Dekkers Leijdekkers is a collaboration between Pai Dekkers (1989) and Anne Leijdekkers (1993), who are based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Our love for nature, education and representation has moved us to explore the wondrous underwater world of algae. Writings on nature and how we (humans) approach it have occupied our conversations for many years. Our ideas about nature have been informed by people such as Bruno Latour, Timothy Morton, Bas Haring, Ton Lemaire, Matthijs Schouten and Charles Darwin amongst others. Ranging from the theory of evolution to the agency of trees and rivers, and from the way we perceive the landscape to ideas of biodiversity, their words are always in the back of our heads while doing our explorations. And we try to approach our subjects with the same curiosity and scrutiny as they do. This approach has lead to the philosophical exploration of man's approach toward nature (and algae in particular), by visual means. By examining representational forms of algae and building an educational platform we aim to develop a better understanding of our relationship with nature, and therefore, our place in the world.
Pai was raised by a biologist, which shaped his view on the world regarding scientific thinking and the regarding of all living things. He studied photography and graduated from Leiden University with an MA in Film and Photographic Studies. While working for the photography collection at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Anna Atkins inspired him to explore algae from a visual perspective. His ideas on photography are primarily informed by Vilém Flusser and Ernst van Alphen. His current frustrations with photography are how the snapshot (as a pars pro toto) masks reality with opaque visions, while at the same time being the most dominant form of visual representation that informs our perception of reality (the world). And how a photograph, whether paper printed or consisting out of digital pixels, is not what it represents. In other words, the constant awareness that a photograph itself is not that which it depicts, but merely its shadow transformed into light.
Anne grew up in a rural area with a lot of space for imagination. She studied film and graduated from the academy of arts in Utrecht (HKU) with an MA in Scenography. Her main interest lies in telling stories from unusual perspectives about unusual subjects. One could understand it as an extended form of cinema, but without the camera, lights and ‘action!’. In site-specific installations she questions the relationship between the spectator and their environment. She explores different ways of seeing and how they inform us about this environment. She poses modern man easily overlooks the non-human world itself and only considers its economic, cultural or emotional value. By using theatrical elements she reveals these natural and cultural constructions in order to contemplate them. Underlying these endeavours lie educational purposes. Regarding Cyanotypes of Dutch Algae, she aims to reveal the tiny unseen algae and teach the public how to look at this magnificent world. Because, once you start exploring this underwater world, the understanding and respect for it will follow naturally. So that someday we may discover the true value of algae, nature and non-human entities.