Tag Archives: nature

Floating Energy Video

I am so excited and grateful!

My talented husband, Steffen Holzkamp, has once again created a video to document my latest site-specific nature art installation. A big thank you also goes to Hans-Peter Wollmann, who has kindly provided us with his video material to use in combination with mine.

In this short video clip (1:49min) you can the ‘making-of’ and get an impression of the artwork itself.

But – it is still much better to experience it in person! If you can, please go and visit it.

I got so much wonderful feedback from the visitors while I was working there and even afterwards. All saying what a lovely surprise it was for them when they first noticed it on their walk through the forest. And then as they came closer and realised how long it was, how it was winding its way down the hill and crossing two paths, they got even more excited. It brought them so much joy, they said.

For those of you, who cannot go and visit the forest and my installation yourself, this video gives an impression, adding to the photographs in my previous post.

Enjoy! And do let me know in the comments what you think. I would appreciate it.

Floating Energy – 9. Int. Forest Art Path, Darmstadt

Floating Energy by Imke Rust

The Site-specific Installation

106 Red branches seemingly floating about half a meter above the ground. Flowing down the hill, winding its path through the forest. The total length is approximately 70m and the width varies between 1m and 4m.

Created in August 2018 as part of the 9th International Forest Art Path, in Darmstadt, Germany. Located in the forest behind the Darmstädter Böllenfalltor.

The Idea Behind it

The environment is comprised of energy and energy is always in motion. We can see many of these energy streams or sense them in one way or another. Many other such streams we are not as aware about, as we have unlearned to sense them. When we understand these energies better, we know how to flow with them or understand why crossing or opposing them might be more difficult.

When thinking or talking about nature, we often forget, that we are part of nature and we are nature too. We bring our own energy to the world, just by being who we are and doing what we do.

Usually I work in a very ephemeral way or I take my works away after I have documented them. This is the first time that I will leave a work in nature for an unknown period of time.

How will my energy and installation impact on its surroundings? And how will other energies of the forest react to it or interact with it? Will the wild pigs manoeuvre around it or destroy it or not even bother? What kind of energy will the visitors to the park bring to it?

Floating Energy (Detail) ©ImkeRust

The Process and Details

Before I installed the work, I walked around the forest to find a suitable place. While I kept some necessary artistic criteria in my mind, I mostly looked for a place that felt right.

Once I had the right place I spent quiet time walking around, sitting, listening, noticing and feeling into the place, to know where the energy comes from and where it wants to flow.

There is a special fountain of energy at the beginning of the energy flow of my installation. It starts from a large beech tree, but the real fountain is only noticeable from close by and for visitors who are willing to look and listen a bit closer. There is a root hole in which there is a lot of life and activity. Mosquitoes are buzzing around in it, seemingly in a constant energetic flow. Because of this very strong natural concentration of energy I decided to start my installation from here. From the starting point or well, I used my senses to feel how the installations energy would best flow, and followed this intuitive path.

After completion of the installation, I have been able to spent lots of time in and around it, to feel and understand the energy that was created. Once I was satisfied, I placed an offering of water at the origin of the flow and carried a second bowl down the ‘river’ to place it at its end. This way I hope to create even more of a flow and a connection throughout the installation.

I also believe that giving an offering to the forest and its spirits/energy/beings is a way of showing them (and myself) that I am aware and respectful of their existence as equal to mine. I chose water, as it emphasis the flow and also, as it is desperately needed during this very hot and dry time. While I was installing my work, I also realised that the red branches emphasise a warm, fiery energy. I felt a bit apprehensive about this, in a time where the danger of fire is a very real and everybody is on high alert. Water would symbolically cool down the fire energy – I hope.

The energy stream crosses two paths. Here the energy seemingly disappears into the ground and reappears on the other side, so that anybody can cross the stream easily and safely. I have connected the separate parts with a small water ceremony.

The Colour and Materials

I have used Signal Red spray paint for the beech branches, which make up my installation. I consciously choose a colour that symbolizes energy and which is very noticeable in the forest. Especially noticeable as something that was introduced by humans.

It was important to show that we are not separate from nature and everything we do is part of nature. There is only one nature, one energy. This installation is an attempt to better grasp this idea in its complexity and meaning.

Thin metal rods hold the branches up.

…but, is it Environmentally Friendly?

I have used graffiti spray paint from Montana, and doubt that it would be considered as really environmentally friendly. Once the work is starting to decompose, the organisers from the Waldkunstpfad will de-install it and dispose of it through the right channels.

