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'See No Sea' @Moldova

| 2013-10-24 08:57:39

artist talk and screenings at Theatru Spalatorie in Chisinau, Moldova

Satellietgroep (NL), Teatru Spalatorie (MD) and MediArtDialog (MD) cordially invite you to the Artists Talk and Preview 'FROM MOLDOVA TO THE BLACK SEA' by Dutch writer/filmmaker Maarten de Kroon (NL), starting at 16:00 with tea and introduction by Jacqueline Heerema and Elaine Bots, curators of Satellietgroep.

For the last month Maarten de Kroon has been searching for the Black Sea in Moldova as artist in residence of the ‘Now Wakes The Sea’ project. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, according to some, Moldova lost its direct access to the Black Sea. Others say Moldova lost the Black Sea a long time ago, in the 15th century. There are many stories as there are many memories about holidays and honeymoons spent in Zatoka, Sergejevska, Koblevo and other places on the Black Sea coast. 'From Moldova to the Black Sea', made in close cooperation with Nora Dorogan, is a collection of Moldovan stories, memories, history and opinions about the Black Sea - and Moldova.


Satellietgroep (NL) and Artploshadka (MD) cordially invite you to the film screening of 'Torrentius' and 'F.I.S.H.I.N.G' in Tipografia.
Starting at 19:00 filmmaker Maarten de Kroon and curator Eliane Bots will give a short introduction. After the films there is a Q&A with Maarten de Kroon.

With special thanks to Nora Dorogan and Denis Bartenev (crew), Tatiana Fiodorova and Nicoleta Esinencu, Teatru Spalatorie, Tipografia, Artplodaska, MediArtDialog and all the people that were so kind and generous to participate in the film.
Cultural partner for this project is MediArt Dialogue (MD). Funded by ECF and KSAK (technical support).

'From Moldova to the Black Sea' is a work in progress of the filmproject by writer/filmmaker Maarten de Kroon (Dutch Light, F.I.S.H.I.N.G and TORRENTIUS), artist in residence for Satellietgroep 'Now Wakes the Sea' in october/november 2013 in Moldova.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moldova lost its sea. 'See no Sea in Moldova' is a personal film that starts with questions concerning Moldova and the relation to the Black Sea, or, as you may also put it, the possible absence of the sea.

Satellietgroep (The Hague, 2006) explores through arts and culture how the sea and waterways influence cities, people, communities and environment. Our aim is to enhance public and professional awareness on coastal transitions by enabling artists/scientists to do fieldwork and work on site with local communities and experts and share the results with broader audiences. Satellietgroep initiated 'Now Wakes The Sea' for exchange of research based artists in residencies in collaboration with cultural partner organizations.
Dutch coastal transitions and new works produced during residencies at Badgast (The Hague, NL) are connected to new works produced during exchange residencies of Badgast with other coasts. In 2012 by Maurice Bogaert (NL), Bahanur Nasya and Yilmaz Vurucu (TR) at Sinop (Turkey), in 2013 by Astrid Bussink (NL) and Ana Tsimintia (GE) at Batumi (Georgia), and Tatiana Fiodorova, Nicoleta Esinencu (MD) and Maarten de Kroon (NL) at Chisinau (Moldova).

'See no Sea in Moldova' (working title) is a personal film that starts with questions concerning Moldova and the relation to the Black Sea, or, as you may also put it, the possible absence of the sea. Although Moldova has indirect access to the Black Sea, it is not adjacent to it. The question is: what does that mean. Or, better: is there any meaning? The answers to the questions involved can only be given by a personal investigation. The translation, the result, the film that will be made – all that is part and direct result of what, throughout his stay in Moldova, Maarten de Kroon will encounter. If there are more important or urgent subjects that will cross his path during his stay, he has the freedom to pick up new stories upon new themes. See no Sea in Moldova (or maybe just: See Moldova) is an artistic experiment as well as a low-budget on the spot production.

Maarten de Kroon is a Dutch writer and filmmaker. He was involved in several award winning documentaries. Together with his brother Pieter-Rim de Kroon, he made the documentary film Dutch Light, based on the original idea and scenario that he wrote together with Gerrit Willems. Dutch Light (93 MIN.), that won several awards, is as much a film about light and painting as it is about perception and how we look at the world around us. Also together with his brother he made the film V.I.S.S.E.N (F.I.S.H.I.N.G), a documentary on the question why people fish for pleasure, that was premiered in the Netherlands in 2012. V.I.S.S.E.N (90 MIN.) was inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s famous quote:  “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” His most recent project, TORRENTIUS, is a film he produced and made together with the Dutch artist Jan Andriesse. TORRENTIUS (10’30 MIN)is a short film and an original artwork by Jan Andriesse about the famous and obscure 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Torrentius. As artwork it will be premiered in Bruxelles in september, and will be shown on Chambres des Canaux in Amsterdam, in november 2013.

