landscape: Northern coasts


June 2012

Take off. A turn from Amsterdam. Hanging tilted in the sky I see my coast below. The long stretch of beach along the North sea, the strip of dunes before the land gets organized. Behind the dunes, the artwork begins: the pattern of fields in shades of green and brown, the waterlines, the shifting directions, the closing waterline around a polder, the winding rivers cutting through. Below me lies what once was sea.

On track. Passing the coast of Northern Germany, Ost-Friesland. Flying back in time, to a car journey in wind and rain through the flat farmland. The small brick village of Greetsiel (great sail?) with its tiny harbor. Old churches spelling ancient words of mingled cultures.

Halfway. The Danish coast - so tidy. An island on the west coast, Rømø, connected by a bridge. Remember walking on its beach, an endless plane of sand. The coast was everywhere, but out of sight.

Passing the Swedish coast, huge ships pass the tiny Swedish islands like moving high-rise cities in an unspoiled world. The sounds of slot machines and voices cut through the silent sea.

Arriving in between. Without clear edge, the scattered coast of Finland. There is no clear border between water and land. Is it the Finnish coast that puts my mind in this in between state, between day and the eternal light of midsummer nights, between the clearest mind and the heightened sensitivity of slight drunkenness, between rocks and sun and water, between islands of different lives?

Descending. Estonian forest land ending in water, large concrete objects around Tallinn bay display the signs of former Soviet rule, but nowadays the high rise buildings in the new city center attract all attention: Tallinn’s new skyline from the sea. Tallinn coast, coast of promise and frustration. What I see below me is different from what I imagine, so many proposals were drawn for this stretch of coast, so little has been realized, so much else has happened.