Page 1

S K Y ro c k e t




Va n G e r v e n / Va n R i j n b e r k S E A


M A N I F E S TA 9 Project space Gust van Dijk, Tilburg, The Netherlands

SKYrocket 1 (detail) Photograph, 50cm x 50cm, 2012


Manifesta 9 Parallel Events Artists: Norbert Francis Attard, island of Gozo, Malta, and Berlin, Germany and VanGerven/VanRijnberk (SEA Foundation), Tilburg, The Netherlands SKYrocket is made possible by the generous support of / SKYrocket wordt ondersteund door: Malta Arts Fund (MT) Provincie Noord-Brabant (NL) Gemeente Tilburg (NL) Gemeente Genk (BE)





pa ev ral en lel ts


The Manifesta 9 Parallel Events original proposal As artists we notice apparently that Heritage objects and buildings in most places are the focal point of Tourism. The higher its original artistic quality the easily these buildings are made into icons of attraction and claimed by the tourist industry: The Acropolis in Athens, the Rialto Bridge in Venice or the Eifel tower in Paris. In most cases the high artistic quality of the original site and surrounding fuels the imaginary quality of the attraction. In harsh contrast to this, the on sale souvenirs and offered merchandise on these locations are mostly poorly executed, lack the quality of the original and have the known international recognizable style of mass production and low artistic quality. The icon of Waterschei We envision that the elevator tower of the Watershei Mine as an heritage object of the industrial past has this original high artistic quality to be an icon of remembrance and recommemerance. That is why we took the elevator tower as our starting point because as an icon it reflects in a multilayered way all those attributions who could be made to this place. Therefore the initial idea is to transform the tower into “gold�, by painting the elevator tower in gold paint. Making it the visible and radiant reminder of the once laborious and prosperous past. To work Considering our primarily remarks we propose to introduce as an parallel event to Manifesta 9 to install a builders site fence around the base of the tower or in one of the internal spaces within the tower. On this fence we mount an exhibition on which we present objects portraying the iconic quality of the elevator tower of the Waterschei Mine. The Exhibition During the opening hours of Manifesta 9 the exhibition is installed with the primarily artistic idea of the gold painted tower and the process towards the execution of the project in imaginary sketches, models, screen prints and/or artistically crafted /computer added photographs to support and fuel this envisioned artistic want for turning the elevator tower of the Waterschei Mine in an everlasting Heritage Icon.

SKYrocket 2 (detail) Photograph, 50cm x 50cm, 2012


Originally, the idea was to directly interact with the current state of ruin of the building, particularly the elevator tower which has garnered the status of an industrial monument. Its architectural heritage is of the highest artistic quality; a symbol of remembrance and commemoration; a potential touristic icon of attraction just like the Acropolis in Athens, the Rialto Bridge in Venice or the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Initially, the works’ aesthetic was based on the transcendence ManiManifesta 9 takes place in the Region of Limburg, Belgium. The main venue is the large-scale industrial complex of the former coal mine Waterschei in Genk. “Taking into consideration the significance of the former Belgian coal mining region as a locus for discussing both the geographical and imaginary aspects of industrial capitalism as a global phenomenon, Manifesta 9 will develop as a unique dialogue between art, history and social reflection”. Originally, the idea was to directly interact with the current state of ruin of the building, particularly the elevator tower which has garnered the status of an industrial monument. Its architectural heritage is of the highest artistic quality; a symbol of remembrance and commemoration; a potential touristic icon of attraction just like the Acropolis in Athens, the Rialto Bridge in Venice or the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Initially, the works’ aesthetic was based on the transcendence of the ruins into an eternal tower of “gold”, a transformation possible by means of gold paint. The rich luminosity of the precious colour was to act as a reminder of the once laborious and prosperous past. Being an historic building, this design was not possible. The idea developed into the form of billboard advertisements to be placed near the Winterberg mine. The construction site billboard depicts a gold painted elevator tower formed by a structure comprising of scaffolding and large format printing on canvas. Integrated advertisements promote the significance of Genk’s rich coal heritage and serve to preserve the collective memory of such a heritage. SKYrocket attempts to combine art and culture with industrial sectors, both being of major significance to the formation of society. Gold has been a valuable and highly sought-after precious metal for coinage, jewelry, and other arts, etc., since long before the beginning of recorded history. Gold has been widely used throughout the world as a vehicle for monetary exchange. European debt concerns have triggered some dismal market performance lately. But one energy sector is expected to jump by leaps, and that is coal. With the increasing demand exceeding the limited supply, coal prices will definitely soar. The price of coal will SKYrocket, and it will become the New Gold of the Future. Gold is therefore suggestive of the underlying importance attributed to this building. An awareness of possibilities is advocated with this project. The benefits the town could reap through the rehabilitation of such a landscape-dominating building range from community purposes to the tourist industry to a cultural space. SKYrocket is meant to inspire Genk’s inhabitants to even more actively engage and continue to build further on their heritage. NICOLA PETRONI Art History graduate, University of Malta

