18 October 2009

Location: Filmtheater ‘t Hoogt
Hall 1

In both ‘proper’ and ‘improper’ ways, Vincent van Gerven Oei and Jonas Staal explore the relationship between art, morality and society. In their work, they transform a court session into a performance, fragments of car bomb wrecks into jewellery, while a suicide terrorist is judged on his composition techniques. Without compromises, they fight for the position of art in society. This position should not be secondary to politics or the administration of justice. With Staal’s The Geert Wilders Works this discussion was even brought before Dutch Parliament. Memorials with candles, flowers and photos were exhibited as installations in public space. They were fictitious signs of spontaneous national mourning brought about by a suggested assassination of Wilders. These works attracted much attention from the media and caused political controversy.

Central in this IMPAKT Invites, is the presentation of van Gerven Oei and Staal’s most recent video pamphlet Follow us or Die. It is a reflection on the so-called ‘high school shooters’, young people who kill their teachers and classmates in a brutal manner. The visual and textual legacy of these ‘shooters’- the pre-recorded videos and texts circulating in the media after the events – function as central elements in this video. Follow Us Or Die utilizes these high school shooters – who saw total annihilation as the only possibility to express themselves – to point to the core civil fears and desires in our current society, which both the political and cultural establishment seems to ignore. Earlier this year, an essay bundle was dedicated to the video pamphlet “Follow Us or Die”. During this presentation Chris Keulemans discusses the broader societal and artistic context of “Follow Us Or Die” with the artists. The talk will be illustrated with footage on the phenomenon.
Vincent van Gerven Oei studied composition, linguistics and conceptual art in The Hague, Leiden and Amherst MA, USA. He is currently working on his doctorate at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. Jonas Staal studied monumental arts in Enschede and Boston MA, USA. He works and lives in Rotterdam.
Chris Keulemans is author, journalist and artistic director of the Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam Noord.

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