Graduates in Waag Open: the language of material

Myles Merckel (BA Artscience,2023) and Alicja Konkol (MA Non Linear Narrative, 2023) will present their work at Waag Open: the language of material. Myles will present his art installation Magnetic_Zoology (2023) and Alicja will show her video essay From Ore to More (2023).

Both artists have recently won the KABK Waag Award 2023. In Merckel’s project, the audience can experience the chirping of birds and the chirping of “mechanical birds”—hard drives that are processing the data of bird sound recordings. Myles Merckel has created his own database, using the audio files of bird songs that are labelled as “with worst quality”, meaning that the recordings are full of (background) noises due to the fact that the recording apparatuses were not able to cancel them. He was surprised by the resemblance between birds chirping and the squeaking sound of the hard drive when it becomes momentarily dysfunctional. Instead of "representing" sounds of nature, he foregrounds the fact that nature is often mediated by technology. But we often tend to ignore this kind of preservation technologies, like the air conditioner at the zoo, or our hard drive in the laptop. In Magnetic_Zoology, however, the material of technologies speaks in a chorus with the mediated sound of nature.

Photo of the installation of Myles Merckel, Magnetic_Zoology (2023).

A different take on ‘speaking materials’ is presented in a lecture performance by Alicja Konkol. What does silver tell us when it is in the form of a 16th century brooch? And does its story change when it takes shape as a silver spoon, that is forgotten in grandma’s cupboard? In Konkol’s From Ore to More, the artist takes a semi-archaeological approach to silver, while repeatedly melting archaeological artifacts sourced from digital archives, fusing them together. The project explores the breakdown and rearrangement of forms, and the memories and entropies between forms. In this project, silver is a material that speaks not only when it is moulded into a shape, but also when it is in the proces of transmuting and shapeshifting.

Still from the work of Alicja Konkol, From Ore To More.


19:30 - 19:40 h | Welcome & introduction by Zoénie Liwen Deng
19:40 - 20:10 h | Artist talk by Myles Merckel about his installation ‘Magnetic_Zoology’
20:15 - 20:45 h | Video Essay ‘From Ore to More’ by Alicja Konkol
20:45 - 20:55 h | Short break
20:55 - 21:20 h | Discussion + Q&A moderated by Zoénie Liwen Deng
21:20 - 22:00 h | Drinks

Waag Open

Waag Open is a monthly public programme focused on today's themes. We organise various workshops and present collaborations between scientists, designers and artists. Once a month, Waag opens her doors for programmes that can be attended by anyone and everyone.



7 december 2023 19.30 - 22:00


Waag Nieuwmarkt 4 1012CR Amsterdam

Meer info

Buy your ticket on the website of Waag FutureLab.