The environmental crisis and the destruction of habitats force us to imagine a future in which nature can be remembered in digital form. Natural history museums aim to preserve nature physically by fixing it in time and space. How might the archiving of nature evolve in a digital context? Could digitalisation bring us even closer to nature?
In Heleen Blanken’s data-driven projection, Installation: Habitat, 3D scans of organic artefacts such as stones, fossils and corals from Leiden’s Naturalis Biodiversity Center are transformed into a game-like, meditative environment. You are invited to reconnect with the wonder of nature as you navigate through a series of ever-evolving digital worlds, each accompanied by its own soundscape.
Human’s impact is not always immediately visible. Interact with the motion-sensor sculpture to see how your presence influences the work and generate your own unique audio-visual experience.
By implementation of proximity and rangefinder sensors habitat is investigating a sociological purpose. Data-driven installations often offer too much control to the spectator. Habitat plays with this control, it does not immediately react to the spectator’s actions, instead, it reacts through delays. The result is that an action from one spectator could create a different visual outcome for the next. Or sometimes the parameters are changed in a way that you could doubt if it is embedded in the work or a result of your action. This interaction within Habitat is symbolic of how humanity interacts with nature. It emphasizes how humanity is not in control of nature and the fact that our impact on nature is not always immediately noticeable.
The work will evolve in the coming years and morph into different versions of its original habitat. Installation: Habitat by Heleen Blanken is an ongoing project, the first version of Installation: Habitat by Heleen Blanken is currently on display at the Nxt Museum Amsterdam.
Habitat is a work by Heleen Blanken
Software development: NAIVI
Sound: Stijn van beeK
Heleen Blanken is a visual artist and lives and works in Amsterdam. She levitates across the fields of cinematography, installation art, new media, scenography, and sculpture. She holds a degree in Fine Arts from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy.
Deeply influenced by the complex exchange between humanity and the natural environment, her artistic practice explores the different layers of our aesthetic perception of the natural world while defining traditional artistic dichotomies like the organic vs. artificial and analog vs. digital. In her work, she raises questions on how we contemplate ideas of nature.