‘You are an archive’ a fellow artist-in-resident at EKWC (European Ceramics Work Center) recently remarked.
My work arises in-between images and words, landscapes and matter, works of art and people, time and climate. I address forms of ‘worldmaking’ and notions of timescaping, matterscaping, landscaping and climatescaping. I question the in-between-ness of the natural and the artifactual to create space for reciprocity and polyphony in a changing world. I want to offer an alternative strategy for the way in which we relate to each other, with the other and with otherness.
the love of living together
Working on projects about sea, coasts, polders, mudflats, climate, the subsurface of a swamp in Amsterdam as a living climate archive and now the river Dommel, I am convinced that geodiversity is inextricably linked to learning to understand the living environment. I see that, in addition to biodiversity, more and more attention is recently focussed on geodiversity, the natural variation in geological, geomorphological and soil phenomena and processes and their mutual relationship. Together with water and biodiversity, geodiversity can increasingly be seen as a way of learning to care for the whole of the living environment.
Inspired by ‘Biophilia’ (Erik A. De Jong, 2009-2020 Artis Chair Culture, Landscape and Nature, University of Amsterdam; my work Breath of Soil(s) – The becoming, The being & The meanwhile is included in this publication), I came across Glenn Albrecht – Australian environmental philosopher with both theoretical and applied interests in the relationship between ecosystem and human health – who offers ‘sumbiophilia’ (the love of living together) as a supplement to ‘biophilia’.
timescaping | matterscaping | landscaping | climatescaping
As collector of images and words I am intrigued by the way we compose/construct and share worldly narratives.
An image and story that triggers my curiosity is ‘Objects in the collection of the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum’, in what is said to be Manhattan’s oldest abode and only Dutch farmhouse, founded in the early 17th century by Dutch colonists. The 1784 farmhouse opened as a museum in July 1916 after a restoration project undertaken by Dyckman.
“The white clapboard cottage has been perched on a hilltop on present-day Broadway for 234 years, slipping under the radar of tourists and New Yorkers alike and looking like a bit of a mirage in its otherwise urban surroundings… They brought back all of their family’s original furnishings, turning their abode into a museum about Dutch colonialists, and even recruited a group of self-proclaimed “relic hunters” in New York to unearth everything from fossilised pig teeth, pottery, and dice made out of bullets from the yard. Over 5,000 objects were surveyed, photographed, and documented.”
..a group of self-proclaimed “relic hunters”..
A work of art that is influential for my artistic practice is ‘One and three chairs’ by conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth with an object, an image, and a text (1965). In 2001 I made ‘One and four chairs’ and added a fourth chair of emotion (Ik noem haar Roos, 2000-2005).
meta-arts, in-between-ness of an artifact | biofact | ecofact |…
…an exercise in what I call associative etymology?
Some keywords seem to pop out in discussions about how an artifact, a biofact or an ecofact is defined, as a being, a living being, a once-living organism. So, the main question seems to be, how do we imagine notions of living, once-living and non-living entities?
Ontology, or the nature of being
An artifact (in scientific definitions) is understood as an object produced or shaped by human craft, especially a tool, weapon, or ornament of archaeological or historical interest. Or is an artifact an observation, artificial product, effect or result observed in a natural system which is inaccurate, especially one introduced by technology used in scientific investigation or by experimental error?
Biofact is introduced as early as 2001 by German philosopher and biologist Nicole C. Karafyllis, but coined in 1943 by Austrian protozoologist Bruno M. Klein in an article entitled ‘Biofakt und Artefakt’. According to Karafyllis, the term biofact is a neologism comprised of “bios” and “artifact,” and refers to a being that is both natural and artificial, brought into existence by purposive human action. In philosophy, sociology, and the arts, the word biofact is a neologism coined from the combination of the words bios and artifact and denotes a being that is both an artifact and living being or both natural and artificial. Biofacts (in archeology) are understood as passively consumed or handled by humans; as opposed to artifacts, which are purposefully manipulated. Biofacts reveal how people respond to their surroundings. In biology, a biofact is understood as dead material of a once-living organism.
An ecofact (in archaeology) is considered an object or substance of natural origin that has not been technologically altered but that has cultural significance; such as, a shell carried from the ocean to an inland settlement. Remains of something not made by people that has a cultural relevance; for example, faunal, floral, or sedimentary material. …
create a myth
The becoming, The being & The meanwhile
In-between-ness of the natural and the artifactual
sedi | senti | ment
During my recent artist-in-residency at Sundaymorning@EKWC (European Ceramics Work Center) I started to work on multiple layers of time and place, perceptions of staged authenticity, locality and timescales of matter. With the aim to come closer to a deeper sense of the time of the earth and of the arts I questioned my ability to transform a fossil (a natural phenomenon, dated approx. 50,000 years before present time) into an artifact (a contemporary cultural phenomenon).
Are artists aware of the time-scale of matter we use in our daily practice?
Polycyclic, the Dutch mountain
Zandmotor as artifactual but framed as nature, something people make by making use of natural phenomena like the wind, currents, sand.
I picked up a stone at the freshly manmade Zandmotor, thought it was just another brick and was about to chuck it over my shoulder. ‘Always check before you disregard a finding’, my walking companion remarked. ‘It is a sand stone, some 24 to 26 million years old. It came by rivers from Germany to the North Sea, was picked up by a dredging ship and deposited on the Zandmotor’. Suddenly, I realized the timescale of the stone itself and of the delta landscape of the Netherlands as a whole. The matter shifted from an object into a subject, a stone became Stone, thus adding another layer to polycyclic acts of becoming. Once a mountain, Stone became my friend and accompanies me on field explorations as guide to touch upon time and spark imagination.
I wrote ‘The predesigned ephemeral nature of the Zandmotor itself challenged a polyphonic discourse for co-creation of experiential knowledge’.
I perceive Zandmotor as a next step of worldmaking and modifying cultural coastal public space….
As part of my artistic practice I am collector of ….more will follow soon.
Cabinets of Curiosity
Both natural and artificialia