For more than a year now I have been working on a new upcoming art project with which I want to make my lifestyle even more sustainable. Earlier you were able to watch and read in art and blog how I made my hair care, vegan diet, and drug consumption more sustainable. Now it's my turn to dress.

Hacking fast fashion

Since the 1st of March 2022, triggered by my incapacity to create a bigger sustainable impact beyond the borders of my own body and what it needs to survive, due to the recent covid-lock downs, I started wearing a minimal and hyper ecologically produced set of clothes. Which I inspired by the fact that most people, back in history used to have only one set of clothing for their whole adult lives. Simply because there was no money to buy new clothes frequently. I have done research into how people used to, sometimes as little as half a century ago, used clothing in an extremely sustainable way. I based the design for my own set of clothes on that knowledge.

During this current year long process of wearing the clothes, I will alter and perfect the clothes if they turn out not to be practical. On the one hand, to test how this way of dealing with clothing is feasible in our time - what it must comply with. And on the other as a statement for more sustainable ways of living. A performance actually. The main aim of which is to initiate a conversation and exchange of knowledge about sustainable fashion. Because the hive mind, the community of followers that this project will build, knows more than I do alone.

The clothes that I have designed are made by professionals. Such as a bag made of upcycled jeans from Lowieke Pauw. And dressmaker Annemieke Maas makes a custom-made set of blouses and overalls for me. As with my previous projects, I will write about the process on my research blog Arty Farty Life. To share knowledge, and so you can participate too! For example, I also make sewing patterns from the items I develop.

re-pharmacy tampon Jessica van Deursen re-pharmacy outfit Jessica van Deursen re-pharmacy modeling Jessica van Deursen re-pharmacy Soup Jessica van Deursen re-pharmacy Washing Jessica van Deursen
Modern Medicine

Modern Medicine (for Poorous Measures) 

(March, 2020)
Material: chicken fence wire, thyme, chamomile, cinnamon, red pepper, nettle, ginger, lemon, sage, dill, radish, orange, liquorice, pine tree, lungwort

Man got sick from mass consuming other animal species
Man got sick from not wanting to share inconvenient information
Man dies on a large scale from not taking care of ethnic minorities,
refugees locked up in camps, the poor, the vulnerable,
from dictators not caring for life other than their own
Man and nature seem to survive as man withdraws from it’s daily routine
Man hopes to stay well by caging their smiles in public
The plague doctor stuffs it’s face with herbs, to protect itself from wickedness

Modern Medicine Jessica van Deursen

As presented during residency at Witte Rook, Breda (2020)


Rediscovering plant power

From December 2020, I've been replacing the content of my medicine cabinet with home made plant based meds. For this, I used herbs and 'weeds' that grow within 1 kilometer from my residency and with otherwise bio-degradable and sustainably produced ingredients. Like this, I tackled one affliction at a time.

The recipes I find through research or create based on existing recipes, I share on my research blog Arty Farty Life. The plant based medicine I develop, which mostly occurs as foods, teas and ointments, I also document as little sculptures in an ongoing and therefore growing installation.

The aim of this artistic research is the same as with works like Knotting New and Re-Fashion: retrieving forgotten knowledge through designing and undergoing a methodic everyday lifestyle for myself (like a performance). Furthermore, I strive to translate the findings that derive from this immersion into feasible contemporary applications. This I do in order to design more sustainable methods for living , which are based on values as exchange of knowledge and reviving craft, sharing with community, respecting and reconnecting with nature, rather than competing, making financial profits or creating monopolies.

Current size of installation: 2 x 3 meters (consisting of 9 shelves)

re-pharmacy Jessica van Deursen

The body as autonomous realm

While being confined to my house during the first covid-19 related lockdown in 2020, I wondered how I could still continue to create a constructive and positive impact as it comes to living a sustainable life. I realized that the only impact I could now make was limited to an economical vote: to minimize my consumption all together and to only spend money on those things my body actually needs to survive, such as food, meds and how I go about my everyday hair care.

For almost a year now, I've researched all kinds of ecological historical and sustainable hair care methods. I applied and tested this knowledge on myself. Through this, I reduced the amount of times I have to wash my hair, stopped dying my hair, found out how to curl and take care for my hair without using pre-fab devices and products. I designed several hair styles which help me to achieve this, which I wore throughout one year (2020-2021). The hairstyles I designed, I captured in a series of photographs. The methods I developed, I shared on my research blog Arty Farty Life.


2020 | necklace | two people's hair, ruby and glass beads, silver thread | (30 x 60 cm)

During Victorian times, it was common, to create jewellery out of a deceased persons' hair; 'mourning jewellery', these pieces were called. At the height of this custom's popularity, merchants would travel from village to village, to buy the hair of the less fortunate...

For the past fifteen years, I've been a caregiver for one of my close relatives. The relationship I have with this person has always been complex; it's one that is completely based on trust, which makes the bond very fragile. Furthermore, this is also a paid job, which partly enables my art practice.
I feel like I had to make many crucial life decisions for this person throughout the years; as where to study, and where to live. And recently, due to circumstances, also how to look, as I was trusted with the task of cutting off his hair.

2020 | sculpture | 20 x 4 x 25 cm | birch wood & glass

From left to right:
- Breast milk | 01-29-20, one day after returning from Kolkata, India
- Milk formula | 01-29-20, produced in Switzerland
- Breast milk | 03-04-20, produced on vegan diet in Rotterdam



Photograhps: Ernst van Deursen

2021 | 1 hour performance | This Art Fair

reaching for roots
grinding death back into fertile humus
the mouth a wet warm incubator
to start anew - flipping the disbalance
man facilitating nature for once

The Meek

(Matthew 5:5-9) ''Blessed are the meek. For they shall inherit the Earth''

2020 | performance | 60 minutes
Performed during Venice International Performance Art Week | Palazzo Mora | IT

Homo Fragilis

2021 | 1 - 5 hour performance | Frank Taal gallery, Rotterdam / This Art Fair, Amsterdam

''Cover it up. Just add on another layer. Brush, pluck, cut, pull, burn, destroy and deploy. I'm a man made god. Death nor nature will get me. I will outsmart. Just watch me!''

Photographs: Roderik Henderson & MV Baks


7.83 HZ

Riga Performance Art Festival 2021

In times in which social distancing has become the new social norm, by singing together with an audience via digital means, distances can nevertheless be overcome. Likewise, sound and intention are proven to be able to influence behavior of molecules beyond dimensions of time and space. Be inviting an online audience, with people from all over the world, to sing along with our performance, we aimed to create a humming for the Earth and mankind, which are facing an even graver crisis than covid-19

This performance was live broadcasted during Riga Performance Art Festival 2021
Performers: Monique van Deursen, Jessica van Deursen, Sofie Hollander, Sophie Zaaijer and Klaartje van Zwoll

                     © Copyright 2022 Studio Jessica van Deursen | KvK: 60954906 | btw-nr: NL001281474B10