I do hope that this artwork raises the question with everyone who sees it. While contemplating about the environmental friendliness of the paint, I hope we ask ourselves how environmentally friendly our own lives are? The plastic that our food is wrapped in, the cars we drive, the flights we take, the washing powder we use… Even the energy of negative thoughts we bring into this world.

Hopefully each of us is doing whatever we can to live more consciously and I do believe that making people happy through a beautiful artwork adds a lot of positive energy to the bigger equation.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this artwork! Do you have questions? Let me know in the comments below.

‘Urban Nature Art’ GNAP Germany 2017

Once again nature artists are coming together as part of the Global Nomadic Art Project 2017. This time in Germany, where we will be working in Darmstadt and surrounding area. The theme for this event is ‘Urban Nature Art’.

After participating in last year’s GNAP project in South Africa (Stories of Rain), I am really looking forward to this continuation.

If you are anywhere close, you might want to join us for some of the public events.

Mittwochsform – on the 23rd and the 30th of August respectively. Different artists will present their work. I will be do my presentation on the 23rd of August.
Time: 20h00
Where: Internationales Waldkunstzentrum, 64285 Darmstadt, Ludwigshöhstraße 137

 Yatoo trifft Dreieich Exhibition at the Städtische Galerie Dreireich
Opening: 31. August 2017, 19h00

“Urban Nature Art” Exhibition at the Internationalen Waldkunstzentrum
Opening: 2. September 2017, 15h00

Please find more information about these events and the GNAP Project in the following flyer or by following the links.

Find more information about the project, participating artists and experts, sponsors and organisers at Global Nomadic Art Project Germany 2017 – Urban Nature Art

I am looking forward to meeting you at any of these public events.

Namibian Video Art in Korea

Still image of 'Toxic Water' video artwork by Imke Rust

Still image of ‘Toxic Water’ video artwork by Imke Rust

How awesome is that? My video work has been selected for the Geumgang Nature Art Biennale 2016 (Video exhibition)!

I am so excited that ‘Toxic Water’ is currently shown in the Republik of Korea till the end of November 2016. If you happen to be around that part of the world, go and have a look!

You can find more information on the webpage of the Geumgang Nature Art Biennale 2016 .

My apologies for the having been pretty quiet in the past few months and now sending you some updates in a shorter time. I have planned another über-exciting one for Monday, so please bear with me. Things have been hectic and difficult on many fronts, but much has also led up to all the exciting prospects happening in my career at the moment.

I am so grateful for your continued interest and support and did not want you to miss out on this news. 🙂

Geumgang Nature Art Biennale - Invitation

Geumgang Nature Art Biennale – Invitation

Here are some behind-the-scenes images from the making of the video art work. Please click on the images to see a larger version:

Interview about my Environmental Art

Some time ago I was approached to have some of my artworks published in a book, entitled ‘Temperatures Rising – Climate Change in Africa – a Journey in Pictures’. The book will be produced for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to be presented to the delegates and guests of the COP21 conference next week.

The consultant responsible for the book, Ms Asieh L Nassehi Javan of Concept2art in Torino, Italy, asked me to submit several suitable artworks of mine and has interviewed me about my art. One artwork was selected for illustration of the book, while it will also be printed as a poster to be presented in the African Pavillion. I am so honoured and excited!

I thought you might enjoy reading the interview and get to know more about my ideas behind my art, so I am sharing it with you here:

ANJ: What is the role of an artist? As an educator? As someone who makes people aware of issues? A critique? An agent of change?

IR: All of these. I believe different artists have different and often several roles, which together shape our (human) identity and future.

Personally I see my role in offering an alternative perspective on the world and our perceived reality, and offer possible creative solutions to problems affecting us. Part visionary and part agent of change. A little bit like the shaman or rainmakers in old cultures, who through their ritual and creative expression raise awareness and envision and enact a new, better reality.

ANJ: How do you define your art? 

IR: I work in a wide range of media, dependent of the concept or vision for the artwork. My work cannot be defined by putting it into a box. Roughly I would say it is a mix between creative, visual expression, alchemy, magic and spirituality, often with a sprinkle of playfulness.

It is a flowing process between all these layers, always conscious about trying to make a positive impact and slightly changing our perceived reality.

ANJ: What inspires you to create works that address hurting the Environment/Climate change? 

IR: My works usually starts when I notice something, which stirs me emotionally. Often these are situations which I find frustrating or problematic, so I start to wonder what could be changed and how.

