Pioneering Sand Motor

The Sand Motor as source to rethink anthropogenic coastal modifications in cultural public space


  • Jacqueline Heerema Satellietgroep



art, polyphonic discourse, co-creation of experiential knowledge, vital learning environment, public climate-consciousness


Now that people all around the world are slowly starting to rethink how humanity and the planet are interrelated, new questions have arisen around the understanding of time and the perception of place. It’s not merely a technical or a political challenge that we are facing, it is also a cultural one. The Sand Motor - as the first of its kind - uses the forces of the wind and waves as active agengies of change, but can it be valued as a driving force for humanity to change as well? Drawing from primary artistic research of the sea, coastal transitions, climate change and human appropriations in The Netherlands and abroad, we can state that the ephemeral nature of the Sand Motor itself challenges a polyphonic discourse for co-creation of experiential knowledge. The Sand Motor can be perceived as a man-made intervention in public space, an open-air, publicly accessible research site. Over the past 10 years, Satellietgroep redefined the Sand Motor as a cultural phenomenon, connecting the Sand Motor to the realms of art, culture, and heritage. This essay discusses a series of human-inclusive art projects, in which the Sand Motor evolves from a non-place into a vital learning environment for the cross-pollination of ideas and experimentations to rethink culture and nature. They demonstrate that pioneering with the Sand Motor should include pioneering with the social and cultural values of this artifact, not only to raise public and professional climate-consciousness, but also to adopt it as a human-inclusive landscape. This may well be the most underestimated value of the Sand Motor itself, and of the concept of Building with Nature in general.

Author Biography

Jacqueline Heerema, Satellietgroep

Jacqueline Heerema is Dutch conceptual artist and (sub)urban curator. In 2006 she co-founded artists collective Satellietgroep and is artist-curator. Satellietgroep explores the reciprocal relations of humanity and nature from an artistic perspective, with a focus on the sea, (coastal) landscape transitions, climate change and the impact of humanity on the environment in the Netherlands and abroad.

RAAAF Atelier de Lyon_design proposal Zandgast