Morphing Matter (2019)

Part of The Transience from villages into lakes (2018-)
video and photo series
Thanks to neuroscientist Tycho Hoogland and the NIN (Dutch Brain Institute)

Venues: Neverneverland gallery, Amsterdam (NL)
CIAP Kunstverein Hasselt, (BE)
Haus der Kunst, Munich (DE)

first test-print, studio, 2019

‘Morphing Matter’ examines lignite from a microscopic level, showing a different facet of the material thought of as ‘responsible’ for the excavation process which caused the disappearing of over 300 villages in West Germany. While lignite looks brown and rather uninteresting to the human eye, enlarged 30 times it inherits a completely different appearance which makes it look attractive and valuable, standing in sheer contrast with most people’s cultural-defined association with the material. Reacting to the negative and often disastrous depiction of geotraumatic and postindustrial landscape, the work confronts the viewer with their own prejudice against the matter itself, triggered by the linguistic fashion of being ‘against lignite’ within the German energy-source debate.

Together with neuroscientist Tycho Hoogland, a string of microscopic images of lignite was produced, resulting in a series of photographs. From the more zoomed-in samples, an un-chronological loop video was made, showing the morphing from one piece of lignite into the next and the various new landscapes which seem to emerge in the process.

‘300 villages’ found object, ‘Ten is for God’ at Neverneverland, 2019

The installation ‘Morphing Matter’ is part of the series ‘The transience from villages into lakes’.  The project combines artistic work with theoretical research, resulting in a series of works and an artist publication. Starting from the notion of the artist’s grandfather’s birthplace, which vanished from the map in 1976 due to lignite industry, it explores the changing of matter which occurs within the particular landscape of Nordrhein-Westfalen In West Germany. While young, her grandfather would walk with her along the borders of a lake; pointing towards the water, he would tell her that he was ‘born inside this lake’, which is geographically the old location of the village he was born in. The project examines the concrete lifeworld of this landscape in order to understand the various deep-rooted and ongoing consequences of this excavation, for both it’s human and natural inhabitants. These range from loss of sites of memory to dramatic ecological changes to flora and fauna, resulting in large areas which become permanently uninhabitable. While the old excavation site was turned into a lake, the soil, dust, and debris resulting from the excavation were replaced and used to build a coal mountain. By means of artistic research, the personal family history is placed within a theoretical framework, relating the story to theories about landscape philosophy and the historicity of matter, shining a light on the microscopic and macroscopic landscape and the several hybrids which come into existence because of this industrial practice.

Still ‘Morphing Matter’ loop video, 2019, shown during ‘Ten is for God’ exhibition at Neverneverland, Amsterdam