Dead Zones


 The project "Dead Zones", by visual artist Suzette Bousema and musician Rafaele Andrade, focusses on addressing the critical issue of dead zones in coastal areas. Through a live music performance they explore the environmental impact of micro-algae blooms fueled by agricultural fertilizers, livestock  manure, and sewage overflows. Their aim is to elevate awareness about the nitrogen and climate crisis resulting from human activities. 

They have developed a 30-minute performance in collaboration with visual programmer Aart Odding and the violinist Coraline Groen with the support of the opera production Silbersee. Within the performance, Bousema and Andrade guide their audience on a metaphoric diving session in one of the Netherland’s dead zone areas, located in Veerse Meer, Zeeland. The story starts at the ocean’s surface and ends at the ominous ocean floor, raising questions about humanity's impact on the ecosystem. For its future development, the  creators plan to deepen the connection between the performance and its local environment. By 

intertwining the narrative with specific locations, they aim to make the abstract environmental issues more  tangible and personal for the audience. To contribute to the project's multidisciplinary approach, Bousema and Andrade partner with production house Silbersee, instrument inventors initiative and a network of international scientists

Credits:  Shinji Otani, 2023


In this performance, 3 performers interact with visuals projected onto the walls of the space , representing a diving experience in one of The Netherlands dead zone areas.  according to the narrative of the performance to create a sensation that the public is diving into different depths of the water. Together, we aim to bring environmental discussion and awareness about man made dead zones that are the result of nutrient pollution  coming from   fertilisers and other waste streams.

The underwater field recordings and the video documentation were produced by themselves in this location, with the support of the scuba diver instructor Dennis Moureau.

Duration: 30 minutes (shorter adapted version is also possible)

Instrumentation: Violin, Voice and Knurl  (a solo version with Knurl is also possible)


Part 1: The dive

Part 2: The ocean

Part 3: The view of the algae

Part 4: The algae

Part 5: Spiderwebs

Part 6: Sediment

you can find the trailer of our performance below:

The process

The creative process is part of the multimedia project and documentary, which serve as a starting point for discussions. It involves the research of sustainable practices and actions into music and theatrical production. Previously, Rafaele has been designing her own instrument (KNURL) with recycled plastic collected from the BENELUX ocean area and intends to continue this research exploring sustainable practices in collaboration with the artistic practice of Suzette. Next to the performance, Suzette will also create artworks, using seaweed, photography and installation. Rafaele will create a special soundtrack for the film and an album with the whole material. 

The motivation 

Suzette and Rafaele are artistically driven for the same reason: through their art and artistic practice, they aim to share environmental topics and solutions to reduce our human impact on, for example, climate change. Besides their shared passion for diving, as a photographer, Suzette is inspired to capture the invisible organisms and forces that aren’t visible or experienced in human life. Rafaele seeks to transform her music practice into a direct influence in political, environmental and social discussions. In the last year, they were collaborating previously in the project “Super organism”.