Automatische concepten

3318 – The World seen through the eyes of the cow 2003


Commissioned by Stichting wAarde (foundation wEarth)
icw Thomas van Slobbe (director of Stichting wAarde), Helmut Eisel (musician)

Cow 3318 is the camera woman who recorded an hour of her life with a Mini DV video camera mounted on her head. On request of the Stichting wAarde for the project “Een boom voor een koe” (a tree for a cow, trees in fields for shade). Watch a fragment of the video.
The dvd is published in a booklet titled Dichter bij de koe” (closer (and/or poet) to the cow), ISBN 90-76661-09-x. The material is also used in a documentary for the NCRV (pbs) Het mooiste Plekje” (the most beautiful spot) according to the writer Koos van Zomeren, with music by Helmut Eisel, played on location especially for cow 3318.

A1-roadmovie 2007

Commisioned by Tauw bv, Deventer.
In collaboration with Julian Scaff.

Do inhabitants long for distance, to explore the space of the highway? Does the driver at the highway live a life in desire, is there wind of change and freedom blowing trough his head? Is the A1 a metaphor for freedom and personal growth, is the A1 provincial, turned inward? Road movie or a regional novel?

A research done in collaboration with a team of young professionals at Tauw bv (civil engineers) and Goudap[pel Coffeng (traffic logistic experts) has resulted in four design studies and a short (road)movie.

Directed by Julian H. Scaff – Produced by Jeroen van Westen – Cinematography by Julian H. Scaff
Edited by Julian H. Scaff and Jeroen van Westen
Interviews with: Machteld Aardse, Henk Hengeveld, Katrien Bijl, Floris Frederix, Marco Aarden, Annemieke Helder.
Appearances by: Ron Bos, Hem Broekhof, D.J. Faiken, Floris Frederix, Martijn Gerritsen, Nuno Gomez, Ayad Haba, A.J. van Hell, André Oldenkamp, Marleen Schokker, Maaike Teunissen, Jeroen van Westen
music “East-West” by The Al Breckenridge International Three:
Al Breckenridge, Nicholas James Enfield, Neil Thomason.

A12NU Manieren van bewegen (Movements) 2008-2009

A contribution to the research project of Stichting A12NU.

In our research we observed the flows in their natural manner. Although there are connections in the zone, it is a passage area. Even the Highway corridors and canals seem to directly lead to destinations. Every spot in the area is destination and starting point at the same time, with the purpose of work and comsumption.
Jeroen van Westen Julian H. Scaff

The results of the research project are a movie and a publication of the research results.

Als Muren Oren Krijgen 2007

Commisioned by Ratatouille.

Ratatouille was a trio musicians (Heleen Gerretsen Yvonne Hogt Pauline Kolsteeg) which set up a series of concerts celebrating special architecture. The underlying understanding is that to them architecture and compositions are very related works of art. In the project they played existing music and commisioned composers (Merlijn Twaalfhoven, Daan Manneke en Marco Kalkman) to write pieces for specific buildings they had selected in the Netherlands (radio Kootwijk, castle Huis Bergh, The Broeker Auction, Sanatorium Zonnestraal, the Zuiderbad in Amsterdam, Haarlem railwaystation waiting room, and Cruquius Steam pumping station). As part of the performance the selected architecture was introduced by showing short movies made by Jeroen van Westen. Rob van den Broek made paper-installations as an interactive decor for each location.


installation + performance i.c.w. Michael Pestel
Museum De Paviljoens, Almere

with many thanks to breeding bird population VVB, Almere; 8 high school students Almere: Jasper Goedman (artist/musician)

Endangered species of birds are a living reminder with whom communication is still possible. For Jeroen van Westen and Michael Pestel (USA) extinct birds are symbols of amputated possibilities. Art can do little for them except give them a voice. Our languages contains proverbs which typify the attitude of our (explicitly verbal) culture towards birds and towards nature. Through means of acoustic art, Jeroen van Westen and Michael Pestel can express the possibilities and impossibilities of communicating with nature and with birds.
For the triptych exhibition Natuurlijke Verwantschappen (Natural Affinities) a virtual bird landscape is created in which an exchange between birds (nature) and people (culture) can take place through the intermediary of art. The young (planted 30 years ago) Vroege Vogelbos (Early Bird Wood) provides an extra cultural incentive. Here people can meet (in language and in sound) other people and birds.

