Stroom Bibliotheeksessies: Aliki van der Kruijs

Monday 14 November 2022, 16:00-18:00
Location: library Stroom Den Haag, Hogewal 1-9
Archive Stroom Bibliotheeksessies / library sessions

to make or not to make

Though with a quite small group, the latest library session again has turned into an animated talk between our main guest Aliki van der Kruijs, the artists Suzette Bousema, Christine Hvidt and Stroom's librarian (Lidwien Nielander).  That it has been inspiring is best stated by Aliki's wish to collect each memory "to make it a shared memory,  'one' voice as a resonance of four bodies." *

The reason we had invited Aliki was the nomination of her publication Afterseason (design Dayna Casey) for The Best Dutch Book Designs. The publication is a report on her research project in which she looked for ways to reuse residual flows from the printing process in the textile industry. By collaborating with various disciplines such as art, architecture and fashion, Aliki came up with techniques to reprocess ink that is considered chemical waste. >>

Though ecology is important, in Afterseason you also notice Aliki's interest in 'collecting and archiving'. "Perhaps the process of working in this way is also an 'ecology': where I bring elements together, relate them to each other. Connecting people and bringing other voices into the research."

Art in public space
During the introduction, the conversation quickly turned to art in public space. How do you realize your plans, find places, get support, and deal with all kinds of rules and objections. Suzette tells about her project in the Kaapse Bossen, Doorn (NE) where she wanted to install large semi-transparent fabrics with photographs from her project Super Organism, between the trees. She encountered lots of resistance at first: "had she thought about the breeding season, migrating deer etc.?" But once it was realized, it turned out that many people felt involved. >>

Weathering Blue
Aliki refers to a project in the (semi) public space, Weer Blauw (Weathering Blue) in which her fascination with textiles, colour and the effects of weather, especially light, plays an important role. In the outdoor museum of the Zuiderzee Museum she had hung a clothesline with white clothing treated with 'blauwsel' (blue, therefore optic whitening, powder), which then got faded by the sun, rained on and torn apart during a storm. Each garment was labeled, indicating the number of days it had been hanging on the line, the average temperature, wind force, wind direction and the number of millimeters of rain captured by the fabric. These data, and the reactions from the public to it, Aliki collected in a calendar. >>
Actually, by discussing Weer Blauw (Weathering Blue), we already enter the core of Aliki's artistic practice. The work touches on almost all the constants and fascinations within her oeuvre, which are then also reflected in the wonderful publications she has brought with her.

Calendars and cloth
First of all, there is her most cherished possession: a series of calendars from her grandfather, in which he daily meticulously recorded the weather. Over the years, the notes become more concise, and sometimes there are inexplicably blank pages. The intriguing series is likely to become part of Aliki's subsequent project.
The source of her fascinations also lies close to her home as it turns out.  Every day the family ate from a tablecloth from Nigeria, where Aliki has spent part of her childhood. Her father worked there as a microbiologist. In the bookcase stood the beautiful booklet Adire Cloth in Nigeria. Adire (Yoruba: tie and dye) textile is the indigo-dyed cloth made in southwestern Nigeria by Yoruba women, using a variety of resist-dyeing techniques.

Nocturnal searches
It is typical of Aliki that she discovers and collects these kinds of books.  That is also why she likes to wander around bookstores where stacks of books are stored, such as in the premises of a deceased bookseller and geologist, where she found her pearls during nocturnal searches. From a crowded store in Tokyo, she selected the tiny booklet from the Hoikusha Color Books series, with intriguing images of rocks on saucer-shaped pedestals that create small tableaus to look at " to remember you are part of nature."
It takes us to de onmetelijke ruimte (the immeasurable space), again a seductive booklet because of its beautiful graphics, kind of paper, and the typical 1970s colors. (One of those typical Elseviers issues from that era). And the Atlas of the Night Sky, with many graphics that show an intriguing correlation to the pattern drawings Aliki made while she was studying fashion.

Life of lines
The unique, beautifully designed, often popular science books and booklets are precious, untouchable objects to Aliki. While in contrast, in her ‘working documents', such as Tim Ingold's The Life of Lines, she doesn't hesitate to fill its blank spaces with drawings and notes.
Ingold shows how the principle of knotting underwrites both the way things join with one another, in walls, buildings and bodies, and the composition of the ground and the knowledge we find there.

Sound of soil
This interconnectedness especially in soil, occurs to be an important theme, not only to Aliki, but all participants' practices. Christine tells about her research project on how to activate sound in the soil. "As human beings and more, [-] we need to re-position and re-member ourselves within the social network of planetary ecosystems and adjust to regenerative behavior. " >> Suzette shows a photo in her book Super Organism picturing mycelium threads, that is very much like the cover of Life of Lines. >>
The participants share their dilemma:  "We know, as a human, we can be very destructive. We are artists, but should we make, add something more? Is this beneficial?"

