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From the Sea to the Clouds to the Soil – 1 Oct > 18 Dec

film still 'Garden Amidst the Flame', Natasha Tontey (courtesy of the artist)

Group Exhibition: From the Sea to the Clouds to the Soil

Opening: Saturday 1 October – 17hrs, with opening speech and performance
1 October – 18 December 2022
Location: Stroom Den Haag, Hogewal 1-9, The Hague (NL)

From October 1st, Stroom presents From the Sea to the Clouds to the Soil. The group exhibition presents works full poetic perspectives that make us (more) aware of the symbiotic relationship between humans, technology and nature. The five participating artists offer new imaginations to experience our relationship with landscape, technology and climate; from the sea, to the clouds, to the soil. The intricate connection between all forms of life, elements, bacteria and atmosphere is ever-present, yet remains largely unnoticed. For this reason, From the Sea to the Clouds to the Soil calls for the experience of ‘existential kinship’: the urgent awareness of connectedness between all forms of life and ecological processes –which is necessary for the survival of our planet. With the increasing disruption of ecological balance on Earth, visualizing this interconnectedness is truly important. The exhibition brings together contemporary artists who explore this close relationship with the natural environment.

By imagining a shared future, artists Risk Hazekamp + Scape Agency (Netherlands), Femke Herregraven (Netherlands), Urok Shirhan (Iraq/Netherlands), Yeon Sung (South Korea) and Natasha Tontey (Indonesia) seek another window to confront the urgency of climate change; by inviting visitors not just to look and listen, but to actually open up to other forms of life and to feel the connection with them.

The city of The Hague offers an interesting setting to explore these questions of entanglement and connection. The Dutch city of ‘peace and justice’ and the government seat emphasizes the connection between country and state. Situated along the liminal boundaries of the (rising) sea, where do politics end and geography start? By showing these works, Stroom invites us to think differently about the role that technology, breathing, rituals, bacteria and types of soil can play in the ecosystem of the urban environment. To look at the world around us from a different perspective: from the sea, the clouds and the soil.

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Risk Hazekamp, 'Experiment'

How do we take care of our failures?

Caradt BAD Researcher Risk Hazekamp in collaboration with Scape Agency and Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803

Cyanobacteria are micro organisms to which we owe our lives. As the inventors of photosynthesis, around 2.3 billion years ago, they shaped the evolution of oxygen and breathing on planet Earth. In the bioreactor, developed by Scape Agency, Cyanobacteria are offered “ideal” conditions to thrive. As if it were a reversed human breath, we witness and join a steady cycle of conversion of the carbon dioxide from our bodies, into oxygen and back.
When their habitat changes, by contact with other elements (dust, particles) the Cyanobacteria will respond by fluctuating the size and output of their culture. Depending on the needs of the collective, they enter into symbiosis or even perform a collective re-start. What can we learn, today, from our ancient ancestor?

Hazekamp’s practice focuses on analogue photography, a medium that in its very origin is entangled with ‘toxicity’: not only in its chemical processes, but also through the power structures and harmful norms of catagorization that it has indelibly defined and perpetuated. What is left of photography without a human eye and without its chemical processes?
The installation continues throughout the space where we witness the ripple effects of the changes in environment that the Cyanobacteria is attempting to respond to and it engages with photographic film. A new approach to analogue photography, the Cyanobacteria consumes the gelatine of the film emulsion and leaves its marks. How do we take care of our failures? is an experimental exercise in decentering the human experience and imagining symbiotic alliances.

Risk Hazekamp is an inter-dependent visual artist and researcher, and as art educator takes on the position of a student when they can. Lars van Vianen is a meta-designer and founder of Scape Agency, a spatial innovation collective that dreams, discovers and designs for the everyday of tomorrow. Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 is a unicellular Cyanobacterium, originating from a freshwater lake in California in 1968. For this installation, the collective uses combined strengths to investigate the complexities of survival and togetherness on our shared planet.

This project is made possible with funding from the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie and Stichting Stokroos and the support of Sabrina Botton.

‘It is through the “not-knowing” that a stimulating and caring environment can be created to confidently share vulnerability.’

Risk Hazekamp is researcher within the Biobased Art and Design research group and tutor for the Art & Research study programme at St. Joost School of Art & Design. 

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Research Group: Biobased Art and Design

The research group Biobased Art and Design capitalises on the role of artistic practice in unlocking the unique potentials of living organisms for everyday materials and communicating these to a broader public. In doing so, the group aims to instigate and accelerate our widespread understanding, further development and usage of such materials. The group’s research approach encourages tangible interactions with the living organisms, such as algae, fungi, plants and bacteria, to explore and understand their unique qualities and constraints through diverse technical and creative methods taking artists, designers and scientists as equal and active partners in the material creation.

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