Namibia is a dry country with two large deserts. We are extremely dependent on rain for survival, but also on managing our natural resources well. I try to find different ways to feel less helpless when it either does not rain or when I see great damage being done to our environment. I love researching and experimenting with really alternative ideas, because I believe often the mainstream ideas are what brought us the problems in the first place.

As an artist, my purpose is to use my art to make the world a better place. Others have different purposes. Like my father, who is a farmer and an engineer, so he tries to find agricultural ways to positively impact the environment, for instance through Holistic Resource Management. I learned much from him, but was also frustrated, that still we are dependent on the rain and that rainfall cannot be controlled. So I ask myself is this true? Why does almost every ancient culture across the world a belief in a rainmaker or a rain dance? And how could I combine my art, my knowledge and research and my spiritual beliefs to at least consider the possibility of having an impact on the rainfall?

ANJ: Is there an experience, instance or event that led you to create works about the environment?

IR: As an art student I had no money for art materials and usually in Namibia traditional art materials were either not available or extremely expensive. So I started to look around to find alternative materials to use, which I could gather for free.

So early on I noticed the abundance and usefulness of the environment for my art. Through that, and the fact that I grew up on a farm, it was a natural next step to pay closer attention to the environment and realize our connection to it more deeply.

My artworks from the series ‘…and I sensed an infinite scream passing through the Namib’ started from seeing the increased damage of more and more uranium mines and connected industries on the environment. Other people were demonstrating to stop the mines and I asked myself how I could personally contribute, since demonstrating was not my thing. I looked for ways in which I could address the problem and create solutions in my own way.

ANJ: Can you elaborate on the art works you are submitting? What are the messages they aim to send and to whom are the messages directed?

IR:  Rainmaker:

Rainmaker (Masking Tape on Rock, temporary intervention)

Rainmaker (Masking Tape on Rock, temporary intervention)

All over the world the old cultures had shamans who were known to be able to create rain, either through dance, music or rock-paintings. From my research I construed that the creative act combined with a focused intention can create a different energy or vibe and thus change the perceived reality.

Since then I have experimented with different methods of using my art to hopefully ‘make rain’. This specific work creates a vision of the reality we intend to see, in a similar way that the old inhabitants of Namibia would have used to attract animals for a good hunt. I have made several different artworks or experiments researching different approaches.

The message is two-fold: it tries to remind people to focus on the rain and not the drought, and secondly open people up to the idea, that there may possibly be alternative ways to see the world and to impact the reality around us. I cannot say for sure this way does work, but by trying it out, I hope it encourages other people to also try out alternative ideas, even though they might appear silly or ridicules. Through actively taking charge, and playfully experimenting with different things, we might find new solutions. (Find out more about my rainmaker experiments by clicking here.)

 

Earth Woman:

Desertification and erosion in Namibia is becoming an increasing threat, which is to a large extend a result of us not taking proper care of the environment. I found these deep erosion cracks and I wanted to use the human, female body and the naked skin to highlight this problem and to make us aware that the soil of the earth is like our skin and equally vulnerable and in need of care and attention.

We are intimately connected to the soil and our destiny is so closely linked to that of our environment. These works allure to this and the birth, life and death cycle, which starts and ends with the earth. ( For more work from this series, click here. )

Works like the Tokoloshe Trap acts in my usual multi-layered way. It tries to use the spiritual intention and activated energy, the shapes and material to protect the land in a spiritual way, but it also lets people see a familiar environment in a different and unexpected way. I hope this will let them pause and become more aware, start wondering and asking questions. I also hope it works via a physical experience: any Namibian knows from personal experience how painful it is to step into one of those thorns. Seeing so many of them arranged as a kind of trap, usually lets us cringe, while we imagine stepping into it. (More about this artwork: click here)

An Infinite Scream

In this documented performance-like action I asked passers-by to re-enact the famous painting ‘The Scream’ from Edvard Munch, on the Swakopmund jetty. Munch claimed that he sensed the angst and scream of nature, which led to this painting. Be re-enacting this scream, the people give an expression to the fears about the destruction of our environment. The resulting images and video raise awareness in a fun way. (More about this intervention: click here. and to see a super fun short video about it: click here)

An Infinite Scream Public Intervention

An Infinite Scream Public Intervention

Dorob (NOT) 4Sale

This anonymous intervention used a tongue-in-cheek way to get people’s awareness about the sale-off of our natural resources. Fake estate agent for-sale signs were placed at prominent places along the main roads leading through the Namib desert, with messages that our desert and ocean are (NOT) for sale. The provided telephone number and Web address lead to further information and links to environmental initiatives. (More about this intervention: click here. )

 

Hand-painted Photographs of the Namib Desert

While I was in Berlin, I heard about the plans to build a large chemical plant in the Namib Desert. I imagined what the desert around that plant would look like, if the waste is not properly managed, like so often before or if something unforeseen happens. I painted these scenarios onto photographs of the desert. Later, when I returned to Namibia I used the ideas from the photos for temporary land-art installations.