The final artwork of the billboard 260cm x 180cm

SKYrocket Manifesta 9 is neergestreken in de Belgisch-Limburgse mijnstreek. De belangrijkste presentatie is te vinden in het enorme hoofdgebouw van het voormalige mijncomplex Waterschei te Genk. Eerst was er een idee om direct met het vervallen gebouw te werken. In het bijzonder met de lifttoren, die inmiddels als industrieel monument status heeft verworven. Als erfgoed is de historische en architecturale betekenis van de lifttoren van de hoogste artistieke kwaliteit: een symbool voor herinnering en herdenking, een potentieel toeristisch icoon met een hoge attractiewaarde, net als de Acropolis in Athene, de Rialtobrug in Venetië of de Eiffeltoren in Parijs. In eerste instantie werd de esthetische kwaliteit gebaseerd op de metafysische gedachte om de ruïne te veranderen in een eeuwig blijvende toren van “goud”. Een transformatie met behulp van goudverf. De rijke schittering van de kostbare kleur is in zijn werking bedoeld als verwijzing naar het arbeidsintensieve en welvarende verleden. Gezien de status van de lifttoren, als historisch erfgoed, was uitvoering van dit ontwerp niet mogelijk. Het idee ontwikkelde zich naar een vorm van propaganda, geadverteerd op bouwborden in de omgeving van de Winterslag mijn. De werfborden samengesteld uit steigermateriaal en afdrukken op groot formaat doek, tonen de goud geschilderde lifttoren. Zo behartigt de geïntegreerde boodschap de betekenis van Genks rijke steenkoolverleden. Het voedt collectief geheugen en moedigt aan om mijnbouwerfgoed te bewaren. SKYrocket levert een waardevolle bijdrage aan het verbinden van kunst en cultuur met industrieel erfgoed. Beiden zijn van grote betekenis voor onze maatschappelijke vorming. De actuele zorgen over de schuldenlast in Europa hebben geleid tot indexdalingen op de financiële markten. Daarentegen wordt van de energiesector verwacht dat zij de komende tijd gekenmerkt zal worden door grote winsten. Door hogere vraag en het beperkte aanbod, zal de prijs van steenkool verder stijgen. De prijs van steenkool zal omhoogschieten en daardoor wordt steenkool het Nieuwe Goud van de toekomst. De “gouden glans” van dit onderliggende belang, wordt zo ook aan de lifttoren van Waterschei toegekend. De stad plukt voordeel van een dergelijk gerehabiliteerd en landschappelijk dominerend gebouw. Er worden sociaal-maatschappelijke doeleinden voor bedacht, het verwerft subsidies en verkrijgt toeristische functies. SKYrocket is bedoeld om de inwoners van Genk te inspireren. Om de verbeeldingskracht aan te spreken en hen nog meer betrekken bij de heropbouw van hun erfgoed. NICOLA PETRONI

We proposed to have at least three large billboards. The above artist’s impressions show some of the proposals made to show potential locations. Unfortunately, we could not get permission to place any of them at Waterschei mine so at the end, we decided to have two large billboards placed around C-mine in Genk. A number of canvases of the same image were also stretched on existing fences in different locations around Genk.

