Location: Forts of the 'Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie' & the internet
Number of Events: 7
The premise of the project Z.T., duurzame versterkingskunst (2001) was to bring the 'Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie' (Dutch Water Defence Line) - as a whole - into people's imagination as a unique place by creating a virtual Line. The title 'Z.T.' means 'Zonder Toekomst' ('without future') and refers not only to the history of this typical Dutch defence system (dating back to the sixteenth century), as interesting as it was tragic, but also to its future as projected by the Dutch government in order to fulfil its nomination as a World Heritage Site. In the past, flooding the land routed the enemy by making it impossible either to locate roads or to use boats, as the water released was too shallow for navigation. This ingenious system is simple and effective and was used several times. The advent of more effective explosives made the defence line's batteries highly vulnerable, and they eventually lost their function entirely during the Second World War, when the Germans used aerial attacks instead of ground troops.
During the Waterproof, Fort Asperen project, Van Heeswijk has been mapping the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, trying to find out about daily life on the Line. She focused on its past and its present uses as well as reflections on its future. The internet site
made it possible to visit the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie as a virtual monument. While navigating over the Line, the virtual visitor can see its forts, batteries and works, and is presented with visual material from the past and present, information on its past functions, its current uses, and visiting times. Several forts no longer exist and some are no longer accessible to the public. During the Waterproof project, Van Heeswijk took small groups of visitors to seven of these inaccessible forts, and at each occasion a different speaker was invited to give a view on the 'shelf life' of a monument and the relationship between defence and imagination. The speakers were media activist Martin Lucas, activist Ine Grevers, artist Wapke Feenstra, art historian Rudi Rolf, artist Babak Afrassiabi, freelance journalist Jo van der Spek and curator Maarten van Wesemael. Their stories - both in text and image - could also be found on the website