Maas tunnel monument for road casualties NL (2003) Kamiel Verschuren
The Maas tunnel monument for road casualties NL is not so much intended as 'an image', but as a spatial circumstance in which one can find oneself; alone or in the presence of others. A place for thoughts, making use of the location itself, the passing traffic and some existing elements from the environment. The reason for the erection of this monument is a serious traffic accident that took place in the early morning of November 27, 1999, in which two occupants of the car that was hit were killed and two others seriously injured. The monument, a work by the Rotterdam artist Kamiel Verschuren, is an installation and consists of various parts. An asphalt stain, a horizontal platform, a lamppost, the balustrades and two natural stones with text. The four texts, readable from different distances and from different positions, are:
- a line of text on the retaining wall, large enough for passing motorists, 'in memory of the victims of arbitrariness in traffic – that we are…';
- a tangible text of separate letters on a specially added part of the balustrade; a fragment from a poem by Cees Nooteboom: 'sometimes think of death but think of something else';
– a collection of public texts (newspaper articles about the accident), engraved in brass plates mounted on a switch box;
– a personal text, written by one of the families, who has lost a son and brother, engraved in a self-chosen natural stone split in two, the other half of which has been dug in exactly at the spot where the traffic accident took place.
An annual meeting is held on 28 November in the middle of traffic, causing traffic flows to be temporarily halted; the tunnel to the north will be closed for this.
Kamiel Verschuren (1968) is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Rotterdam. His work focuses on researching and expanding the concept and the existential experience of space through drawings, photography, (graphic) designs, sculptures, text or sound installations, architectural or landscape projects, social actions and public events.