Posted on September 30, 2020 by Ties Ten Bosch
A site specific work made during If Paradise Is Half As Nice #10 in Rotterdam. (photo’s Aad Hoogendoorn)
The annual IPIHAN project took place this year on an extensive abandoned deserted concrete slab (betonplaat) in Rotterdam.
Compared to the indoor derelict industrial buildings of former editions, this open-air site offered the IPIHAN participants a new challenge. On top of that it enabled the project to be compliant with Covid-19 regulations.
One of the few constructions that were present on the concrete slab was a an old concrete water tank that consisted of 3 big parts and and 3 small parts. I decided to explore the possibilities and properties of one of the three big parts, starting by letting the water out and entering the space by a self made ladder. It gave me an enormous sense of solitude and concentration.
After letting the water out, all that was left was a bad smelling, watery sand substance with water plants and a lot of salamanders and empty concrete walls. During 4 weeks I explored the different elements. I tried to make tiles out of the sandy mud, plastered parts of the concrete walls with the mud and rescued a lot of salamanders out of the drying mud. It turned out to be an ongoing fight with the muddy sand which resulted in very weak tiles and a plaster that cracks and crumbles very easily.
After 4 weeks I presented my endeavors by making the tank accessible for the visitors of IPIHAN #10. I build a stairs out of wood on the inside and a gangway to a small platform in the middle of the tank. Also I put back a little water in the tank, helped by the rain in the last week of the project. This regenerated the life in the tank. All the salamanders came back to life and the plants started to become green again. The stairs and the platform gave the viewer a unique experience. The solitude and silence, the viewers were only allowed to go in one at the time, made you aware of every little detail in the tank: the cracked mud on the wall and the very subtle placed tiles made out of mud in the corners, the salamanders and plants in the water and the clouds moving by in the sky. The sounds of the immediate surroundings where muted and only distant sounds of the city and the wind where audible. Of the outside world, only the sky was visible.