For the final phase of his project, As Above So Below, Mark IJzerman collaborated with TU Delft Geomatics student Karen Staring to create stunning visuals for his AV performance with Sébastien Robert.
As Above So Below
As Above So Below explores the changing landscape of La Araucanìa region in central Chile, where old-growth forests have been replaced by eucalyptus and pine monocultures over the last forty years. The resulting decrease in bio-diversity has a significant impact on the local Mapuche communities. Mapuche activists have seen the land's water supply decrease since pines and eucalyptus were introduced to fuel the growing logging industry. The decline of the water supply has put regional agriculture under pressure, resulting in fewer work opportunities and increased economic precarity for the Mapuche population. Paradoxically, forests are increasing in Chile, but these are principally man-made forests, constituted of fast growth genetically engineered tree species, meant for the production of timber and paper manufacturing. These fast-growing species are now competing with old-growth forests, which take several centuries to mature, a growth cycle which humans can hardly comprehend.
For this project, Mark IJzerman combined different ways of knowing and observing. This process allowed the possibility of combining first-hand accounts through lived experience and scientific data across longer time scales. Drone footages, field research and interviews were collected onsite during his residency with Valley of the Possible, giving rise to a palpable understanding of the landscape. This direct knowledge was later combined with open-sourced satellite imagery from the European Space Agency. Seen from above, the increased management of the landscape translated visually to square patches of land eroding the fluid shapes of the old-growth forests. The analysis of the satellite imagery was done by Karen Staring, a master student in Geomatics at TU Delft.
Geomatics is the science of the analysis and visualisation of geographic data to model and predict land-use change over time.
The resulting collaboration produced an immersive audiovisual performance that makes concrete the degradation of this specific ecosystem, over timescales not normally understandable on a human scale. As such, As Above So Below brings together the aesthetics of ecological uncertainty and with the urgency stemming from real-world entanglements.
Mark IJzerman (1988) is a Dutch media artist and designer making installations and audiovisual performances. In his work, he explores the interaction between sound, light and their physiological effects on the body. Most recently, his focus has turned toward our experience and relation to our ecology and atmosphere. He has performed his A/V works at various media art festivals around Europe (Rewire Festival, Transmediale/CTM Vorspiel, FIBER Festival, Mapping Festival) and has most recently exhibited works at MU in Eindhoven, Art Center Nabi in Seoul, V2 in Rotterdam, and at the European Space Agency.
IJzerman is a tutor at Ecology Futures MA at the Masters' Institute of Visual Cultures. He is a part of the new media collective Zesbaans and runs the sound art blog Everyday Listening.