Brandend Drach

2017, happening in ‘Zandput Nij Beets’, Opsterland district, Friesland, NL

Brandend Drach was an event that took place on the 9th of September 2017 in the ‘Zandput Nij Beets’ and was part of a project I ran at Kunsthuis SYB, Drach.

The Zandput (Sand Pit) is used by local company Van der Wiel and is located between the villages Beetsterzwaag and Nij Beets. The company trades in raw materials that are extracted from the surrounding site, on the border between sand and mud. Van der Wiel’s labour is a contemporary variant of soil extraction work, which is so deeply rooted in the history of the surroundings. No longer worked by hand, but by heavy machines that move thousands of tons of land annually. This creates an estranged, local landscape that seems far removed from the polders and flat peat lands in the surrounding landscape and its history. The conclusion of the project, Burning Drach, was conducted on Open Monument Day; a great bonfire to celebrate the peat and the energy it contains, together with the communities of Nij Beets and Beetsterzwaag. The smell of burning peat reached into Beetsterzwaag, and the smoke plume was visible in Nij Beets.

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