SWEET – SWAT – SWEETIE – SWEATER – SWETSEN

During LANGSTME, the triennial of Kunsthuis SYB, De Onkruidenier organized a site-specific training session called SWEET – SWAT – SWEETIE – SWEATER – SWETSEN. This training took place at the magisterial White Lake of Beetsterzwaag. Using a performative installation, the toponyms of the local landscape were examined. In what ways are names, language, our bodies and the landscape intertwined? And how can we unravel these different layers of the landscape by activating our senses in new ways? Together with the audience, a number of different exercises were done to look for both new sensory experiences and alternative relationships between body, landscape and language. Using a number of tools, including the new CryptoFoam developed in collaboration with Kai Udema, De Onkruidenier activated the changing dynamics between ourselves and our environment.

Brienenoord eiland

Training sessions at the Brienenoord island

How do we experience the landscape when we leave behind the pace of economic times and begin to adapt to the rhythm of ebb and flow? What do we see, feel, taste and experience in harmony with the plants and organisms in the marine ecosystem?


Between March and May, de Onkruidenier spent several intensive periods – DEEP DIVES – on Brienenoord Island to explore new perspectives and training techniques for the evolution of salt-loving humans.

During their research period at the Buitenplaats, they saw the island change, the water rise and fall with the tides, and most importantly, they encountered themselves. How adaptable are we as humans really in the land between ebb and flow? How does our own experience of water change when we experience it physically and, in our wading suits, literally feel the water rising and can no longer reach each other? The Weedman became fascinated with the continuous transformation of the island. It shows and feels different every time.

On May 15, de Onkruidenier gave a presentation through 4 training sessions to let go of the ‘land and water thinking’.

De Peilwachter

At the beginning of this year, at the invitation of Museum IJsselstein, de Onkruidenier started an eight-month research project into the traces of the sea. Since the middle of the 19th century the influence of ebb and flow has hardly been felt in IJsselstein. The painting of De IJsselpoort of the city of IJsselstein, as seen from the barony of IJsselstein by the artist Jan Weissenbruch (1822-1880) previously provided us with fine inspiration. The research has led to a new work the Peilwachter which has been installed on the Bolwerk, an outdoor location opposite the museum. The work can be seen as part of the exhibition on empathy: ‘No man is an island.’ with several works spread across IJsselstein.

West Terschelling

Become a salt loving species

Can we, like plants, adapt to a saline landscape? What would this ‘salt-loving human’ look like?

A saline climate is a realistic situation for the Netherlands. As human beings we adapt the landscape to our wishes and needs, without moving with the developments of our natural environment. Along the coast we find many salt-loving plant species (halophytes) that have adapted evolutionarily to survive in extreme conditions. What can we as humans learn from plants that have been adaptive to a changing environment over the centuries?

In the test zone SWEET – SWEAT, de Onkruidenier experiences nine days of living with the sea. The zone between the tides is their new habitat.

Van Eyck academie

Open Studio’s Van Eyck academie

By Domeniek Ruyters for Metropolis M

In the main building, I end up in a talk by De Onkruidenier about the sugar beet, which has a precursor in the beach beet, a primordial plant that was resistant to salt water. De Onkruidenier has built a whole story around it and depicted it in a market display on the floor divided between two studios. The installation offers a combination of ecology and economy, with numerous playful moments of action, to make the transformation from seed to plant to yet another plant and food product (drink, sugar cube) optimally clear. A striking detail are the holes in the wall through which the artists involved play large assignments carved into wooden planks to each other. When I’m talking to one of the weedkeepers, a hand suddenly pokes through the wall and hands me something. After the explanation, I walk back to the other room to look at the so-called “pelleted” sugar beet seeds, which are industrially coated with a blue layer to make them easier to sow as grains. Like the beads of a bead necklace they lie in a petri dish.