One of the canvases stretched over existing fences in different parts of Genk


Installation process of the billboard by ESBI Belgium

The billboard in front of C-Mine

The billboard along one of the major roads leading to C-Mine

CANARY IN A COAL MINE For almost a hundred years, and up to some thirty years ago, when western Europe was still producing

coal, the humble and fragile canary was destined to play an almost sacrificial role to save men’s lives. Carried into the dark bowels of the earth in small cages, this minute creature - the colour, memory,

promise and celebration of sunlight - provided an early warning of noxious, invisible and odourless,

gasses to miners in their daily dangerous descents to their dark Hades. One could hardly imagine a

more extreme case of human dependence on such a fragile creature. Nor indeed can one comfortably

contemplate that the massive extraction of coal that led to our global industrialization was dependent on the domestication - and sacrifice - of the humble canary....

And if the singing of birds had to be sacrificed to save men’s lives, let us not forget that it was only

the (human) song and music of Orpheas that could pierce the silence of the “wealthy” (“Plouton”) Hades (“Unseen”), to reclaim his Eurydike....

Norbert Francis Attard is presenting three cages to symbolize the three coal mines in Genk, the place

where Manifesta is taking place and where SKYrocket will be presented. The three coal mines in Genk are Zwartberg, Winterslag and Waterschei. They are painted gold to evoke the complex associations

of coal-gold. Some are obvious: coal was the Western world’s gold that powered its industrialization. And birds in golden cages are of course the stuff of countless and well-known metaphors....

But the artist’s intent is more serious than a mere play of witty associations and evocations, although these are certainly important. For he is posing questions about post-industrial landscapes – in this particular case a gigantic tripod that has become part of industrial archaeology- and questioning whether we might not, in effect, now be that proverbial canary in that cage? PAUL SANT CASSIA Anthroplogist, University of Malta and Durham University, U.K.

Waterschei mine, Genk, Belgium. Photograph Norbert Francis Attard

DE KANARIE IN EEN STEENKOOLMIJN Al bijna honderd jaar en zelfs tot nog dertig jaar geleden, toen in West-Europa nog steeds

steenkool werd gewonnen, speelde de kleine kwetsbare kanarie een belangwekkende rol in het redden van mannenlevens.

Dit fragiele schepseltje – de kleur, de herinnering, de belofte als ook de viering van het

zonlicht – werd in een kooitje de donkere ingewanden van de aarde ingedragen en voorzag de mijnwerkers van een vroege waarschuwing tegen schadelijke, onzichtbare en reukloze gassen tijdens de gevaarlijke, dagelijkse afdalingen in het donkere Hades.

Men kan zich nauwelijks een extremer geval van menselijke afhankelijkheid van een

weerloze vogel voorstellen. Immers, zo kan men redeneren, de winning van steenkool die heeft geleid tot onze wereldwijde industrialisatie, blijkt afhankelijk te zijn geweest, van de domesticatie en de opoffering van de nederige kanarie ...

En als het zingen van de vogels moest worden opgeofferd aan het redden van mannenlevens, laten we dan niet vergeten dat het alleen de (menselijke) zang en muziek van Orpheus

was, die tot de stille “rijkdom” van (“Plouton”) Hades (“Unseen”) kon doordringen, om zijn Eurydice terug te winnen ...

Norbert Francis Attard presenteert drie vogelkooien om de drie kolenmijnen in Genk te symboliseren, de plaats waar Manifesta plaats vindt en waar SKYrocket wordt

gepresenteerd. De drie kolenmijnen in Genk zijn Zwartberg, Winterslag en Waterschei.

De kooien zijn goud geschilderd om de complexe verbinding tussen steenkolen en goud op te roepen. Sommige liggen voor de hand: steenkool was in de westerse wereld het

goud dat voeding gaf aan de industrialisatie. En vogeltjes in een gouden kooien zijn het zinnebeeld van talloze bekende metaforen.

