Sharon Houkema
BIOGRAPHY
Sharon Houkema graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2001. A few years later she was nominated for the feminist Mamacash Art Awards. After finishing the Rijksakademie Beeldende Kunsten in 2009, she won the Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst audience award. In 2015 she was nominated for the Longlist of the Prix de Rome. She was invited to various international artist-in residency programs, including El Eco in Mexico City and ViaFarini, in Milan and received fellowships and stipends from, among others, Fiorucci Art Trust, Mondriaan Fund, Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds and the Ministry of OCW.

Houkema set up solo exhibitions in among others Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam and MU Eindhoven. She participated in group exhibitions in La Casa Encendida, Madrid, White Box, New York, Estrany de la Mota, Barcelona, CTM festival in Berlin, and Fact in Liverpool. Outside the context of four walls and a ceiling, her work was hosted by art organisations such as Museum M, Into Nature and Land-Art Contemporary. Her works have been included in collections such as Fiorucci, KRC, Fam Sanders and LUMC.

Both her institutional presentations as well as the works in the public space received interest from among others NPR, El Pais, NRC, Volkskrant, and MetropolisM. Houkema made several print and digital publications and contributed to publications by Roma, Node, Kunstlicht, and Kulturo/LABAE, and others.

She gave presentations and took part in discussions in El Eco Museo Experimental, Omstand / Collection De Groen, the KunsthalKade Land art expert meeting. She also contributed to educational programs related to her work at home and abroad, and organised these herself in the context of solo exhibitions. In addition she had the pleasure of working as an art teacher.

SOLAR SERVER
SOLAR SERVER
the extended body

You are visiting my website via a solar server that is currently located in the dunes of Den Helder. The server is no bigger than a lunch box and is powered by a small solar panel with a battery. The solar server needs little energy, but if its days are dark and busy, it can happen that the website goes offline. If this is the case, then it is not a malfunction, but a message.

Media philosopher Marshall McLuhan viewed any form of technology as an extension of the body that enhances its capabilities. The hammer makes stronger, the wheel makes faster, and with the smartphone eyes and ears reach further. These extensions influence the way we perceive and interact with our environment, often without us being aware of that influence.

The production, transport and disposal phases of all consumer products largely remain invisible to us. This is perhaps even more true for our media consumption. Yet this form of consumption also uses matter and energy, and that use is felt by humans and non-humans somewhere on the planet.

While our technologies are becoming increasingly efficient in their use of resources, overall consumption worldwide is increasing. Jevons' paradox explains this as follows: more efficient use of resources reduces costs, this enables greater production, which leads to greater consumption. This growth of consumption is not so much the outcome of general population growth, but due mainly to the increased consumption of a small, prosperous part of that population. Greening the technologies alone will not improve those problems. What it requires is a culture shift and associated regulations.

To achieve that goal, there are countless smaller and larger strategies that can reinforce each other. This is just one of them: Choose one of your bodily extensions and get to know it intimately, through all its life stages. Acknowledge the banalities, the impurities, the leakages, and the way these reach into the lives of others. Tinker with your outreach until one emerges that best serves the needs of all. Our extended bodies are no temples, but they can be servers.

Sharon Houkema, 2022




With thanks to:
Maarten van Maanen for the web design and typeface.
Daniel Versteegh (Bit of pepper / Ai-Captain) for building the solar server

This project was made possible in part by a contribution from Tijlfonds
NED / ENG
biography
Sharon Houkema graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2001. A few years later she was nominated for the feminist Mamacash Art Awards. After finishing the Rijksakademie Beeldende Kunsten in 2009, she won the Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst audience award. In 2015 she was nominated for the Longlist of the Prix de Rome. She was invited to various international artist-in residency programs, including El Eco in Mexico City and ViaFarini, in Milan and received fellowships and stipends from, among others, Fiorucci Art Trust, Mondriaan Fund, Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds and the Ministry of OCW.

Houkema set up solo exhibitions in among others Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam and MU Eindhoven. She participated in group exhibitions in La Casa Encendida, Madrid, White Box, New York, Estrany de la Mota, Barcelona, CTM festival in Berlin, and Fact in Liverpool. Outside the context of four walls and a ceiling, her work was hosted by art organisations such as Museum M, Into Nature and Land-Art Contemporary. Her works have been included in collections such as Fiorucci, KRC, Fam Sanders and LUMC.

Both her institutional presentations as well as the works in the public space received interest from among others NPR, El Pais, NRC, Volkskrant, and MetropolisM. Houkema made several print and digital publications and contributed to publications by Roma, Node, Kunstlicht, and Kulturo/LABAE, and others.

She gave presentations and took part in discussions in El Eco Museo Experimental, Omstand / Collection De Groen, the KunsthalKade Land art expert meeting. She also contributed to educational programs related to her work at home and abroad, and organised these herself in the context of solo exhibitions. In addition she had the pleasure of working as an art teacher.

SOLAR SERVER
SOLAR SERVER
the extended body

You are visiting my website via a solar server that is currently located in the dunes of Den Helder. The server is no bigger than a lunch box and is powered by a small solar panel with a battery. The solar server needs little energy, but if its days are dark and busy, it can happen that the website goes offline. If this is the case, then it is not a malfunction, but a message.

