The project is a joint venture between the Flemish state government and the Belgian federal government for a regional remembrance park along the front lines of World War 1. The park is scheduled to open in 2014, the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war. The scheme re-orients visitor itineraries to the geographies of the war, and it choreographs a series of ephemeral plantings and atmospheric effects that give presence to the battle fields within the context of working agricultural fields.
War and its aftermath have had significant physical and ecological impacts on the Westhoek landscape — from the flatlands, through the deforested and bombarded fields, to the agricultural farmlands. Though sometimes subtle and often isolated, these altered conditions have created new regimes of wet and dry, entirely new topographies — and have spawned new ecologies and new occupations.
This masterplan aims to extend these tendencies; to create a set of continuously evolving landscape installations, grounded in the practices, precedents, histories and ecologies of the Flanders Fields. Here the earth (and memory, and one’s conscience) is to be continually re-worked as a projective way of remembering: a military past, an agricultural present, a resonant future. Yet we must simultaneously recognize the global import of this effort. The war was fought with multi-national forces, and it had far-reaching impacts, for generations, around the world.
Herinneringspark 2014-2018 itself is a Flemish initiative but with lasting global significance. It seeks to tell its story to a wider audience of world travelers, and its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage designation seems certain.