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Ede my site specific sculptures revisited (Lucien den Arend)
Site specific sculpture verses civil engineering.
This photograph shows the street level in relation the the height of the red wall. The concrete elements prevent the street and sidewalks from caving in - to the four meter lower basin area. In order for them to do this and be lowered into the floor of the basin, they had to be five meters high. The initial plans of the city were based on a masonry wall, a hundred and ten centimeters higher than the sidewalk. This is the minimal mandatory height. So I proposed to lower the sidewalk by sixty centimeters. In that way we added these sixty centimeters to the view from the homes. This should please them, I figured - while it added more interest to an otherwise commonplace site.
But, to the contrary: the people protested frantically when the concrete elements were delivered on the
the upper quay and steps up to street level - urban oasis - 1989/1993 - environment with swamp cypresses and retaining walls, center De Rietkampen, Ede
site. Even though the city officials assured them that ninety percent of the elements would disappear underground from their point of view, they found the local newspaper more than ready to publish an article about the Ede/Berlin wall.
On my turn, I was requested to come to Ede and in the school across from the site, where on one summer evening I gave a lecture, illustrated with slides, in which I explained environmental art, site specific sculpture and the effects of this type of interpretation of the environment. I showed them slides of the Everglades with the Swamp Cypress trees growing in the water and told them about my intent to improve, rather than ruin their living environment. After I was finished they applauded! For a moment I felt like a hero.
But that never lasts long, for one lady (the one who wanted the facilities for the disabled) insisted that the walls, with their required heights, were dangerous for children. If the walls would have been made by a bricklayer, she would probably have gone about her daily activities. Because the wall was for safety; but now that is was a work of art, there were dangers. Children would climb on the wall and could fall off. So she wanted metal strips to be bolted to the top of the walls, in order to prevent the kids from climbing onto them. The fact that such a strip would be a perfect handle for pulling oneself up did not convince her. So after months of correspondence and two journeys to Ede, I was told that the alderman had decided to have ugly metal strips bolted to the tops of the walls. In this way it was more fun for the children, but only on the red wall across from the woman's house (she has now moved) - the other walls, some of which were higher, and above the water, were happily not ruined.
Because I am convinced that the strip is political nonsense, I await the day that they will be removed again. In the meantime I removed the strip from some of the photographs. Fur the curious viewer, I have included one picture of the actual strip under this link.
De Gelderlander the local tabloid