grenzen / ...all about territories... (2010)

A radiophonic installation

Listen to a sound impression of the installation here:

On January 1, 2010 three municipalities, Winschoten, Scheemda and Reiderland were merged to form a new municipality, Oldambt. In one stroke of a civil servant's pen 40,000 people became citizens of a new municipality, without ever having to move a single meter. Oldambt borders five other municipalities in the province of Groningen and, in the east of the municipality, Germany. Politicians occupied themselves with the new borders of the municipality and the inhabitants were allowed to choose the name of the newly bordered territory.

Does art have a merely decorative function or is it the job of artists to encourage people to think about difficult issues which such changes engender: limits, space, territoriality, migration?

At the extreme northeast border of Oldambt (and hence of the Netherlands) lies Nieuwe Statenzijl, developed between 1862 and 1864 when humans began exploring the limits of possibility entailed by building a dam which created the Reiderwolderpolder. The area has a long history of reclassifications, reclamation of land and shifting boundaries.

In Nieuwe Statenzijl a bird observatory "Kiekkaaste" overlooks the mudflats of the Dollard and the invisible border with Germany some 150 meters away. (The precise demarcation of the border in the Ems is still unresolved.)

"grenzen / ...all about territories..." is a radio play that deals with these issues. It takes the form of an ever-changing sonic space: an algorithmic soundscape in which fragments of sounds from multiple sources (birds, bats, border travelers and transgressors, refugees, border songs, political reports and shock-jock vitriol) vie for attention. This radio play, a form of radiophonic invisible "land art", will be broadcast live from a micro-radio station near the Kiekkaaste and offered to people with a radio and earphones to explore the physical border as well the intangible frontier of the limited range of radio waves.

This project was made possible by a generous financial contribution from Kunstraad Groningen and Gemeente Oldambt.