Maar de bedoeling van de kunstenaar is gelaagder dan alleen een spel van geestige

associaties en toespelingen, hoewel deze wel van belang zijn. Evenzeer stelt hij vragen over het postindustriële landschap, in dit geval over de gigantische draagconstructies, die

onderdeel zijn geworden van ons industrieel erfgoed. Met het werk wordt de vraag opgeroepen of het in feite niet wij zijn, die de spreekwoordelijke kanarie in de kooi zijn geworden? PAUL SANT CASSIA Antropoloog, Universiteit van Malta en Universiteit van Durham, Verenigd Koninkrijk.





CANARY IN A COAL MINE 1 & 2 Photograph, 75cm x 50cm, 2012

CANARY IN A COAL MINE Installation: Three photographic tripods, three bird cages painted gold, three canaries Garden and pet shop, Rabat, Gozo, Malta, 2012.

CANARY IN A COAL MINE 3 & 4 Three photographs, 60cm x 40cm each, 2012

CANARY IN A COAL MINE 5 & 6 Three photographs, 60cm x 40cm each, 2012

GARDEN CITY Artist’s impression of installation (metal fencing, lawn, canary birds) inside one of the large spaces at Waterschei mine.

Photograph, 75cm x 50cm, 2012

CANARY IN A COAL MINE 7 & 8 Photograph, 75cm x 50cm, 2012

Short Biography of Norbert Francis Attard Born in Malta in 1951. Based on the island of Gozo (Malta) and Berlin (Germany) Graduated in Architecture, University of Malta in1977, practiced as architect for twenty years until 1996. Lived in Germany, 1978/1979, working with the firm ‘Licht in Raum’, directed by Johannes Dinnebier, one of Germany’s pioneers in light design. Self-taught painter and graphic designer (1965-1997) before turning to installation art in 1998. His present practice employs several disciplines including architecture, sculpture, video and photography to explore his major interests in places and their memories. His works have been included in many major international exhibitions: Maifesta 9, Genk, Belgium (2012) Beaufort 04, De Panne, Belgium (2012) Meridian/Urban Project, organised by Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2011) Galeria Nuble, Santander, Spain (2011) Ostrale 011, Dresden, Germany (2011) Thanatopolis, I-Park, Connetticut, USA.(2010) Ruhr-Atoll, Essen, Germany (2010) 5th Biennial Vento Sul, Curitiba, Brazil (2009) CUBE OPEN, Manchester, UK (2009) 25th Alexandria Biennial, Egypt (2009) 2nd Bienal de Canarias, Las Palmas, Canary Islands (2009) INHABIT 09, in collaboration with Brisbane City Council, Australia (2009) ARRIVALS, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK.(2008) Irish Museum of Modern Art (2008) Intrude 366 : Art and Life, organized by Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China (2008) 3rd Echigo Tsumari Triennale, Japan, (2006) Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2005) Casoria Museum of Contemporary Art, Naples, Italy (2005) ARTIADE, Athens, Greece (2004) 8th Havana Biennale (2003) Paths to Europe, Macedonia Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece (2003) 2nd Liverpool Biennale (2002) Edinburgh International Festival, Scotland (2002) Floating Land, International Site Specific Art Laboratory, Noosa, Queensland, Australia (2001) Diaspora, Oviedo, Spain (1998), amongst many others. Represented Malta in the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999. Director of GOZO CONTEMPORARY since 2001, offering self-directed residencies international artists on the island of Gozo. Attended several residency programs: Elsewhere Collaborative, Greensboro, North Carolina, (2011) Virginia Centre for the Creative Arts (VCCA), U.S.A., (2010) Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin, Ireland., (2008) Turner Contemporary (in collaboration with Oxford Modern, UK), Margate, UK., (2007) Europos Parkus, Vilnius, Lithuania, (2006) Taipei Artists Village, Taipei, Taiwan, (2005) (KAIR) Kamiyama, Japan, (2004) Several exhibition catalogues have been published and since 2002, three books have been published about his work: I See Red Everywhere (2002); Four Olympics (2004); Between Earth and Sky (2007) A monograph publication covering the last 15 years of his work will be published in 2013.

