How do you address the work of an artist who defies definition? To mark Van Warmerdam’s solo exhibition L’histoire kaputt, writers and poets ponder the multidimensional oeuvre of the filmmaker, theatremaker, writer and painter Alex van Warmerdam. With Maria Barnas and Dirk van Weelden.
This evening, De Gids editors Dirk van Weelden and Maria Barnas invite writers and poets to provide a literary perspective on the work of Alex van Warmerdam. Wherein lies his striking versatility? Poets and writers who identify with Van Warmerdam’s original and maverick attitude will talk about his work.
Dirk van Weelden is a writer and philosopher. In 1987 he and Martin Bril debuted together with Arbeidsvitaminen. Het ABC van Bril & Van Weelden. Van Weelden was awarded the Multatuli Prize for his novel Mobilhome in 1992. Among his other novels are Tegenwoordigheid van geest (1989), Oase (1994) and Looptijd (2003). His most recent novel is Het middel (2007).
Maria Barnas is a poet, writer and visual artist. Her novel Altijd Augustus was published by Van Oorschot in 2017. She writes about art and literature for a number of magazines, including De Groene Amsterdammer, Vrij Nederland and De Gids.
Transnatural presents an evening dedicated to nature and robotics. We explore the rise of a natural reality driven by technology on the basis of short films, interviews, performances and project demonstrations. A preview of The Man Machine programme offered by Eye from 18 October to 13 November.
Programme EYE on Art X Robotanica:
A performance by artist Tez on Alan Turing’s research into morphogenesis – spontaneous pattern formation in the natural world. Movements and body sensors are translated into sound by means of artificial intelligence. Plasm immerses us in the ever-evolving environment of living cells, tissue and organs.
Hertog Nadler (NL/IL)
The story of a rebellious olive tree causing a riot. Whilst the spontaneous protest grows, the riot police start searching through the landscape seeking to suppress the rebellion. The story is inspired by the aggressive ways in which olive branches are harvested.
Theo Triantafyllidis (US/GR)
This Virtual Reality experience attempts to recreate the first known outbreak of Polywobbly Fervenitis. Due to exposure to the desert sun, a VR headset had a chemical reaction that somehow started a computer virus. The computer virus managed to mutate itself into a strain of bacteria and is now known as Staphyloculus – a virus that is spread through the use of Virtual Reality headsets. The phenomenon greatly puzzles the scientific community, which is anxiously looking for a cure.
Mother Earth Network
Elise Marcus (NL)
What if our planet could tell us what it needs? The Mother Earth Network offers a new way to feel empathy for our planet through artificial intelligence. A kit consisting of data collectors that can measure water, air, soil, and plants, allows people from all over the world to upload data into the Mother Earth Network. When we feel more connected with our surroundings, will we be motivated to live in a more sustainable way?
From 1-15 June Transnatural presents an open-air exhibition in Amsterdam’s Tolhuistuin exploring the introduction of robotics in the natural world. Robotanica focuses on theimminent period of ‘a new natural world’, with a wilderness of technological creatures emerging. In great and small ways, the new complex of technology and ecosystems can have a positive influence on the Anthropocene – the term coined for the present period in which human activity negatively impacts on all earth systems. Are we dealing with a new evolution now that robotics are introduced in the natural world? Are species on the verge of extinction replaced by artificial ones to keep the ecosystem in check?
Various films from the recent EYE on Art ResearchLabs held in February 2018 dealt with the notion of the screen. Master students from the University of Amsterdam’s MA seminar ‘Curating the Moving Image’ have put together highlights of the recent ResearchLabs, combining them with material from the EYE Collection. An investigation into the relationship between the screen, the human flesh and the environment.
The screen functions as a mediator altering the relation between the human and its surroundings. In the digital age we need to confront certain questions: where does our body end and the screen start? How do the screen and technology limit or extend our human being? How do we deal with present versus absent actors?
When looking at the screen, a laptop or a mobile phone, one might not notice the surroundings anymore. Yet the screen functions as a window to other spaces or the bygone. The word ‘television’ originates from seeing things on a distance. The screen helps us to see the unseen. This is exactly what Michiel van Bakel investigates in his Forest Paths.
With the blank screen of Kees Hin and K. Schippers, we ask ourselves if the screen is merely a neutral surface on which images are projected. Or is it an active agent, framing how we relate to the contemporary world, as Sophie Dixon’s Untitled 2016 shows? How do we frame the world and what do we choose to archive? Rossella’s The Splintering Sun also reflects upon the ruins of time. What remains of our lifetime on earth if we can store our memories on a digital drive?
‘The screen’ is both an extension of the human body as well as its replacement. It blurs the distinction between the here and now and absent people, times and places. This theme becomes apparent in the video Zuidoost-Noordwest by Oded Rimon, a poetic dialogue between a projection and urban Amsterdam, visually bringing neighborhoods together.