BIRDSCAPE II 2001-2002

installation + performance icw Michael Pestel
Regina Couger Miller Gallery, Pittsburgh PA USA

Our inability to resuscitate extinct birds requires us to rethink and intensify our communication with living birds. The sounds of endangered species in particular, but all birds in general, can become a kind of mnemonic device for calling to mind absent species around the globe. Birdscape explores interactions with these sounds through a virtual garden space, video projections, performances and workshop events.

This exhibition was supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment of the Arts, by a Pennsylvania Councils Special Opportunity Stipend, and by the Mondriaan Foundation.

BREATHING in TIME out 1999-2005

(stalled) Green Energy Landmark, Lamby Way Landfill: Cardiff Wales, UK
Commissioned by (Hyder)TESCO & Cardiff County
Coordinated by CBAT Arts and Regeneration, Cardiff Bay Wales UK

A work to draw attention to alternative energy sources and processing of waste. Only limited space was offered in the commission to (re)design the final phase of how the landfill should look like after closure. It is considered to be important that the work will draw attention over a longer period of time. The development of the design of the work Breathing In Time out was done in close collaboration with local political and educational institutes. Part of the almost finished proposal was a walk pointing at important features of the landfill and its location in the city. A second part was the marking of where the gas is sucked out of the landfill like a star constellation on the ground. The visually most prominent part of the project was the suggestion of an entrance making the landfill into a storage room instead of permanent disposal in the form of an eye: the city can see the eye, the eye will watch the city (with an beautiful poetic contribution by Peter Finch). The project was accompanied by an extensive website offering a source for information as well as a basic structure for educational programs.
For several reasons the project seem to be aborted just before completion.

Breuklijnen, Overijssels kanaal (Faults, Overijssels Canal) 2008

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Overijssels canal -which is closed for ships- CultRaalte organised an exhibition of installations in and around the canal by about ten artists.

A canal cuts through a landscape. On three locations, there where watercourses cross the canal, the shores of these courses are marked in the canal. Two dotted lines of blocks of grass mark the first crossing creek, two rows blooming bluebells mark the second, and two rows of young willows (to be) flank the third crossing watercourse.

BUSSENPLEIN (Bus Terminus) 1999 – 2003

commissioned by Local Council Noord, City of Rotterdam
Icw Hans Snoek and Q.S. Serafijn

The strength of public transport lies in the effortless linking together of the various services they offer – preferably in a clear and well-organized environment. None of this was reflected in one of the most important junctions of public transport in north Rotterdam.
As an extension of the assignment Muizengaatje, the artists Q.S. Serafijn, Hans Snoek and Jeroen van Westen were asked to participate, in an advisory capacity, in the collaboration between municipal and government services responsible for the renewed layout of the North Station transfer point.
The advice emphasized using the space in such a way that a real square could evolve. Further, the space should be cleaned; the lighting in the square and in the tunnels for cyclists should be more than merely functional; access points to public transport should be re-designed; travel information should be readily accessible to the consumer; local trade should be encouraged; and an acceptable transit space should be installed under the overpass. The application of all these proposals will serve to create an acceptable transit space.

Color Cards NM 2004-2005

artist book, edition 21 (250x60x5mm) – part of Cross References

The colors of the New Mexican high desert form a spectre with a wide range. Not only in colors, but the tone scale is extensive too. Photographing colors in a landscape is also photographing structure, by organizing the photos on color and tonality extremes in the landscape are juxtaposed.

Converse 2004-2005

artist book, edition 7 (300x270x35mm) – part of Cross References
All landscapes can be read for their relationship between nature and culture. In every landscape there are several stories hidden. Converse consists of 16 visual poems which are told with 17 panoramic photos. Each poem has a title, a word, the word is explained according Websters on Line dictionary on an adjacent page.

Creative Coasts 2006-2007

Creative Coasts

Commisioned by Province of Noord-Holland icw Baltic Sea Cultural Center.

Creative Coasts was a cultural exchange program to provide a view at each others practice for a wide range of art professionals.
Two teams accepted the challenge to help finding new ways to re-connect the fortified old city of Gdansk to modern urban dynamics.

