In the Netherlands, in 2050 we want to be CO2-neutral. To achieve this, we have to switch as much as possible from fossil fuels to sustainable energy such as solar and wind energy. In addition, we will have to reduce our consumption. We can only hope that it will succeed. Meanwhile, we are dealing with air pollution and related health problems. The Laboratory for Microclimates shows that we can do something ourselves, ecologically, on a small scale. Every extra tree that is planted helps to compensate for CO2

Dyspnoea 1073

13. Helena van Essen, Dyspnoea 1073, 2019, installation (93 x 93 x 62 cm).

All nozzles for pulmonary function tests that one GP practice in Amsterdam De Pijp (postal code 1073) consumed in the period between 1 October and 31 December 2018 have been processed in this installation. That there are so many, says something about the air quality in the city centre. Blow through the straw the air pocket full of your own breath and listen. What you hear, while the air sac is slowly emptying, is the problematic breathing of a patient with chronic respiratory symptoms. With such complaints it is never quiet around you.

On the website of the artist ( the anonymous data can be seen of all people with respiratory problems who went to the GP in De Pijp: men, women, ages and postal codes. The theme in the work of Helena van Essen is the theme of silence.

Human Enlightening

14. Lon Buttstedt, technique Fried Buttstedt, Human Enlightening, 2018/19, mixed media, (height 170 cm).

A contemporary Mantle Madonna, formed by the audience itself. Standing in the mantle, human energy becomes eminently sustainable. Body heat is converted into energy so that lights burn. The mantle is made of recycled jackets. The ‘world citizens’ on the outside of the cloak are made from recycled textiles. They carry symbols in the form of amulets, labels and buttons and vary in colour from black to white. The ‘illuminated’ figures are at the very top.

Sad grove

15. Annette van Waaijen, Sad grove, 2018, photography on linen, paint, recycled textiles (70 x 100 cm).

It costs a lot of fossil energy to grow, transport and bring ornamental flowers to the customer. And that while flowers should be ‘green’. They have become luxury products that burden the environment because of the fertilizers, pesticides and water consumption. The ‘picking bouquet’ is popular and we see beautiful pictures of it. Flowers are our most unmistakable symbols of renewal, awakening and rebirth. We celebrate all our rituals with flowers. But we almost never see the image of such an essentially polluting bouquet, which is only in a vase for a few days.

16. Laboratory for microclimates

16. Laboratory for microclimates, installation with photos from previous projects.

The Laboratory for Microclimates by artist Annechien Meier and filmmaker and conceptual designer Gert-Jan Gerlach makes worldwide art projects in which climate, nature and people are central. Their projects mainly focus on water, wind and heat problems in scenic and urban environments. Due to these projects people are inspired and motivated to get started by removing paving for the absorption of rainwater and preventing heat. This ‘disassembly’ also offers a new canvas to lay garden gardens and mini parks such as the ‘Bijbinnenhofpark’ art project, a world-class mini park and a tiny oasis of tranquillity in The Hague, or the ‘Sensometer Climate Station’ in Japan on a larger scale.

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Exploring the future

17. Cesar van der Molen, Exploring the future, 2018, installation, mixed media (86 x 52 x 72 cm).

Cesar van der Molen produced an installation in which he discussed the exhaustion of the earth’s mineral resources. For that he made a variant on the NASA Explorer that is operational on Mars. The stick of this device is the only part that reminds of man. This emphasizes, the paradox between man and machine. In the hand of this stick there is a ‘diamond’, as a symbol for the material luxury we are looking for. Now that the earth is exhausted, we are going to Mars, but that will ultimately not help, because we will do the same again. Man eats the earth, but also himself.

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