Xandra van der Eijk is a Dutch artist who connects art, ecology, and activism. Her distinct research methodology incorporates theory and fieldwork. Each of her projects deals with a key ecological issue, and how it is exposed by the passing of time.
This research looks into the influence of man on the evolutionary development of mineral formation. The Anthropocene era is the period in which human impact has become the most dominant force on the earth’s geology. Eijk explores how this impacts materials in our environment. A variety of household chemicals were poured onto metal objects. This installation demonstrates how chemical waste can affect the earth.
A series of steel, aluminium, zinc and copper objects were exposed to relatively low-chemical household solutions. This exposure happened between the period of two to seven days. The change found in the metals in such a short amount of time show how hazardous chemical waste can be.
Exploring the colour properties of extremophiles (microbes that can survive or even thrive under extreme conditions). Eijk sampled fluids from volcanic hot springs and high saline ponds during research trips to Iceland and France. Strains of the extremophiles were then isolated to produce pigments. By controlling one of the earliest forms of life it leads us to question how much of nature we can hack.
Showcasing the process of transience, a four meter container filled with an algae is the base for pigments to create forms which are similar to the rings of trees. Glass pipes slowly drop the pigments down onto the surface, pushing one another away as they touch. The drawing constantly changes, creating an ever changing timeline, similar to that of natural sedimentation. After 14 hours the drawing is cleaned by printing the surface with paper.
Colours of the Oosterschelde
Eijk collected more than twenty different species of seaweed from a storm surge in the Oosterschelde area of the Netherlands. The aim was to find a sustainable alternative to harmful textile dyes used in fabric production. By using seaweed as a resource it could significantly contribute to balance out CO2 levels in the water. Her research into this method resulted in over 400 samples of colored fabric and yarn.