"In Dijkman’s new project Remote Entanglements, her private, formerly unknown family history has become interwoven with the research project. Dijkman’s grandfather was interned during the Second World War for his role in the Dutch resistance. He was later transported to a sub-camp of Buchenwald, where he was forced to help build V2 rockets. After the war, the technology behind these rockets was used for space travel. Dijkman decided to confront her family history together with her father. This installation is the first step in the realisation of this project.
A few years ago, when this history was still unknown to her, Dijkman made Mirror Worlds, a sculpture relating to the Voyager 1, which was launched in 1977. The probe carries a gold-plated record containing visuals and music, intended to introduce humanity and Earth to alien life. One of the 116 illustrations included on the record in an attempt to provide a representative picture of humanity, mankind’s environment and most memorable feats, shows the radio telescope (Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope / WSRT) that has been posted in Westerbork since 1970, on the terrain of the former deportation camp. It was assumed that extraterrestrials would understand the design, since it was purely functional.
Today, a memorial centre chronicling the site’s history has been built around the telescopes in Westerbork. Camp Westerbork was constructed around 1939 to house Jewish refugees from Germany following the Kristallnacht, but under German occupation, it soon became a deportation camp for Jews, Sinti and Roma. After liberation in 1945, it was turned into an internment camp for Dutch collaborators, and later still, it became a living quarters for Moluccan members of the Dutch East Indies army and their families. In 1970, ASTRON (the Dutch institute for radio astronomy) decided to build its telescopes on the site – it was an ideal spot free of disturbance, uninhabited. Westerbork unites a whole range of worlds and eras: persecution, war, astronomy, and the Dutch colonial past. This project is a personal addendum to the photo launched into space on the Golden Voyager Records.
Today’s visitors to the camp face the watchtower that looks out over humanity’s most gruesome side. Not far from there are the telescopes trained on outer space. Together, their field of observation covers 360 degrees."
- Text by Florette Dijkstra for solo exhibition at Club Solo, Breda, NL (2020)
Remote Entanglements, Part I: Observatories (2020), Marjolijn Dijkman
Photography: Wim Dijkman
Edition of 7 series of 2 photos
Size: 2 times 30x45cm.
Commissioned by: SOLO 27, Marjolijn Dijkman, Club Solo, Breda