We Are All Extremophiles is an 200 year long artistic research project that was initiated in 2020 as Vroman Fellow at the van Eyck academy in Maastricht. Over the last five years

I have amassed a phtographic archive of lichen native to Amsterdam, Maastricht, Vorarlberg and  Chernobyl.

Over the coming decades We Are All Extremophiles questions our changing perception of environmental change over time. In lichen we can see our atmospheric history as drawings of the natural world.

paul beuk

nhm maastricht

romy finke

david habets

cameron hu

laurens sparrius


chapter 1 Maastricht 20/21


We Are All Extremophiles - van Eyck Atrium 2021 - experiment with 305 agar agar print on the existing windows

Light, space and air flow through the building of the van Eyck. Energy dissipates as if there is an endless supply, still. The building is outlined by dark edges against spotless hygienic white walls of its modern architecture. Glass is as thin, as see-through, as glass could be. It is a ruthless substrate of, what has proven itself by now, a sterile world. It is a blueaprint of an age of optimism, that in hindsight looks self-destructive.

It is on this substrate that life sciences and bio-industries accumulate. Glass sheets covered with sterile

see-through gelatines afford the growth of a new order in the world. An industry that isolates the natural

into nothing more than an output of abstract chemical relations.         

we are all extremophiles adds a seemingly insignificant layer to the glass substrate of the van Eyck building.

As thin as lichen themselves. It is a living substrate, gelatinous and responsive to the atmosphere of the place. It is the substrate for prints of an archive of lichen from the surroundings of Maastricht (the ecology in which the van Eyck is embedded) in yellow orange parietin (extracted from the abundant xanthoria parietina lichen).


experiment with 305 agar agar print on the existing windows

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staircase of Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht at the time of the opening in the 50s, designed by F. Peutz


We Are All Extremophiles - van Eyck Atrium 2021

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agar drawing developing over time (24th of june till 7th of july)


Open Studio's Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht 2021

Vroman Fellowship 2020-2021