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Surviving New Land

I did not know in what land I had been cast, in what country, among what nation, nor whether I would endure a single night here, let alone a week, or a month ...

Thuis poster is made as part of Surviving New Land, it contains a series of still from the film and fragments of the accompanying soundtrack.

Surviving New Land is a film, shot from a vessel that slowly circumnavigated the Maasvlakte 2 island, thus adopting the point of view of an explorer about to set foot on undiscovered territory. The image – reminiscent of the watercolour impressions Dutch explorers made of the coastlines they encountered – shows the sea washing up on virgin land. But the accompanying soundtrack suggests that the very idea of undiscovered land, or a blank zone on a map waiting to be filled in, is a particular cultural fiction. The soundtrack is composed of clips from various feature films, which all tell tales of Westerners arriving in new land. Underscored by gripping orchestral music, the clips dramatize the excitement of imminent discovery, as well as the despair of marooned expeditions. ‘New land’ is imagined either as a place of opportunity or of fiasco.

That fantasies of new territory and ever-expanding opportunities for financial exploitation may strand, is ironically confirmed by the fact that the contractors for the Maasvlakte are also responsible for the extravagant ‘countries of the world’ islands project near Dubai, which the recent credit crisis has left largely empty and unsustainable.

Commissioned by: Portscapes (Port of Rotterdam Authority & SKOR, Amsterdam)
Curated by: Latitudes, Barcelona
Published for the exhibition: Portscapes, Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, NL

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