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Sunday Soup #5

Sunday Soup #5

Food or Fuel

Use grain and corn for food or for fuel?

Presentations on a fuel station for car and mind, art with a conscience, lemon batteries and a VJ performance reporting live on all this.

Refuelling car and mind
It all started with an idea for an art installation for the public space that would raise the discussion on oil. Now, three years on, more than 90 people regularly fill up their car with coleseed oil at the New Energy fuel station of designers Jeroen Bisscheroux and Michiel Voet, located on the NDSM site in Amsterdam. It doubles up as a spot for meditation and there is talk about expanding.

New EnergyNew Energy

Jeroen Bisscheroux: “On one side of this station you can fill up your car with bio fuel low on CO2 or charge your electric scooter, while on the other side you recharge yourself. A seating area is integrated in the design, where you can listen to a soundscape, gaze over the IJ canal or pray.”
Already 90 people are members of the Club New Energy, which entails a pass in order to pay for your full tank. “Those people are real idealists, because it is quite a detour. The locally produced coleseed oil is fit for every diesel car. Furthermore the world literally becomes a brighter place because of the bright yellow colour of the rape fields. With two harvests a year, this could be an opportunity for innovation and for using fallow building grounds for one or two harvests until building starts.”

Soon the coleseed oil will be temporarily replaced for the oil of the Jatropha bean, which grows on the driest grounds of Africa. Bisscheroux: “If we all switch to the bean oil in the West, it not only mean the end to our fuel problems, but it will end hunger in Africa at once. We are going to show that on a tiny scale with New Energy.”
Jeroen Bisscheroux and Michiel Voet are not sitting around doing nothing, quite the opposite; they are in negotiation with the council of Enschede, which wants to open a whole chain of New Energy stations. Furthermore, developing the New Energy Gas & Run for the city of Rotterdam is taking up their time: refuelling the car on one side, while running a virtual marathon on the other – for car, mind and body.

“What are innovative artists and designers doing to promote conservation of resources using innovative technology and creative thinking? Can artists significantly inspire observers to be more environmentally sensitive by giving information a particular form or sound?” Hicham Khalidi, director of <>TAG and curator of EcoAesthetics, questioned himself and various artists.
The results are shown in the exhibition that opened on 22 March in <>TAG in The Hague.

With amongst others, the work of Michael Mandiberg, who designed ‘Realcosts’. A Firefox plug-in, which calculates how much a flight really costs and how much trees have to be planted to compensate CO2 emission. In this way information on environment pollution is integrated inside commercial travel websites.


Tiffany Holmes uses images of nature clipped from bottled water labels to generate quirky landscapes that call attention to the absurdity of drinking expensive imported water in countries that have high quality tap water.

Water labelWater label

Food or Fuel Visuals
Audiovisual artist and VJ Nils Mühlenbruch created live animations during these presentations, giving his direct comments and interpretations on what was said on the subject Food or Fuel. Below are some stills of his work.


Pump upPump up

Lemon batteries
Technician and sound artist Konstantin Leonenko has been working on the ultimate lemon battery for several weeks now in the setting of Platform21 = Cooking and Constructing. When inserting two different metals into a lemon, electricity with a low voltage occurs. After much experimenting Leonenko succeeded in distracting so much voltage out of one lemon to make a LED burn for several days on end. Visitors followed his instructions and made some themselves during a workshop in making lemon batteries. Want to do it yourself? You find the 'how to' on

Lemon batteryLemon battery

More information:

Jeroen Bisscheroux - bisscheroux-voet