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May 16, 2023

Paloma Jet's exploration of forgotten things

Paloma Jet Plantenga, bachelor’s student at BEAR Fine Art in Arnhem, investigates ‘things’. Specific ‘things’, which are often forgotten. At first, she focused on dead plants. For her finals project she researches: the egg. She talks about discovering her alter ego and talent for performance, her residency in Italy and how her fellow students gave her the most valuable feedback to her work. 

Eggnostic Shellshock 

“What do eggs have to offer, other than food?” Paloma Jet wonders. “I am trying to find another interpretation for the egg by becoming the egg myself.” Paloma is making music using the name of her alter ‘eggoEggnostic Shellshock, a Soundcloud rapper who explores the existential questions an egg must face. “I can’t actually become an egg, so I project a lot of humanity onto the egg. Thats inevitable. So I’m trying to find a balance between me as a human being and the egg itself. Where can we find each other? And what if I approach a conversation in a different way, can I come to different conclusions about the definition of an egg?” She reflects on these questions and more in her finals project, which consists of video’s and performances where we see her as Eggnostic Shellshock.  

finals video Paloma Jet

Exploring the independence of things 

Paloma Jet tries to convey how ‘things’, and by extension the world, can be looked at in a different way: “Everyone is used to wanting new things. I want to show how one could pay attention to things that already exist. You can’t communicate with a thing. An object exists without language. Before we called it an egg, it has already been a something. The question my work deals with is: is something ‘something’ because that is how we as humans have categorized it? Or has it always been there, without us, and will it remain that way? I want to explore the independence within things.” 

I want to show people how they can pay attention to things that are already in existence.”

Paloma’s obsession with the egg started during a class where the students were asked to invent an alter ego. “I was wearing a very large sweater, which I pulled over my head, and then I thought: I look like an egg. So I started looking up egg songs and dancing on these song. And so, my alter ego was born.  


Residency at Cittadelarte 

Paloma Jet followed a residency at Cittadelarte in Italy for a month; an important part of this bachelor’s course. “We were given a lot of space, I mean real geographic space — which was great. You could indicate whatever you were interested in and then the lecturers checked what they could do for you. Through the residency, I was able to fully focus on my artwork.” Paloma had many interesting conversations with Italian artists, but again, the egg started calling for her attention. “I saw how many eggs were left behind at the breakfast table. Being with a lot of people, you start noticing these things. Then I asked people to save their eggshells for one of my projects.”

From bass player to performing front and centre 

During the corona period, Paloma Jet had to look for guidance. “I consider myself an independent person, I don’t need much guidance. But the support I received during that period really gave me a great push.” The course allowed her to step out of her comfort zone. “I was in a band, playing bass, but never front and centre. My lecturers showed me I am most definitely a performer. As a result I dared to go frontstage!”  

BEAR Fine Art in Arnhem 

Runny - Paloma Jet Plantenga

BEAR Fine Art is a course in which experimentation is encouraged. The lecturers ask students to look deep within themselves. “ArtEZ gives you the opportunity to really start out as an autonomous artist. Nobody holds your hand, but you do get to see a lot. The lecturers really prepare you to step out into the world.” Another important part of the course is allowing students to create a dynamic community where everyone can learn from each other. In the end, Paloma benefited most from the advice of her fellow students. “Because we have room for studios, we are constantly bumping into each other. This gives the opportunity to ask questions. ‘Can you help me? I don’t understand this.’ Ultimately, for me, that’s what matters most.” 

More about BEAR Fine Art  

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