Esmee Geerken is a Dutch artist and Earth scientist, with a main expertise in biomineralization and paleoceanography. After defending her dissertation entitled Elements in foraminiferal shells as recorders of past climates in December 2019, Esmee now combines her interdisciplinairy background in an artistic practice influenced by geology, chemistry and philosophy. Her work playfully questions our perception of the obvious – the curvature of the Earth, and the peculiar – how organisms build their shells.


Esmee is specifically interested in building as a way to enact the environment, at multiple spatial scales. In her current project Building as Being, she is in search of the sweet spot between order and chaos within building, ranging from the microscopic realm of growing crystals to Urban Ecologies. Esmee questions how to adjust between permeability and rigidity of the boundaries that delineate shapes. As by finding the right amount of semi-permeability within the membranes, shells, skins, houses and identities that create insides within outsides, entities can be particles while being part of the whole.

Portret: CC BY-NC-ND, Jimena Gauna, Waag, 2021.

Currently, Esmee is ArtScience fellow at the UvA-Institute of advanced studies, research fellow at Waag, and guest-researcher at the Organizing Matter Group (AMOLF). Esmee's work is supported by the AFK (Amsterdam Funds for the Arts) and Stimuleringsfonds Creative Industries.

Photo: Ivar Pel. In the Self-Organizing Matter lab at AMOLF.