Download the project report Reconnect a contribution to the project with many thanks to the team members (printed bold).

Carmela Bogman, Aglaee Degros, Ellen Holleman, Alicka Karska, Grzegorz Lechman, Dennis Moet, Lucyna Nyla, Anna Olszewska, Brechtje Schoofs, Jakub Szczepanski, Aleksandra Went, Jeroen van Westen, Bartosz Wysocki.

De Elsenerbeek (the Elsener-creek) 2004

Follow up for Vennegraven, commissioned by Verbeelding van de Regge/DLG regio Oost Icw Joost van Hezewijk (landscape architect/artist) The Elsenerbeek is a more ‘natural’ variation of the original design for the Vennegraven. Nevertheless, the need to actively re think the landscape in which the new creek will run is emphasized. The economic changes in the rural areas on the higher sandy soils is too dramatic to suppose that the landscape will keep her present qualities. Like in the previous design, culture is a main actor, a creative force for the new watercourse. At several location along the stream special (visual) moments are proposed addressing the natural potentials and the cultural responsibilities towards the past and the future. See: Kwelwatertafels (Seepage/up swell tables), Draaideur (Revolving door), and Recreatieve knoop (Recreational knot).

De HerKenning (The Recognition) 2004

Based on a series of short inventory studies plans are made to reinforce the relation between the city of Deventer and the river IJssel in two workshops by directly involved parties. In De Herkenning the results of these workshops are visualized.

De Kenning (The understanding) 2003

Commissioned by study group IJ van Deventer
Politicians discuss the possible jump across the river IJssel of the city of Deventer, partly in combination with the need for an extra channel for the river to prevent flooding of the city in the future. Out of a deep concern for the river foreland and the unique location of Deventer a collective of engineering firms, educational institutes and the foundation who is owner of most of these forelands took the initiative for a study group Het IJ van Deventer. De Kenning is a visual research of how Deventer is situated at the IJssel.

De Nieuwe Marke 2004

Follow up for De Elsenerbeek, commissioned by Verbeelding van de Regge/DLG regio Oost, KCO, SKOR
Icw Peter de Ruyter, Hilke Floris (landscapearchitects bAH); Jan Winsemius (Urban planning/legal adviser Bureau Middelkoop)

The landscapes economic basis of the Rijssener valley is receding like for all higher sandy soils in The Netherlands. Zoning schemes are just checklists for certain rules, not instruments for change. Can we come up with a new way making it possible for inhabitants to develop a new viable content for their landscape? The Nieuwe Marke is inspired by the old organizational form of a Marke which had favors and obligations for their participants to organize the use of the. In The Nieuwe Marke a balanced new set of favors and obligations is proposed to organize the present landowners and users in combination with a grand design for the Rijssener Valley.

De Runde komt! 1998-2009

Commisioned by DLG-north and Emmen municipality.

De Runde is the name of a stream that disappeared with the peat that was mined. The land-restaration-re-allotment project Former Emmer peatcolonies commisioned to improve the possibilities to experience the hidden treasures of this landscape. The firm base under all proposals was to re-vive the most important hidden treasure: water welling up from the ground. A special kind of water that has the power to enable the return of nature to create variation and a sense of security in the till then open, barren, land, wasted by exhilirating industrial agriculture. Not that the old Runde would be copied from age old maps, but a course based on sories of the inhabitants of the area, and finding a way between cultural obstacles. Though it took a long time the original idea proved to be strong enough to change the plans into reality, mainly thanks to the faith and stubbornness of many inhabitants who demanded that the plans would go through, and thanks to provincial an nature organisations who picked up the ecological and economical power hidden in the idea of a new Runde.

Contributors to the design: too many to mention, but many thanks to Piet Ziel, Harry Berg, and Wiebe Rueschen.

De Vennegraven/De Elsenerbeek 2003

Commissioned by Verbeelding van de Regge/DLG regio Oost
Icw Peter de Ruyter (landscape architect bAH), Joost van Hezewijk (landscape architect/artist)

In the next ten years the image of the Regge as a real river in Twente will transform drastically from a wide canalized watercourse dedicated to drain the land, into a watercourse trying to slow down the transportation of water, giving room for the development of nature. Spatially, technically, and culturally there are still many issues to resolve. The need for a new watercourse to link an existing nature reserve to new nature to be developed is a pilot for how the Regge will be transformed in the near future.
In the study Vennegraven (Peat canal) is made clear that reality is less rosy, and tough decisions have to be made to give new nature a real chance. The proposal lead to fierce discussions and, a new commission, now with conditions making an ecological approach more realistic.

