Photos: Jan Theun van Rees


Pompgemaal Den Helder, 2014

This is documentation of the work I made during my two month residency in Het Pompgemaal Den Helder. The installation comprised paintings (gouache and watercolour on paper), handwritten quotes from a range of sources, and a five-channel sound piece playing, radio-like, around the space with the voices of Tony Curzon Price (economist and former editor of “openDemocracy”), Toby Kiers (URC Prof. of Mutualistic Interactions, VU University Amsterdam), and Albert Menkveld (URC Prof. of Finance, VU University Amsterdam).

The gouaches are based on photographs I took last year of experiments carried out in Kiers’ lab at VU University using hairy-carrot root cultures and fungi in petri dishes with grids drawn on the lids in blue felt-tip pen. The watercolours are studies of the plant Medicago truncatula jemalong A17 which, like the hairy carrot, is commonly used in experiments in plant-fungi symbioses. These are interspersed with a number of quotations, handwritten by me, from different sources: Asger Jorn, Against Functionalism, chosen by curator Hilde de Bruijn; an explanation of the petri-dish and grid experiment by Daniel Engelmoer (post doc Dept of Ecological Science, VU University Amsterdam); Thomas Rainsborough’s famous plea for equality and suffrage during the Putney Debates in London in 1647 and Henry Ireton’s equally famous dismissal of it; Martin Luther’s 1524 statement in his Van Verkaufshandlung und Wucher, quoted in David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years on the impossibility of living according to the Gospel, the need to repay debt, and the necessity of the ‘sword of the ruler’ being ‘red and bloody’. These intersect at different points, in different ways, with threads that run through the paintings and the ‘conversation’ in the sound piece: evolution, algorithmic and high-frequency trading, game theory (the centipede game), cultures of trust, cheating, relatedness, matter, and more.