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Over the border, 2022

Installation for Kunstenfestival Watou

The borderline with France is so close to Watou that it inevitably prompts visitors to think about that invisible wall in the landscape. What influence does it have on daily life in the Westhoek? Is it strange that residents by definition do not know a large part of their fellow citizens because they do not share the same nationality? And can you also feel that border when you cross them, or is it just between your ears?

I wanted to delve further into the above questions together with the visitors. That is why I made the Belgian-French border as tangible as possible with this work at Kunstenfestival Watou. I placed large billboards with poetry on a French field. The verses - from the ‘Partij van de Poëzie' - can only be read from a watchtower with a telescope in Watou itself. As if visitors are allowed to look over the wall at the neighbours' garden. By using a watchtower and various targets across the border, I made visitors even more aware of the difference between here and there. No matter how imaginary that difference may be.

Anyone who takes a seat on the watchtower and peeks across to the other side will in any case come to new insights about the border. And then also over the entire Westhoek and its inhabitants, since this region has been subtly dominated for years by that hidden dividing line between Belgium and France.

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