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

The Turbine Plays is a transdisciplinary, artistically driven project, imaginatively connects energy professionals, citizens, heritage professionals, artists and musicians. They will work together to contribute to landscape transition and climate adaptation in innovative ways. The project reaches into our past and integrates the future. We focus on climate, weather and especially wind as a key player in our cultural heritage. Wind is a co-player in shaping our country, our identity and cultural expressions.

We work together with various knowledge institutions : Knowledge Centre Art and Society (Academy Minerva and Prince Claus Conservatoire) of the Hanze University Groningen, in collaboration with the Centre of Expertise Energy, EnTranCe, of the same Hanze University : the springboard for scaling up the project and stimulating new international collaborations.  There, we create performances and artworks aimed at an innovative and sustainable future for all. With the aim of stimulating public involvement and acceptance within the energy transition in a positive way and shaping the driving force of landscape change and adaptation. As a special landscape experience, the project aligns with the overall experience of technology, energy, transition, landscape, nature, culture and public engagement.

windturbine001-cleaned LR

Artist, Composer and Musician

Imagination is the basis for inspiration and new ideas and can play an important role in redefining the landscape. Each artist and composer will work with the elements : wind, landscape and the wind turbine.


The Centre of Expertise Energy is an international facility for energy education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship. At the centre of expertise, scientists, artists and students meet : The Turbine Plays will produce a research community combining the arts and sciences.


What is the relationship between energy and the design of sustainable landscapes? What is the impact of energy extraction on the shape of the landscape, and what is the relationship between technology and nature? We will tackle these questions together with the artists and composers.

\\ Through multifaceted and multi-disciplinary collaboration.

\\ By sharing knowledge, exchanging information and facilitating interaction.

\\ By creating original and unusual artistic interventions.

\\ By developing artistic performances and presentations focused on an innovative and sustainable future, interacting with the elements and forces of nature.

\\ By encouraging and building social acceptance through visual art and music.

\\ And by sharing an extraordinary landscape experience that connects to the overall experience of technology, energy, transition, landscape, nature, culture, and public engagement with the energy transition.

The collaboration between various artists, researchers from the energy sector and citizens starts from the question of how the arts, by providing creative perspectives and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, can play a connecting and cross-border role in addressing and creating knowledge around energy issues. And more specifically in the context of the challenges posed by wind energy.

The use of renewable energy requires space. With The Turbine Plays project, we propose a project that makes the energy transition with all its questions palpable and understandable to people and what it means to share the world and that this world is always changing.

our research community

Let me already introduce you to some wind harvesters :

TTP visual Windenergie department kopie

Gerard Schepers(R)

Niels Adema(L)

Professorship Wind Energy EnTranCe

frouke wiarda

Frouke Wiarda

Founder of The Turbine Plays

Judith van der Elst

Judith van der Elst

Coordinator knowledge utilisation

Stephan Balleux web

Stephan Balleux

Artistic coordinator and Visual Artist

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.


The project starts at the Energy Transition Centre (EnTranCe), the energy testing ground of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen.

Energy Barn:

Zernikelaan 17
9747 AA Groningen

The Turbine Plays is working together with

Knowledge Centre Art and Society (Academy Minerva and Prince Claus Conservatoire) of Hanze University Groningen, in collaboration with the Centre of Expertise Energy, EnTranCe, of the same Hanze University, Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen and NHL Stenden Leeuwarden with Smart Sustainable Manufactoring and the Insitute of Network Cultures, Media Art Festival Friesland and Oslo Metropolitan University Faculty of Technology, Art and Design. This 2-year project consists of two phases. For the first phase, the research and exploratory phase, a KIEM grant has been awarded by Regieorgaan SIA.

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