Commissioning Editor, Unseen
Combining prose with photographs from an abandoned archive, Pablo Lerma’s multilayered photobook plays with history, memory and fiction.
Room on the Roof is a special studio space located in the tower above de Bijenkorf (Dutch for The Beehive), one of the largest and oldest department stores nestled in the heart of Amsterdam. This aerial studio is a place for reflection and fresh ideas. Local and international artists, writers, musicians, architects and designers are invited each season to create new work inspired by relevant themes.
In Summer 2019, de Bijekorf collaborated with Unseen to invite local artist Jeroen Bocken (b.1994, BE) to reside in the tower. Fascinated by the differences in our individual realities, Bocken plays with perception and the assumed authority of photography.
During the residency, Bocken developed the series Een aanneembare wereld (An acceptable world) where he explores the fruit region of Haspengouw in Belgium. Here, he found farmers using “hail cannons” to protect their orchards during storms. Yet despite the locals’ absolute faith in these machines, there is little proof of their effectiveness. In this idyllic depiction, Bocken reflects on the relationship between nature and humanity. How much control do we have over our environment? And is it all a matter of perception?
The project resulted in a window display installation, on view in the city from August 26th to September 22nd 2019.
"The purpose of the hail cannon is to prevent the weather from destroying a complete year of work for the farmers...It’s exploding gas that creates a kind of vortex in the air, which is supposed to disorder the positive and negative ions in the sky. This should prevent hail." – Jeroen Bocken
"I love that they use this simple machine to fight against something as big as the weather, to fight against gods almost."