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Prison in protected landscape

2017

Commissioned by AR-TUR, Centre for Architecture, Karin Borghouts depicts the prisons of Merksplas and Hoogstraten. Merksplas is the oldest prison in Belgium. She was permitted to have an exclusive view behind the bars of these settings. She zooms in on interiors and surroundings and reveals the surprising relationship between these prisons and the landscape. This photoproject is part of the research of AR-TUR’s KEMPENLAB 1: ‘Caught in protected landscape’ (Gevangen in beschermd landschap).

The colonies of Wortel and Merksplas are unique places, a fantastic blend of nature and architecture. There is a chance that in 2018, two hundred years after the foundation, they will be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The prisons do not make up for it. The project ‘Kempenlab 1’ works for better living conditions for the prisoners and more connection between the landscape and the prison.

Solo exhibition with Karin Borghouts’ photos in the chapel of the colony of Merksplas (near the Dutch border), from May 4th to 28th, 2017.
Kapelstraat, 2330 Merksplas Belgium. This exhibition is part of Cultuurhuis de Warande festival “Groeten uit de kolonies”.

In March 2018 AR-TUR will publish Cahier#7 with the report of the project and the photos of Karin.

AR-TUR, Center for Architecture

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