Sludge Sanctuary 

a site specific exhibition and performative guided tour at the wastewater treatment plant in Amstelveen

curtated by Michał Dawid and Neeltje van der Vlugt

with works by Ignacy Radtke,  Andrei Lumpan,  Shai Datauker,  Rebekka Bank, Tomás,   Michał Dawid, Neeltje van der Vlugt, Sangiorgio Blonk,  Pepijn de Kock,  Layla Gijsen,  Léna Serdjebi, Mingrui Jiang, Irene Ruigrok Van Der Werve, Linda Ucelniece

in collaboration with Energy and Resources Factory

project mentor: Cathelijne Montens

On the cold and misty december night, a Sludge Sanctuary mysteriously emerges from what was previously known as the Energy and Resources Factory. The way how we name things influences the way how we perceive them – following this century-old wisdom, the name-changing spell was casted in order to challenge the narrative of how humans connect with their surroundings. The word “factory” implies the capitalistic narrative operating within the myth of progress proposed in the Enlightenment period. This narrative is not sustainable, it comes from the place of social inequalities where workers are exploited by factory owners and nature is seen purely as a site of extraction.

Sludge Sanctuary is a place of sacred ritual in which the waste produced by humans comes merged together in order to undergo a complex, a little bit mysterious process of purification to be reconnected with the environment. It is indeed, a place where the collective human body connects with other water bodies. Sludge Santuary is a sacred place of utmost imporance for human collectivity. It is a site of a multispecies collaboration, where bacterias are the enchanters performing a purgatory magic. It is a sanctuary of Sludge, a god of transformation in which the DNAs of human inhabitants merge together, go through the series of sedimentations, bacterial workings, the process of drying and ritualistic burning that produces an invisible burst of energy.

Ignacy Radtke

What is happening at the water purification station? Is this industrial environment alive, is it part of the existing infrastructure or a self-conscious being?

Andrei Lumpan

We are in a place that did not appear thanks to peaceful times. It took many disagreements and even wars in order to bring it to what we can see nowadays. A utopian story unveils the real meaning behind the graphics we see.

Shai Datauker

Drinkable water became so scarce that the sludge sanctuary dedicated part of itself to research alternative water sources for consumption. Waters from many places, stages of purification and even waters that were made drinkable again. “Liquid circularity that shimmers within these glass vials. Embraced by an elegant yet strong foundation, which is made from the plastic bottles we once drank from. Each vial is sealed by a unique symbol representing its origin and risk factor. On this rare occasion, the sludge sanctuary opens part of its water sample collection for public view, at the very source where our collective wastewater flows in.

Rebekka Bank and Tomás

Michał Dawid, Neeltje van der Vlugt, Sangiorgio Blonk

Muffled vibrations, soft screeching, may the sound of your footsteps lead you through the fluid machinery.

Léna Serdjebi and Mingrui Jiang

Pepijn de Kock

Flowing from the top a brown sludge tirickles down. Flowing down a predetermined process, travelling through an endless circle.

Layla Gijsen

To have a fully sustainable society is to let go the idea of infinite growth and profit, and to listen to the earth.

Irene Ruigrok Van Der Werve

Let us get more intimate with the water we use and so desperately need. Let’s not only drink the water, but also see it, smell it, listen to it. Let's optimize our moments of self care, together!

She was born of waste to consume more waste.

Linda Ucelniece