willem besselink


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In my work I try to avoid any decisions directed by my impulses or emotional preferences. Instead, for each work I try to define a set of procedural rules to derive form from. Natural laws and man-made rules, the regularities of the world and the exceptions to them: that’s what fascinates me.

Using these rules I may observe all that: my own impulses, those of other people, or other given incidentals. This process actually shapes the final work. It may take any shape: different media, both two- and three-dimensional, both analog and digital. Any work is no longer a representation of the process, but a presence by its own right.

This ‘rule-based looking glass’ allows me to combine the regularities of the world around me with the arbitrariness of myself, my body, my movements, and other given data. At the same time I try to combine my own regularity, of my body, my movements, with the arbitrariness of the world that surrounds me.

This contradiction interests me. I try to find out how small changes of input may cause wide varieties in output. Some examples:
My movements through space, e.g. from home to work, from Rotterdam to friends in other cities, around Europe – they are partly arbitrary, but at the same time directed by rules, regulations and natural laws: I move up when I pass the Alps, I take a certain route because that's where the railway track is, etc. Afterwards I map these movements and see whether there are any resemblances with other travels, with other maps.

I register my pulse in order to produce lines and shapes in a drawing, without me intentionally directing the pencil along the paper. The drawings are not directed by my own aesthetic desire, but by my own natural laws.

I map people’s movements by registering their position in space at certain set intervals. They may move around freely; I observe and register, according to my rules – as the referee, the arbitrator.


Contact information

  • willem besselink
  • Gedempte Zalmhaven 761
  • 3011 BT
  • Rotterdam
  • NL