Shifting Grounds



Shifting Grounds relates to the thin layer of soil from which all life originates. This layer of earth is constantly changing, whether or not due to human activities.

Humans have moved a significant amount of earth on this planet. These displacements also allow certain plants or other organisms to spread to places where they do not belong. This human behavior is one of the main reasons why plants like the Japanese knotweed can spread so easily. The plant doesn't even need sexual reproduction; human assistance is sufficient. It is one of the most invasive plants, yet almost nobody notices.

Shifting Grounds

Japanese Knotweed

With this project, the overgrowth of the Japanese knotweed is depicted, one of the problems caused by humans. In the images, you can see how the plant begins to impose itself in cities. You can't look anywhere without something of the Japanese knotweed appearing in the picture.


The Making Of

The twigs of the Japanese knotweed were preserved by immersing them in a glycerine solution. This prevents the leaves from curling and becoming hard. After this treatment, the greenery was attached to a model.

The model is composed of images of buildings from various cities around the world. This is to demonstrate how humans, during their journey, sow destruction everywhere. Subsequently, the model was photographed, using very shallow depth of field to create a realistic image.

Shifting Grounds, The Making Of

The Model

The Research

For this project, both contextual and artistic research were conducted. In the contextual aspect, I sought information about the Japanese knotweed and the environmental consequences of this and other plants. Acquiring new information can initiate creative processes. In the artistic aspect, I looked for artists who have already created similar works. This allows me to build upon existing work and avoid repetition.


Artistic research

The artistic component needed additional research. I wanted to incorporate the Japanese knotweed into my work, but it should not wither. The model is a part of the artwork and needs to be displayed with the branches and leaves. Therefore, I had to find a method to preserve them.


The publication NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) by Kristof Vrancken there were included two photos of the Shifting Grounds project, on the pages 84 and 85 respectively. During the exhibition, the pages were displayed under glass plates.