The Becoming, The being & The meanwhile
subsurface as living climate archive
Land in Wording, Amstelpark Amsterdam, 2019-ongoing
#1 Genesis, #2 Onland (2019), Guardian, #3 Breath of Soil(s) (2020), #4 Soft Soils, #5 aardtijd (2021)
Part 5: aardtijd
empirical artistic research, seeking for versatile and reciprocal perspectives
an art work that is too vulnerable to touch, while seeking sensorial connections with soil/Earth
empirical artistic observations….aardtijd…onder de huid van het landschap…exploring the past to anticipate the future…
aardtijd is Part 5 of ‘The becoming, The being & The meanwhile’, subsurface as living climate archive (2019-ongoing). Follow up of Part 4 Soft Soils, Part 3 Breath of Soil(s), Part 2 Onland, Part 1 Genesis.
May 29 – June 13, 2021: aardtijd
artistic-research-workspace at Glazen Huis, Zone2Source Amstelpark Amsterdam. Visit on appointment.
June 7-13, 2021: ongoing artistic research with Eline Kersten and dancer-choreographer Kenzo Kusuda
June 11, 2021: Soil Matters radio program hosted by Tanya Lippmann, with Eline Kersten & me
June 6, 2021: 14:00 – 17:00 Open Glazen Huis, Zone2Source Amstelpark Amsterdam
May 29, 2021: sensoilation, online sensorial program during 24hr Online Global Peat-Fest 2021. With Sphagnum papillosum, Tanya Lippmann, Jacqueline Heerema and Eline Kersten. Hosted by Re-Peat Collective, the Green Tribe and Zone2Source.
Land in Wording
(no. 18 on the map of Amstelpark)
Since 2019 I work on an ongoing artistic field research project called ‘The becoming, The being & The meanwhile’. This project is themed around Land in Wording, a tiny swamp at Amstelpark. I was triggered by contemporary romantic narratives that state that “This part of the park is still an original piece of land from before the Floriade”. But is it? Or is this a form of staged authenticity?
At the intersection of art with paleontology, geology, archeology & ecology, I questioned how natural nature is in Land in Wording. I reconstructed the genesis. It appears to be a man-made swamp. A transitional ecology – neither land nor water – designed as an “Instructive garden” with “relocated nature” for the horticultural show Floriade (1972). I explored the phenomenon of ‘time’ and the representation of nature-culture and climate, in the subsurface landscape.
I encountered a living climate archive: soil/Earth as living entity. During the past 50 years we lost this narrative…
artistic field research, 2019
After reconstructing the genesis of Land in Wording, I found on the surface a 17th century artifact.
A majolica shard of a porridge bowl, part of the ear, with Haarlem curl, mid to 2nd half of the 17th century. An index fossil, parallel in time with the first mentioning of the country estate Amstelrust on the river Amstel, dated 1635.
With climate scientists/activists I drilled in the soils and collected 10 meters depth of subsurface soils with a time-depth of approx. 6.000 years.
At a depth of 5.35 – 6.25 m. we found in marine deposits a 6 mm wadslakje (Peringia ulvae) as an index fossil, indicating that this area knew once an intertidal ecology.
public intervention, 2019
Breath of Soil(s)
During the drilling I was confronted with an uncomfortable sensation:
people, plants and animals breathe, but Earth also breathes…
exhibition and public programs at Zone2Source 2020
Since this drilling, I am the guardian of 10 meters of subsurface living soil.
Some subsurface samples even started to sprout…
I started to work on the in-between-ness of art & heritage with soil, questioning processes of validation of value, and if soil benefits from this process?
I experienced the beauty and vulnerability of soil/Earth: they speak for themselves.
to be exhibited at Arti et Industriae, due to COVID postponed to January 2022
During the process of working with unfired subsurface soils – as a supposed reversible process – I experienced again an uncanny sensation:
the subsurface peat shrinks, thus visualizing the sequence of peat, carbon storage, oxidation, land subsidence…
…and this process is irreversible…
Climate. Breath in. Breath out. Or as Tanya Lippmann states:
…being intertwined as both contributor and recipient of atmospheric gasses (pCO2 and pCH4..)
With special thanks to Tanya Lippmann (climate scientist, VU), Eline Kersten (artist, curator), Bert van der Valk (geologist, Deltares), the international youth collective RE-PEAT, Mathijs Boom (historian, UvA), Lietje Bauwens (philosopher), all participants in multiple stages of the project, curator Alice Smits of Zone2Source (Exploded View I, 2020), curator Krien Clevis of In Principio Foundation (Exploded View II, 2021) i.w.c. Gert-Jan Burgers (VU, CLUE+ Cultural Landscapes and Urban Environment) & Fablab at Sundaymorning@ekwc.
My participations in Exploded View I & II are kindly supported by Stroom Den Haag.
Ongoing research of the ‘in-between-nesss’ is kindly supported by Mondriaan Fonds.
…peat, carbon storage, oxidation, land subsidence…
“Across the world, peat covers just 3% of the land’s surface, but stores one-third of the Earth’s soil carbon.” (Re-Peat Collective)
“Oxidizing peat produces greenhouse gases.”
“The subsidence of soft soils such as peat is a global problem.” (Deltares, 2015)
aardtijd is the follow up of Soft Soils. Within the art project Soft Soils (2021), I question validation of the value of soil as art, as heritage and if soil itself benefits from this? To approach soil as a living entity and a world in and of itself, I now show the vulnerable beauty of Soft Soils. They speak for themselves.
During my artist-in-residency at Sundaymorning@ekwc (2020), the international centre-of-excellence for ceramics, I made a 3-d scan and mold of the archeological artifact, a shard of a 17th century porridge bowl I had found on the surface of ‘Land in Wording’, as an index fossil dating back to the same time as the first mention of country estate Amstelrust (1635) on the river Amstel. During the public intervention ‘Onland’ (2019) I drilled in the soils of this man-made swamp called ‘Land in Wording’, and collected 10 meters of subsurface soils with a time-depth of approx. 6000 years. During the drilling I was confronted with an uncomfortable sensation: people, plants and animals breathe, but earth also breathes…..
With this mold and the collected subsurface soils, I started to work on the in-between-ness of art & heritage with soil. During the process of working with unfired matter – as a supposed reversible process – I experienced again an uncanny sensation: the subsurface peat shrinks, thus visualizing the sequence of peat, carbon storage, oxidation, land subsidence…and this process is irreversible…
The becoming, The being & The meanwhile’
… address contemporary notions of interconnectivity of sociodiversity, biodiversity and/with geodiversity..
…drawing from the realization of human temporary time and/with geological deep time.
a speculative geology of the present day, both a commentary on global warming as well as a juxtaposition of human and geological time…
contemporary time and perceptions of archeological (human) time….
…validation of value of soil through the arts, heritage..