De Wisselmaat (The changing field) 2004-2007

Commissioned by DLG region Oost
Icw Ivonne de Nood (landscape architect DLG) en De Grontmij (civil engineering)

The productive landscape is changing in a consumers landscape this is certainly true for areas where farming is no longer profitable. The small-scale landscape along the Regge between Almelo and Hellendoorn is agriculturally seen over and done, but from the cultural historical point of view a treasure. To improve the landscape for use by the consumer, and by that affordable to conserve, a series of small interventions like new (bike) paths and adaptations (fences-cattle grids etc) are made by the DLG.

De Wisselmaat is an entrance to the landscape, a place where you park your car to fish, or to hike, to bike, or may be to put a canoe in the river. De Wisselmaat is a portrait of the landscape one is about to enter, an entry with a wink to the grand entrances of the large estates: welcome to Twentes yard.

Desert Passage 2004-2009

Desert Passage’? is a project featuring the work of three outstanding artists focusing on the issues of land, water, and culture specific to the arid land of the high desert of New Mexico. These artists, Gerco de Ruijter (the Netherlands), Jeroen van Westen (the Netherlands) and Anne Ausloos (Belgium) all have exhibited extensively in Europe and beyond.

This exhibition has developed after years of work, many trips to New Mexico and an artist-published book also entitled Desert Passage’? that documents the work of each artist and their guide Ton Haak. The goal was to investigate the enormous difference as well as the surprising similarities between the Dutch (wet) lowlands and the New Mexico (dry) high desert. The contrasts between the Dutch polder system and the Hispanic acequia system became subject for each of these artists. The Dutch practically drown in water and have to create structures to manage and release its abundance, while the New Mexicans are plagued by drought and have created efficient irrigation systems to lead the little water there is to the places where it can be best used. Both the Dutch and New Mexicans have created democratic organizations for their water management. In both places, nature itself plays a dominant role and often disturbs these human regulating measures. In the desert, the scarce water suddenly forces a path through a dry arroyo, causes it to overflow and deliver flash floods. A little rainfall can create new and unique pathways that remain visible for scores of years.

The three artists experiment with land and water each in their own way. While doing so, they create strong images, beautiful sounds, thoughtful observations and fascinating installations. It is also hard work: De Ruijter spends long days flying his kite in the unstable winds of the high desert and sometimes has to fight hard to prevent his camera from diving and crashing into a canyon wall; he hikes mile after mile and climbs steep canyon walls to retrieve his camera and kite. Ausloos also hikes for hours on end to collect greenish, red, copper, white and mustard-colored dirt with which to create colored tracks in the dull grey badlands, or fill vessels with miniatures of the desert. Van Westens camera and microphone capture the subtle life of the dry lands. (Ton Haak)

Desert Passage Exhibition
October 9, 2009 January 24, 2010
Harwood Museum of Art
Taos New Mexico USA

Anne Ausloos
Gerco de Ruijter
Jeroen van Westen

Erve Twente (Twente Yard) 2004

Event Proeftuin Twente
commissioned by Kunstvereniging Diepenheim & SKOR
Icw Ton Matton, Peter de Ruyter , Ronald van de Bron

14 Mobile laboratories, each directed by an artist, investigated the identity of a local council. The results of these laboratories were input for three design teams working on a scenario on what to do today to have a recognizable Twente in 2030. In Erve Twente (Twente Yard) changing and overlapping networks are presented as the main support and catalytic agent of identity. The traditional concept of noaberschap (extended neighborship) is renewed in a modern variation in which the economic and social powers of the region defining the looks of a landscape are being given a voice at specific Zegplaatsen (voice sites) in the landscape.

H S L: Biotoop- Coupure- Perforatie 2001

Two passage ways are planned for the area in the earthen tracks of the high speed line (HSL) but the result will feel more like a wall. The Bentwoud (the Bent Forest) will grow to the east of this wall, although not in the immediate future. The wall must be ecologically exploited and the passage ways clearly demarcated.

