The frustrating thing about our landscape is not that it is so flat. There are enough high spots. The way the land has here been created, these are our heights as well: high-tension cable masts, factory chimneys, office tower blocks. bridge pylons. There are fantastic vantage points in this low land. But nowhere have these places been made accessible. In the mountains, it is completely understood that you want to move up, to the top. There are paths. There are shops with climbing gear and guidebooks. There is none of any of this in the Netherlands. A yearning for the heights is not something one ought to have. Our high spots are not climbed. The pylons of the Zaltbommel bridge gradually disappear into the air. You can see that at the top, there is a place where you could stand, a kind of balcony. And down below, there is a door. But there is an unrelenting security system preventing my entrance. I have at times thought about thinking up an excuse to visit the top of a structure like that. I could write letters to the appropriate authorities, make phone calls. I would doubtless succeed in the end in getting up there. Then I could take photographs as well, filI up a cassette tape, be in control of a memory.
Afterwards l’d come back down. The place would reassume its cloak of inaccessibility. I would not be able to share my memory with anyone. l’d have made a privileged journey. This directly touches on the objection I have to aerial photographs. I see the picture and in the first place, I am jealous of the photographer. He was really there, but I remain down here below. Most of all, I see a pIace where I cannot go. Never will feel so earthbound as when I look at a photograph taken from the air. l am very much, altogether NOT there. But the photographs that Gerco de Ruijter makes do take me up with them. I want to spend a day with him. Flying. On the day we’d planned, it was unusually clear weather. We go by car to a place where Gerco had worked in the past. I have seen those photos. They show an incomprehensible structure of water and earth, something that looks like asphalt paving, full of cracks. In other places, the ground looks like paint, smeared on with a palette knife.