Colour and light
Aliki would like to stress the importance of colour. 'Colour can be a healing tool, like light; it would be nice to bring it into my work." She shows some admirable colour based books like Collecting Colour, by Narayan Khandekar and De KleurKontrasten van Ellen Marx, again both beautifully designed, with a lot of attention for colour, paper and binding.
A unique art piece/publication by Aliki herself, is Dear Jungfrau, one of her replies to the publication and wallpaper Colour Based on Nature by Dutch bookmaker Irma Boom. Aliki took Boom's book as a guide to visit one of its pages; a striped color landscape based on a photograph of the Swiss Jungfrau-Aletsch area. The photographs Aliki made during a hike on and around the glacier are woven with a high definition jacquard loom. The result, a woven book, resonates the formation of the Jura mountain area, that was once the bottom of the sea and raised upwards because of tectonic forces shaping the Alps. Unfortunately Aliki has not brought it to the session, but it is there on her website: >>
The site also shows another work made in reply to Irma Boom's publication: Focus, a scripted film that is inspired on filters found in the Sphinx observatory of the High Altitude Research Station Jungfraujoch at 3571 meters. The vibrating circle on the screen is the magnification of the most middle pixel from a record of a cloud passing by.

"Why not work action based?"
Again the subject comes to the question ‘How to make without making; Why not just activate a place?  A particularly strong example in this regard is a work Aliki ‘realized' or in fact observed and singled out: The curtains in the auditorium of the Jan van Eyck had been bleached by the sun. On the longest day Aliki turned them inside out. The intervention was as simple as it was effective: the space got radically changed by the immense, bleach colored surface bordered by the window frame: like a magnificent Rothko.
The act of ‘highlighting a phenomenon' remind Aliki of  artists like Roman Signer and Willem de Rooij:  Route along 18 Corners, a brochure showing pictures of the floor in 18 corners of the exhibition space in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Weaving, writing, walking
But even if you just single out, or collect data: who collects them, organizes them, interprets them. So who reads the data?  Suzette: "That sometimes paralyzes. If I create something; what does that mean?"
In this regard, Aliki refers to a fellow student at the Jan van Eyck. After he had lost his friend he was not able to create anymore. She advised him to do something anyway, "digging a hole to find clay for example". He started to dig in the academy's garden and gradually noticed the earth was making a noise as particles and layers shifted. "They began to talk." He eventually made a sound work, by isolating and enhancing this phenomenon, thus also picking up the thread of life.
The members agree, "creating makes you feel activated".
Aliki: "Weaving, Writing, Walking, it is all about becoming in a rhythm." Repetition does something - like her grandfather making notes.

Evolutionary symbiosis
Suzette: "Sapiens people are destructive by being present." But Christine introduces an alternative  perspective,  referring to Lynn Margulis' theory about what she called ‘evolutionary symbiosis', challenging Darwin's survival of the fittest. [see also Glenn Albrecht's thoughts on the symbiocene >>
Aliki refers to the next project she is thinking of, the one starting off with her grandfather's notes, and in which the weather, the seasons, air, water, and earth, will be important components. "Soil is about water and air; the quality of water in the soil is important." As changes through the year are going to be part of it, the project will take a long while. Aliki, quoting a friend: "my topic is slow so I take time for things."

As the session has collections as its subject, Suzette has brought part of hers: 2 test tubes from a series of hundreds samples, containing water from all over The Netherlands, that will be in her next project. A nice discussion follows on how to show them: is it necessary to pour over their content, thus wasting hundreds of plastic tubes?
In addition, Aliki shows Addenda by Jasper Rigole, a series of publications, which reflects on the practice of the artist as collector, artist, archivist, researcher, founder and employee of the fictitious International Institute for the Conservation, Archiving and Dissemination of Other People's Memories (IICADOM).
Subsequently Aliki invites Christine and Suzette to send to her their memories of this session, to create a collection of that what resonates from the conversation*.
Though, they ask, "Do you really [-want to -] remember or do you collect?"

* "My first intuition was to make the collected memories a common good, a shared memory, so that when published, it will not be like a script mentioning who remembered what, but that it becomes 'one' voice as a resonance of four bodies."
(This shared memory or ‘one voice', is to be found on this website from about mid January 2023)

Afterseason / by Aliki van der Kruijs ; design Dayna Casey. Maastricht : in house icw Jan Van Eyck Academy, 2021. - [28] p. ; ill. ; 30 cm
Publication documenting the research project ‘Afterseason' in which Van der Kruijs was looking for ways to repurpose chemical waste left after dying textile, by making use of these residual streams, and introducing an ‘Afterseason' principle. The project stemmed from her wish to contribute to a reduction in the ecological footprint of the textile printing industry. To support the theoretical and practical research the artis collaborated with scientists, architects, textile-, colour- and screen printing specialists, archives and research institutions and industry. The publication was selected for the Best Dutch Design Books 2021 by the student jury.

