The Collective Imagining of the River Scheldt (ongoing)

Rivers are imagined spaces onto which dreams and desires are projected. From visions of economic growth by canalized waterways to spiritual relationships with water deities, rivers speak to the imagination. As they are developed and reserved for industry and shipping, rivers become increasingly more distant from individuals. Who gets to perform these aspirations, and who and what they entail, drifts away from those living alongside them.

In a gesture to kindle a personal, direct relationship with the river, I temporarily transformed the Antwerp ferry into the 'Research Vessel For Collective Imagining Of The River Scheldt'. On board, I placed tables shaped after cut-off Scheldt meanders, which served as workstations. Here, unsuspecting travelers became co-researchers, engaging in simple exercises designed to evoke watery imaginings. Through drawing, photography, and writing, a bottom-up image of the river emerges. With this work, I aim to create an alternative space for relating to the Scheldt that bypasses grand narratives to instead focus on direct, personal imagination.

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