Panorama Under Water
Facilitator: Roos van Haaften (UK)
Battery Diemerdam, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built during the 19th century as a defence line to protect Amsterdam from attack from the Southernsea.
It is part of an ingenious network that enabled soldiers to flood the surrounding polders with water. Too shallow for ships and too deep for man and horse, the water would have kept out the enemy. However, the system was never used due to the modernisation of war techniques.
Sixty people, mainly adults, came together to experience this historical place through drawing and imaginative exploration.
The group was asked to pretend that the surroundings of Amsterdam had been inundated with water.
Participants sat on the old walls of the Battery and on grassy mounds, and looked across to building activities around Amsterdam. There they were asked to think about what the land would look like under water. How would a flood change the landscape? Would houses be under water? Would water plants be taking over floating roofs?”
Each participant drew part of the view of Diemerdam, with horizontal lines dominating the drawings in order to create a single panoramic landscape afterwards. People were encouraged to draw through observation, but also to use their imagination.
Charcoal was used to create drawings, which were then steeped in a bath of blue ink to create a literal water level in the drawings. The drawings were then hung so that they lined up with the real landscape, combining the past with the present.
This workshop provided an insight into how a group of people who have never met before easily connect with each other the moment they are asked to collectively produce a single result.
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