a compilation of all four episodes
Studio Dries Verhoeven
The continual availability of news on our laptops, televisions and smartphones makes us perpetual witnesses to complex situations on the other side of the world. We can feel unease every day through the confrontation with presumed poverty and desperation. The news camera is not neutral; intentionally or unintentionally, those who are filmed are framed as victims. Before they know it, the social conscious viewer is dragged into a vortex of guilt and shame.
With Guilty Landscapes, Dries Verhoeven transports images of uneasy responsibility into the white cube of a gallery. In a live video installation, the protagonists look directly at the museum visitor, providing a framework for each viewer to scrutinize their own feelings of discomfort.
The gallery in the museum is empty. We see a landscape projected on a large wall (single channel projection), an image of an area in need, or a place evoking feelings of dependency. As soon as a viewer steps into the gallery a performer appears in the video projection and looks at the viewer. He mirrors the viewer’s movements; if the viewer walks closer to the screen, the performer walks closer to the camera, if the viewer waves, the performer on screen waves back. As such, the viewer becomes an integral part of the installation. That which the viewer initially thinks to be a pre-recorded video appears to be a live connection with a distant stranger.