On average more rain falls on the western side. This side is also warmer thanks to the protection offered by the town and higher midday temperatures. These biological factors can be further maximized through the use of different ground soils, seed mixtures, and raised patterns in the surface of the dike. In the ecological world the paths and dikes are famous/infamous for their interlopers from distant places.

Where a passage way was desirable, but the omnipresence of the water too threatening, ‘€˜coupures’€™ were made in the dike; openings which could be closed with beams or doors. These ‘€˜hard’€™ openings in the sloping body of the dike are, for me, a reason to argue for passage ways in the form of cuts.

Placing pipes diagonally through the dike directs the gaze to the land or sky. Drain holes and other stones or man-made material, are dotted over the earth in such a way that they manipulate one’€™s conception of space. This partial or complete perforation also offers a greater variation of possibilities for the balance of nature.

HARTSLAG (Heartbeat) 2001

A pumping station is an inherent part of the landscape and body of water – a mediation between wet and dry. It can rise as a symbol from the banks and channel the water (as in the Kreekrug), or rise from the water, in the shape of a tower, and look out over the land (as in Watertoren.)
In both cases the activities pertaining to the pumping engine are exhibited, as it were, on a platform next to the station. This activities include the functions of the maaiboat (a canal maintenance boat with a device for cutting reeds, roots of plants, etc), the drainage of slush and the storage of garbage dredged up by the pumping engine.


It was not to be expected that the soil should yield any archaeological traces of the Hildam, the 17th century overhaul. Centuries later it is once again an important place where the residents of Oosterheem can cross the HSL, either by foot or on bike, on the way to Bent Forest.
Id like to give content to the meeting between city and nature domain. It is a confrontation which takes place on many different scales. To start with Id like to organize the meeting between the different landscapes belonging to this scale. Each of these landscapes has its own water level. By bringing these water levels into close proximity under the overpass, and encapsulating each system in its own material, three squares emerge from my design. Thus, under the HSL overpass, a covered garden comes into being a hall, a meeting space.
To the east of the HSL dike there is room for two squares. One of the squares would be the location for a high-rise building serving as a visitors centre for Bent Forest; the other would offer parking facilities. The tall building will be a symbol of city and country, and serve as an example of ecological architecture in itself.

Hunting Grounds 2002

Natuur in de USA – natuur in Europa
In two half year long periods Hunting Grounds is created in Seattle. It is a digital collection of texts and images in which a traveler can feel lost. Essential is the view at the relation between nature and culture, with man as a necessary and problematic pivot. Participant and outsider. Concerned party and critic at the same time.

IJdijken De vinger aan de dijk (The finger to the dike) 2005-2007

Commissioned by several local councils, water boards, Province of Noord Holland, secretariat DRO Amsterdam (Belvedere-project)
Icw Bureau H+N+S, bAH, Jeroen Saris communicatie, Ytsma Project Communicatie

The IJdijken tell about a more than 600 years long history of occupation in which water was an enemy. People protected themselves against this enemy by dikes, pumping engines, dams and locks. Changes that occurred in this defensive system, in agriculture and due to the fast industrialisation and urbanization have already hidden parts of the stories the dike tells. A conservation by development- rescue operation is undertaken in three phases. Phase 1: Verstoeling (division) and Schouw (visual quality check). Who is doing what in this broadly composed group, and: what has happened with the original IJdijken, what is still recognizable? Phase 2: Zeevang (sea catch). Observations and infiltrations, seeking for opportunities to gain more in-depth knowledge and broaden our knowledge of the reasons why the IJdijken exist, existed and will exist. Phase 3: Dijkpalen (Dikemarkers). To mark clear conservation by development guidelines to inspire policymakers, inhabitants and users of the IJdijken.

IJdijken: sharpening a sense for memory 2007

Commisioned by collective municipalities bordering on the IJdijken

A second study for the cultural heritage program Belvedere. Was the first study an inventory on what is going on social and cultural historical at the northern and southern Ijdikes, this second study gives creative suggestions on how to improve the experience of the IJdikes as THE cultural historical- signature of this large area between IJsselmeer and Northsea.

These two sudies never could be done without the team of HNS, DRO Amsterdam and bureau Alle Hosper, with critical reviewers in the back benches from different disciplines.


