Esther Kokmeijer (1977), artist, designer and photographer, born in Dokkum, The Netherlands and lives currently in Rotterdam and Hamburg.
The world at large and the connections and movements within are the main focus of my work. I’m questioning the origins of nature through mappings of intersections between man-made and ‘natural’ forms of reality. I’m interested in the way ‘landscapes’ are shaped, interact and interfere in the lives of people and vice versa. This stems from an urge to discover, order and represent the world’s natural phenomenon on a macro and micro level. In my research I search for collaborations with scientists and other professionals from difrent backgrounds. I’m interested in how art and science could reinforce each other and find alternatives ways to give a clear ‘visual’ understanding and insight of scientific outcomes.
Many of my works originate during travels, whereby the movement itself is an important part of the work. The possibilities of traveling have become infinite, we move more then ever before. This is inherent to a greater awareness of the outside world. It makes the world smaller, but at the same time bigger. In some of my works this contradiction is present. On my travels and being abroad, I attempt to explore the quantifiable positions related to geographic coordination systems, climatic phenomena and politically vs topologically defined borders. For me my work as artist is a quest for the life history of the earth, geological texts and images saved as a diary and archived in nature and mind. Geography is literally describing the world. I would rather depict her in a poetic way. There is an inner desire to make the ‘invisible’, visible.
From 2013 on I work seasonally on the ms FRAM as expedition photographer, sailing in the Arctic summers to the Arctic and in the Antarctic Summers to the Antarctic.
To get a better understanding of science and the polar regions I attended in 2014 the study Arctic and Antarctic Science at the Arctic centre of the State University Groningen (RUG). In 2015 I was invited by the Dirección Nacional del Antártico (DNA) to stay for one month for an artistic research project at Base Esperanza in Antarctica.
One of the projects I’m currently involved with is to depict and symbolise the tremendous migration route of the Arctic Tern. Annually this bird flies from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back. A journey that entails 70.000 until over 90.000 kilometer. For this research I collaborate with the scientist Maarten Loonen, Station manager of the Dutch Arctic Station on Spitsbergen which I annually visit.
My work has been widely exhibited and published throughout the world and for various projects and articles I visited 78 countries. In 2008 I published ‘A Summary of the World’, a book about my journey to the centre of gravity of each continent. Except Antarctica; I’m still working on finding a way to undertake this enormous expedition.
* Esther was an APECS NL board member for several years.