The Zeeglas Machine made for the exhibition NIJVER|heden(2011) at the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen explores the manufacture of nostalgia through a specific product: Zeeglas. This product is made from waste or discarded glass. It obtains a certain attractiveness and preciousness as a result of the timeless affects of the sea. The 3 meter long Zeeglas Machine mimics the incessant action of the sea tirelessly and effortlessly rocking back and forth. This action gnaws gently at the glass shards transforming them into raw gems. Constructed on the banks of the Ijselmeer, a body of water that was closed off from the North Sea in 1932, the Zeeglas Machine brought back the melody of the tides once again.
Do you know what Seaglass is?
I have asked this question to many people here in Holland and from around Europe. The answer I get most of the time is: "No?" accompanied by a perplexed look. When left to the their imaginations, these people divine the most romantic definitions for the term "Seaglass".
Where I come from Seaglass is ubiquitous. The two words together immediately conjure up the image of the shards of broken glass that have been softened and frosted by timeless massaging, battering, blasting by the sand and waters of the sea...of hunting the beaches for these gems to inadvertently fill our pockets to overflowing...of bowls and aquaria decorated with shards of refuse that have been transformed into delicate deposits of color by the sea.
I am making Seaglass with my machine and seeding the beaches of Holland with nostalgia.
My Seaglass becomes a memory, defines an experience. It will not become just another piece of discarded glass, which it is.