The Dutch and Belgian landscape is in constant movement. The primordial forces of wind and water play a significant role in this.

The human response to this, the technology, is also iconically, typically something from the low countries, and at the same time it determines to a major extent the way our cultural landscape is set up. Once there were some 9,000 windmills. Wind harvesting is a stroke of genius and it is the basis of innovation in seventeenth-century Netherlands and Belgium. Large metal revolving giants are harvesting the wind once again and an age-old phenomenon has come to life again. The use of renewable energy calls for space. This raises the question of knowing how we deal with space and with the landscape. The wind turbine is a symbol of change and transition. For some 200 years we have taken our energy from fossil fuels and today there is an increase in the necessity and therefore the reassessment of the use of natural sources. 

In our landscape twenty-odd international artists from the Netherlands and Belgium with diverse visions of music, sound and the visual arts are going to work together with scientists, philosophers and sustainability professionals: wind harvesters all. Together they investigate the major changes in progress, and produce a translation of this. Each artist and composer gets started from his own discipline, with the elements wind, landscape and wind turbine. The creative translation leads to a new acoustic and visual total experience of sculptures, video art, string quartets, performances on organ works ; from wind turbine to string instrument to light sculpture to actor.

the turbine plays, frouke wiarda, illustration by stephan balleux

Visual Arts

Imagination is the basis for inspiration and new ideas and can play an important role in redefining the landscape.


Each artist and composer gets started from his own discipline, with the elements wind, landscape and wind turbine.


What is the relationship between energy and the design of sustainable landscapes?

They work and navigate through our landscape together with scientists, philosophers and companies in the sustainability sector, and they try to find a translation in the major changes that are taking place currently. I am convinced that precisely that number and diversity of thinkers and makers ensure a comprehensive dialogue with the environment. It is precisely through their diverse work and their diverse approaches that the complexity of the issue becomes most visible to a broad public. Music and art bring people together. ‘

– Frouke Wiarda


WIND harvesters

Let me already introduce you to some wind harvesters :


Dirk Sijmons

Landscape and Energy


Dyane Donck



Stephan Balleux

Visual Artist


Martien Visser

Energy and Transition

would you like to know more about our project ?

Below you can find more information.

Why this project ?

The wind turbine represents a powerful symbol, both of hope and a clean future and of estrangement and uncertainty. For every form of energy generation, interventions in space are necessary, and every source of energy has it own spatial footprint. A landscape is loaded with values, from individual memories to societal symbols. A topic in which the relationship between people and nature is reflected as much as the relationship between people – van Weelden, Dirk., 2017. ‘Essay: Dirk Sijmons en het nieuwe Landschap’.

This project starts with a question: what is the turbine doing there ? What kind of technology lurks behind it ? How did we as humanity come to these powerful, almost self-thinking machines? How do I relate to those white giants that stand all-powerful over the landscape ? What brings us together ?

Many people are deeply aware that economic prosperity has for centuries been synonymous with an abundant and cheap fossil energy. Can we maintain our privileged living conditions with a different energy system ? The transition is experienced as a very threatening situation.

Technology and landscape arouse emotions — at times strong ones — and sometimes incomprehension. Art and music can help to offer another vantage point than words, through which innovation can be made tangible and can be made to talk to the imagination. With the project The Turbine Plays I wish to use music and the visual arts to present our landscape in image and sound. Imagination is the basis for inspiration and new ideas and can play an important role in redefining the landscape. The different arts can turn objectivity, communication and collective relations into something sensorial, and bring citizens closer together. Music and the visual arts have a different quality. But both give a new perspective and a supplementary quality to our landscape, the place and the turbine. The different art forms always bring another perspective to collective experience.

Is it made for everyone ?

The project The Turbine Plays is meant for everyone, for serious-minded and critical citizens wondering about wind energy, for supporters of wind energy, for individuals, families, wind cooperatives, Dutch and Belgian authorities, the various umbrella organisations of wind energy producers… I wish to involve citizens in redefining a landscape which is always in motion. The project is committed to providing a positive contribution to our society and therefore I don’t only wish to address the groups mentioned above, as children, youths and students are inescapable: they contribute to developing the landscape of the 21st century.

When can I see and listen to it ?

From 2021 on a series of public events are programmed round the wind turbine and the theme of wind harvesting (every two to three months). Intimate unfamiliar and unique experiences in our imposing landscape. The wind turbine: from machine to multi-sensorial instrument.

Where the title The Turbine Plays is based on ?

The title the Turbine Plays is based on The Knee Plays, a series of compositions by David Byrne composed for the opera Civil Wars by Robert Wilson. It would be a sort of theatre marathon, in which all countries in the world would take part. Eventually six different composers from six different countries composed parts of Wilson’s text. The Knee Plays is a series of twelve short intermezzos that are meant to link the main scenes and to give time for planned changes. The six parts would premiere in their land of origin, and would later be put together in one epic performance during the Summer Olympic Games of 1984, a parallel with the internationalist ideals of the Olympic movement. The premiere of the complete work was cancelled when the funding failed to materialise and deadlines were not honoured.

who am I?

I am Frouke Wiarda and the initiator of the project The Turbine Plays. I want to give a positive contribution to society and I embrace the idea to bring people together. By linking art to technology and science, we can link the public with our landscape and the wind turbine. All people involved in the project will be encouraged in an active, imaginative way to listen and look anew at the objects and processes by which we are surrounded in our everyday life. And while we play with the possibilities and the meanings of sound and image, we discover unique narratives of our own.


Would you like to write to me or to know more about the project ?

We look for a personal artistic context and the musical and visual meaning of the wind turbine in the landscape: a quest for a new orientation of ears and eyes and unknown acoustic and visual experiences. In the places where energy is harvested we find inspiration in that strong steel image, in the technology, in the data of the turbine and the discussion involved. This could be a laboratory for forward-looking, innovative, and sustainable performances in interaction with natural elements and natural forces. Art, technology and the public find one another and get in a conversation: in search of a matrix, in which political and artistic images, performances, and music and sound art resonate with one another.

Would you like to be part of our challenges and discoveries ?

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