Jasper Coppes & Esmee Geerken – Shadow Soil

Participant of Our Living Soil

Jasper Coppes is working on a new film reflecting on the ‘new nature’ that has emerged in the Netherlands with toxic soil. For Our Living Soil, Jasper will develop an audiovisual installation in collaboration with artist and geoscientist Esmee Geerken and artist Rustan Söderling. In a series of cinematic sketches, they want to expose the extracted toxins in a speculative reality. These cinematic sketches are also a test location for Jasper’s film that will be screened in Zone2Source at the end of the exhibition, after which it will travel to other sites.


In his project, Jasper focuses on the discussion about contaminated soils that have been conducted on a wide scale in recent years. Almost every week, we hear about PFAS. These non-degradable Teflon particles have penetrated our living environment’s deepest regions. We are advised not to let our children play on building sites because they are full of lead. Animals grazing in the river area have dioxins in their bodies because the river brings them in from factories along the water. Asbestos is still often found where the land was raised or where it was discharged into deep natural lakes. Granulite was used in widening the A9 motorway near Amstelveen, which caused a great deal of commotion because chemical substances were added to it. There is no getting around it: our landscape is full of pollution, no matter how picturesque or wild it may be.  Yet it remains difficult to achieve social awareness of this pollution simply because we cannot see the pollutants. With his work ‘Shadow Soil,’ Jasper wants to make these invisible contaminants visible.

Jasper will collaborate with soil scientist and artist Esmee Geerken for the exhibition Our Living Soil exhibition. Together they scan samples of the various contaminants in our soil. These scans will be enlarged and then printed on transparent vinyl – which can be applied to a glass-like window film. The idea is to ask the owners of all public buildings in the park for permission to stick the scans windows (without glue). In this way, the toxins will spread symbolically through the park, and different target groups will be able to discover them. Zone2Source’s buildings have scans of a larger size than on the windows of the other buildings. At the Glazen Huis, you will find an explanation behind the artwork in a brochure. The scans will be placed in film shots as visual animation. The film shots represent different places where many toxins have accumulated. In each landscape, the scans will be set over the recordings so that it seems they are floating silently through the landscape. The recordings are distributed through the space on three flat screens mounted on construction struts.

In the press