The way of Soil

This project uses several crops to question the state of and our relationship with the soil. On the edge of a corn field in the floodplains near Deventer, you enter the land of the Klunder family's organic dairy farm. Through a cleared path of grass, flowers, and herbs, after a short walk, you arrive at a stacked structure, made of -for the occasion- grass sods. Its shape, a three-quarter circle, makes it an intimate and sheltered place that embraces you. The site invites you to stop and think about the soil. After years of intensive farming techniques, we have depleted and impoverished it. The soil is suffering.

In the spring, the project began with the piling of grass sods after which corn, herbs and flowers, and buckwheat were sown. Because of the cycles of the various crops i.c.w. the weather, the work was constantly changing; slowly the work (due to the encroaching corn) disappeared entirely from view and you walked through a sea of flowers to the structure where insects greedily approached.

At the end of the summer, a series of tea ceremonies were held under the direction of Japan's Haruka Matsuo. The Japanese tea ceremony is a series of very precise actions (in silence) that take you along and aim to be in the here and now and experience a connection with each other and nature. The herbs, flowers, and buckwheat from the work served as ingredients for the tea drunk from crockery made from the clay of this field.

In-depth session
The project resulted in an in-depth session. For this, a diverse group was invited, each dealing with soil issues in their own way. Those present were soil expert; Tanja Dekker, farmer; Arnold Klunder, curator; Imke Ruigrok, food expert and philosopher; Michiel Korthals, transition economist; Damaris Mathijssen, water expert and consultant; Wim van Vilsteren, IJsselbiennual project leader; Guido de Vries and director Jan van Eijck; Hicham Khalidi. The day began with a tea ceremony by Haruka Matsuo, followed by a contemplative dialogue led by Evanne Nowak in which we searched for new relationships with the soil. Jesse Ahlers wrote the essay De weg naar de aarde (only NL) on the occasion of this day.

The way of Soil was part of the IJsselbiennual 2021; an art manifestation along the river IJssel on the theme of the impact of climate change on the landscape and Living Lab Art + Landscape.