Ruins of Desire: Jan Eric Visser

Rotterdam-based artist Jan Eric Visser is presenting a new outdoor project called ‘Ruins of Desire’. The title is a quote from a Japanese monk classifying all waste as ‘the ruins of desire’. In the project Jan Eric Visser offers a platform to innovative recycling materials such as translucent photocatalytic concrete.

Concrete is the second most produced material in the world after drinking water. Unfortunately it is highly unsustainable in terms of CO2 emissions and resource efficiency. Now University of Technology Eindhoven have developed a new type of concrete in which aggregates and cement have largely been replaced by waste materials, such as glass waste. Also a mineral has been added to render the concrete self-cleaning and eliminate air pollution. Thus it uses UV light to prevent the growth of algae and degrade small particles in the air we breathe known as nitrogen oxides. Its performance is increased by 40% as the various glass particles used in the concrete intensify the UV light.

Marking the transition from research to society, the innovative concrete is applied and showcased for the first time. Jan Eric Visser used the university’s standard test molds to cast pedestals as an initial step in the collaboration between artist and science.The sculptures in the project are made of Aquadyne, an innovative material produced of 100% postconsumer waste plastics. Micro and macro pores allow for the rooting of plants, even vegetables may be grown on it. The shapes were found as left overs in the production machine and slightly adapted by the artist.

According to the artist both materials embody the new aesthetics of a post-industrial future in which valuable resources will be cherished and no longer incinerated as “waste”. As such Ruins of Desire may be seen as a call for a new connection between man and matter, at the same time aspiring an artistic reconciliation of concept and matter.

The artistic practice of Jan Eric Visser is focused entirely on the transformation of his everyday garbage items into autonomous works of art. He likes to refer to this process as ‘Form Follows Garbage’, exploring the boundaries of his control over shape, material and color, at the same time addressing pressing environmental issues like resource shortage and overconsumption by reducing his own carbon footprint.

(Supported by Centre for Visual Arts Rotterdam)