Heartbeat was a new site – specific installation which was displayed at one of the few art events held last year: BIG ART 2020. Here 70 artworks were presented in an old industrial site at the Hembrug area in Zaandam, The Netherlands.

The work directly responds to the current situation. Our orientation in public space is no longer defined by the existing parameters as we know it. An additional layer has been added to distance, colour, depth and form. The awareness of the presence of the ‘other’ has obtained a new meaning. We move with caution as we try to maintain the 1.5 metre distance between each other. These movements are awkward and no longer carefree.

15 floating light tubes were placed within the space with a minimum distance of 1.5 meters of each other. The tubes were like entities that first scan and then take over the space. A choreography followed consisting of motions derived from vital life functions such as breathing and the heartbeat.

This work was made possible with the support of Fonds Kwadraat as a partner of Mondriaan Foundation and Smartlight as sponsor.

Heartbeat 1.5 is follow up of responses made with existing public artworks. The first lockdown restricted the completion of a work in Vancouver: West Pender Place. Here two towers of a residential building display a light façade. We decided to use the one that was completed to make a tribute for healthcare workers. Part of the tribute is still on display as a heartbeat motion that can be seen at fixed times. I made a similar tribute closer to home at a station tower in Hilversum. A dormant work was brought back to life. The ‘Heartbeat’ shows red light pulsating and is still displayed at fixed times. This was initiated last year March. I did not suspect that it would still be an actuality. The tribute works were made voluntarily as a contribution to the public in these challenging times.

Where the ‘Heartbeat’ program served as a hopeful beacon to connect us as humans, Heartbeat 1.5 confronted the situation more directly and penetrated the essence of how this pandemic impacts us physically and emotionally.

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