The way the E3 was pulled through the historic site of the Chateau de Surmont is exemplary of what was going on all along the route at the time. Despite the collective euphoria about the modern motorway and the economic progress it would bring, it did not come without a price. Before construction, many lands had to be expropriated, neighbors were separated from each other and valuable heritage or greenery disappeared. (In the English landscape garden around the former country house, cedars with a circumference of five meters were felled to make way for the motorway.
Until recently, from the E17 you could still clearly feel how the highway cut through a historic garden: from the car you could see a screen of impressive trees on both sides of the road. The ride through a landscape of industrial architecture was suddenly interrupted by a brief moment through a green canyon. However, during the construction of the Evolis park, the southern wedge of the English landscape garden was lost (see visualisations).
With our intervention, we want to restore the experience of driving through a green canyon by installing a new green screen at the designated project location – exactly where the southern wedge of the landscape garden was until recently. We do this in the form of fifty monochrome flags, over a distance of 200 meters, in different shades of green that imitate the natural color palette of the other side and that move in the wind just like their neighbors across the street. We suggest replacing a number of flags with different colors every month so that the flag screen changes color with the seasons, just like the tree tops. Flags are festive and the installation therefore celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the E17 and all the opportunities it offered the region. At the same time, our intervention is a subtle reminder of the drastic impact that the construction of the highway had on the communities, nature and culture along the chosen route.
The flag screen consists of 50 flagpoles of 8 meters high, placed every 4 meters over a total distance of 200 meters. The flagpoles are anchored with a sliding sleeve in the slightly raised verge just next to the highway.
The rectangular flags are printed in four monochrome shades of green (summer flags) or yellow/red/brown (autumn flags). Our proposal is to systematically replace the summer flags with the autumn flags during the period of the temporary installation. In this way, the installation also acquires a dynamic aspect and can continue to fascinate car drivers who pass by several times.