‘The Settlement’ was initially produced for the Emscherkunst project in the Ruhr in Germany. A rectangular pool was excavated and a fictional stilt village built. A ramshackle conglomeration of wooden houses, jetties, rowing boats, fishing nets, deadwood and suchlike was made in soft monochrome grey.
The village recalls the makeshift houses on the water that exist in archipelagos like the Philippines. Here, however, the use of grey augments the sense that this is a deserted place, a quiet after-image of what must have once been lively and colourful.
To those of us with a Western European background, such a setting may appear quite idyllic and exotic. It makes us dream of another life, beside the water, in the midst of nature, close to the elements. But for the people who actually live in such an environment, the water is often an extremely problematic element; one that must be fought every day in order to survive.
There is also a second, indoor version of this work.