Read here his text on the concept of 'no sea': TO SEA OR NOT TO SEA (S.MAG#2, 2008):


By Maarten de Kroon
Translation: Piet Rafael
For S.MAG#2, Satellietgroep Sea Magazine, 2008

Thinking about the sea equals thinking about existence. The sea is reality,  inextricably bound up with earth, life, origin, nutrition, oxygen. In contrast to existence there is nonexistence - no sea. An impossibility in reality. Without sea, there would be no water and no life, at least not as we know it. But it is possible to think of the sea as nonexistent. As a concept or idea. A theoretical possibility superseding reality.

‘To sea or not to sea’ is the theme of the second edition of S.MAG, published by artists’ initiative Satellietgroep. S.MAG stands for Sea Magazine, or: magazine about art and culture next to and in the sea. Satellietgroep researches and stimulates the cultural significance of the coastline. The infinite space, timelessness, the tidal movements and empty horizon all appeal to universal feelings of freedom and inspiration. Researching the absence of the sea, and the way we would relate to this, is an alternative way of establishing the significance of the sea.

Thinking about an absent sea implies going back in time. Roam through the hilly landscape of Limburg (south-east Netherlands) and realise that this soil once was the bottom of the sea. It’s as easy as that.
If you’re looking for the ultimate sea-or-no-sea experience, you should go and see Mesdag’s 19th century Panorama of fisherman’s village Scheveningen. A century on, the beautifully crafted painted illusion is still vivid and lifelike. Next, you realise that the Panorama doesn’t move, and you experience a sense of complete silence, because the swish of the sea is absent. A reproduction of a lost reality, the sea being present and absent at the same time.

Thinking of an absent sea means elevating the lowlands. No longer do we live in a country that is partly below sea level, but on a relatively high plateau. From here, you could go down into the valley of the North Sea like thousands of years ago. Back then, the sea level was 100 metres lower than it is today because the sea water was frozen. The valley between England and the Netherlands was a bleak, cold and dry steppe landscape; home to mammoths, giant deer and bisons. The sea was elsewhere.

Thinking of Earth without water instantaneously changes it into another planet that only harbours life that can do without water. Eliminating the sea entails no rivers, lakes and other sources of water. The gain would be enormous: 100% land rather than 30% land and 70% water. Seen from outer space, all blue would disappear, and Earth would be a grey rather than a blue planet; one could finally justify calling it Earth.
Like the poet K. Michel put it: “a void as could be seen nowhere, a void like the abyss of the universe”.

Having no sea close at hand is a daily reality. The more inland, and therefore away from the coast, the clearer this becomes. There is a longing for the sea here. Ovid claims that longing for the unknown is impossible, except possibly, longing for death. Longing for the sea is longing for something you don’t have. The endless rolling plane, comforting as well as unsettling. Longing for the sea is longing for something you know, because you’ve seen it or heard about it.

It’s quite easy to imagine a diversity of seas. The sea surrounding the Greek islands, the Belgian coast, the sea of Normandy, Curacao or the Seychelles. Images you can evoke effortlessly, to long for them consequently. Sea, culture, the coast, a sensuous roll that comes and goes, including food and drinks, just like you’d imagine them.

Longing for the sea can vary endlessly, and can also be exploited endlessly. If the environmentally unfriendly billion dollar tourist industry doesn’t take you there, you can find it in the form of city beaches. The commercial answer to what isn’t here, but there. City beaches overlooking a river in Paris, Amsterdam or Bratislava, offer the consumer an illusion of a faraway reality. It seems easy to evoke a sense of ‘close-to-the-sea’. The superlative can be found at the Seagaia Ocean Dome in Miyazaki, Japan, an indoor sea with tidal movement, which is, strangely enough, located right next to the sea. Sea and beach amusement parks offer the consumer an illusion of what is elsewhere. Similarly, indoor ice ranks and skipistes offer the alternative of the cold and mountainous.

