Sandsongs / 18th June 2016 / 19 – 24 hrs
location: Argusmast, Zandmotor.

Sand Songs was specifically conceived for the Zandmotor by an international group of interdisciplinary artists and students that have been invited to imagine this location in the terms of a musical instrument that is performed by human activity as much as by the natural elements. Sandsongs is presented by the iii in collaboration with the ArtScience Interfaculty, the Satellietgroep and TodaysArt.

Kay Churcher, Cecile Gentili and Sophie Rust proudly presented the outcome of their research of the elementslab during the Sandsongs festival among the other participating artists: Marije Baalman, Lars Kynde, Tobias Lukassen, Christian Liljedahl, Ana Lemnaru, Grzegorz Marcinak, Maya Verlaak, Adam Basanta, David Pocknee, Tena Lazarevic, and Jesse Smits.

It was a challenging event, concerning several showers falling down and the pretty severe wind during the building up in the day,  but the spirit was high, and we all melted down seeing soooo many happy faces walking around in the evening.

Tourne Vent – Kay Churcher: A 30 piece installation of metal sculptures that are turned by the wind. In this field of kinetic works, each piece produces a haunting, abrasive sound as they are put into motion. The interaction between these pieces, each of different heights and dimensions, produces a conversation between the variety of sounds.

Close your eyes – and open your ears – Cécile  Gentili: We will explore the Zandmotor and work on our awareness of our sonic and sensorial environment. Each walk will involve a group of participants and guides. The guides will lead participants on a blindfolded walk. Then participants will take off the blindfolds and retrace the walk together, exchanging impressions on the experience.

Aurora – Sophie Rust: Aurora is an installation visualizing the motion of the wind.  75 bottles each containing a wind generator powering an LED lamp are spread out over a sand dune, like reverse candles that light up when blowing on them. As the wind rushes over the sand the lights come alive, making perceivable the variations in wind velocity at different points in space.

All photo credits: Pieter Kers | Beeld.nuW329_911336-Cécile-Gentili-performanceW329_911337-Cécile-Gentili-performanceW329_911339-Cécile-Gentili-performanceW329_911341-Cécile-Gentili-performanceW329_911498-Tourne-Vent–-Kay-Churcher-19-2048-dscf0131-1024x683W329_911569-Tourne-Vent–-Kay-Churcher-W329_911527-Aurora-–-Sophie-RustW329_911545-Aurora-–-Sophie-RustW329_911896-Aurora-–-Sophie-RustW329_911902-Aurora-–-Sophie-Rust

Goodbye elements lab

It has been a wonderful year with almost weekly Elements Labs. It has changed my view on the elements, opened my eyes again for the art of nature. I felt in love with the place and sometimes hated it when it was stronger than me and I couldn’t enjoy the beautiful view because the elements soaked or froze me. It was an impressive journey to an extreme place so close home. We traveled from summer to winter and back and missed autumn and spring. We were water bags and dancing body points. We scooped, watched, listened, danced and read. It was an expedition I would not have missed. Thank you Cocky and fellow students, Kenzo, Sattellietgroep and iiinitiative.

Experiences from The Zandmotor


I can feel a storm rolling in. The wind is blowing the waves flat and grey, like sheet metal. It’s picking up, the wind has a real bite to it now, truly warning us of what is about to come.

I sit here on a sandy cliff overlooking the sea, knowing my homeland lies just beyond it. The colours of the sea range from the cool grey of my eyes, through a molten brown until just before the horizon sits a strip of teal; so unexpected in this seemingly barren landscape.



I move through the beach, feeling. My feet bare.

They feel the texture, the temperature, the saturation, the grain. As I walk from hard sand to soft sand my calves work hard, my feet spread as they try to find a balance, a hold.

I move and am moved by the landscape. The wind pushes me. The waves pull me. The sand persuades me. By the changing textures I prefer smoother ground. By the changing gradient I prefer flatter ground.

The wind blows the sand onto my ankles; biting, snapping. Yet it is not painful. Simply a new sensation.

The shells beneath my sensitive feet are sharp blades. Yet they are not painful. Simply a new sensation.

The water runs over my toes, under my arches, around my heel. It is cold. But it invites me to join its rhythm. After a time the fresh hits of the waves feel like home, as familiar as my own heartbeat.

Stadsdeeljournaal Scheveningen

Marleen van Staal from staddeeljournaal Scheveningen came to the Elementslab to make a local video-reportage of our work. This is a real cult movie! and watch it till the very last moment!

or goto: look for Satelietgroep Zandmotor – published 26 mei 2016.pic 4pic 6

Victoria’s film: presented on festival Designkwartier

MAY 27-29
The Satellietgroep presented arts and design, research and products that reflect coastal transitions, climate change and the human role in these processes. With Atelier NL, Theun Karelse, Elements lab of the ArtScience Interfaculty, Studio Nienke Hoogvliet, Aliki van der Kruijs, Waterpioneer & De Onkruidenier.

Victoria Douka-Doukopoulou summarizes the research in a video about the Elementslab of the past semester in het own poetic way.. The film was presented in de Tempel, Department of Archeology, Nature and Environment, The Hague.

Thank you Victoria!

elements lab from Victoria Douka-Doukopoulou on Vimeo.

still elementslab

Notes from the Zandmotor

Your own moving sensorial body in relation with this dynamic landscape can be considered as an element.

