Cena#1: Dries Verhoeven (The Netherlands)


The film shows scenes of human suffering of the 21st century, starring seventy-thousand ants trying to construct a life in scale models of human misery in the contemporarity, such as Fukushima, Detention Camp Guanatamo Bay or the terror attacks in Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi (Kenia). Homo Desperatus challenges the spectator to observe various calamities of our time, by zooming in and out, between analytical distance and emotional involvement with the suffering of the human species, represented by ants.  Homo Desperatus poses questions about how we view disasters and how we weigh up individual miseries against the well-being of the population.

concept Dries Verhoeven
camera Thorsten Alofs
soundtrack Wouter Messchendorp

The Netherlands 2014, 35 min.
Fiction, Video, Colour.
No language spoken.

Dries Verhoeven is a theatre maker and visual artist. He creates installations, performances and happenings in museums, on location and in the public spaces of cities. On the boundary between performance and installation art, he critically evaluates the relationships between the spectators, performers, everyday reality and art. The spectator is directly involved in the work or given the opportunity to steer his or her own experiences. In his work, Verhoeven highlights aspects of the common social reality in which we live. He is not concerned with conveying a statement about reality, but mainly about unbalancing the visitor in order to evoke a shared vulnerability between the viewer and the viewed work. With gestures, which radically affect the public order of everyday life, he hopes to sow the seeds of doubt about the systems that inconspicuously influence our thoughts and actions. In recent years, the current crisis mind-set and the influence of digital media on interpersonal relationships in particular have formed the basis for his projects. His work was  shown in international festivals, such as Wiener Festwochen, LIFT (London) and Festival Transamérique (Montreal), and he has received various prizes including the Mont Blanc Young Directors Award at the Salzburger Festspiele. He has worked with HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berljn, Battersea Arts Centre London, and the Münchner Kammerspiele, among others. The Municipality of Utrecht and the Netherlands Performing Arts Fund provide continuous support for Verhoeven’s studio. Dries Verhoeven resides in Berlin and Amsterdam.

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