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REIS - Marcella Kuiper


Marcella Kuiper

The imagination of science.

There is a commonality between art and science: both require imagination. We have used this imagination to visualise the research of Allert Bijleveld.

The birds, their characters and their movements have been shaped into a journey. The research, the search for answers hidden in the subject, is like a labyrinth, a place of orientation. Anyone who enters it, seeks out the path to the answer.

Alchemy, the mysterious science, is based on the four elements: air , water, earthand fire . The symbols for these elements are used to create geometric objects that float in space.

The blue glow swells like the tide. The birds have to set off again for the next area, in search of food. We can follow them through the reflections of the light.

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

Dr. Allert Bijleveld

Dr Allert Bijleveld, behavioural biologist: ‘Around the margins of the Wadden Sea, I study the movements and distribution of a beautiful wading bird called the knot. These birds move back and forth with the tide as they forage for food on the wet mudflats. But they don’t just fly around at random. Knots have very different characters. Some are very reticent, while others take more initiative. When I catch one, I can do a simple test to determine its character: either reticent or enterprising. By attaching a tiny transmitter to the bird’s back, I can monitor exactly how its character influences its movements across the tidal flats as they become exposed At low tide. And by understanding birds, we can ultimately protect them better.’

The character of the knot
Behavioural biologist Dr Allert Bijleveld studies knot behaviour at sites such as the uninhabited island of Griend in the Wadden Sea. ‘The knot is a wading bird that overwinters here and breeds in the far north of Canada and Greenland. It forages on the exposed tidal flats for shellfish such as cockles or clams, which it crushes in its muscular gizzard.’

Not all knots are the same
‘Just like the objects that are part of Marcella Kuiper’s artworks, knots are very different, although at first sight the birds all look the same to us: a rather dumpy little grey wader, weighing around an ounce, with a long beak that it uses to fish shells from the mud. In spring the birds slowly turn red, which is a good camouflage colour on the Arctic tundra with all of its red flora.’ 

‘In my research I try to find a connection between the birds’ character and behaviour. I do this primarily out of scientific curiosity. I found that I shared this basic curiosity and especially my admiration of the birds with the artist Marcella Kuiper. Sooner or later, I hope the information I am gathering will also be useful in efforts to better protect the knot and the Wadden Sea.’ 

More information about Allert’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