The roof terrace is an important, albeit little known (outside the Netherlands), aspect of the Dutch way of life: in a country as densely populated as the Netherlands, every square centimetre of available space counts. Even the roof. It is a liminal space, out in the open and yet private, safe, whose meticulous photographic exploration has been – still is – an essential step of a slow, personal acclimation process to a new country. The more detail I discover and record, the more I make this “emblematic territory” my own and feel at home.
While the felt paper floor of such terraces is often hidden under wooden deck tiles and artificial turf we chose to lay ours bare, thus revealing a surface that seemed to be from an other world. It is a microcosm full of traces and mysteries whose transient states are contingent on many factors such as weather conditions, human and animal (snails, birds, insects) activity, plant life cycle and light.
The decision to use instant photography for this project was obvious. Like the ever-changing and unpredictable nature of the subject, instant photography – in its most basic form at least – is a sometimes unreliable but quick and handy medium. Moreover, the relative lack of sharpness of instant photographs mirrors the intangible feeling of not quite belonging here yet, of having to keep on surveying the land until one has truly found one's place.
The photographs in Erkundung (which means “exploration” in German) are organised along a colour scale ranging from green to blue via grey(ish) and brown(ish), a choice that stems from a need to bring some degree of order into this (my) inconstant world without entirely destroying its organic, moving nature.