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The Secret City

Middelburg, 1997
Duration: 09.1997 - 10.1997
Location: De Vleeshal & inner city, Middelburg
Participants: 57
Visitors: 500
Number of Events: 36

De Verborgen Stad (The Secret City) (1997) was an exhibition project, organized for De Vleeshal by Lex ter Braak together with Maria Rosa Boezem and Van Heeswijk, that explored the unknown side of a city - Middelburg - in an array of potential discoveries, developed during the course of the exhibition to reveal the variety of the secret city to the public. Secret City is the name given to the network of back alleys, fire escapes and garden entrances that make up the old inner city of Middelburg. It is not a closed circuit, rather a web wrenched into pieces scattered among the town's main streets. Some of these back alleys are the shortcuts and quiet streets preferred by Middelburg's inhabitants; others are regular highlights on the tourist itinerary. Yet most lead a sleepy existence. By charting these streets and linking them in a specific route, the alternative side of the city is opened up to full view.

Artists, activists, writers and thinkers propose a spectrum of possible explorations of this unknown side of the city. Twenty-three commentators were invited, along with the public, to give shape to this project. They were invited to comment based on their own backgrounds and disciplines on the secret city, much as if they were criticising a text, and to explore all the city's different layers. In effect, the commentaries are a sort of non-material archaeology. Their contributions were attempts at written concepts designed to put the public on a particular track, yet, by their open associations, offered the public the opportunity to follow their own paths.

Each day, Van Heeswijk reworked and updated the map, a copy of the commentators' contributions, their proposals, documentation, etc., into route descriptions and made them available at De Vleeshal along with a special carrier bag. The visitors to De Vleeshal were also asked to record their own ideas during their walk through the city, using a disposable camera and a notepad. During the project, comments from visitors were added to the existing proposals. The project was not designed as an art route through a particular area, but as a collection of proposals with the purpose of charting the various layers of the area. The public was encouraged to examine the information in De Vleeshal (joint visitor and information centre) before working out a physical and mental route themselves. After the project, all holders of a carrier bag were sent the additional route descriptions made after their initial visit, so they would have a catalogue of routes through The Secret City.
participants:Amy PlantProduction
Annemarie AardewerkContributing one's own artwork
ArtimoFinancial support
Bas CzerwinskiContributing one's own artwork
Birthe LeemeijerContributing one's own artwork
Britisch CounsilFinancial support
Broadcast PartnersFinancial support
Calin DanContributing one's own artwork
Camiel van WinkelContributing one's own artwork
CBK RotterdamFinancial support
Charlemagne PalestineContributing one's own artwork
Christoph FinkContributing one's own artwork
FordacityContributing one's own artwork
Ginette VerstraeteContributing one's own artwork
Hans van de SandeContributing one's own artwork
Hervé ParaponarisProduction
IVSFinancial support
Justin BennetContributing one's own artwork
Keith WilsonContributing one's own artwork
Koo Jeong-aContributing one's own artwork
Lex ter BraakDevelopment of artwork concept , Creating space
Lucas VerweijContributing one's own artwork , Advice concerning content
Maria-Rosa BoezemDevelopment of artwork concept
Marinus BoezemContributing one's own artwork
Mark PimlottContributing one's own artwork
  :. writing visitor1Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor10Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor11Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor12Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor13Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor14Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor15Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor16Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor17Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor18Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor19Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor2Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor20Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor3Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor4Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor5Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor6Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor7Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor8Written or oral text contribution
  :. writing visitor9Written or oral text contribution
Mondriaan StichtingFinancial support
Moniek ToeboschContributing one's own artwork
Pieter AartsContributing one's own artwork
Provincie ZeelandFinancial support
Raoul BunschotenContributing one's own artwork
René BoomkensContributing one's own artwork
Roza El-HassanContributing one's own artwork
Sinneke KomjanFinancial support
Sjiep HifiFinancial support
Tracy MackennaContributing one's own artwork
VVV ZeelandFinancial support
Wim HofmanContributing one's own artwork
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