Amsterdam Art Week 17–27 Juni 21 Amsterdam Art Week 17–27 Juni 21 Amsterdam Art Week 17–27 Juni 21

Walking the Machine, PolakVanBekkum Horizon 02 Square. Courtesy dudokdegroot

Grazing and other choreographies

Artists Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum have built an extensive oeuvre around their exploration of movement in time and space. The use and shape of landscape and infrastructure play an important role in their work, as do vehicles for movement (from bodies to cars and planes), and traces of movement. Their work used to be presented under the term ‘locative media art’, when the GPS systems they used were still relatively new in the public domain. However, PolakvanBekkum, as they named their collaboration, creates highly diverse works, from drawing machines working with sand to interdisciplinary works combining Google Maps with field recordings and animation.

PolakVanBekkum works from the idea that everyone constantly creates their own landscape through routes and movement. It arises only when someone or something moves through it, and is different every time.

Around 2002, the duo became fascinated by the new GPS technology, which changed their experience of space, navigation, and access to the landscape. They used this technology to create a new form of landscape art, and found themselves at the forefront of what was initially called “locative media art” and later “mobile media art”. In 2009 they started using Google Earth as a visualization tool and, more especially, as a landscape to move through.

In the exhibition Grazing and other choreographies, PolakVanBekkum show movement in landscape using drawings, performance and video. Their new work Grazing choreographies consists of forty-eight drawings and a book showing the grazing patterns of cows on steep slopes in the Swiss Alps, and a series of cow tracks in the flat Groningen landscape with its demarcated pastures. They will also show Walking the machine, a 25-minute video diptych in which one panel consists of a walk through the snow in the open-world videogame Horizon zero dawn, and the other of a flight over a three-dimensional mountain landscape using satellite photos. Both windows explore mountain landscapes, and both worlds are virtual, but molded to what we as humans recognize as reality. The work, an ode to that fleeting reality, is being shown in the Netherlands for the first time. 

PolakVanBekkum’s work has recently been shown in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum, IDFA, gallery dudokdegroot, and Upstream Gallery. For a complete CV and other information, visit


PolakVanBekkum (artist duo) (NL, 1962, 1964)

  • Thursday 17 June 14:00–19:00
  • Book launch
  • PolakVanBekkum

  • Thursday 24 June 16:00–17:30
  • Conversation
  • Artist Talk PolakVanBekkum