While P/////AKT has moved its program to a new location, the old building at Zeeburgerpad 53 is still up and providing space for studios and projects. From 18 November until 16 December Anika Schwarzlose and Elena Khurtova are presenting the second part of their new project Residue, which first premiered at the Amsterdam Museum within the current edition of Refresh Amsterdam – ‘War and Conflict’.
For Residue the artists engaged with the history of the Hembrug weapons factory in Zaandam. Having been the Netherlands’ biggest weapons factory between 1904 and 2003, it played an important role in many international conflicts, including the suppression of the independence struggles in Indonesia during the colonial wars. Currently, the area is in redevelopment in order to revive it for civilian use, but the violence that used to be exported from here has not disappeared; the soils beneath the former factory contain contaminating remnants of the weapons manufacturing. An extensive process of soil remediation tries to cure such contamination. An act that represents attempts of cleansing, but can just as well be read as the covering up of an uncomfortable past.
Anika and Elena see the soil of the Hembrug terrain as a physical archive that tells its own story. In parallel, they investigated the photographic archive of the Hembrug factory and selected images which depict working conditions, advertisements, and technical documentation. In a series of large textiles, the artists bring these two archives in contact through a photochemical process, called soil chromatography. The polluted soils reveal and transform archival images, both archives interact and collide with each other.
During the exhibition, these archives will unfold in the space, allowing the audience to physically enter the history of the Hembrug terrain. The Space will be turned into an underground realm, where soil portraits rise above the surface, while below – soils are being moved, cleaned, sterilized, and covered up.
The visual presentation contrasts with a research presentation which constitutes part of the exhibition. Documents from the Zaans Museum collection, and the factory’s productive history are presented in a timeline, opening up information about its participation in geopolitical conflicts.
The exhibition will be activated by performances: in the process of 60 minutes soils will become tangible, revealing the hidden history of Hemburg terrain. The artists warmly invite you to join one of the activations on the following dates:
18 November, 17.30 hrs
25 November, 15 hrs
2 December 15 hrs
9 December, 13-17 hrs at Amsterdam Museum
16 December, 13 – 21 hrs: finissage with sound performances
Residue Part 1 within Refresh # 2 — ‘War and Conflict’ is on view in the Amsterdam Museum until February 25, 2024.
The project was made possible by the generous support of the Mondriaan Fonds, AFK, Stichting Stokroos, W. E. Jansen Fonds and Zaans Museum.