Observational, Experimental,
Collaborative, Situated
Postdoc at Aarhus University
Critical Environmental Data
14 June 2024
Elemental Mediations
Kunsthal Aarhus
Screening & Talk
with Sonia Levy 
with Jussi Parikka and Heather Swanson

Menyunting Arsip / Editing the Archive. Resequencing the Tillema Collection

Critical Documentary and Collaborative Editing Workshops
with Paoletta Holst


Hendrik Freerk Tillema (1870–1952) was a Dutch pharmacist, entrepreneur, self-taught ethnographer and photographer, lobbyist and advocate for hygienic standards in the colonies, who lived in the Dutch Indies for twenty years of his life up until WWI. The photographs and films that Tillema produced or collected during his time in colonial Indonesia are located in the archives of the Museum voor Volkenkunde, the Tropenmuseum and the Eye filmmuseum. Historians and anthropologists have often regarded Tillema’s work and legacy as unavoidable primary sources, often detached from the context of his life, his main business and ideology. With the six waves of cholera bacterium outbreaks in the background, in Semarang, he built the first purified and bottled water factory in the Dutch East Indies. This enterprise directly supported his expeditions, observations and publications. Tillema wrote numerous publications on hygiene and urbanism in the colony. His ideas fit the broader modern scientific and medical discourse on hygiene, which engendered spatial and racial segregation through fear for contamination, through environmental and bodily pollution.


The Forest Underneath

Video Installation: 2-Ch. HD Color Silent 19’35”

Short Documentary: HD Color Stereo 11’

Van Eyck Academie
arc en rêve centre d'architecture
IMPAKT Festival
MCBA Musée Cantonal des Beaux‑Arts Lausanne
Architektur FilmTage Zürich
TRANSFER Architecture Video Award (Finalist)


Staged as a 2-channel video installation, or screened as a single-channel documentary, The Forest Underneath combines materials shot on location in and around the Hambach Forest into an observational film. The last remnant of an ecosystem that has occupied the Rhine plain since the end of the last ice age – and a site where corporate exploitation, environmental activism, and environmental degradation coexist –  the forest borders the largest open-pit coal mine in Europe, and ghost towns doomed to be torn down. Planned to be cleared to mine by the energy company RWE, the forest has been a political standpoint for environmentalists since 2012, when a diverse group of activists took permanent residence within it, in self-built ‘barrios’ and treehouses, behind barricades, to protect it from planned destruction. The meandering camera captures their environents, surroundings and moments of their everyday.

The Forest Underneath was originally produced as a contribution to a visual investigation of the landscape of the Meuse–Rhine Euroregion, curated by Bas Princen at the Jan van Eyck Academie.

They Thought They Saw a Ghost

Documentary: 4K Color Stereo 51’ 
with Giuditta Vendrame and Giulio Squillacciotti

39th Bergamo Film Meeting
International Film Festival


Delving into the invisibility of labor under automation, They Thought They Saw A Ghost offers an entry point to the everyday world of seafarers, the carriers of 90% of the world’s goods. The film stages a series of abstractions: the function of the working body, the empty stage of automated environments, the touristic gaze on the spectacle of mechanization, the comfort of religious beliefs and the faith in the emancipatory horizon of technological innovation. It presents voices from multiple perspectives, catching a glimpse of the social infrastructure that provides seafarers – whose presence is still necessary – support and care. Unfolding as a visual essay, the film is a chaptered immersive observation of time transformed by automated technologies.
The film is the cinematographic extension of Shore Leaves, a visual research originally commissioned for the Dutch Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia in 2018.

Shore Leaves

Video Installation: 2-ch. Color Silent 19’35”
with Giuditta Vendrame and Giulio Squillacciotti

La Biennale di Venezia
16th International Architecture Exhibition
Dutch Pavilion / Work, Body, Leisure


If technology freed workers from harsh labour and reduced working time, what does freetime look like for the seafares harboured in the ports of Venice and Rotterdam? Shore Leaves offers an entry point to the everyday world of seafarers, portraing those moments when the pace of logistical handling slows down. Shore leave stands for time off-work, that can be spent ashore: these moments are vital for the health and wellbeing of seafarers and they represent the short hours when sailors can connect with their families and friends.
The video documentation was produced during fieldwork aboard bulk carrier and container cargo ships harbored for loading and unloading in the ports of Venice and Rotterdam, and at the seafarers organizations that in both cities provide practical assistance and support to seafarers of all nationalities.
Focusing on the spaces and gestures of this waiting time, the project confronts a reality that is generally concealed. The machinic efficiency in the circulation of the goods on which our economies are highly dependent has a counterpart: while human presence and labor are still indispensable and of infrastructural importance, human bodies strive to adapt to remodeled times and spaces and descend further beneath a threshold of visibility.
stills from the video;
view of the installation;
view of the rietveld pavilion (photo: daria scagliola).


yet incomplete