Theun Karelse (NL) studied fine-arts at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam before joining FoAM, a transdisciplinary laboratory at the interstices of art, science, nature and everyday life. His interests and experimental practice explore edges between art, environment, technology and archaeology. Lately he has been creating research programmes that consist of fieldwork as a means of critical reflection. For this diverse teams are established to address specific topics in specific locations by in-situ prototyping, experimentation and direct perception.To not talk about nature, but be in conversation with nature.
Theun Karelse is from Zeeland. Raised in Borssele, so was his father, his grandfather, etc. Less than 100m from the family home is a 9m flood mount. The previous village of Monster (and two others close by) was wiped away in the floods November of 1530. Borssele was rebuild there in 1616 as a planned village.
The Embassy of the Northsea invited him to be part of the fieldwork team for the future of the Delta, with Darko Lagunas (anthropology) and Maarten Kleinhans (geoscience). The first phase of the research focused on listening. How can we listen to other beings? What can be heard? They interviewed people who have a special, long-term or deep connection with non-human actors in the region. Based on this, Theun Karelse conducted a number of physical experiments. Not to be like a non-human, but to try to penetrate their world. He assumes that non-humans have been vital and highly valued guides and messengers for most of human history. Far beyond the notions of 'indicator species' as we now know them in ecological science. Given our current situation, in a rapidly changing world, the large number of intelligences around us may be more important than ever to inform and guide us.
Thinking becomes Spatial
Theun Karelse demonstrated how you can link stories and characters to features in the landscape, so thinking becomes spatial, a search for a way to let the land and the sea speak for themselves. “Before the emergence of literacy, oral cultures were consolidated without written text, but through a…