A participatory critical review


Commissioned by SAFLE on behalf of The Welsh government and OveAarup

This critical review of the design of the New M4 motorway south of Newport, Wales (GB) is done in a participatory way. It is an INVITATION to integrative thinking. Central issues discussed are the legibility/readability of the landscape as is, leading to the conclusion that READABILITY needs VIEW. The next step involves looking into the changing culture in the motorway zone, and to attempt to forecast and examine the impact on the future landscape that the motorway will make on the landscape.

The complementary step of having a VIEW from the road is how about the VIEW at the road. Going through these steps it became clear that in this sensitive area of the Levels it is of great importance to work towards an integrative design: a road that shows it knows it is part of a landscape of a different scale.
An integrative design process with a common vision based on VIEW and Cultural History will make it necessary to take an extra step for some structures and locations. The structural works like bridge, overpasses and railway line crossings need to be designed up until the level at which construction becomes sober and pure architecture. The add-ons like sound barriers, wind baffles, fences, communication boxes and sign gantries deserve the same level of attention as the over-all projects needs. The series of twelve WTAs (Water treatment Areas) offer an excellent opportunity to show the projects sensitivity to the fragile water management system of the Levels, and to the archaeological evidence in the area. The eastern connection between existing M4 and the relief road will involve a giant cut through the hills, when done properly it can become a positive dramatic experience. For these extra efforts it would be best to work with people with experience of creative industrial design and landscape art with clear briefs on how to contribute to the final design.

Download the full report.

MUIZENGAATJE (Mouse Hole) 1997 – 2001

commissioned by Center for the visual Arts Rotterdam and Local council Noord, Rotterdam
Icw Q.S. Serafijn, Hans Snoek and Maarten van Wesemael

An assignment from CBK Rotterdam and the North Borough to collaborate in improving the layout around the A20 and Bergweg : the gateway to the north. The proposals take ecology, public transport, traffic circulation and especially the monumental nature of the city overpass into account. The artists work with the public space. Existing plans for a sewer retention basin have been improved from a spatial and expressive point of view (work in progress), and the artists have proposed a couple of follow-up assignments in which art should take the initiative in assuming responsibility for the city wastelands. A first concise publication of the plan is published by North Borough; a second and more complete publication is foreseen.

N201 Nature compensation Bovenkerkerpolder 2008-2010

commissioned by the Province of Noord-Holland
icw Henk Volkers

A provincial motorway will be relocated to pass by the town of Uithoorn in stead of splitting the centre with a road dangerous to cross. The new road will run through an open polder, important habitat for meadow birds. As a way of compensation for the loss of habitat, new nature has to be developed in the left over space between the new road and the existing Hollandse Dijk. Extra program is to provide space for water retention with the demand that it should contribute to the improvement of water quality.
The concept of the design is based in the meeting of existing powers/interests around the area and the intrinsic qualities of it. The parcellation of the land is typical and of cultural historical importance. The origin of this subdivision is in the occupational techniques to settle in peat areas. The natural condition of this landscape is wet, mossy, swampy. In the design compensation itself is addressed (shame versus accessibility in hide – living bridge, as well as which new cultural concept of nature will follow up the present meadows with their proven value for biodiversity: defining nature is repositioning of culture.

N322 Momentum 2008

Commisioned by Province Gelderland.
Coordinated by Hermelinde van Xanten for CBKG.

At a cultural historical highly sensitive point, that has an enormous ecological value too, a team worked in a truly integral well designed process. The final proposal adressed all aspects of orientation at local space and time. A proposal that finally tripped due to results of geo-physical research. The subsoil is simply too fluid to be able to combine safety and access to different places of cultural heritage.

N359 – Rakelings 2010

Commisioned by Atelier Fryslan.
In collaboration with Feddes-Olthof landscape architects.

The commision is to combine plans to upgrade a road with a fresh look at the way this 50 year old road is fitted into the landscape. This demands careful weighing of the changes that such an adaptation will have in store. To think about is road is to think about how we live, where we work, who we are or want to be, paying attention to the different speeds in a landscape. This cultural philosophical approach is a worthy addition to knowledge of the landscapes and traffic logistics.

