© 2019 BY PE OKX

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WESTFRISIAN RINGDIKE WALK

2009-2011

For centuries the Westfrisian Ringdike, located in the north of Holland, has protected the land against devastating floods. The 80-mile-long circular dike has left its mark on the surrounding environment, spurring the development of cities and villages. 

But today for the most part it is forgotten; an ancient earthwork concealed in the evolving landscape, traversed by railroads, canals and archways. 

 

Pé Okx has lived alongside the dike for more than 30 years and had long been fascinated by its monumental form, in such contrast to the swirl of movement and activity around it - from bikers, runners and skaters, cars and trucks, and herds of cows and sheep.

He saw the dike as a metaphor to a different time perspective. And so in Summer 2009 he began this epic project, by walking the dike, taking a photograph straight forward, every three steps.

When after a year the walk was completed Okx had amassed 48.000 images, from which he crafted a film. In contrast to the painstaking slowness of his walk, the film takes the viewer around the dike at vertiginous speed, through dawns and sunsets, sunshine and drizzle, the grey of winter and the yellow-green of spring.

In July 2010, Okx presented 19 showings of the film in the cities of Alkmaar, Hoorn and Schagen as part of the month-long Karavaan summer festival, with most performances sold out.

In 2011 a book with photo's and video was presented.
The 45-minute-long movie has an original soundtrack composed by Okx and was accompanied by a live performance of four musicians (marimba, viola and violin, percussion, guitar and reeds).
Old barns and farmhouses at the three locations served as the theatres.

“A monument for a monument,” reported the Noord-Hollands Dagblad newspaper in its review.

“It’s almost hypnotizing how one is pulled at high speed through the Westfrisian landscape.”

The national newspaper De Volkskrant noted that ‘the repetitive, meditative character of the movie has a stunning effect on the spectator, thanks to its unusual perspective and profoundness.”

Many of the spectators also contributed comments.
“It’s a beautiful, meditative document about the dike, but also about nature, light and a man who moves at his own speed through time,” wrote one audience member.

And for Samuel (8 years old) “it was the most beautiful film I have seen this year.”