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contact, Minke Themans
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The Netherlands

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Cemeteries Crooswijk, Rotterdam

, 2005,
public space
together with:

occasion:
art assignment
item:
research project, mapping public space

powerpoint presentation
content A lot of attention is being paid to the layout of public space, greenery and the potential of cultural heritage in the urban renewal of the neighbourhood new Crooswijk in Rotterdam. Within this framework I was asked to investigate and map the socio-economic importance of the cemetery with the goal of making this introverted public space more accessible. Qualities of the cemetery - the position of the cemetery in the middle of the neighbourhood - the green identity [the General Cemetery = city park, R.K. Cemetery = intimate courtyard] - the intercultural character of the cemetery reflects the multicultural neighbourhood - the cultural historic value [the General Cemetery is a national monument since 1996] Points of Attention - historical / cultural heritage - monumental - architectural - multicultural - landscape / ecological - artistic / crafts design: After several visits to the cemeteries I decided to add an extra element to the pre-defined list of 'qualities', namely the experience value of the cemeteries. This can be measured by adding up the previously mentioned 'qualities' and by making an average, a kind of 'experience index' (although subjective) can be derived. The use of the cemetery and the experience value must stand central. Three metaphors for the manner in which the cemeteries can be experienced are the stone archive, city park or 'dodenakker'. Cemetery as Stone Archive - architecture - graves [memoirs, grave signs and urns] - monuments - art works Cemetery as City Park - landscape architecture - flora and fauna Cemetery as Graveyard - culture and religion - death - myth and legend Extra elements - New Crooswijk - timeline - [grave] symbolism Proposed new map and research - plan with legend and timeline The inherent complexity in mapping use and experience calls for a simple graphic solution. The map is as neutral as possible, it is an abstraction of reality on which the experiential layer is superimposed by the actual visit made by an individual. The plan is structured as a timeline. Different periods are clearly legible but the sense of time and the traces of use are experienced in-situ. This experience is fed and strengthened by the additional information in the guide. The information is organised according to three of the many manners in which the cemetery can be experienced, as stone archive, city park or as graveyard. By separating the ingredients and the plan, the latter is transformed into a simplified route map, whereby the users can create their own experiential routes. In this way a multitude of connections can be made and the visitor to the cemetery is stimulated to see it through new eyes.