The mouse hole (2001) QS Serafijn & Hans Snoek & Jeroen van Westen & Maarten van Wesemael

Ton van Vliet
About the artwork

The mouse hole was the nickname of a messy area, full of tunnels, elevations and reductions under the A20. The passage functioned as the connection between Rotterdam-Noord and Hillegersberg. In 1998, CBK Rotterdam was asked to think along about a new approach to no-man's land that is perceived as unsafe, situated beneath a noisy highway and railway line, and to which a saving basin for surplus sewage water had to be added. CBK Rotterdam, together with adviser Maarten van Wesemael, a specialist in the field of sustainability, selected three artists: QS Serafijn, Hans Snoek and Jeroen van Westen. This company designed an integrated vision of the area, in which four principles were honored. A natural environment and human intervention are inextricably linked; a public space must be legible; artists should not behave 'autonomously', but strive for cooperation between different disciplines; and the ability to take care of a place is just as important as the design of a place. From that point of view, it was proposed not to hide the sewer basin for sight, but to give it a prominent and visible place. This created a mirror surface that could emphasize the monumentality of the viaduct. The sewage pumping station was placed in the middle of the reservoir, so that 'the engine of the system was made clear and recognizable'. Along the edges of the basin, the company wanted to let nature take its course. And finally a lighting plan was advocated, in which the viaduct and the sewage pumping station were highlighted in a monumental way. The artists thus accepted the sewer pumping station and the viaduct as essential but also vital components of urban society. Moreover, the approach had an ecological component: certain plant species exerted a favorable influence on negative environmental effects. Implementation of the program was started in 2000 and in 2001 The mouse hole delivered.

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About QS Serafijn

QS Serafijn (Roosendaal and Nispen, 1960) is a visual artist, installation artist, photographer and writer. Well-known works by him are the D tower in Doetinchem (in collaboration with NOX Architekten Rotterdam, 2004), What is finished is not made (Apeldoorn police station, 2009), the equestrian statue John Wayne in Wateringse Veld (2010) and BANK! in the Hilversumse Meent (in collaboration with Buro Poppinga Amsterdam, 2011). In addition to columns, he publishes Notes and short stories such as "STREEKROMAN (Sectioned Landscape)" (2008), "TREKKEN" (the book for the dentist, 2010) and "The Wonder of Wateringse Veld" (2010). QS Serafijn is a teacher at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. He works and lives in Rotterdam.

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About Hans Snoek

Hans Snoek (Gorinchem, 1960) is a visual artist. From 1980 to 1987 he studied at the Jan van Eyck academy in Maastricht. Together with artist QS Serafijn, he formed the occasional association Omission.

About Jeroen van Westen

Jeroen van Westen (Beverwijk, 1955) is a visual artist. He followed from 1973 to 1978 the Sint-Joost Academy in Breda and developed into a landscape artist. The starting point in his work is the readability of the landscape and the connection between nature and culture must be clear. He is based in Heeten.

About Maarten van Wesemael

Maarten van Wesemael (1961) is an urban curator. He focuses on the role of visual arts in the development of the Dutch landscape. At the province of Noord-Holland he was employed as project manager Cultural Planning, which means that more visual artists are involved in spatial planning and urban renewal.

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