Toxic Rocks & Poisonous Water

The neon paints might initially give the landscape a funky and modern look, which is quite pleasing, until we notice that this is not natural and healthy. I hope to make people understand that we have to take a second look and consider the different realities behind a situation. Yes, a chemical plant might bring job opportunities, but also illnesses and destruction to the environment. Only when we consider all aspects, can we make a good choice. What looks pretty at first, might turn out to be nasty in the long-run. (More about this artwork: click here and here.)

 

AJ: Could your art, even though its related to Africa, reflect the global narrative?

IR: Definitely! When I started off with my career, I thought I am working on personal issues which are directly connected to myself and my home-country. I very soon realized, that once you scratch under the surface, we are all human and have the same hopes and fears. Situations and patterns are so similar all over the world, but we are often too distracted to notice, because we focus on the thin superficial differences.

Not all countries are desert countries, but still we all are exposed to and dependent on our environment. A country with plenty of water also needs to manage their resources. They might not need a rainmaker, but through my artwork they could feel inspired to play with alternative ways of interacting with and caring for their environment, and minimize the danger of floods for example.

ANJ: Do you have any comments you would like to add? 

IR: Thank you so much for your interest in my work and this opportunity to make it visible to more people worldwide.

Imke Rust busy installing 'Poisonous Water'

Imke Rust busy installing ‘Poisonous Water’

Thank you Ms Nassehi Javan for letting me share our interview here! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you and working with you.

Rainmakeress

Rainmakeress by Imke Rust Graphite & Acrylic on paper, 105 x 120cm

Rainmakeress by Imke Rust, Graphite & Acrylic on paper, 105 x 120cm

Rainmakeress

Woman is water. Woman is moon.
Woman is flow. Woman is life.
Woman is earth. She is the giver of birth.

                                              She is the rain.

Some time ago, while thinking about one of my favourite subjects (how we can manifest rain) I scribbled down the above thoughts. That led to the large drawing (at the top) of a woman becoming rain.

I do believe that we must find the rain within us. I do believe that we are one with everything around us, the rocks, the animals, the people, the clouds, the invisible waves of sound, light and information, the ocean, the air and everything else. Whatever is out there, is a mirror of what is inside myself and we do attract into our lives, that, which we put our awareness on and what we feed with energy. Because it is all there. And all is One. And that One is God.

So, if that is true, then it follows that similar to being able to attract like-minded people, we can attract (or manifest) like-minded energy and ‘states of being’. To understand this better, lets take an example, lets say I want more kindness in my life. Then I just need to focus my attention on that part in me, which is kind and choose to be more kind in my everyday life. Suddenly I will notice more people around me being kind. They probably have always been kind, but I did not consciously realise or notice it. Also, I will most likely avoid people who are not kind. And my kindness will very likely inspire somebody else to be kind in return.

Similarly, it should be possible to place our awareness on the qualities of rain and what comes with it and then attract it into our lives. If we have a drought, we can ask ourselves, which parts of us have we let dry up? Did we let our passion, our flow, our life become dry and stale? Are we contracting ourselves out of a fear of lack? Have we lost touch with our moistness, our fertility and our giving part? Have we somehow stopped the cycle of water, by damming up our feelings?

If we can find where we are lacking within our own spirits, then we can start rectifying our energy and thoughts. We can focus our awareness on those things which matter and which are favourable to attracting rain. What is rain for you?

I associate it with joy, with lightness, with wetness, abundance, creativity, life, freshness, growth, water and so much more. So when trying to evoke rain, I focus my attention on these things. I imagine how I feel when it is raining, I try to taste, smell, feel and hear that sensation of rain. Can you imagine it? Can you feel the feelings that you have when it is raining? Try and stick with those feelings for some moments. And then, in my case, with my associations of rain, I try to consciously incorporate those things more into my life, or send a silent thought of gratitude and appreciation to these things when I notice them.

