For the last 18 years I have being living in the Hague. To to combine, this experience with my latest trip to South Africa after returning after 23 years. This trip and its outcome brought out the desire to undertake a similar study in Den Haag, studying the "other" who is usually excluded, again in the utterly essential context of the place in which he/she exists and lives their life. Equally they could fruitfully form a complex comparison of places and people in two radically different countries of the world - Den Haag changing, becoming more assertive and confident, moving towards a more "European" awareness out of the post-colonial period; South Africa still emerging from the devastation of Apartheid, impoverishment and the social turmoil that still pervades much of life there.
Haag is undergoing a continual process of rebuilding which will not be completed until at least the year 2023. The result the inhabitants of the Den Haag, and the general public who make use of the city (the staff who work there as well as the passengers in transit) are constantly confronted with construction work, deposits of building materials, and half-finished spaces.
The idea is to relocate one space to another, to project an image of social movement into the volatile environment of a space under reconstruction. This we also experience as we navigate through cyberspace. Utopian Communities are quickly fading, disappearing. Big business and multinational corporations intent on a border less global economy are colonising cyberspace as fast as their modems allow. What was once championed as the ultimate public realm is already privatized, and our privation, our deprivation, our loss, is the result.
The project is intended to have a disconcerting, perhaps even unheimlich effect upon its viewers. The size of the images in there subject matter, media and mise en scene, making visible the inextricable links that tie the developed or so-called "first world", to the less developed or so -called "third World", exposing the inequities which are endemic to such power relations. This project I located in The Zwarte Madonna, because it is on the nomination list to be demolished, social flats are not in the place at the high priced ground in the centre, and according the city counsel, its the only place for new government buildings in the city, so they decided that the inhabitants have to leave from this relative new building. Five years ago it was their policy that this people come and live here.
It reminds me of South African, history,
"De voorgenomen sloop van de Zwarte Madonna heeft een zucht van verontwaardiging losgemaakt in Den Haag.Na jarenlang letterlijk doorgemodderd te hebben aan de rand van de bouwputten van 'Den Haag Nieuw Centrum', leken de bewoners eindelijk een zonnige toekomst tegemoet te gaan in een mooie opgeknapte omgeving. De Madonna blijkt echter te elfder ure niet te passen in het stedelijk concept.
Is het dan toch waar dat 'cityvorming' de bewoners met de smalle beurs uit de binnenstad verdrijft? Is dat dan sociaal-democratische politiek? "