Past Exhibitions, Lectures and Workshops (incomplete list)


The research project Narrating Just Sustainability in the City asks what forms of narrative might be required to support ‘just sustainabilities’ in the context of the Anthropocene. Just sustainability has been described by geographer John Ageyman as ‘the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems’. Such ecosystems are inherently interconnected, non-linear in functioning and more-than-human. They push us to focus on persistent feedback loops between social justice and environmental care. Just sustainability in this sense is defined by interdependence, multi-vocality, equity and network effects. These phenomena are hard to capture and narrate, and yet it is vital that any ‘response’ to the Anthropocene takes account of such dynamic more-than-human systems, rather than reinforcing human-exceptionalism. Storytelling has an important role to play here, as it is only by transforming deeply ingrained narratives that we can hope to enact the meaningful changes required to create a more just and sustainable world.

To foster a dialogue and generate multiple perspectives on just sustainability, artists and scientists will get together, online and at the UvA-IAS. During the workshop we will reflect on what ‘narrating just sustainability in the city’ means and can mean, for different communities, and collectively explore the role of narrative and performative actions while facing urgent transitions.

Workshop Recording

This project is initiated by: Dr. Bergit Arends, British Academy Research Fellow, Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Dr. Tom Idema, lecturer at Hogeschool Leiden, author of ‘Stages of Transmutation’.

Project advisor: Dr. Paul Behrens, Assistant Professor in Environmental Change at Leiden University.

Invited participating artists: Den Haag - Marit Mihklepp and Edgars Rubenis

Lagos - Temitayo Ogunbiyi

Amsterdam - Esmee Geerken

The project is funded by the British Academy–Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences Knowledge Frontiers Anthropocene Programme.


Blobs of Order

My IAS colleague Prof. Sarah Durston invited me to join the Conference on Consciousness, hosted by the IAS and the Essentia foundation. My talk 'Blobs of Order' is an adaptation of my earlier talk 'Build like a Shell'.

Other speakers included Prof. Erik Verlinde (known for his theory on gravity as an emergent feature) and Dr. Iain McGhilchrist, known for his book 'The Master and his Emissary', about the two hemispheres of the brain.

  • Urban Ecology: Building as Being

    Urban Ecology: Building as Being

    For the R’dam Academy of Architecture I developed the lecture series Urban Ecology: Building as Being, studying the connections between Ecology & Architecture.

    How to reconnect Ecology, the study of the house, with Economy, housekeeping? How to be a builder, in interaction with the environment, and an Architect, the one who masters the builders, who has the overview? How to balance between being in control of what is built, and be part of the building, within a chaotic, complex world?

    These questions were addressed by looking at perspectives on building, introduced by invited speakers from the fields of geology, chemistry, biology/evolution, complexity sciences, neuroscience and philosophy. All lectures, and presentations by the young architects, can now be watched back.

  • KABK Fault Lines Symposium

    KABK Fault Lines Symposium

    Wonderful day of conversations and talks by friends Jeff Diamanti, Jasper Coppes and Vibeke Mascini at the KABK Fault lines Symposium, and great to participate in a dialogue with Vibeke after her talk.

  • Interactive Building Workshop Waag

    Interactive Building Workshop Waag

    Build like a beast!

    Together with Waag, Jeugdland and Landscape Architect Thijs de Zeeuw, I organised a building workshop for kids: how to grow 'urban areas' in interaction with plants and animals?

    We had so much fun, as you can tell from these images

    Insect with tiny house image by Florian Geerken.

  • The Body & the Landscape

    The Body & the Landscape

    Build like a Shell at the Body & the Landscape evening organised by Festival WhyNot, 5th of August at Tolhuistuin.

  • AMOLF NEWS Interview

    AMOLF NEWS Interview

    Article on my work in the Self-Organizing Matter group in the AMOLF NEWS Magazine - interview can be found on page 9.

  • Fieldnote Workshop Waag

    Fieldnote Workshop Waag

    What is a field note?

    In this writing workshop, we collectively expand on the idea of what a field note is. Who for example is the audience of the field note? Can a field note be directed towards nature itself? Is it possible to create field notes based on a more equal dialogue, that blurs the dichotomy between the human observer and objectified nature?

  • Artistic Research Research Group

    Artistic Research Research Group

    So wonderful to give an IRL talk again, to a wonderful audience! Build like shell at the ARRG

  • IAS kickoff Talk

    IAS kickoff Talk

  • Building as Being Symposium

    Building as Being Symposium

    What does it mean to build today, how did building evolve over time and how shall we build in the future? Does our expanding human ego, seeking to capture the world in models, floorplans and blueprints, interfere with our ability of being in the world? Can we alternatively approach building as a way of growing, being and existing in interaction with our environment, in line with the proto-Indian European roots of the word 'building' (growing, being, existing)? What can we learn from the self-organizing building mechanisms of non-humans and crystals for future urban ecologies? The Building as Being Symposium explores these questions in dialogue with experts in the field of urban design, material science, sociology and art, covering three scales: The City, The Mind and Matter. Find all episodes here!

  • Interview by Tonya Sudiono / Waag

    Interview by Tonya Sudiono / Waag

    Tonya visited the Planet B container at Amsterdam Science Park for an interview. Thanks Tonya!

  • Chalk Talk WarmingUp festival

    Chalk Talk WarmingUp festival

    De Onkruidenier invited me to give a ChalkTalk during their Sweet Sweat installation at the WarmingUp festival at Tolhuistuin.

    We explored sounds of calcification, considered seeing our house as a part of our body, tested 'human exoskeletons' made from organic-mineral materials, and questioning if one day we can precipitate buildings from of seawater, like the exoskeletons and micro-shells of our unicellular marine ancestors. Meanwhile, two microscopic mineral architectures appeared out of liquids, grown by scientist Marloes Bistervels. Listen back to the lecture as a podcast!

  • Ars Electronica

    Ars Electronica

    Performative experimental online talk at Keplers garden @Ars Electronica . Watch back here.