Aliki van der Kruijs, one of the calendars from her grandfather

Adire Cloth in Nigeria / ed. by Jane Barbour and Doig Simmonds ; articles by Nancy Stanfield, O.L. Oke, Jane Barbour, George Jackson, and 'Bisi Akpata. - Ibadan :  Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan; 1st edition (January 1, 1971). - 104 p. : photos, line drawings, textile detail images ; 25 cm
Includes an appendix with names of cloths and motifs in English and Yoruba.
ISBN:  -

Hoikusha Color Books / ed. by . - Osaka : Hoikusha Publishing, . - 304 p. : ill. ;  15 cm
ISBN:  -
From the late 1960's until early 2000, Hoikusha published hundreds of pocket-sized single-subject books that ranged from Kyoto Gardens to All Of The Worlds Perfumes, or the Plankton of Japanese Coastal Waters and the Spring Flora of Sikkim Himalayas. It were amazing little books that went beyond trend themes and rather focused on the foundations of life. Inside, their vivid and diverse imagery really was like a condensed google search from the 1980's. Each book had a dedicated author that was a specialist in the specific field.

de onmetelijke ruimte / Gottfried Honegger, Peter van de Kamp. -  Amsterdam [etc.] : Elsevier, 1962. - 116 p. : ill.;  17 cm. - (Elseviers visuele pockets, 4). - (Vertaling van / Translation of: Space, the architecture of the universe. - Gene?ve : Alpha, 1962)
ISBN:  -

Atlas of the Night Sky / ed. by Storm Dunlop ...[et al.]. ; map and charts Wil Tirion. -  New York : Crescent Books, 1987. - 80 p. : ill. (charts, diagrams, maps etc.) ; 33 cm
ISBN: 978-0517444795
Large format practical atlas for amateur astronomers showing planets and stars in the night sky, including a complete series of Northern and Southern hemisphere Epoch 2000.0 star maps and a detailed, illustrated analysis of all eighty-eight constellations, with additional sections considering the sun, the moon, planets, and galaxies.

The Life of Lines / by Tim Ingold. - Abingdon : Taylor & Francis, 2015. - 172 p. : ill. ; 23 cm  
ISBN: 9780415576864
To live, every being must put out a line, and in life these lines tangle with one another. This book is a study of the life of lines. Following on from Tim Ingold's Lines: A Brief History, it offers a series of meditations on life, ground, weather, walking, imagination and what it means to be human. Ingold shows how the principle of knotting underwrites both the way things join with one another, in walls, buildings and bodies, and the composition of the ground and the knowledge we find there.

Super Organism / by Suzette Bousema ; design by Sam Velenne Reith. - The Hague : in house, 2022. - 64 p. : ill. ; 24 cm

Roman Signer : Projet pour un Jardin / texts Gerhard Mack, Cees Nooteboom, Sara Weyns, Pieter Boons. - Antwerp : Middelheim Museum, 2016. - 144 p. : ills. ; 31 cm. - (nl /eng / fr)
Contains biography.
ISBN: 978-94-9232-145-9
The book offers an overview of all works that Roman Signer realized in the past and especially for the exhibition Projet pour un Jardin (Project for a Garden, 2016) in the Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, Belgium.

Willem de Rooij : Route langs 18 hoeken = Route Along 18 Corners / Willem de Rooij. - Amsterdam : Stedelijk Museum, 1993. - brochure : ill. ; cm
ISBN:  -
A brochure setting out a route along 18 corners of the galleries and exhibition spaces on the ground floor of the Stedelijk Museum building. The work is purely meant as a registration, and was made before the building was renovated from 2004 - 2012 and depicts floors and walls that have since changed.

De Kleurkontrasten / door Ellen Marx. - De Bilt : Cantecleer, 1972. - ringband, ongen. p. :  ill.  ; 19 x 21 cm.
ISBN: 9021300540.
Many plastic partly coloured pages to show the interaction between all kinds of colours.

Collecting Colour / by Narayan Khandekar ; design . - ArtEZ Press, 2017. 152 p. : ill. ; .. cm
ISBN 978-94-91444-48-7.
Compact bright yellow booklet, accompanying the 2017 Sikkens Prize to Hella Jongerius and the Mondrian Lecture held on this occasion by Narayan Khandekar. The booklet shows objects and pigments from the Forbes Pigment Collection, which at present is kept in the Strauss Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at Harvard University. Khandekar is its director and a distinguished scientist in the field of the technical study of conservation, paintings, and painting materials. Khandekar in its lecture guides you through the collection that consist of over three thousand natural and synthetic colouring agents, showing  the origins of the pigments and their cultural uses.

Addenda / by Jasper Rigole. - Gent : MER. Paper Kunsthalle, 2015. - 7 books, 28 + 32 + 144 + 60 + 40 + 40 + 176 p. ; 16,5 cm
Addenda is the joined title of a series of publications, which reflects on the practice that artist Jasper Rigole (°1980) developed between 2005 and 2015. In that period, the artist manifested himself as collector, artist, archivist, researcher, founder and employee of the fictitious International Institute for the Conservation, Archiving and Dissemination of Other People's Memories (IICADOM). These seven publications can be viewed as an addendum to the artist's practice as well as to each publication as such.