NM-miniatures 2004-2005

Sixteen 1-2 minute videos – part of Cross References.

A series of about one minute each portraits of different aspects of living with water in the harsh environment of the New Mexican high desert. Short observations of the northern New Mexico landscape and the relation/management of water in this high desert area. A number of the miniatures are registrations of small scale interventions exploring cultural defined relations between water is wolf, drought bringing insanity, water saves lives.

Watch the video’s:

OerIJ 2004

Commissioned by the province of Noord-Holland, cultural planning department
Icw Gerco de Ruijter (photographer), Ton van Vliet (photographer), Peter de Ruyter (landscape architect bAH)
Archeologists discovered a close connection between findings in Noord Holland related to the dynamic genesis of the landscape: a (double sided) estuary of the Rhine to the North sea on one end and the Zuiderzee at the other. In the present landscape relicts of the creeks are still found, dikes along the part that stayed open till the 18 hundreds, and on sophisticated altitudal maps the main channel is still visible and many of its tributaries. How can one protect landscape and archeological monuments in an area where so many claims are made on space and use of space. In a elaborate visual research the present landscape is related to its (recent) geological genesis, how our culture is rooted in this natural history, and still embroiders on these themes.
In additional texts and sketches approaches are proposed for the major issues on the basis of conservation and development of the cultural and natural history.

ORIENTARIUM Nieuw Hoornwijk 2000-2005

Commissioned by the Rijksbouwmeester (Governmental architect)
Icw Kees Kaan (architect Claus en Kaan architecten), Aleks Droog (landscapearchitect PARKLAAN )
A garden with baroque accents made for roaming next to a big building. Not a 17th century estate, but a brand new office building for the NFI (Dutch Forensic Institute), a beacon at the Highway designed by Kees Kaan. The grounds are designed with at the back of our minds the old mansions and their gardens like the estate Hoornwijk once was at the river De Vliet. Over time the design will reveal more of itself, it throws a shadow of the buildings identity (her inhabitants) over the filed. By using rich and poor soil over TIME a drawing will grow, an icon for forensic RESEARCH (a fingerprint) but used in a subtle way, depending on seasons, mowing schedule and use. In the field there are MARKERS of the TYPICA (characteristics) which each show their own TRACKS/TRACES. Three varieties of one kind of tree, planted in a orthogonal GRID, stand for the systematics of scientific research.

Osmose 2003-2004

Cargo, Almere (NL) en CBAT, Cardiff (UK).

Osmosis is a process of selective exchange through asemi-porous membrane. It is a feeding system for plant cells, the exchange of salts is important for the survival and growth of the cell. It is an essential process for primitive as well as complex forms of life. In Van Westens work we can also identify the process of osmosis, an exchange of past and present, of nature and culture. He searches for the essence of a particular period which may shimmer through the landscape and defines the global importance of this for society.

Osmose is a composition of sounds from cities, churches and nature. Listen to the soundscape of 2722′?:

Wiard Sterk, director CBAT The Arts and Regenerations Agency, Cardiff, Wales UK

POLDERKAMER (Polder Room) part of 2001

As yet there is little sign of any building activity in this polder where a new neighbourhood is planned. On a dam (barrier for the water) in a canal (barrier for the land-traveler/connection for waterspecies, boats) a black container blocks the little road. Large openings (‘windows’) on the long side of the container give a view of the water, visible to anyone sitting in the container. During the day the container is open at both ends and chairs are installed for visitors. The road block becomes a passage, a meeting point. Throughout one week conversations took place between the landscape, people in the landscape, future inhabitants of the new neighbourhood. The dialogue took place in words, images and sounds.

SINGEL TRANSFORMATIE (Canal Transformation) 2001

Oosterheem’€™s main watercourse is a city canal, as straight as the former Plastocht but broader. It has a hard western side and a pastoral eastern flank. Numerous bridges have been planned which will prevent the canal from becoming a delimitation ‘€“ on the contrary, a feeling of openness and space is created.
Together the bridges help shape the transformation of the landscape ‘€“ from scenic creeks to underground water courses. Each bridge is a point enabling people to experience the water in different ways.

Terra Incognita 2005

Commisioned by Apeldoorn municipality.

Twijfelvelden 2009

Commisioned by Province Noord-Brabant and LTO-sector Pigs industries.
Coordinatie Hermelinde van Xanten.
In collaboration with Julian Scaff.

