2018 - 2020
Suzette Bousema visualizes environmental hyperobjects in her science based practice. A hyperobject (philosophy by Timothy Morton) is such a big or abstract object, that we cannot see or touch it, but only experience it through it’s effects. For example, we can see and touch a single plastic object, but to imagine global pollution is nearly impossible.
Planetary conditions and our place in them are the starting point in her work; the way humans interfere with nature and how we relate to the Earth on an individual level. By visualizing the beauty of scientific research, her aim is to contribute to already ongoing environmental debates in a positive way.
Her newest project 'Dinoflagellates' (2020) shows 50 million year old fossil plankton, drilled up from the seabed around Antarctica, which can tell us about the climate in the past, but also about the possible climate of the future if we use up all fossil fuels on the planet.
The second project 'Climate Archive' (2019) shows 20.000 year old ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland. By exploring how tangible objects, such as ice cores, serve to improve our understanding of unobservable concepts such as global warming, these objects not only become tools for scientific research, they become tools of wonder and enlightenment.
Since 1930, scientists have been drilling up ice cores looking for clues about the climate. As new snowfall accumulates every year, pressure caused by the weight of the snow creates layers of ice. Over time, tiny air bubbles form and become trapped within. When the ice cores are removed, the air bubbles within the various layers contain the same composition as when they froze—including greenhouse gasses.
Studying this air, scientists observe the history of climate change from ice ages to interglacial periods as far back as 800,000 years, contemplating not only the climate’s past, but setting out to predict its uncertain future.
The third project 'Future Relics' (2018) shows plastic waste collected from the coast in the Netherlands. Inspired by the approach of archaeology, Suzette values plastic in the sea as future relics of today’s utensils. The cyanotype technique was originally used to make actual size contact prints of plants, like seaweed. Now, she uses this technique for plastic waste to emphasize the organic shapes, caused by long presence in the sea. By reproducing every single object she finds, she tries to get a grip on the huge amount of plastic in the sea.
Suzette recently received the Mondriaan Fund Stipendium for Emerging Artists and the MIAP 2020 grant 'The future of nature'.