Jan van IJken, Jana Winderen


You can see the work »Planktonium«.You can see a digitized single cell against a black background.
Jan van IJken, Jana Winderen
Medium / Material / Technic
Short film, UHD, color, sound, 15:23 min.

The invention of the microscope and the telescope in the seventeenth century led to the principle of seeing more being firmly established in science. Our continuing technological progress gives rise to media of observation which provide insight deep into the cosmos, into molecular structures, or into our bodies.

Using macroscopic film recordings, Jan van IJken delves into the minuscule world of plankton (Greek for “drifter”). The vast diversity of these microscopic water organisms opens up a miraculous world far removed from the reality of human life. Van IJken’s work focuses on the transparency and delicacy of these individual tiny creatures. His videography follows in the footsteps of Ernst Haeckel’s »Art Forms in Nature« (1899–1904), and goes even further. Both Haeckel’s and van IJken’s examinations of the miraculous organizational structures found in nature are depictions of the very foundations of life; after all, phytoplankton are responsible for photosynthesizing half of all oxygen on Earth. Global warming and ocean acidification pose an existential threat to microorganisms and humans alike.

The sound composition by Jana Winderen is a detailed illustration of the vast aquatic habitat and the micro-energetic life of cellular organisms. Moments of darkness and foreboding in Winderen’s composition hint at the precarious nature of existence.