September 22, 2012

Making sense by making maps

'Sixteen Works' by Richard Long, 1984

The Summer is leaving us fast in the Netherlands. The nights are cold and the Butterfly-season is ending soon.
I have a lot of ideas for new blogposts. I interviewed the inspiring artist C├ęcile Verwaaijen (see Still learning and reading about Sand- and flowercarpets. And of course Batik. Because I'm in the middle of preparing an exhibition in the forest with artist Emmy Dijkstra, my time for writing is a bit limited.

For the forest exhibition I'm making a new work. Beginning of this year I started as a Butterfly monitor. I read this newspaper article in which they where looking for people to walk different routes in Breda, my hometown, and count Butterflies. With the collected data the environmental policy can be adapted to the needs of animals. Butterflies are a good indicator on how nature is doing.

When I read the article, I already had plans to learn more about Butterflies. I had this far fetched theory about Butterflies in Batiks. Butterflies are region-specific. Every kind flourishes with a different surrounding. The caterpillars only eat certain plants, so the eggs are laid on or nearby these plants. Butterflies are territorial and only drink from nectar-rich flowers (or in areas where they can find enough flowers on one spot). The life of most Butterflies is short, some only live for 5 days, so they have to find all the things they and their offspring need fast.
My theory was that if you can recognize the Butterfly in a Batik, you can see where the Batik is made.

Batik map of Rembang area, picture made in Lasem (Jave, Indonesia)

A Batik is a kind of map of an area or town. Specific plants, animals, activities, even typical architectural identifiable points are put on to a Batik. This way the maker and the wearer can show where they are from.
With this theory, a new idea was born. How can I capture my surrounding, communicating what I see around me, making a work about a walk without making a map. Using symbols, patterns and so on without leaning on traditional Batik layouts. Making sense by making maps.

In theory could I make a work that makes it possible to walk the exact same route as I did. How can I develop a method of walking combining my interests in temporary, conceptional art*, Batik and all other traditional Art styles I mentioned on my blog with my love for nature?

When I was little map making came natural, old drawing by me

Thinking about this new method, also to use it for a residence which unfortunatly isn't going to happen because they have no money... I found out I was already making maps. My mother gave me a couple of old drawings. I don't know how old I was when I made them. The drawing of the animal farm was such a surprise (see picture above). I realized I always had this urge to chart everything on my path. Every year when we went to Italy, I would made this drawing of the interesting things we saw on our way. I would write the time underneath it. I think you find the same church tower, point for traffic jams and other striking indications in the drawing I made every year.

For my fathers 50th birthday I designed the invitation. On it was a kind of comic of his daily routine. This picture below is from a school-project where me and a friend made this alternative route past public placed sculptures. We started with a map from the Tourist Office, but some sculpture where gone, we find other more interesting ones and mixed one up. There where no pictures in the informationfolder, so when we found this beautiful wooden sculpture in front of a church we though it was 'Engel' by Huub Kortekaas. The real 'Angel' was a white, abstract sculpture that was in repair that moment.

Map of sculptures in the Uden region from around 2000 by me

I will share my new, made map after the exhibition. For pictures of the work in progress see

 *Richard Long's walks and his way of communicating them

September 5, 2012

Bloemencorso in Zundert

On Sunday me and Koen went to see the Bloemencorso, Flower Parade, in Zundert. We visited this yearly spectacle last year for the first time, see blogpost 'Bloemencorso in Zundert'.
The leading up to the parade is a lot of fun to watch. Rival neighborhoods walking through the streets with their member T-shirt on. Staying up all night, working hard to get every Dahlia into place. Knowing now how their float came out, nervous what the other floats will look like.

They know about the idea, in the winter of 2011 every neighborhood showed their design with a model. After that I think everyones keeps their progress top secret.

This makes the impact with the first glimpse you get, when the float is turning the corner of the street, even bigger.
20 floats in total, making a parade on one day, being exhibited the next and turned into bits and pieces again on Tuesday. A wonderfull event which will be added to the UNESCO list hopefully very soon!

More info about the Bloemencorso on