Photograph Andrew Gauci Attard

MONUMENT TO THE CANARY I Sculpture: Minature model of miner gas detector made of British coal, model of canary, both sprayed gold, 2012

Short Biography of Riet van Gerven and Jan Willem van Rijnberk Riet van Gerven born 1955 in Rosmalen, The Netherlands was educated as an artist/designer at Amsterdam’s Gerrit Rietveld Academy. She worked as a textile designer in Denmark and also in England for example in close collaboration with controversial designer Vivienne Westwood. In the Netherlands she was one of the pioneers to develop further man-made yarns. She lectured on arts and textile design widely in Europe and South East Asia and became a member of the Board of SEA Foundation in 2005. In 2008 she became Director of ArtIs Contemporary Art Space in ‘s Hertogenbosch and from 2010 onwards she curates exhibitions, forges liaisons with artists, designers and curators as well as researching and executing art projects in close collaboration with SEA Foundation. Jan-Willem van Rijnberk born in 1957 in Buren, The Netherlands is educated as an artist and he has a post-graduate degree in economics. He works as a lecturer, artist, curator and organiser throughout Europe. Along his working life he was closely related to a series of key events like the introduction of Dutch Design and he was asked to join Think Tanks of the large Dutch publishing companies as well a acting as a member of the management team. He developed many new strategies and products. In the second part of his career he was appointed to the management board of the ethnographical museum - Tropenmuseum Amsterdam - and as director of the museum for contemporary Aboriginal art, the AAMU in Utrecht. Since 2007 he works as an imagineer, visiting artist, organiser and curator and in a wider connection as president to SEA Foundation.

SEA FOUNDATION SEA Foundation is a cultural network organisation based in Tilburg, The Netherlands. The main objective of SEA Foundation is to connect with society and to anchor Arts & Culture in a natural way. SEA Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organization, founded in 1993. SEA Foundation operates on the interface of art and culture and knows how to combine cultural, economic, political and social ambitions. The focal point of our interests lays on the crossing borders of contemporary arts, heritage, sustainability and leisure. We deliver our services not for money in the first place, but to achieve the goal of our organization. Therefore it’s our first concern, we market and exchanges services based on equivalent commitment and gaining support for our objectives: “Arts first, imaginative power is men’s true strength!” Our strength is to develop, guide and realise an entire trajectory and strive for permanent result. We choose for long term cooperation and working in togetherness. Acting as such, SEA Foundation forms an organisation that knows how to use its expertise in a way that ambitions and qualities come together in a perfectly executed project or assignment.

Project SKYrocket On behalf of SEA Foundation for SKYrocket operates: Riet van Gerven (Coordinator) and Jan-Willem van Rijnberk (President and founding member of the board) .

Photograph Sjaak Raaijmakers

SKYrocket Manifesta 9

Curator Cuauhtémoc Medina (Mexico City) Assistant curators: Dawn Ades (London) and Katerina Gregos (Athens) Coordinator Parallel Events: Lies Daenen (Belgium)

Link to: Youtube: The Arrival of SKYrocket

Norbert Francis Attard 9, Birbuba Street, Gharb, GRB1435, Gozo, Malta Tel: 00356 21560016 Fax: 00356 21559098 Mobile: 00356 79041051 (Malta) Mobile: +0049 (0) 176 35777993 (Germany) Email: Skype: norbertfrancisattard


Riet van Gerven and Jan Willem van Rijnberk SEA FOUNDATION Tivolistraat 22, 5017 HP Tilburg, The Netherlands Tel: 0031 (0) 135444495 Email:

Thanks to: English text by Nicola Petroni and Paul Sant Cassia Dutch text editing by Michiel Brand Billboards by ESBI, Belgium Prints by Starfoto, The Netherlands Catalogue printing by XEROX, Malta Canaries by Bird Society “Vogellust”, Tilburg, The Netherlands Dienst Cultuur Genk, Belgium Auto Garden Genk, Ward Bruyninx SEA foundation office: Jeroen Aarts, Leonie Caumo, Niek Hendrix BKKC, Tilburg, The Netherlands Afdeling Cultuur Tilburg, The Netherlands

MONUMENT TO THE CANARY II Sculpture:Charcoal briquette, canary model sprayed gold, 2012

Catalogue design and layout by Norbert Francis Attard


Skyrocket 22