Proposal by: Rosalie Bak

Phenomena from life-to-death

Project proposal:

This research project uses the G.R.O.U.N.D. - ing principles of Haptonomy as lenses with which to question the non/living in a collaborative and intimate setting. The outcomes will serve as a starting point for a Necro-ecological repository of words, meanings and imaginaries.

A man growing as a tree - credits:,_fruit_and_roots_Wellcome_L0074579.jpg Rosalie Bak

Project Description

Haptonomy concerns the phenomena of touch and being-in-contact-with. Developed by Dutch physiotherapist Frans Veltman, this therapeutic practice draws on Merleu Ponty’s phenomenology to ‘describe’ - but more importantly ‘make experiential’ - the embodied sensations as they can be experienced by humans in human-to-human encounters.

In his work ‘Levenslust en Levenskunst’ Veltman introduces the hapsis as being fundamental to our ‘making sense of the world’. And as such the practice uses the body, sensing and touch as the most important vehicles to support clients who have falen out of touch with their own bodily and emotional existence. Often working with clients who struggle issues relating to burn-out, autonomy, intimacy, identity, self-image and vitality.

While on track to become a haptotherapist myself I have, for the following year ’22-’23 decided to take a ‘break’ from this formal line of study and thus enlisted for the year long program: ‘haptonomic professional’ - which takes your existing profession and workfields at heart. In doing so I will take the opportunity this year to engage with the program as ‘residency’ and consider the various ways in which the haptonomic phenomena* (see below) can be brought into practice through creative methods, while being situated in various ‘natural’ environments. With the aim of this studyyear to explore what would happen if we extend the working with these phenomena from human-to-more-than-human encounters.

GROUND G - (Grenzen) - Boundaries

R - (Ruimte) - Space

O - (Openen en sluiten) - Opening and closing

U - (Uitnodigen) - Inviting

N - (Naderen) - Approaching

D - (Doorvoelen) - ‘Extending touch and feeling through’


I have started to describe my work domain as Necro-ecology; which concerns the relational nature between diseased or decaying (non)human remains and the biochemical environment. These degradation processes and exchanges of non/living matter provide interesting liminal spaces upon which to reflect with experts and can provide new ways to engage with - both creatively and with our bodies - and be in relation to these hard and sometimes ambiguous topics.

To explore this topic further in a collaborative way this research will use the G.R.O.U.N.D-ing principles of haptonomy not as a phenomena but as a lens through which we can start to consider the hypothetical degradation of one human body in nature. In doing so the sessions, for an audience of some, can provide insights into the the meaning and role of dying in the context of a living world.


- The artist will organise 6 sessions

- For each session 1 expert will be invited

- Each session will be held in an intimate group-of-some with a maximum of 6 participants including the artist and one expert

- In each session we will read, experience, listen, (un)make, respond, collect.

- Each session will be concluded with the adding of existing or new imaginary words, meanings and mentioning

- to the artists Necro-ecology repository.


1. Boundaries - ‘When’ is non/living?

2. Space - Bloating, particles, moving

3. Opening & Closing - Orifices

4. Inviting- Microbes, succesion, death as a collaborative act

5. Approaching - Ageing

6. ‘Doorvoelen’ - ‘Becoming soil’


Possible ways to expand the project

- Expand all sessions - to field visit, working on/in site

- When the sessions are done and the repository made; collaborate with/or invite selected artists to respond to the repository in audio / dance ( / poetry )


Rosalie Bak

Within my practice Rosalie Bak uses methods such as erasure, assemblage, inquiry, scores, trance writing and associative drawing to investigate the ambiguity of (my) personal experiences and the relationship between the human, weather, micro-organisms, death and ecology. In doing so I views the ‘collage’ as a theme, enabling me to bring forth and include all entanglements, both in the physical realm as in terms of concepts and ideas. My current work is mainly experiential and collaborative in nature, working with the walk as a way of mapping and exploring the field of Necro-ecology and Haptoherapy as a deepening paradigm within my artistic research.


Estimated costs

Per session +/- 850,- | when as full program 5500,- (including honorarium extra end presentation, excl. invited guests of the end presentation)

- Honorarium kunstenaar - 450,- ex btw
 (4 uur voorbereiden + 3 uur hosten + 2 uur reflectie per sessie *)

- Vergoeding + reiskosten expert - 250,-

- Materiaal kosten - 150,-

* To be discussed: 1 to 2 alinea reflections can be published on mediamatic website

Costs based on the premise that the Mediamatic's location can be used. Additional means for reporting (photo, video) to be discussed.

Ideally this will take part over the summer months, with the sessions being 2 weeks apart.


This proposal is part of the 'Penny for your Thoughts' project 2022.