platform for art, nature & technology
April - November 2022


Robbert van der Horst


As part of the Shadow Floriade, Zone2Source invited a number of artists and architects to design temporary outdoor artworks for the Amstelpark.


Robbert van der Horst is an artist and architect whose work always interacts with the landscape: physically, historically and socially. Since 1995 he has been creating performances and temporary structures that question our relationship with the surrounding landscape. His interest in architecture is rooted in a long-running investigation into how we as humans connect to a place on earth and how vulnerable and precarious that position can suddenly become. He sees his structures as staging: by traversing a route, becoming detached from the ground, offering a new perspective and making the horizon visible, new space for experiences is created. Temporary structures express the relationship between home, man and horizon.

Universe is a research machine, an observatory, that rotates and from which we take in new perspectives on the environment. The outdoor work is next to the pond. We are invited to reflect on the surrounding social, physical and historical landscape and to anchor our sense of place. Universe is an existing work that Robbert will adapt especially for the Shadow Floriade and the Amstelpark. For instance, he developed a new power plant that illuminates a lamp by slowly lowering a large weight. The weight is hoisted up again by the visitors themselves. This new coupling technique will be used in this new version of Universe. From the rotating elevated platform around a sphere that mirrors the surroundings and the sky, we see the Amstelpark differently than the beaten paths of the park, and we are asked to orient ourselves differently to the place we occupy.

Shadow Floriade

The outdoor works were inspired by pavilions designed for the Floriade horticultural exhibition. The architectural pavilions were shaped by the theme of the expo, the theme of the Shadow Floriade being the rediscovery of human imaginations about nature. At a world exhibition, pavilions are places to experience and discover. These temporary park pavilions function as instruments to better attune ourselves to the natural environment. The outdoor works are not only built for human interest, but also to pavilions for other-than-human organisms.