Twelve artists/architects were invited to think about how bio-industrie barns could/should look like in the vulnerable Duch cultural landscape. In our contribution we plea to accept this bio-industry is footloose and can be anywhere, so why not on a big boat going back and forth between The Netherlands and Italy or … This kind of meat production is only on roamtic grounds connected to rural areas, well considered they belong on industrial areas. The free rural area can become an experimental area to develop sustainable food in the future.

Download the publication Twijfelvelden (in Dutch).

Verborgen Horizon (Hidden Horizon) 2004

Event Tijd en Transformatie, Museum Nagele (NL)
Nagele is a village where a sea still lapped its waves 60 years ago. It is designed according the ideological principles of light and space as preached by the Nieuwe Bouwen group. The plan is spacious, rectangular and measured. How do people live in houses placed in a grid like this. How do moles live underground the rectangular central field. What pioneers flower on tilled soil? Hidden Horizon is an installation about the history of the site, and possible (nature inspired) alternatives for the rigid cultural framework.

Wachten op vogels (Waiting for the birds) 2008

Michael Pestel(USA) and Jeroen van Westen (NL) were invited by urban planner Ton Matton to do a an experimentele research on the changing bird population in Rijnmond (Rotterdam Metropole) They were to start in Ton Mattons climat Garden in Hoogvliet where tropical crops are grown in anticipation of further heating up of the earth. By participanten observation Van Westen and Pestel concentrated on the adaptive blackbird in the back gardens of Hoogvliet, the evasive Rook in the harbour area, and the opportunistic Green Parakeet. Pestel communicated with the birds, Van Westen scored the environment, sounds and images. Filmmaker Julian Scaff registered their research. The findings were presented at the Rotterdam Natural History Museum in a serie of performances.

Water-NM: a 15 minutes video 2005

Water is a short movie with a poetic view at natural and cultural water from high in the Rockies through the New Mexican high desert to Albuquerques concrete stormwater channels. This movie is part of the project Desert Passage.

WATERBLAD (WATER LEAF) – Wierden 2008-2010

Waterschap Regge en Dinkel works on the watersystem in the Dutch area Twente. De themes safety, water experience, and dynamics play an important role in their water policy.

With a length of about five kilometers, De Wendel will transport the water from the Almelo and Wierden area. De Wendel has the shape of a leaf closed in by two motorways, so the water is close to the drivers. Retaining and slowing down the water is a new phenomenon in our cultural history. The water will first be collected in the waterholes, before it is released. When the leaf is flooded, the sheep have to run to the top of a mound.

WWW. RESTRUIMTEN. NL (Wastelands) 1999-2001

-site discontinued june- 2005 commissioned by Center for the Arts Rotterdam, Ministry for Planology and Environment (StIR= Stipend from Foundation for Strategic Intensive use of Space) Icw Q.S. Serafijn, Hans Snoek and Maarten van Wesemael Over the years, as large-scale infrastructure developed, pockets of wasteland came into being. As the city continued to grow and press in upon these areas of non-development, they became an ever greater menace. The space was used for a variety of purposes, horse stable, green garden, rubbish dump, etc. It also attracted criminals, junkies and the homeless. Subsequent to the Muizengaatje project the artists Q.S.Serafijn, Hans Snoek and Jeroen van Westen proposed further research into the nature of these wastelands, with a view to better exploiting their potential. The investigation initially centered around criminality but later expanded to include a thorough social-cultural exploration of the urban wastelands around the A20, the Rotterdam-Utrecht railroad line and the Noorderkanaal from the Terbregse Plein to the Kleinpolderplein. (framed by water) 2001

Event Kunstestafette (art relay) province Zuid-Holland, Zoetermeer (NL)
A new neighborhood in the city of Zoetermeer is no news, the original village has been over grown by new housing estates ,and always following the latest fashion in the market. Who still knows he/she is living in a polder. Every planological step starts with water in the NL, especially in Zoetermeer. Oosterheem is the latest development of Zoetermeer and totally dependant on water management. De history of water politics is considered to be a essential element in structuring culture. From this point of view the urban design of Oosterheem is scrutinized and equipped with marginal notes in the form of expressive proposals.