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The Yield of the Land

submitted by

Joris Kerremans Hong Wan Chan

Fragment of the drawing with each distinct research lens in a different colour, full drawing 420 by 630 cm
Hong Wan Chan & Joris Kerremans, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Ghent University, 2022

Drawing a landscape in transformation in the Pearl River Delta

This vector drawing is the outcome of an elective course led by Wan and Joris at Ghent University that explored a fragment of the fast-changing landscape of Nanhai District in the Pearl River Delta, Wan’s ancestral home.

The selected area, measuring 5 by 3 kilometres, was tackled by eighteen master’s students who used satellite images as an underlayer and drawing as a tool to bridge the gap between China and Belgium. As their enquiring eyes wandered over the landscape, themes and patterns were picked up, while the activity of drawing recorded, questioned, and affirmed their findings.

This approach relies on the tacit knowledge the students have gained during their studies: to draw is a process of selecting, omitting, isolating, ordering. It directs the gaze and prompts questions. Performing it demands precision and deliberation.

Through this process, each group of three students developed a specific visual lens for studying the landscape. The yellow and red group attempted comprehensiveness, in the form of systematic sections over the entire area, and the mapping of a network of open spaces and its range of statutes. In contrast, the green group selected specific places for which scenes from everyday life were evoked, whilst blue catalogued typologies within their larger constellations in the landscape. Purple detailed a single thick strip across the area, juxtaposing the fabric of 1965 and 2020 uncompromisingly. Meanwhile, the invisible hand of a group of student curators kept things coordinated.

Submitted by
Joris Kerremans and Hong Wan Chan both teach at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at Ghent University in Belgium. Alongside their teaching activities, Joris also runs an architectural practice, and Wan is completing a PhD on her changing ancestral landscape in China. Together with their students, Joris and Wan explore peri-urban landscapes in both China and Belgium through the medium of drawing.

Students: Max Boehringer, Fauve Boone, Arnaud Bossuyt, Yonah Couwels, Abdul-Malik Dalsaev, Femke de Bruin, Nicolas De Wispelaere, Merel Decleyre, Raven Heirman, Manó Huyghebaert, Noah Leijssen, Aldo Rooze, Febe Rimbert, Ivan Shuei Sera, Sien Van de Velde, Jeffa Vandecasteele, Lauranne Vandenbussche, Klara Vanstraelen

Students preparing the drawing for exhibition at Ghent University, 2022

This object is part of the TACK Exhibition “Unausgesprochenes Wissen / Unspoken Knowledge / Le (savoir) non-dit”, in the section “Making and Materiality”.