terrein 14, Houten
Field 14 is an archaeological site on the southern edge of a new housing estate in Houten. The plot is about 11.4 hectares in size and is a listed national monument, and it is currently in use as an orchard and pasture land.
No physical traces of the archaeological finds or settlement history are visible in the landscape. In the year 2000, archaeologists investigated a small portion of the site, because of plans to build a bicycle tunnel there. Drilling carried out in randomly selected places elsewhere on the site revealed stone foundations, probably belonging to a Roman dwelling.
Just as the new housing estate across the road draws attention to itself with a billboard and a message, the archaeological site now advertises its identity by means of a pixel display
Other than that, Field 14 has essentially been left untouched. The subsurface must remain undisturbed so that the archaeological remains are preserved intact for future investigation. In view of this situation, we developed a plan that involves the least possible disturbance to the site and is mainly representational in character.
Just as the new housing estate across the road draws attention to itself with a billboard and a message, the archaeological site now advertises its identity by means of a pixel display: ‘HISTORY IN PROGRESS, AS TIME FLIES BY, IRREVERSIBLY’
Because the pixels are three-dimensional, two distinct images can be displayed simultaneously to viewers in different directions. Like a postcard with a picture that changes when you move it back and forth, the picture on the display changes as you drive past. The text becomes an image, and the vague form of an old Roman dwelling becomes visible, like a transparent watermark on the landscape.
The installation is not only a message, but also an object. In its strategic location in the field, it looks somewhat misplaced among the grazing sheep. People who take the time to come closer to the construction, however, will find that it is possible to approach it and climb onto it. A staircase built into it leads visitors past reproductions of earlier excavations to a platform with views of the field and its surroundings.
'Watermark, Villa van Houten', Hannah Schuber, A10, nr. 22, Jul./Aug. 2008, p.11
'Een archeologische vindplaats', Ginette Blom, Blauwe Kamer, nr. 4, Augustus 2008, p. 101
'Archeologia virtuale', Casamica, nr. 10, October 2008
'Installation Field 14, Houten, The Netherlands', Rowena Liu, IW magazine, nr.70, Nov. 2009, pp. 58-61
'Installation Field 14', KVART magazine, February 2009
'Look left, look right', MARK magazine, nr. 16, Oct./Nov. 2008