Please find here the reviews of the Research Labs programs of 17 February 2018 by the Master students from the University of Amsterdam’s MA seminar ‘Curating the Moving Image’:
Review St. Joost
Review RUL 1 
Review RUL 1 
Review PZI & UvA
Review PZI & UvA Part 2
Review VJ Rubin
A Cuban evening starting with a look at Che Guevara, the revolution’s poster boy in 1968. Demonstrators carried his image with them, shouting that they would continue the revolution in his name. Unique footage of Che, who perfectly embodied the wild appeal of insurrection with his longish hair, his baret and his cigar. The programme also features Memories of Underdevelopment, a compelling portrait of the young Cuban intellectual Sergio: how does he relate to Castro’s regime? The film won the Camera d’Or at Cannes. Introduction by Gert Oostindie.
An evening on the iconic first colour picture of the earth – better known as Earthrise – taken from space during the Apollo 8 mission. The image showed the earth as a vulnerable planet and led to widespread environmental awakening. With an introduction by curator Vanina Saracino and a performance by artist Bjørn Melhus. Followed by Planet of the Apes, a planet where apes rule a world destroyed by humans.
600 million people were made aware that the earth is a vulnerable and isolated planet through seeing the Earthrise image on TV. The image went against the dominant anthropocentric view of our planet and created a new awareness about our life on this planet. The first environmental movements followed not long after.
Earthrise also offered a new perspective on our societies: the political and religious divides on earth were impossible to distinguish ‘from God’s eye’. People were now only a fragile element in an immense and unknown universe. The Cold War and the ensuing Space Race suddenly seemed less significant: “What began in deadly competition has helped us to see that global cooperation is the essential precondition for our survival.” (Carl Sagan).
Bjorn Melhus performance (c. 30′)
The artist Bjørn Melhus is the self-appointed commander of spaceship Earth. Dressed in a space suit, he shows clips from films about space travels and YouTube videos of the international space station.
Planet of the Apes Franklin Schaffner US 1968
The astronauts returning from a long space travel in 2013, Charlton Heston among them, no longer recognize the earth in its present desolate state. Humans turned the earthly paradise into a desert and have paid a high price. The apes are now the ruling class: conservative, aggressive, religious, hierarchical and relentless. Planet of the Apes has uncompromising criticism to deliver on the discrimination of immigrants and reflects the anxiety about the nuclear age. As such our vulnerable planet earth also features in this film.
The work of Ben Rivers, who received the EYE Art & Film Prize in 2016, can be regarded as a long and sinuous investigation of an as yet unknown world – using footage, locations, literature, desert beaches or his own house. “Everywhere, new utopias are possible”, the narrator tells us in Slow Action. What are we looking for when we step out, and what do we find? An evening about new realities and old habits.
A special evening to mark the exhibition Hito Steyerl, Ben Rivers, Wang Bing – EYE Art & Film Prize.
The programme features short films and audio work by Ben Rivers, Ico Costa, Fiona Tan and a talk + film by Jan Dietvorst and Roy Villevoye.
The following films by Ben Rivers will be screened: A World Rattled of Habits (2008), Slow Action (2010) and/or Urth (2016). Introduction and hosting: Sacha Bronwasser.
A talk by Jason Wood about Paul Auster as an author, filmmaker and scriptwriter for theatre and Virtual Reality. Followed by Blue in the Face. An evening to accompany My Name is Peter Stillman, the VR adaptation of Auster’s The New York Trilogy, which is also running in EYE.
Jason Wood is artistic director of HOME in Manchester, author of many film books and co-director of the J.G. Ballard film adaptation Always (crashing). Wood will talk about the numerous crossovers between the books, screenplays and films of Paul Auster on the basis of film fragments. He will also draw a connection with the VR installation EYE is running in its Project Space from 1-10 April: My Name is Peter Stillman, which immerses the visitor in the haunting story of Peter Stillman, the protagonist in Paul Auster’s debut novels that make up The New York Trilogy.
Critics described Auster’s work as possessing an inherent ‘cinematic quality’. Auster has always enjoyed an entwined relationship with cinema, from having the great Walter Donohue (a true man of cinema, best known as the script editor for Wim Wenders) as his editor at publisher Faber & Faber to being an ardent cinephile with a deep passion and knowledge of the moving image. ‘I was always crazy about movies from early childhood’, Auster commented in 2011. Auster had even briefly considered studying to become a film director in his youth, but ultimately felt his personality too shy to command the required attention of a large crew.
Wood’s lecture is followed by Blue in the Face, the sequel to Smoke, about a New York tobacco shop and a place for unexpected meetings, featuring Lou Reed, Michael J. Fox, Madonna and Jim Jarmusch as the regulars and loosely directed by Paul Auster.
We all want to be noticed, but we are also being tracked all the time; going unnoticed has become practically impossible. The entire oeuvre of Hito Steyerl, winner of the EYE Art & Film Prize, is about ‘disappearing’ and the relationship between image and identity. An evening filled with short films, music and talks about disappearing, visibility and invisibility and transformation.
A special event to mark the exhibition Hito Steyerl, Ben Rivers, Wang Bing – EYE Art & Film Prize.
The programme includes short films by Semiconductor, Lernert & Sander, eteam and Hito Steyerl, a talk by Frank Schallmaier (de Volkskrant photo editor) and a two-part performance by Friday Wilkinson (aka Hidde van Schie).
The following films by Hito Steyerl will be screened: How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV file (2013), November (2004) and Lovely Andrea (2007)
Introduction and hosting: Sacha Bronwasser.