Three observational pavilions and nine painters' easels on an elevation in a meadow in the centre of the village, together with painting sessions for amateur artists, a workshop and an exhibition. Observatorium observed the users and reported their reflections.
THE WORLD, AS TOLD Observatorium makes sculpture for observing the world. It has to be used. The artist can initiate any sort of use which responds to the needs and ideas of the people it was made for. If he is the host in his own work, he is able to tell the story of its use and include reflections by others in his body of work. Occupying space Observatorium cut through the fence around the meadow and made a gateway, which they adorned with the name P. Visser. They built a separate domain above the no-man's land, which was used for grazing but, unknown to most villagers, was the property of the church. The road and the platform were made of scaffolding and black carpet. The pavilions were wooden structures which were sprayed from top to bottom with bitumen, apart from the windows. For a short while the sacrosanct meadow supported buildings, and people could look at the village and the road from the emptiness. Someone pausing there would have no choice but to look out over the space, as from the centre of an eye. Standing on the edge of the Villagescape in Heino, it was evident that the meadow was fringed on all sides by large oak trees. On the jetty projecting into a sea of green, you would realize that it was a large enclosed garden in the middle of the village. In an enclosed garden you stand still and look at the space of which you form part, and it feels like a temporary abode. The meadow evoked a sensation of being in a Japanese garden. School classes and amateur painting clubs were invited to take the village edge as their subject of creativity. The local newspaper, radio, internet newspaper and television station interviewed the artists and informed them about the ups and downs of spatial planning in Heino.
Over a period of two months, Andre Dekker spent his weekends receiving passing visitors and inviting them to paint, observe and take photographs. He was motivated by a desire to record by purely verbal and photographic means what an observation post yields by way of observations. It turned out that no one expressed an opinion about the space in its own right, but in every case took a specific view of the community. Space or a view of space is foremost a mental/cultural phenomenon. The personal observation of Dekker was that the meadow is for most people a symbol rather than a space of rural tranquillity, a welcome emptiness in the bustle of country life, which upholds its interdependence with the town by means of a huge volume of traffic. Nearly everyone in Heino likes their surroundings, but they all depend in some way on the nearest town. Amid all the issues of spatial planning, it would be easy to miss the fact that Villagescape turned a poorly visible, ill-defined open space, used for cattle grazing, into a field fringed with oak trees that provides repose and tranquillity, simply by making it accessible and offering an optimal viewpoint. This was the suggestion of the temporary work of art: to protect the villagescape, you have to appreciate and feel free to use it.
The silhouette of a village in the Netherlands is a calligraphy of trees, houses and a church steeple, and is always seen first far away on the horizon. That at least is the archetype. Heino presents a surprising inversion of this ideal: instead of the village hugging the horizon with countryside all around, the green fields penetrate to the centre of the village right up to the church. The leading tip of this green wedge is a meadow fringed with oak trees. The trees, the houses and the church tower are visible from the meadow.