Venus Jasper is a queer visual artist, storyteller, world builder, performative priestess, researcher, educator, writer, and curator, currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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Down to Earth

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Photos from the blog Dripstone, formerly known as itallcomesdowntoearth.com. All were taken at Tamera Healing Biotope, Portugal, and IMAP permaculture Center, Guatemala in 2016.

In 2016, I began a new international travel and training trajectory called Down to Earth. It focussed on the exploration of creating semi-permanent structures; outdoor pavilions, herb & flower gardens, stone/clay bathhouses, temples and/or performance-podia and community spaces, but it also pursued the start of learning about alternatives to capitalism and industry - a return to earth as it were.

How did it start?

I spent a large part of the spring in Tamera, a "Peace Research Community" and Healing Biotope based in Portugal. A school for learning about the world, and how to create more homeostasis in ecology, economies, and interpersonal relationships such as love and sex. At Tamera, ways towards a new non-violent culture are pieced together, developed, and translated into a way of life. After this, I spent the last parts of the year familiarizing myself with more practical ‘down-to-earth’ skills such as natural building, carpentry, and permaculture at IMAP, the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute in Guatemala.

I felt that, after publishing My Wavy Sarong in early 2016, which came from a research-travel about Shamanism and Spiritualities between Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia in 2013-2014, that it was time to come back down to earth. To turn to practical matters: soil building, permaculture, and alternative communities. I also spent a great deal of this year in somatic therapy training, to recover and deal with all the things I saw while working with Ayahuasca in Peru. In a way, the work for Down to Earth helped me ground myself personally, but also my projects.

Did the research inspire your work?

Down to Earth directly inspired the 2017 projects Love Space, and Grove 2.0 - Chapel of Wild Wisdom, and a gave birth to the blog itallcomesdowntoearth.com (which is not integrated into this website as the research depository Dripstone). It also changed my making and thinking in fundamental ways. Besides learning a lot about soil, earth, plants and natural processes in agriculture, it was after my time in Guatemala and a good conversation with curator Rieke Vos, that I decided to curb my research away from faraway places and mysticisms, and instead focus on local soils and roots, sprouting the research Reviving Matriarchy, which led into countless projects around Druidry, Paganism, greenhouses full of medicinal plants, magical swamps and bogs in the years to come.

Also a lot of the teaching I've been doing over the years relied on this research, and the knowledge of land-based practices, and my initiation into a lot of indigenous cosmologies and ontologies from a critical perspective. For me, Permaculture means (and should always mean) the honoring the indigenous (local) knowledge(s), cultures and ancient practices that lay at the origin of it. Traditions, which by nature are balanced and holistic in terms of care-taking for our world. It is only because of Empire hat locally-belonging traditions have been jeapordized severely if not destroyed all together. Through the adaptation, re-interpretation and revival of the ancient and revived practices of our ancestors we can hope to re-vamp both our ecologies as well as our human conscience on the earth. For today especially, there's huge need to look both back and forwards to a time-before-time in which we lived/will be living 'as' nature rather than 'in' it or 'on top' of it.


Project results:

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Down to Earth was supported by an O&O from CBK Rotterdam, and Mondriaan Fund.