We had intended a joint awareness / experience of nature and landscape through an (unexpected) short walk at sunrise, as a starting point for the session, but the bad weather threw a spanner in the works. The inspiring location – former Hoogcruts monastery, in the Limburg hills between Noorbeek and Slenaken – made up for a lot. So the meeting for administrators and decision makers at companies, governments and institutions started in a ‘homeless’ chapel with an appropriate nomination by Govert Derix. Then the more than 60 attendees moved via the breakfast buffet to the former refectory for the rest of the program, led by Martin Lammers.
The people were together to be informed and to respond to the plan. Just as with the numerous preliminary conversations that the project group had already had with people from the arts, governments, companies and institutions, the plans were received enthusiastically. Questions were asked, comments were made, suggestions were made.
Invited speakers gave a brief explanation of the potential of the project, each from their specific perspective. Economy, Innovation, Landscape, Tourism, Science and Art.
Below are quotes from the answers to the question: “What opportunities do you see from your perspective?”
“We focus on millennials from neighboring countries as a new target group. They are not looking for mass tourism, but authenticity, and we have that in Limburg. They are looking for something special, something unique. Art is something that connects people with a place, just look at you own travel experiences … Where you have experienced special art: with that place you have built a bond, you think back to it You do not think of a mass restaurant or a hotel bed or a beach, but you do think back to an artistic encounter or to special people you have met. The Heuvelland biennial offers us the chance to enrich people with this, intrinsically. ”
Anya Niewierra is the director of Visit Zuid-Limburg / VVV
“In 2014, in addition to the KNAW (Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences), the Academy of Arts was established, which is a nice development that art has a voice in addition to science. That is true once again: because the KNAW was founded in 1808 as a ‘Royal Institute of Sciences, Literature and Fine Arts “. It was normal that they consulted together. I am glad that this is happening more and more, and this initiative fits in nicely with that. Also in our ‘Sustainable UM 2030 “program, I think that artists can play a role. Very practical, for example in literally shaping necessary sustainable developments. From science there are the other way around that artists can do something with. Finally, I see the atmosphere of student projects starting points for very interesting projects with this initiative. ”
Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt is professor at UM and is also project leader ‘Sustainable UM 2030’
“A fascinating initiative. The question from Maastricht University was always’ How can you connect artists and scientists?” Scientists are in laboratories, work in certain areas, have a very clear objective, but you have the creativity of the artist, who “does not belong to it.” You should actually put an artist in the laboratory so that from art into science can get a serendipity of ideas in all areas. There is still a lot to do there, so I think it’s a great initiative. ”
Luc Soete is a former UM rector, an economist and, among other things, the author of the report on the future perspective for ‘Middengebied’ Zuid-Limburg (2019)
“Our team at DSM has the task of stimulating innovation. We need top talents. This initiative can help to bring this region as a place of residence to the attention. We are also working on a circular economy, with biodegradable materials. Artists can bring us to other ideas, for example, a discussion about the temporality of the Biennale’s art projects led us to the idea that it can sometimes be useful if, for example, bio-materials we work with break down extra quickly, while we were used to just the pursue the opposite, so we could benefit greatly from this initiative, particularly with a view to innovation. ”
Arjan Rensma leads the innovation team at DSM / Chemelot
“In a place like this, Hoogcruts – which we own – you go looking for a different destination. Often it becomes something like a hotel or another holiday resort. But here we feel that we can do something better with culture There is nothing else, no heating, no WiFi, but there is a lot of room, also for art. The Heuvelland Biennale must of course also take place at this location: that is fantastic. ”
Wilfred Alblas is director of the Limburg Landscape Foundation
“We have a unique landscape here with a wide variety of species. In addition, we must look not only at nature areas but also at the landscape around them, that must become useful to nature: with agricultural management we can also do a lot of climate adaptation. And that very big transition that applies to 60% of our landscape is: how do we get a responsible earnings model to go ‘farming’ differently, how can we start thinking ‘landscape-inclusive’? Such a Biennale with ephemeral art can give a twist to our residents and visitors “what a unique and protected landscape we have here and what we have to invest in it …”, so that Biennale is a gift for God National Landscape!”
Toine Gresel is chairman of National Landscape South Limburg
Artist Ton Slits explained his concept for a project in the hills near Berg and Terblijt.
Ton Slits (* 1955 Valkenburg – NL) is a visual artist, lives and works in Cadier & Keer (ZL) and he also teaches at the ABK Maastricht / Hogeschool Zuyd. He works two-dimensional (paintings, mixed media) but also realizes three-dimensional installations. Works in public spaces can be found throughout the country (including in the Bijlmer Amsterdam).
Visual artist Lydia Schouten explained her concept, partly on the basis of examples from earlier work.
Lydia Schouten (* 1948 Leiden – NL) is a visual artist and lives and works in Amsterdam. She works in a variety of media and gained international fame with her performances in the 70s and 80s. She works conceptually, often with video as a medium, but also creates 2-dimensional work, often as a result of her projects. She has also realized several projects in the public space.
“Blessed are those who will soon enjoy enigmatic works of art among thorn bushes, on beautiful plateaus and other wonderful places.”
“The landscape is already implicit art in many respects. By explicitly involving art, we can make that realization and that value more sustainable.”
Exerpt from ‘De Bergrede van Hoogcruts‘
Govert Derix (* 1962 Horst – NL) is a writer, philosopher and columnist, he lives and works alternately in the Netherlands (Maastricht) and Brazil.
Images (color): Coen van der Gugten | Images (b&w): Jo Wijts
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