You could interpret city beaches as a variation on the 18th century romantic parks, like Parc Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Ermenonville, France. The original included waterfalls, prehistoric caves, arcadic landscapes and romantic ponds with weeping willows. Remarkably, the landscape changed from north to south from flat, with canals, windmills and a low horizon (mirroring paintings by Ruysdael) to a typically southern landscape with hills, cypresses and temples. The makeable world, a landscape replica of different European cultures and eras merged into one.
Where the French created little Holland, the Dutch created ‘little Switzerland’  at many different locations. A 20 to 30 metre deep valley in a flat landscape was quite something; looking up from the valley gave the impression of looking at a mountain, hence the name little Switzerland.

Longing for what you don’t have is of all times, like fearing the unknown or the unexperienced. Those who live in the mountains long for flat land and sea, and those living near the coast can long for the mountains. Ovid was right in observing that we can only long for things we know in one way or the other. If you’ve never seen the sea, or have never heard of it, you cannot long for it. Without a notion of sea, no sea simply cannot be. The world is all that is.

All our desires and fears are being fed by what we’ve experienced, seen, heard, or read about. Humanity has learned to explore the world thanks to story telling, literature and visual art. Thanks to poets, writers, painters, sculptors and more recently filmmakers, we have learned to imagine what we could not see with our own eyes (Paradise, God, Jesus, the Flood, angels, the cyclops, aliens, etc.). Thanks to these stories, we know the sea without ever having touched or tasted the salty water, without ever having been submerged by a wave. Thanks to stories and images, there is longing and fear of the experience.

Seen from a personal perspective, your outlook on the world is defined by knowledge. If you haven’t seen images of the devastation after the Tsunami or the New Orleans flood, you will feel no anxiety. If you’ve learned about the sea, and have learned to love it, you’ve also learned to fear it. Sea is nature and culture combined. Longing for the sea is a cultural phenomenon, fear of the sea is fear of nature, the unpredictable and (still) uncontrollable; danger, rising sea levels, flooding, getting lost, drowning, loss and death.
Context is everything. You see what you know. If you don’t know that the picture of a  muddy ceiling lamp was taken in a New Orleans home after hurricane Katrina, your interpretation of the image will be essentially different.
The work VAARWELKOM, freely translated as ‘fare thee welcome’ (the Dutch implies a journey by sea), only makes sense near the coast. If you would see this text somewhere inland, it would automatically conjure up images of the sea – associations to images and languages connected to seas, rivers and lakes are this strong. John Körmeling’s image NAAR ZEE (‘direction: sea’) in Rotterdamse Schouwburg (the Rotterdam city theatre), has a different meaning there than it would have when hanging in the dunes, on the beach or on a lonely mountain top in Switzerland.

All work shown in this edition of S.MAG relates to the sea in one way or the other. From rising sea levels to global warming, tides and time, existence and nonexistence, longing for and fear of, new perspectives of a better world, the sea taking away life full of hope, casting it away on the shores of the promised land, the same beach you and I long for when it’s warm in summertime; the beach where you lie down in daytime and drink white wine and eat roasted fresh fish at night.

No sea is a no go. When asked for a poem about ‘no sea’, artist/poet Dick Keulemans sent me the following text message: “No sea/ too high/ no sea/ no landlubber/ no sea/ no banquet/ no sea legs/ never seasick/ no sea hero/ no colonies/ no multicultural”. No sea always implies sea. Another befriended artist remains quiet at the other side of the line. Then, sounding like a gravedigger: “Listen, I was in Lelystad yesterday. Driving round with a committee, looking for a place for my work, the breaking of light. Listen. Lely was an enlightened mind. Turning sea into land was a visionary idea. It could have been Utopia. But believe me, if you see what they’ve actually built there, it’s a nightmare. It’s a catastrophic bankruptcy. O, if only the sea was still there!!”.

To sea or not to sea. Maybe the absolute notion of ‘not to sea’ is unthinkable. Envisaging ‘no sea’ entails thinking of sea first, and erasing this image. But in the process of erasing, you think of what you erase, i.e. the sea. You cannot think of the sea for years until someone tells you “don’t think of the sea!”.
‘Not to sea’ equals sea. If you don’t live near the coast, you can long for it, but you needn’t have a relation with the sea; if you do live next to it, you don’t have to long for it, but you do have to relate to it. Therefore, S.MAG offers you a ‘sea of no sea’ in this edition.

zee artist from was research scheveningen cultural sea satellietgroep artists with art water zandmotor new dat project coastal badgast