With her book as a visual narrative and the exhibition as a tangible experience, Utrecht photographer Maan Limburg immerses reader and visitor in an overwhelming emptiness. Japanese people call these empty buildings and places Akiya, a concept that fascinates Limburg – the photographer from the land of housing shortages – immensely. On her travels she discovered abandoned shops whose only customers were rats, half-collapsed party venues, dusty factories where products waited in vain for a buyer, overgrown gardens and both completely decayed and almost intact homes.
In November, residents of Utrecht organized yet another housing protest. In the year 2021 it seems impossible to find a place to live in the Netherlands, let alone to buy a house. With the rising cost of housing, discontent is also rising. In Utrecht, where every square meter is being exploited, we can hardly imagine so many abandoned buildings. Perhaps it is precisely for this reason that Maan, as a born and bred Utrecht person, became so inspired by the deserted ghost towns and places in Japan that she shot hundreds of images in these deserted worlds. In the coming months, she will convert these images and publish them in a book and an accompanying exhibition, called “The Lost World”, where her amazement is perfectly expressed.
If you are curious about Maan, make sure to check out our mini interview with her as well. You can follow her project throughout the period via Instagram (@maanlimburg) or on Maan’s website. Just contact her if you’d like to pre-order her book!