The Open Office for Words: Innocent Landscapes

Utö, the last year of an island, bunker in rock
Utö, The Last Year of An Island; Bunker in Rock Marcel Borsten (2002)

The theme for June is: Innocent Landscapes

June’s Open Office for Words looks at the notion of innocence together with the concept of landscape. Apart from the Sublime we will look at various ways of reading and understanding landscape.

You are cordially invited to search through your resources and to see whether you perhaps might have something to contribute to the theme of Innocent Landscape. Books, journals, research papers and images related to Innocent Landscape in the arts and science are all welcome, as are art-works, documentaries and interviews in a dvd-format.

Marcel Borsten
Marcel Borsten’s talk Innocent Landscapes looks at the relationship between landscape and photography in territorial conflict areas. By focusing mainly on two different notions of landscape: the territorial and the rational, Borsten touches on the history and philosophy of landscape as he looks at the photographic works of Paul Graham, Peter Goin, Avi Holtzman and Richard Misrach.

Marcel Borsten studied photograpic design (1997-2003) at the Hogeschool van de Kunsten Utrecht and at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland graduating Cum Laude in 2003. He received the Steenbergen Stipendium and was nominated for the Kunst Anjer of the Prins Bernhart Cultuurfonds (2003). He has exhibited in Holland and New York. He is a senior IT consultant and the owner of Impart, a company that created the video/audio recording solution aimed at Higher Education called Recording Box.

Lasse Lau
Pine Nuts, 2008
Video projection, 20:00 minutes
Produced in collaboration with Pejk Malinovski and The Agency of Public Resources*, which is the imaginary common subject matter from which all of Lasse Lau’s recent interdisciplinary art projects originate.

Through the recollections of immigrants’ stories of the Lebanese Diaspora, Lau’s latest video Pine Nuts focuses on the history of a public park in Beirut, which nearly 20 years after the end of the civil strife, still hasn’t officially re-opened to the public.

Horsh Beirut also known as Horch al-Sanawbar, at around 70 acres, is the largest and one of the few existing city parks in Beirut. It used to be a large pine tree forest that protected the city from sandstorms coming in from the surrounding mountains. Pine trees together with the cider trees are the only significant trees in this dry Mediterranean region. The developing history of the planted forest can be dated back to the time of the Crusades, Emir Fakhreddean al-Ma’ani II, and the Ottomans. Horsh Beirut first became a defined park, characterized by its now triangular shape, with the urbanization of the 50’s and 60’s.

The park is located at the edge of the city centre and divides large parts of the city from its surrounding suburbs. There are three religious neighbourhoods bordering the park: Shia, Sunnis, and Christians. During the civil war the park became part of the Green Line that separated the Christians from Muslims. Horsh Beirut was rebuilt and re-landscaped in the mid 90’s including the planting of hundreds of new pine trees, sponsored by the Region of Paris. Nearly 20 years after the end of the civil strife the park has still not officially re-opened to the general public. The reasons for this closing are many and the means are few. Most likely the reconciliation between the three opposing parts hasn’t come to a level of satisfactory resolution. This is how Horsh Beirut became an invented park.

Lasse Lau (born 1974) is a queer and social activist, visual artist and filmmaker based in Brussels, New York and Copenhagen. He studied at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and Funen Academy of Fine Art. He is the co-founder of the Danish artist group “CUDI – Center for Urban Culture, Dialogue and Information”. Lau has exhibited in a wide range of museums and galleries including Hamburger Bahnhof and Wolfsburg Kunstverein in Germany, Aarhus Art Museum and Brandts Klaedefabrik in Denmark, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Croatia, The Turin Biennial of Contemporary Art in Italy, the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, Smack Mellon Gallery and PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York.

* The Agency of Public Resources is an agency that through the means of art and collectiveness accumulates on site knowledge, and through dialogue facilitates re-negotiations of space and democracy.

Practical Information:
Tuesday 2 June 2009 | Theme: Innocent Landscapes
19:30 -21:30 | studio 207 | Houtlaan 21 | Rotterdam
The Office commences at 19:30 sharp and closes again aprox. at 21:30.

E: openofficeforwords[at]gmail[dot]com
T: 06 – 53323708

Please Note: Due to the building regulations it is necessary to inform The Office in advance about attendance. You can do so by email up to the day before and by phone on the day itself.

1 Response to “The Open Office for Words: Innocent Landscapes”

  1. 1 June’s Open Office For Words « Deirdre M. Donoghue Trackback on June 9, 2009 at 8:24 pm
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