About my work
The central theme of my work is the communication between people in urban or rural environments. In my installations, I explore such landscapes and cityscapes, urban agriculture, studying how people live and work there. I use these installations or projects, which are custom-made from sustainable materials for a specific location, to excite the viewer’s curiosity and encourage interaction, enhancing the viewer's awareness of the site and its environs.
Laboratory of Microclimates
I see recently an overarching theme in my art work with urban agriculture, that of microclimates. I work with filmmaker Gert-Jan Gerlach and have a foundation: the Laboratory for Microclimates. The Laboratory of Microclimates brings to peoples' attention their social and ecological surroundings.
Raising a worldwide awareness of microclimates, nature and science by using art and visual media as a method of research and presentation. Improvement of people’s ability to explore natural climates in the vicinity of personal environments. An involvement that positively influences nature and science in general. More information see: www.microclimates.nl
Since 1998 my work often revolves around gardens and allotments. Generally speaking, gardens reflect the ideas and values of a culture, time or place. This urban agriculture theme has resulted in different art projects such as:
The mobile allotment
My art project ‘the mobile allotment’ plays with the boundaries of public space. My mobile garden can temporarily occupy spaces that do not ordinarily have a green function: a footpath, square, pavement, motorway, etc. As such, it temporarily changes the public area’s original zoning making it less static. While temporary, this does have the purpose of calling attention to the importance of more permanent allotments in The Hague and other cities.
This recreates a lost function: the growing of food in the city itself. Furthermore, my art projects can be seen as a new view on the utilisation of public space and serve as an example for other policy relating to urban green space.
Documentary ‘Borders in Our Mind’, Havana, Cuba
At both the national and international level, I investigate small-scale agricultural projects in the urban environment that have been realised on the basis of sustainable, cradle-to-cradle principles, and in which the cultivation of vegetables plays a key role. Are there specific methods/innovations that can be deployed in an urban environment to make the growing of vegetables an easier, more sustainable and more productive process? Which external factors are important in this process? During my research in Havana, Cuba (documentary ‘Borders in Our Mind’ October 2010), I discovered new possibilities in the areas of permaculture, rooftop gardens, composting, fruits and exotic crops. These methods have been applied in the Panderplein project in The Hague.
Pandersquare, The Hague
I have developed an interactive allotment garden art project for a public square in the centre of The Hague, the Netherlands. The social security in the area has been restored in a positive, distinctive way for the people living on the square and in the surrounding area.
The publicly accessible, anonymous paved square has been transformed into a sustainable, agrarian inner-city allotment field, giving the square a new interactive function for its residents and visitors. The exploration of a wide range of specific methods and innovations that make the growing of vegetables and flowers easier, more sustainable and more productive with a focus on the surrounding area, the location and the execution, has resulted in the development of an ‘urban agriculture laboratory’. Large sections of the square’s paving are removed, so that the rainwater can drain off directly. The cultivation of (edible) flowers, old strains (forgotten vegetables) and unknown strains (Portuguese cabbage) increases biodiversity.
The interaction on the square results in the spontaneous development of more social control and the use of the square by visitors and local residents has altered in a unique and positive sense.