As an artist, I have been interested in working with participants since my graduation in Fine Arts at the HKA Art Academy (Arnhem, the Netherlands) in 1999. After this four-year education I studied a two-year post graduate programme in Photography at the College of Fine Arts and Design St. Joost/Brabant University (Breda, Netherlands), for which I graduated in 2001. In both exam works, the digital storytelling projects The Wentinck Pages and Journey to the North, I enabled viewers to participate in the course of action. During a professional art practice that followed these educational programmes, I continued to combine collaborative storytelling with new media use. This resulted in many participatory projects, often with a prevalent online presence. Some of these early projects are presented here below.
Altogether, I have experimented with a variety of ways for participants to express themselves. Although I often work with new media, I never tried to impress people with the tantalizing and imposing powers of new technologies. On the contrary, I search for the human scale within every implementation and value human emotion above technological experiences.
JOURNEY TO THE NORTH (2001-2002) – Websites
My MFA exam work Journey to the North – Adventures of an Avatar is an online diary in word, image and sound, in which my fictional alter-ego reports about her journey: a fantasy that I was not able to experience in real life. Responses and advice from visitors of the website co-directed this fictional travel. After my graduation, I followed my desire to travel up North myself, while writing a second diary: Journey to the North – the Real Escapism. As the two websites are linked, they intertwine imagination and reality, fact and fiction.
BRAINTEC (2002-2005) – Websites and performances
Braintec is an online collaborative storytelling project about an American research company that does research on the recalling of memories through brain implants, using human test subjects. The project exists of three websites, an installation and a series of performances in which I recruited participants to become test subjects in the research program.
Braintec won the Dutch ISOC-award for Internet and the Arts in 2002 and was nominated for the International Media Art Price in 2003. It is shown on many national and international festivals including the Netherlands Film Festival, Ciber@rt, FILE and ISEA2004.
REGISTER VAN DE DAG VAN GISTER (2004-2005)
This project focusses on the media use of elderly people through a piece of furniture made to collect stories and memories from the past. All collected material is automatically published on a website.
Register van de dag van Gister was initiated by Waag Society (in collaboration with Kunstgebouw and Stichting Erfgoed), who continued the project after 2005.
VERHALEND VATHORST (2005) – website
Verhalend Vathorst (Storified Vathorst) is a digital storytelling platform about the building of Vathorst, a new neighbourhood of the city Amersfoort. I collected stories from recently settled inhabitants and about the unfortunate destruction of farms, necessary to make space for the growth of the city.
This project was conducted in collaboration with Vario Mundo.
DE GROTE TREINREIS (2005-2007) – Installation and website
The collaborative storytelling project De Grote Treinreis (The Great Train Journey) is built for an exposition on self-portraits for Breda Photo 2005, a festival on photography in the Netherlands. Participants made self-portraits in front of a real size picture from the Trans-Siberian Express and wrote about their fictional journey on a website.
De Grote Treinreis is rebuilt for the Museum of Gorcum in 2007, as part of the manifestation Leven uit een Koffer (Living from a Suitcase).
VOGELVLUCHT (2005-2008) – Website and public events
For this community art project in the peat-moor district De Venen, peculiarities and characteristics of the region were mapped out on a storytelling platform. On the Vogelvlucht (Birds’ flight) website, the search for a newly discovered bird formed a trail, guide and quest through a varied collection of thoughts, anecdotes and stories related to this specific part of the Netherlands.
This project is realized in collaboration with CBK-Utrecht.