A site specific documentation of The Mushroom Club, Royal academy of arts, The Hague
For years, it was the best kept secret in the Netherlands: The Mushroom Club, a former NATO headquarters inside a mountain on the Dutch-Belgian border during the Cold War. This underground network of tunnels was stripped in 1992 and officially erased on paper. What is left is an empty quarry, objects taken out of their original context and the often inconsistent recollections of former employees.
Since this headquarters is erased both on paper and physically, I had to depend on other forms of reconstructing an image of the place. Using different kinds of hard and soft evidence, from fingerprints on paper to memories of former employers, I reconstructed the headquarters enabling others to visit the place.
The final installation comprises five elements that are based on this fragmented information. All elements together serve as fictive fragments – building blocks – that allow the viewer to reconstruct a mental image of the headquarters. The Mushroom Club is a document that embraces the inaccuracies of writing history. It departs from the idea that history is a piece of fiction, composed of facts. Reflecting on the representation of historical events in our collective consciousness and questioning the rol of the documenter in unpicking and reweaving of fragmented information to a linear story.
401 Rooms and Latent Fingerprints are made in collaboration with Tom Schotman connected to the Dutch Forensic Institute (NFI)