Ghent and its surrounding territory can be characterised by its agricultural and infrastructural canals, and its corresponding history as a centre for textile manufacture and port for the distribution of its products; a riverine system augmented over centuries by the demands of trade and its accompanying technologies.
Moving north along the picturesque rivers of the Ghent city centre, the banks of the river edge widen and become straddled by loading-cranes rendered in the vibrant blue of the maritime industry. The nearby Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen offers a natural depiction of the same geography. Marshlands, fields and ponds are inhabited by birds undertaking their annual migratory flight paths. Like the industrial ports to the north of the city, the Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen Nature Reserve provides an important point of transit within the broader transportation networks of the continent.
Flock of Cranes proposed to connect the industrial heritage and natural importance of Ghent through a series of sculptures. The project drew upon the bird-like forms of the industrial loading cranes to the north of the city, as well as the scale and clustered groupings of migratory birds in transit; illuminating a similarity in the posture of the infrastructural apparatus of the crane, and the birdlife whose environment they share.
The project proposed that 20 crane structures would be crafted from laser-cut metal sheet laminated with hi-visibility reflective tape – a material often associated with industrial signage, machinery and processes. The cranes were to then be placed into smaller clusters that resemble family/kinship groups of wild birds, and illuminated with waterproof spotlights.
This project was an unrealised proposal for the Ghent Light Festival