Gaia (2021)

I make kin with Palingbeek, a small creek running along the 3M chemical plant in Zwijndrecht, close to Antwerp. The Palingbeek drains into the Schelde and due to its vicinity to the chemical factory, high concentrations of PFAS have been measured here. I collect clay from this creek and make spheres. Manual labour is a symbolic way of healing the soil. After the mechanical and chemical violence, I spend time with the clay, nurturing it. I create an intervention at the Palingbeek, as a gift to the creek. I half-bury nine spheres in a V-shape. Half-buried, a reference to Gaia, the Greek Earth goddess. Often depicted half-buried, rising out of the ground. With the V-shape, I point to the polluted soil, water, and earth. This is where it is happening, there’s work to do for us here, I try to say. I visit Palingbeek regularly to see how the creek develops.