Super-Utrecht: In Search of a Neighbor

1 November 2002–15 January 2003 / Leidsche Rijn

Super-Utrecht is a project taking place within the context of the VINEX-site Leidsche Rijn near the center of Utrecht. Five artists and designers have been invited to develop a project for this site to be presented in the course of 2002. The title Super-Utrecht suggests the presence of a city beyond (above, behind) the city of Utrecht, as is the case with the names of many ski resorts (Super-Espot, Super-Cannes). These areas are usually at their most lively during the winter months, but are almost deserted in the summer and lack a permanent or settled community. The economic and social infrastructure of these places is linked to the seasons. 

In Leidsche Rijn we encounter a similar situation. The economic, cultural and social infrastructure is in a state of becoming and is directed at a city with a community that has yet to be formed. Super-Utrecht provides a way of thinking about how this community might take shape and the relation between the old city and the new city. Leidsche Rijn has already been extensively discussed from various viewpoints, but in most cases the analyses have concentrated on architecture and urbanism. Super-Utrecht, on the other hand, takes as its starting point the consequences of the decisions that have been taken by the architects and urban designers. Super-Utrecht investigates questions relating to new housing developments and the concerns and preferences of the inhabitants. In different projects and presentations, the invited artists and designers investigate the notion of “community” – the relation between the individual and the collective, and the effect of urban planning on the development of a community. Furthermore, the potentiality of an artistic intervention in the construction of a social and cultural infrastructure will be mapped. 

Participating artist/designers: 

Nathan Coley (Dundee, Scotland, UK), artist 

Coley’s work explores the psychological resonances of buildings within their urban environment, referencing the processes which engender their meanings. He investigates the processes by which contemporary monuments are created, thereby allowing alternative readings of representations of the communal. One of his recent projects brought him to Utrecht when he came to observe the Lockerbie trial in Zeist. 

Jens Haaning (Copenhagen, DK), artist 

In his projects Haaning predominantly focuses on communication strategies and power relations in society. By exploring the dual positions of control and dependence, he exposes the forces that individuals and social groups are subjected to. Working with different media, Haaning visualizes socio-cultural and economic tensions through estrangement and displacement. 

Maureen Mooren & Daniël van der Velden (Amsterdam, NL), graphic designers 

Maureen Mooren/Daniël van der Velden (Amsterdam, NL/graphic designers) The work of this graphic-design team emphasizes design as a communication process. This requires a multifaceted approach to users, information and the function of design. This has recently been clearly illustrated by their design for the magazine Archis in which the reader is presented with an interactive role by being given the opportunity to tear out pages along perforations or to make notes in designated spaces. 

Visual communication: 

HOTEL (Jay Sunsmith, Polo Miller, Fernandez Diaz) (Utrecht, NL), graphic designers 

These young designers supply the visual communication strategy for Super-Utrecht. Among other things they have designed logos, record covers and posters. Their work is characterized by references to pop-culture and eclectic design-styles, often with a humorous or ironic tone.  



Super-Utrecht is a co-production by BeganeGrond, Centre for Contemporary Art, and CASCO.

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