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Pareidolia - Driessens & Verstappen


Driessens & Verstappen

In the artwork Pareidolia*, facial recognition is applied to grains of sand from the island of Texel.

Artists Driessens & Verstappen are fascinated by the idea that the faces of everyone who has ever lived can be found within the vast quantity of grains of sand that are present on the earth. The artwork brings depth to the morphology of sand grains and to the inconceivable number of unique variations. It also offers a playful and absurdist commentary on a far-reaching anthropocentric world view where everything revolves around humanity, seeking its image in even the most insignificant grain of sand.

A fully automated robot search engine examines grains of sand in situ. When the machine finds a face in one of the grains, the portrait is photographed and displayed on a large screen.

* Pareidolia is an illusion in which the observer perceives something recognisable in something that is random.

Special thanks to: Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie

Location Artwork: De Burght Kerk 
Binnenburg 2, 1791 CG Den Burg
Number 8 (see map)

Dr. Jan-Berend Stuut

Dr Jan-Berend Stuut, marine geologist: 

Dust as fertiliser for the ocean
In 2018, marine geologist Dr Jan-Berend Stuut made the top journal Science with a paper on how coarse-grained dust from the Sahara can blow all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. ‘Between Africa and the Caribbean, we positioned a series of floating dust collectors. When we first found grains of sand measuring almost half a millimetre, hardly anyone believed us. But we’ve now shown very clearly that this dust really can blow from the Sahara right across the ocean.’

Insight into climate issues
‘Saharan sand is full of nutrients, and also metals such as iron. As a result, dust is actually a kind of fertiliser for the ocean. Algae and other organisms need the nutrients from Saharan sand in order to grow. We now know that Saharan sand is a key factor in the overall balance of algal growth in the ocean, and therefore also in the climate. Dying algae take their stored carbon with them to the ocean floor, which goes some way towards counterbalancing the CO2emissions from our chimneys and vehicle exhausts.’  

More information about Jan-Berend’s work can be found on the NIOZ website.

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Science Encounters Art

SEA Texel

Ruim 70 procent van onze aarde bestaat uit zee. Een onuitputtelijke bron van inspiratie. S.E.A brengt een ode aan de zee, door kunstwerken geïnspireerd op wetenschap op Texel te realiseren.

Contact informatie

Project SEA
Pontweg 19
1797 SN Den Hoorn, Texel