EN / nl
b. 1972, Zaragoza, Spain; lives and works in Rotterdam, NL
Wasteland (Genk), 2004-16
More than 1 hectare of wasteland in public space.
A project in collaboration with FLACC and the City of Genk
Lara Almarcegui’s gaze is drawn to abandoned and interstitial spaces that escape the intervention of architects and city planners, like empty lots, wastelands and demolished buildings. By underscoring and then protecting the disutility of such spaces, she introduces unlikely diminuendos into urban development schemes. She conceived Een braakliggend terrein in Genk in 2004, under the auspices of FLACC (Workplace for Visual Artists). For her project, Almarcegui identified a neglected plot of land situated between the Jaarbeurslaan and Europalaan highways in Genk. Accompanied by a local nature guide, she carefully scouted, surveyed and described the land. Through negotiations with the City of Genk, Almarcegui then arranged to protect the terrain from development for a period of ten years, preserving the wasteland in its untouched state and allowing nature to take its own course, subject only to the forces and the temporality of wind, rain, sun, vegetation, spontaneous use and litter.
The site’s proximity to downtown Genk is designed to encourage visitors’ curiosity. The area will remain open to the public, even as most of the adjacent plots are built upon, standing as a memory inscribed on the landscape. For Manifesta 9, the City of Genk has agreed to extend the work for an additional two years, and is currently in the planning stages of protecting it in perpetuity. SOdB