Practically it means, when I wash my hands (for instance), I am consciously enjoying the water and in my mind saying thank you for having this water and how much I appreciate it. And I try to fill my life and heart with more joy (do something fun), with freshness (place a fresh flower in my space), life (go out and enjoy the plants, animals or people whom I meet) and creativity (the best of all, create something new, an artwork or a meal)… I do something fresh and exciting. If my life has become stale, I try to find ways of being and feeling more alive – like getting up from the computer and dance.

You can try this yourself. Maybe you do not immediately succeed in creating real rain, but I do believe that you will immediately feel better and changing the atmosphere will sooner or later lead to the ideal conditions for rain to come.

Recently I had a friend visiting me from Namibia and I could try out another idea which I had, based on the idea that we are all rainmakers. Also that especially as woman, we embody the fertility and giving part, which I associate with rain. Combined with freshness, creativity and some real water I simplified this idea so that it can be better understood. I painted a dark rain cloud on the body of my friend and then splashed it with water, so that it will drip down and draw the colour with it, creating a visual idea of rain. I had so much fun with that last part, that I forgot to take photos, and only in the end, when you could not see the ‘rain’ that well anymore, I took a photo. I do think the action is more important than the ‘prove’ so I hope you enjoy the ‘before and after’ images anyhow.

Rainmakeress: Cloud painting on body and adding water to let it 'rain' (Imke Rust)

Rainmakeress: Cloud painting on body and adding water to let it ‘rain’ (Imke Rust in cooperation with Wiebke Volkmann)

What are your believes about rain? Do you maybe live in a country, where you would much rather see more sun and less rain? You could apply the same ideas to create a more sunny life for yourself.

Have you ever tried making rain? Or done a rain dance? Prayed for rain?
What were/are your experiences?

You will not believe what I found in the forest…

I decided to go for a spontaneous walk in the forest, because I felt overwhelmed by the emails I had to answer and the admin that I had to do. And I could not think, because my head ached so much.

Me in the forest

Me in the forest

I decided to only take my camera and my new summer hat along. And since I longed for a good foot massage, I went barefoot. I love that there are almost no thorns in the area where I live now. Back in Namibia there are so many, small ones which we call ‘dubbeltjies’ and large thorns, for instance from the Camelthorn trees. Going into the bush without shoes would be hell.

The forest ground welcomes you with soft moss. What a delight. Yet there are also broken off branches and pinecones, which can be quite painful when stepped on.

I found that walking barefoot in the forest made me walk slower and take every step with more consciousness. Not only did I get a foot massage, but I was also enjoying the sensations of the different textures beneath my feet. The feeling of being supported by a soft, green carpet made me feel connected and happy.

I found peace, trees and ferns in the forest.

I know, you will think that is nothing special. But it is. On a hectic day, peace is really special. And trees and ferns are too. Especially once you decide to see them, and then be grateful for their presence. They also make wonderful playmates and soul soothers.

Tree with line of fern leaves

Tree with line of fern leaves

Together we played a silly game and had a good time. We placed small parts of the fern leaves into the bark of a tree to form a line. And yes, just so that you know, I do ask permission and say my gratitude for the donation of the leaves from the fern. Here you can see what we have done.

 

Detail: Tree with line of fern leaves

Detail: Tree with line of fern leaves

Scrolling up and down the green line on the bark of the tree (the line is about 2m long )

Scrolling up and down the green line on the bark of the tree (the line is about 2m long )

I even made a small video.

 

Then I found 4 young birch trees, which have been driven over by the forestry vehicle. They were still holding on to their roots and growing, but they were lying flat across the earth, instead of growing upwards. I pulled them up and secured them with each other so that they can grow upwards again. I believe that were grateful and will soon go back to see how they are doing.

 

Lastly, I found a dirty puddle of water and the awesome orange peels of bark lying around.

This gave the impulse to one last game I played. I carefully arranged the bark in a long line on the water, taking care that they do not sink in. Suddenly the puddle looked much happier.

 

Detail view of the Bark Line

Detail view of the Bark Line

 

Bark Line in puddle of water

Bark Line in puddle of water

When I finished with this, I could even save a beautiful butterfly from drowning in a dirty puddle. 

See the video to get to know my unexpected co-creator:

 

So, two hours later I got home and felt much better.

I hope that you too have the chance to slip out into nature, every now and then, to get grounded and recharge your batteries.