Dripstone is the research blog for queer visual artist, researcher, writer and curator Venus Jasper.

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Wetlands: Swamp Priestess

*Swamp-y update incoming*

*bleep bleep, slash splash*

At the start of the year, I announced a new research around speculative swamp-goddesses. I wrote a bit about my childhood growing up at the swamps near Eindhoven. Since then, a LOT happened.

In this blog, I'll take you across the first stop on the research: Vilnius, Lithuania.

𖦹 First Stop: EARTHBONDS, Lithuania

In April of 2023, I took part in EARTH BONDS, a symposium taking place at Rupert, Vilnius. I contributed by building a site-specific installation called Murky Medicine Swamp in which I performed the spoken word and song performance OAKBaLLZ and EELskin - a ritual of sorts.

To me, both these pieces exemplify my deep relatedness to the wet and dripping natural environment in which I grew up building my first play-forts and villages as a kid, singing to the trees and clouds and buzzing insects. I relished in the craft of moss, wood, smelly fungi and small alchemic experiments - building speculative lab-tables made from fallen logs, and instruments through trickling water.

Since opening up for the exploration of swamps and bogs I've come across a lot of incredible and horrendous historic and current environmental shifts in the human-wetlands relationship. The book Fen, Bog and Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis by Annie Proulx has been a good introduction and guide.


More unexpectedly, but ever-more-so-exciting, is the wonderful integration of darkness that the project has been bringing me. Ever since preparing for my pieces at Rupert, I've been clearly guided to allow my darkness, my pain and my (eco)-grief more and more into my work. It's as if i had been sitting on a vast reservoir of energy and inspiration my whole life, and finally found out how to channel it consciously. After many projects pumped up with utopic thinking and peaceful speculations of the future, my current vibe adds a more punk-y feisty subversive layer to my work.

The projects has become a home for my murky dark emotional feelings around climate decay and the disenfranchised world - It is a way of using my voice, my embodiment and my art skills to step up towards my creative dreams!

While it's not easy to work with and integrate our darkness, it certainly brings forth a strong renewal and sense of wholeness. The idea is not to turn dark and add to a long-list of cynical and hopeless artworks, but rather to suspend the entire colonial framework around darkness and sadness, and to see it as a wisdom and guide rather than a malady.

In the piece OAKBaLLZ and EELskin (Murky Murky, Little Bitch Witch) [video above], I sing passionately and coarsely at times, as a channel for the oppressed and forgotten wetlands. With lines like: "I only stink because you drained me!" I address both the truth of our environmental crisis, and also some truth in my personal life.

I'd like to remind the reader here of a very popular deception that takes place in todays world: the very notion of a 'Climate Crisis' cunningly hides the actual culprits: it is a crisis of industrial capitalistic hegemony, not one of the glacier that melts of the river that stops flowing. It is not a Climate Crisis, but a human conscience crisis.

Wetlands Worship

In the spring, my research evolved. Under the name of Wetlands Worship, I am sprawling beyond purely bogs and fens, and have begun to relate to rivers, lakes, and oceans as well. I am currently working, for example, on a deep and emotional song inspired by the submerged world of Doggerland, in which I mirror my own desires to submerge and find silence in the bottom of an ocean.

Wetlands Worship is now a research around the revival of ecological kinship with wetlands and the speculative investigation of drained wetlands and swamps, the sentiments and sediments of wetland goddesses, new rituals and musical offerings, which also entails the rekindling of lost skills and materials and critical assessment of contemporary industries.

The project involves research, story and text writing, song writing, music, costumes and looks, and eventually a music record and a life show with sculptural scenographies and installation artworks, which will also include video artworks.

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Above are some instagram highlights and behind-the-scenes of my process at Rupert, Vilnius. Check my highlights on Instagram for more.

Below more ohotos of the giant installation I've built on site for the performance. The installation itself is comprised of aoil, branches, water, fog, fog machine, cement bricks, ants, water beetles, lichen, moss,lab equipment, stone, logs, plastics, silicone tubes, clay, spraypaint, twig baskets, mushrooms, video projectors, speakers, lights. Size: 400 x 900 x 2200 cm.

I am especially thrilled by the log tables, and hope to be making more of those. As much as I want to continue making indoor pools though!


Curious how the journey continues?

Check the next post for my Wetland adventures in Iceland: Wetlands: HerringgodZ.



EARTH BONDS is supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Vilnius City Municipality, Nordic Culture Point, „Tech Zity“. It was chapter one of 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘐𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, implemented by Rupert (Lithuania), E-WERK Luckenwalde (Germany) and LUMA Arles (France), co-funded by the European Union, Teltow Fläming, and the Musikfonds.

Thank you Mondriaan Fund for personal travel funds.

Wetlands Worship is made possible by: Mondrian Fund, Amsterdam Fund of the Arts, Amarte Fund.

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