Greenhouse is a double channel HD video installation about the changing landscape of Holland. It was produced by Paradox during a residency in Holland with the support of an International Photography Research Network (IPRN) fellowship.
Acquired for the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and for the Fotocollectie Universiteit Leiden, Greenhouse was first exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal in Scheltema, Leiden, in March 2007. Since then it has been exhibited, among others, at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the George Eastman House (Rochester), the Aperture Gallery (New York), and the Centro Huarte de Arte Contemporáneo (Pamplona).
This work is also available in DVD.
Wieringermeer polder was drained in 1930, before the completion of the Afsluitdijk. In 1934 the land became usable and the first settlers arrived. Among them were the Muller family. The process of colonisation of the ‘new land’ was well thought out and structured. The design of the landscape, the design of the towns, houses and farms, functional and pragmatic (the aesthetics of the straight line), went hand-in-hand with the design of the social configuration of the polder. The aim was to create a productive agricultural landscape with villages, and its urban planning represented a modern way of thinking about agriculture as well as community life, with a balanced distribution of religious backgrounds, class and ideologies. People were chosen from all parts of the country according to how well they fitted into this urban master plan, envisaged by the architect M.J. Granpré Molière and the Netherlands Institute for Housing and Planning (NIVS). Today, this social and economic landscape is changing rapidly due to the growth of urbanization, the industrialization of agriculture, the changes in the culture of leisure, the development of transportation infrastructures, and, last but not least, the reality of climate change. All of this raises the question of how much of this original landscape will remain visible in the near future.
Greenhouse is an installation about the changing landscape of Wieringermeer. It looks at one specific but significant location: the building site of a massive greenhouse that the agricultural corporation Agriport is constructing by the A7, near Medemblik, some 70 kms North of Amsterdam. The new structure is around 800 meters long, its surface around 250.000 square meters. It will be ready for full production in the course of 2007. In front of the greenhouse still stand the three original polder farms on whose land the new structure is being built.
The large video screen shows a continuous, unedited, travelling shot from one end to the other of the greenhouse under construction. The camera scans foreground and background at a slow steady pace, as if by walking, capturing two kinds of buildings, two economies, two mentalities, two kinds of ‘work’. On the small screen, the Mullers (one of the three families who sold their land to Agriport) talk about their memories of the place: the landscape when Mr Muller’s family arrived in the polder in the 1930s, a wooden house they lived in when the German soldiers flooded the polder in WW2, the strawberries in the garden, a party on a Sunday afternoon… Their voices accompany us in our ‘walk’ past the greenhouse. They act as an aperture to the past of the place, while we contemplate its future. Past and future compress the present into a very thin layer in the landscape, barely visible. Greenhouse focuses on this landscape in transition; it is a journey along the gap between two times.
Production: IPRN / Paradox
Producer: Bas Vroege
Project Management: Olga Overbeek and Frank Ortmanns
Camera & editing: Jan Pieter Tuinstra
Sound: Thomas Blom