Oct 1, 2008

'Look Left, Look Right', MARK #16 Oct/Nov 2008

Mark Magazine
Publisher: Frame PublishersAmsterdam
ISSN: 1574-6453

Dutch Firm JSA places a unique billboard in the middle of an empty field–that only appears to be empty.

Grazing sheep, ancient Roman foundations and... a billboard? Though not the most likely of combinations, the three currently occupy an archaeological site undisturbed by modern construction, until now. The 11.4-hectare field is the new home of a permanent installation by Dutch firm JSA. Loosely translated, the message it conveys in block letters is: historical work in progress as time flies, irrevocably. Partially a reaction to a large housing estate across the street, but even more so to the site’s recently unearthed Roman ruins, the  piece–aptly titled ‘Installation Field 14’–seeks to make ‘the hidden qualities of the site known’, says architect Jeroen schipper. 

At first glance, the structure could be mistaken for just another billboard, but those who take the time to fully understand the project are treated to much more than an average billboard ever offers. The curious are invited to further explore the structure. ‘Only people who take the time to get closer to the construction realize that it can be climbed. A staircase built into the billboard leads visitors past photographic reproductions of earlier excavations to a platform with a view of the field and its surroundings,’ says schipper.

Featuring 6500 black and white cubes suspended on wire, the installation’s display varies, depending on the viewers’ vantage point. Viewed from one side, the huge sign boldly displays its cryptic message, while the opposite side reveals the image of a Roman dwelling, metaphorically resurrecting what once was. 

JSA Rotterdam