It often felt my body is inseparable from this place, and even inseparable from the other body’s. Does the other feels as happy as I do when we approach each other in the middle of nowhere. Is the sky as dazzling immense as I feel when it hovers above my head?

I remember all these times, we approach and leave this place, every time different and often performed as a synchronized collective act. We are moving elements in the landscape: approaching, meeting, leaving this place as a repetative pattern over time.

Francois noticed that all our endeavors were really a group thing; never only one person suffered no mostly the whole group suffered or the whole group enjoyed.

Warm up your senses as you want to be conscious of what you very personally experience on the Zandmotor. Often you’re very first notice(s) is essential or relevant. What comes to you, what do you observe, what calls you attenton and then how do you interact with it. Phenomena are whatever we observe or perceive. Your personal observations can be so obvious, so close to you, that you don’t recognize it as actual potential. What appears to you, and what does it mean to you. You’re building up a relation with that what appears to you.

The Zandmotor asks from us an unremitting search for a moment of balance.

Willing to be the one who is in control does not work in this place.

The Zandmotor is one big observatory which will be solved in 20 years.

Choreografie: What are the flows and movements and rythms of the Zandmotor, and then making counter-movements, I saw the sand performing straight lines, I saw the sand performing a grid. Stepping the tides up and down, up and down.

The rhythm of the Zandmotor, the stream of sand along the sealine crawls 3 steps up north and then 2 steps back, 3 steps upwards, and 2 steps back, 3 steps upwards, and two steps back.

How we experience a certain colour depends on what we have seen before. I saw old pink sand, I saw orange sand really (Flor saw it to) , I should have photographed it all. How can I catch it, store it, , share it. Is it a human thing to order. The Zandmotor will be vanished in 20 years.

Trying  to catch the moment, from moment to moment.

When living only in the clocktime, one gets aliented.

Our natural state is that we want to be engaged

A work should work for itself, do you want feedback, simply ask the sky above you, that bird flying over or the 20.000 old years grain of sand you’re standing on, does it connect to them to?

I should have made more notes…

We need,  food, water, air, ground to walk as a base, what if warmth is missing. When is the moment that the artistic actions makes its entry.

Zooming in a personal element in this vast landscape seams a working method, and avoids that you get lost.

Being out there, away from the city on this vast plane where the elements are exposed under your skin, I experience the Anthropocene physically, emotionally and rationally.I am standing on this immense pile of sand digged out from the ocean and dropped here so we can build with “nature”.

Natural and Anthropocene processes are irreversible interwoven with each other and they became a hybrid. The climate is one of our biggest artifacts or hyperobjects (Timoty Morton) These complex systems will never return to their state of origin. So concepts as “a natural balance” will never return. There is no way back, only a way further.


Post-lab thoughts

At the Zandmotor, any attempt to sustain a philosophical thought becomes redundant; any artistic intention, misplaced and pretentious.

At the zandmotor, your pretenses fail. There is no space for you to hide behind, to cover and protect your self with. The wind is too loud, the cold too visceral, the distances too deceiving for your brittle mask and that which you make up yourself with in your daily social habitus.

You quickly realize that competing with one another is inessential; competing with the environment is simply comical.

At the zandmotor, etiquette is something you tend to lose as you go. There are no bathrooms here, no clean water; no shelter. Food and water you bring if you remember and warmth you find stumbling in an attempt to run.

Inadequacy is what your movement is stiffened with. You stumble, you walk slower, you shiver and estimate distances in a way that only a person who is used to short-sightedness does.

The landscape is vast and you so very small. Your sense of self quickly scales to become part of a homogeneous ecosystem, where one is as important as the other. You are no less valuable than the ocean; you are no more valuable than the grain of sand. You are of the same fabric, merely in different form.

But of course, such romantic notions are only rarely felt. There is hardly anything romantic about the Zandmotor, if not for its striking colors during a storm.

The cold is crippling. Motivation and meaning mockingly stay behind to watch you move around with that little bit of integrity that enables you to call this outing a class.

The Zandmotor is bare and boundless. And yet in sand, wind and water we find the essence of its expansion: the infinitesimal.

At the Zandmotor the horizon dances. Walk over a sand dune and you’ll quickly lose sight of the black specks that are your classmates.

Distances and spaces have a scale of their own.

Approaching the Zandmotor is a gradual loss of purpose. Why do I do what I do? Why does it matter? This place was here before me, and will be after me. Our interventions matter little. And if they do it is to remind us of our fragility, need for companionship and that ephemerality is at the base of our existence.

It is easy to lose your bearings here; and as you slowly gain them back as you re-enter society’s more visual constructs, you begin to notice just to what extent we have modified our environment to suit our human needs in a human scale. The Zandmotor is not so hierarchical.

The quintessential purpose of the elements lab is to then take you out of your element and into the Zandmotor’s. At times, a rather discomforting practice, but most importantly, a reminder for how complacent we have become in our planned safety, how we have forgot to intuitively and respectfully engage with nature and anything that does not fit our scale or schedule. The zandmotor has a time of its own. Emails and appointments become ludicrous here. Bettering one self and franticly huffing up the ladder of self-improvement and recognition becomes redundant.

You may however, sit and smile, ignorantly and simply.