Media philosopher Marshall McLuhan viewed any form of technology as an extension of the body that enhances its capabilities. The hammer makes stronger, the wheel makes faster, and with the smartphone eyes and ears reach further. These extensions influence the way we perceive and interact with our environment, often without us being aware of that influence.

The production, transport and disposal phases of all consumer products largely remain invisible to us. This is perhaps even more true for our media consumption. Yet this form of consumption also uses matter and energy, and that use is felt by humans and non-humans somewhere on the planet.

While our technologies are becoming increasingly efficient in their use of resources, overall consumption worldwide is increasing. Jevons' paradox explains this as follows: more efficient use of resources reduces costs, this enables greater production, which leads to greater consumption. This growth of consumption is not so much the outcome of general population growth, but due mainly to the increased consumption of a small, prosperous part of that population. Greening the technologies alone will not improve those problems. What it requires is a culture shift and associated regulations.

To achieve that goal, there are countless smaller and larger strategies that can reinforce each other. This is just one of them: Choose one of your bodily extensions and get to know it intimately, through all its life stages. Acknowledge the banalities, the impurities, the leakages, and the way these reach into the lives of others. Tinker with your outreach until one emerges that best serves the needs of all. Our extended bodies are no temples, but they can be servers.

Sharon Houkema, 2022




With thanks to:
Maarten van Maanen for the web design and typeface.
Daniel Versteegh (Bit of pepper / Ai-Captain) for building the solar server

This project was made possible in part by a contribution from Tijlfonds
NED / ENG
***Spoilers ahead***
- On miniatures

Crawling my way through the doors of the Probe exhibition space reminded me of the 7 1/2 floor in the movie Being John Malkovich, written by Charlie Kaufman, which is half the size of a normal office floor. Hidden in one of its rooms is a small door, which turns out to be a portal into the mind of actor John Malkovich, enabling anyone crawling in to experience life through his eyes. People soon cue up for a chance to leave their own lives - if only for 15 minutes. There are more examples of stories in which a trip into a miniature universe takes place; in a way this is what stories are. A wonderful example is the short story by Steven Millhauser titled In the Reign of Harad IV, about a lauded maker of miniatures who - out of his love for detail - starts making his miniatures smaller and smaller. At first his audience is thrilled with his new creations but having to look through lenses to see anything at all they begin to suspect trickery and lose their interest. The maker of miniatures on the other hand is so curious about the world of the very small, that he ventures on, even if his creations are no longer seen. Not even by him.

Online one can find plenty of supplies for constructing personalized versions of the world of the small. All kinds of military, industrial and passenger transportation vehicles to ride around in mountain scenery, as well as lots of stuff to decorate 19th century styled miniature homes. The miniature enables one to playfully explore mastership, while simultaneously rehearsing nostalgic versions of the roles adults have in the real world. In the real world, Reality TV is scripted, politicians are expected to lie and nearly everyone styles their identity for media consumption. It is not easy to tell fact from falsehood and fiction from reality, and to unravel the many subtle ways power structures feed into our mediated reality is quite the task.

I myself am fascinated by the aesthetic features of geological models, and models of climate change and ecosystems. There is a sugary quality to the translation of data into the easy-peasy bite size chunks of pie charts and layered data cakes. Many use psychedelic colouring, as if it concerns acid tabs that will take you into an altered state of planetary consciousness after consumption. The resemblance here seems to be entirely incidental but in other cases it is not. The relation between a WW1 medal, the LGBT flag and the Apple logo goes at least all the way back to Genesis. God sent the rainbow as a sign to earth and its inhabitants of his commitment to not destroy the world again. Anchored to the rainbow, as a sign of the battle's end, is the 'Victory Medal', which was awarded to soldiers who served in World War I. Starting with a peace march in Italy in 1961 the rainbow flag became popular with the peace movement and various counter culture groups. The 60's Californian practical, innovative spirit is prob- ably what the Apple Macintosh company was tapping into when they had their logo redesigned, as well as showing off the graphic possibilities of their machines. The LGBT community flag has been used since the 70's as a plea for the freedom to openly be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

In several publications and broadcasts on the subject of curbing global emissions, I came across expressions along the lines of 'a miracle needing to take place' for governments to meet the 2 degrees warming limit1. Depending of course on what one holds to be miraculous, I see how such phrasing has a demotivating effect on people: no point in chasing rainbows is there? Perhaps what is needed here is not a miracle but something to 'sink your teeth into', which refers to the desire for a task with substance, a challenge to get oneself deeply involved. Perhaps this is not totally unlike the way many people experience the urge to nibble away at the tiny limbs and cheeks of babies; not that they will actually devour them, but because they feel so positively energized.2 Exactly why this happens still remains somewhat elusive, to me at least, when I think about the fact that lots of kids in the world do get hurt.

The title of this exhibition was taken from an article by activists Nicole Vosper and Graham Burnett 'What Is "Liberation Permaculture"',3 in which they are referring to a quote attributed to Buckminster Fuller: 'You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete', which they suggest is 'a convenient way of simply putting hard questions to one side' while getting on with 'building the new world in our hearts.'

1 www.vox.com/2015/10/19/9567863/climate-change-ambitious-cuts, but there are many more, just google 'miracle' and 'climate change'
2 pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/01/27/0956797614561044
3 www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/what-liberation-permaculture (dead)
(2015 References, Project Probe)
(2016 Is there live after Lifestyle, Ketelfactory)