceived for the Vredespaleis is based on two phenomena that struck me about the building and its function.
The Peace Palace is an institution that works with the idea of peacekeeping through protecting and defining physical borders between countries.
On the other hand the main building, built 100 years ago, is a beautiful portrait of the world in that age and time.
Gifts of artefacts and art works from countries all over the world give a true insight in the world a hundred years ago. And also show the importance and relativity of it all. Different world different countries, but man remains the same.
I especially liked the quality of the materialisation of these works of art and artisan that could tell their stories perfectly a hundred years later.
I wanted to make a work that would emphasise the world now, portray it maybe. And materialise it in such a way that the work would last, just like the artefacts in the main building.
The work I proposed an made consists of two parts:
A piece at the entrance door with the names of all the countries and territories of the world (UN list of 2006) in alphabetical order cast in bronze. The work is placed in front of the revolving door at the entrance of the library building and invites you to either walk on or walk around it. It questions the visitor in a subtle way, what do names of countries mean, what do they represent? Initial reactions were: “but that is blasphemy names of countries are sacred, especially here”. On the other hand, names of countries are names for parts of the earth that we all tread on a daily basis.
In the hall of the academy building is the second part of the work, all the countries and territories of the world cut out of the map of the world and placed back in random order.
In the academy building young students and lawyers from all over the world visit for study and meeting. All of them have a map of the world in their head. Some parts of this map are clearly outlined, other parts are blurry.
The clear and blurry parts in the individual maps depend on origin and education. Upon seeing the work on the wall there is an eye-brain reflex that immediately steers to the countries that you know, they seem to pop out of the wall.
Even in this topography, that does not correspond to the way we know the world. And at the same time it questions the notions of knowledge county size recognition categorizing terra incognita. And in a hundred years it will show the world as it was back then..
For the works I have chooses to work with lasting materials and techniques.
The work at the entrance is made of bronze and the indoor work, partly inside partly outside works with marble bases stucco on Vikupor (a man made material) outside and on water resistant MDF inside. The thickness of the work is covered in gold leaf and the countries are installed seemingly floating in front of the wall with stainless steel bolts.