Surviving New Land
(Rotterdam / Otto Reuchlinweg, westzijde Luxor Theater, bij entree parkeergarage)
Searching for undiscovered territories evokes fantasies of adventurous travels and exotic destination, but also of expansionism and colonization. Surviving New Land by Marjolijn Dijkman (1978, the Netherlands) takes the perspective of an explorer that ‘probes’ the newly found land safely aboard a ship. He is hardly tempted to set foot on the shapeless sands. The newly found island that Dijkman records is the second Maasvlakte near Rotterdam, a man-made piece of land at the estuary of the river Meuse. Filming the contours of this newly made Maasvlakte the artist establishes a link with the many Dutch explorers who painted in watercolors strange and unknown coastlines for reference. The film’s accompanying soundtrack consists of the sounds of the surf and fragments of scores of motion pictures that accompany scenes in which men set foot on unknown land. It is undeniably exciting to enter unknown territory – the possibilities seem unlimited –, but there is also drama and the fear of failure involved. Naming and mapping newly discovered land means claiming territory and power. Dijkman’s film considers all these aspects in a refined way.