13:45 - 14:30

Watch video online (stream)
Chapel St.Joost, Breda on 19 November 2021 (live)

Full Program

Una Henry & Xandra van der Eijk

Materiality of Place

Full program


Unfortunately the programmed speaker Xandra van der Eijk is ill. Una Henry, head of the master Master Institute of Visual Cultures within St.Joost School of Art & Design, will represent Xandra and will give her lecture. Xandra will be connected through mobile phone for the Q&A.


Subject of presentation – Xandra van der Eijk

Are the things around us mostly dead or is all of it alive? On the role of materials in the Critical Zone, Earth’s permeable near-surface layer, professor of Earth sciences Jerome Gaillardet writes: “It is necessary to realize that in the Critical Zone materials are not fixed; they move continuously carried by air, by rivers, or by humans, and that the water with which they interact follows complicated infiltration paths that are often not known or less rapid” (Gaillardet, 2020). In her publication Vibrant Matter, political theorist Jane Bennett departs from the perspective that matter, or material, has its own agency, its own aliveness, its own vibrancy (Bennet, 2010). Understanding the physical and material world as separate from human, as inorganic, as lifeless, or dead, perpetuates the myth of human domination, reducing matter and its inherent properties to economic value. With the latter being the dominating narrative in western society, how then can artistic research help shift the perspective? In this talk, I will propose the materiality of place as a departure point and artistic framework as one possible answer to this question. 

Concise resume 

Xandra van der Eijk is a Dutch artist and designer connecting art, ecology, and activism. Van der Eijk has developed a distinct research methodology demonstrated in a broad body of work, incorporating theory, fieldwork, documentation methods, and material development in her practice. Through her research, she decentralizes the human perspective by re-interpreting a landscape through its materiality. Each of her projects deals with a key ecological issue, and how it is exposed by the passing of time. Van der Eijk’s work has been nominated and awarded multiple times and is extensively exhibited throughout the world. Her work extends through lectures, workshops, writings, and curating. She has been an active member of renowned design collective Dutch Invertuals since 2017, co-founding Dutch Invertuals Academy in 2020. Since 2019 she is co-organizing and curating FIBER labs, week-long intensives for professionals in the arts and environmental humanities, directed at co-creating new narratives in times of ecological crisis. Van der Eijk is developing and leading MA Ecology Futures at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures and is an affiliated researcher in the connected Biobased Art and Design Research Group of Caradt, working on the innovation of art education through the development of art-science discourse. Van der Eijk is currently undertaking her Ph.D. at Ulster University (UK) in a shared position between the Faculty of Art and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and is an associated researcher at Critical Media Lab Basel co-leading the reading group “Planetary Ecologies”.