Discovering Otoliths - Summer Edition

with Mandy den Elzen

21 Aug 2020

Boring summer? Not at all. We take the holidays to make up for all the events that were cancelled due to Covid-19. August is summer workshop month at Mediamatic.

After the death of a fish, the fish head still has various applications. In some cultures the fish head has ritual uses, in others, medicinal and gastronomical uses. In this workshop, we will look at it from another perspective: the beauty of it. Reveal the aesthetic side of an organ that is normally known for its function.

Tickets / Facebook


A sink full of 'fresh' fish heads - Some fishmongers sell them for people to draw stock from - others throw them away Anne Lakeman

What will you do

During this workshop we will discover the otolith in a fish’s head. The otolith is located in the inner ear of the fish, but also of humans. Otoliths play a role in the mechanical perception of sound, acceleration and gravity. Just like with trees, an otolith has annual growth rings, from which the age of the fish can be calculated. We will work with a scalpel, magnifying glass and other preservation instruments. After cleaning the otolith, we will transform it into a real artwork that you can bring home. 

Mandy den Elzen

Artist Mandy den Elzen has worked around the themes of the relationship between humans and animals, the way animals are used by people, and the way animals are represented in our culture. With her fascination around these themes Mandy den Elzen brings to light aesthetic side of natural wonders. Based on scientific references, she chooses organs that look most interesting to her. She has mainly worked on exploring the digestive system of a cow and the respiratory system of fish.


Workshop: Discovering Otoliths
Friday date of month, 15:00-16:30
Mediamatic Biotoop, Dijksgracht 6, Amsterdam
Tickets: Full price € 85 | Student / Artist / Stadspas € 65* (including €1,- administration costs)

*We give a discount to students and artists. If this applies to you we will ask to see your kvk nr/portfolio or student card for this option. For questions, please send an email to

Attendance limited to 15 people. We maintain a minimum of 7 participants.

Please note that (unless everyone speaks Dutch) this workshop will be in English.