Last Stone

Rotterdam 2020

The Maasbode, build for the newspaper with the same name, had to be demolished to create space for a 70 meter tall apartment building. Selma Hengeveld, an independent curator who lived for several years in the building, decided to take this situation as the starting point for Tot hier en weer verder (free translation: Until here and onwards again) to gather a group of artist to speculate about these circumstances and project their findings on the windows of the building, just days before the demolition started.

When exploring the building I got interested in the first stone, installed there during a festive ceremony on the 6th of May 1952. It seemed the only logical thing for me to do, was to bring the last stone – which raised the question: What stone?

I asked three artists, Elen Braga, Katinka van Gorkum and Sina Seifee, to travel with me to the north of France, because until recently there were several quarries, to find a stone to bring to Rotterdam. Arriving there we heard about the village of Craonne on the Chemin des Dames. In the First World War it was completely obliterated to be rebuild 500m further down the road.

This made finding a stone hugely more complected – there are interesting parallels between the histories of Rotterdam and Craonne, but taking a stone from there seems wrong and shouldn’t be taken lightly – even though as a memorial site it was neglected. And after further research, more discoveries made the story only more interesting, there was extremely heavy fighting with a lot of useless waste of human live during WWI, Napoleon had close by his last victory before his defeat in Waterloo, Caesar claimed his victory over Gaul – hugely complex context – just taking a stone would be problematic – but these stories should be told.

We decided it was okay to bring a stone, under the condition that it should be brought back after it has been shown in Rotterdam.

A movie of the slow spinning stone was projected on the window next to the first stone, while the window was turned into a speaker which played La Chanson de Craonne.

The stone will be returned when traveling is allowed again.

Thanks Elen Braga, Katinka van Gorkum and Sina Seifee to find a stone with me.

Curated by Selma Hengeveld: