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heleen blanken Habitat nxt museum
heleen blanken Habitat nxt museum
Screenshot 2022-12-30 at 15.58.48.png


The environmental crisis and the destruction of habitats force us to imagine a future in which nature can be remembered in digital form. Natural history museums aim to preserve nature physically by fixing it in time and space. How might the archiving of nature evolve in a digital context - could digitalization bring us even closer to nature?


HABITAT is a data-driven projection where 3D scans of organic specimens such as stones, corals, and fossils from the biodiversity center Naturalis are transformed into a game-like meditative environment. The work presents a series of ever-evolving digital worlds each accompanied by its own soundscape. 


Humans' impact on nature is not always immediately visible. interact with the motion-sensor sculpture to experience how your presence influences the work and generate your own unique audio-visual habitat.


By implementation of proximity and rangefinder sensors HABITAT is investigating a sociological purpose. Data-driven installations often offer too much control to the spectator. HABITAT plays with this control, it does not immediately react to the spectator’s actions, instead, it reacts through delays. The result is that an action from one spectator could create a different visual outcome for the next. Or sometimes the parameters are changed in a way that you could doubt if it is embedded in the work or a result of your action. This interaction within HABITAT is symbolic of how humanity interacts with nature. It emphasizes how humanity is not in control of nature and the fact that our impact on nature is not always immediately noticeable. 


HABITAT has been exhibited at Nxt Museum (2020-2021), Forum Groningen (2021), Sonar Istanbul (2021), Dutch Film Festival Utrecht (2021), XP Futures Riyadh (2021), Grote Kerk Breda (2022) and has been selected for a Golden Calf film award.

The work is evolving throughout the years and morphs into different versions of the original. HABITAT is an ongoing project.

HABITAT is a work by Heleen Blanken

Software development: Nap Labs

Sound: Stijn van Beek

HABITAT is co-funded by Stimuleringsfonds and Stichting Stokroos and supported by Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid: Revive.

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