MA Non-Linear Narrative, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, NL
Honours Programme in Artistic Research, ArtEZ Academy of Art and Design, Arnhem, NL
BA Graphic Design, ArtEZ Academy of Art and Design, Arnhem, NL
In May 2015, IS militants occupied the ancient Syrian excavation site of Palmyra and demolished most of its structures, including the triumphal arch. As an “act of defiance” against this cultural censorship, the British Institute for Digital Archeology replicated the demolished arch. In April 2016, the life-size scale reconstruction was erected at Trafalgar Square, London, and has since travelled to several cities across the globe.
The words of (then-) London mayor Boris Johnson, “what they destroy, we will build again”, pose a binary narrative that presents construction as the opposite of deconstruction; inexhaustible, idealistic construction as the solution to inexhaustible, idealistic deconstruction. This installation uses the recreated Arch of Palmyra as a case study to excavate landscapes of power, and to talk about neo-colonial appropriation of heritage in an age of digital reconstruction and contemporary iconoclasm.
“This is not the Amazon” is a video essay that investigates how the concept of wilderness is constructed through different perspectives and economies, repeatedly simulated into a simulacrum (an image that may never have existed in the first place).
Views From Above exhibition, Greenpeace Netherlands
8—21 February 2019, KABK, The Hague
KINO (Open Air Cinema), NEST / The Hague Contemporary
6 July, The Hague
Mag het licht aan festival, HIVOS Netherlands
7 July 2019, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Amsterdam
Making the analogy with the terrestrial world, where architecture is known to be employed as tool for establishing power, Platform Warfare: Digital Architecture of Occupation is a thesis that poses the digital platform as the architecture of cyberspace: a new virtual landscape, that too is subject to and based on different power structures and concepts of territory.
Using the issue of Airbnb operating in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank as case-study, the thesis makes a parallel between disruptive tactics that structurally underlay the functioning of digital platforms, modern day traveling and settler colonialism, by this pointing out the relation between colonialism and digital technology as a wider, emerging issue that needs to be discussed.
Initiating for the thesis research is “Common Ground”, a film installation about the involvement of Airbnb in the Israel-Palestine conflict. The film exposes the ways in which Airbnb is propagating structures — or infrastructures — of occupation towards Palestinian users and, by this, indirectly maintains the occupation. The viewer is taken on a journey to the occupied West Bank, visiting Airbnb accommodations in both Palestinian villages and illegal Israeli settlements. By comparing these two, it becomes clear that in fact, both are not given the same options thus treated equal — this in big contrast to how Airbnb presents itself.
The film shows that the notion of traveling itself is a political construct in an area where for a certain demographic group, freedom of movement is not at all self-evident. The journey, that starts as an adventurous road trip becomes more and more uncomfortable when these constructs come to light and show how Airbnb, by allowing listings in illegal Israeli settlements, actually facilitates a platform for financial and ideological support towards the occupation of the West Bank.
The Archive Series presents a series of five live-streams from the archive of Museum Bronbeek, a museum that is dedicated to Dutch colonial history in Indonesia. The five screens all show a specific framing of the same object: a looted school from the 1800’s, that is now viewed upon as too controversial to be displayed, but has been a prominent part of Bronbeeks exhibition for over a century.
Every screen reveals less of the skull itself and more of the set-up that is capturing the real-time still, making clear that the object is in fact a networked and mediated object that has existed within different timeframes and mindsets (from trophy to problematic), thus every time creating a different version of the object.
The installation advocates for accessibility to a collective past, and transparency in handling objects that are a problematic remainder of Dutch colonial history.
Does an icon needs to be physically destructed in order to be broken? “Lenin, the Object of my Affection” is an image collection of intimate portraits with statues of Vladimir Lenin and a female admirer (sourced through Instagram), illustrating the breaking of an image through representation.