Visual artist Jan Rothuizen (1968) is mapping reality in a way that is difficult to define. He draws and describes his surroundings: always personal but never fictional. Sometimes descriptive but more often documentary.
With his hand-drawn plans he presents his stories in a way that fits surprisingly well with how we process information in the digital age: non-lineair and layered. His drawings are both an image and a story; the viewer is free to interpret them in their own way. Even as it is pen on paper, his drawings are a direct result of the information age.
Rothuizen also combines old and new media in the production of his work. He investigates by going out, walking around – visiting places physically. But he also visits Google Earth and online forums to study all information layers of those places.
He visits cities, neighbourhoods, squares and houses, and he notes what he sees, thinks, and feels. Those places vary from IKEA showrooms to the red light district and from the bedroom of a soldier that died in Afghanistan to a detention center for illegal immigrants at Schiphol Airport or even the secret annex of Anne Frank.
His latest book with drawings De Zachte Atlas van Nederland appeared in November 2011. Earlier, he published De Zachte Atlas van Amsterdam’
Currently he is making “De zachte Atlas van het World Wide Web” (The soft atlas of the world wide web), which deals with the influence of the internet on the world around us. He draws places such as Facebook’s new serverfarm at the Arctic circle in Luleå, but also places that are changing or have disappeared because of the web.
His work This is not A Church is permanently displayed at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which is also one of the first works of art that is made through augmented reality. He also made all the drawn plans for the Rijks Museum and he made a 3D animation for the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam.