Content type: Article
Credits: Irene Fortuyn (artist, researcher and lecturer of Fine Arts, KABK)
Year: 2006 - 2009

In 2006, plans were made to completely renovate Haarlem’s Reinaldapark in response to the discovery that the soil had been seriously contaminated in the 50s and 60s when the land was being used as a garbage dump. The proposed upgrade provided a unique opportunity for Irene Fortuyn to literally dig into the history buried beneath the park's surface. Embarking on an ‘archaeological garbage collection’ mission, cigarette lighters, plastic bags, sweet wrappers, bottle tops, buttons, plastic fragments, old balloons, a plastic plant pot and even small plastic toy dinosaur were unearthed. Arranged and displayed as if they were natural specimens in a museum, the found items became treasures that could give insight into the park's history. However, Natura Artificiosa is also a sombre reminder that although the ostensibly innocent objects we use on a daily basis seem to disappear when thrown away, they remain, patiently and defiantly out of sight but ever ready to resurface.

The following images are page-spreads from ‘Atlas Haarlem Oost’, a book that documents Natura Artificiosa published by Episode Publisher, Rotterdam, 2009. Courtesy of Irene Fortuyn