— Vesna Faassen & Lukas Verdijk


About the Project

For three years now, we have been working as an artist duo. Our collaboration began with a shared interest in photography’s relationship to culture and heritage. This interest was not surprisingly and directly influenced by our prior studies in psychology and history. Photography’s attraction as a medium, its historical connection to the production and fixation of identity, the politics of representation, power relations and debates over what exactly is pictured have inspired us. Explorations of contemporary socially engaged art in relation to (post)colonial, cultural and photographic theory led to the development of our collaboration – which has the main focus in our current residency at HISK (Higher Institute of Fine Arts, Ghent).

In general, the work explores a central paradox in our culture: the excited denial of racism and colonial violence coexisting alongside aggressive racism and xenophobia. For hundreds of years the Netherlands, as well as Belgium, was a colonial empire. What is the impact on contemporary issues of ethnographic othering? Can we still say that there is nothing more to find back of colonialism in the consciousness and behaviour of people nowadays?

Within the context of our ongoing project several works emerge and manifest themselves as performances, photographs and films. Issues of (in)visibility, issues about who decides who is welcome somewhere, issues about who has the power to let his or her voice be heard and issues on which view of society is dominant and which is oppressed, have occupied our minds for some years now. Projected into space or unfolding simultaneously on multiple screens, the works resonates with discomfort – focusing at questions of cultural identity and its clichéd (mis)representations of our multi-ethnic society.

By focusing on our own surroundings, we try to be aware of (well-hidden) assumptions about the other and social and behavioural remains from our past that are continuously passed on. Therefor, our project is not only a mirror of reality, but rather a mirror of prejudices - including our own. To openly research this self-criticism, our works are not really orienting a certain reading. We employ irony, juxtaposition and repetition to strengthen the potency and symbolism of our dominant Western point of view and try to reframe the familiar with minimal means. The multiplicity of opinions and voices that potentially arise from our works interrogates our own position as an artist as well as the position of the viewer.

We perceive the works as confrontations that throw sand in the politically-correct system of thought. They sow confusion and compel reorientation. For us, it feels like an unpleasant but important conversation. A conversation that resides in memory and ultimately in change. Hopefully - afterwards, the scenes feel uncomfortably real.

Irshad
Collaboration, Antwerp, Belgium     2015

During the opening of 'We Never Said You Would Be Famous' we asked Irshad to photograph visitors.

 

Irshad1

Irshad2 Irshad3 Irshad4 Irshad5 Irshad6polaroid7polaroid8polaroid9polaroid9polaroid10polaroid11polaroid12polaroid13polaroid14polaroid15polaroid16polaroid16polaroid17polaroid18polaroid19polaroid19polaroid20polaroid21polaroid22polaroid23polaroid24polaroid25polaroid26

New Arrivals
Installation, mixed media     2015

One size, €69,-


New Arrivals New Arrivals  

untitled
HD video, sound, 17.20 min     2015

To Love is to Serve
dia projection, Antwerp     2015

Author unknown.


wnsywbf8


Books
Digital print, soft Cover on linnen, A5, 60-120p, set of 4     2015

At the moment we are working on new books.


Books 23


Books2 Books3 Books5 Books6 Books7


EUROPA 2
2015, INSTRUCTION MANUAL PAPEGAAIDUIKER AND 1842 SCREENSHOTS
Papegaaiduiker - puffin - is De Waard’s smallest family tent. Nevertheless, this tent offers plenty of space by the steeper walls and the generous height front. In this tent travellers must sleep across. Papegaaiduiker requires less space on the site.

entrance height 210
ridge height 210
living area 150/300
sleeping 170/300
depth fixed awning 160
canvas 340gr cotton
ground cloth bizonyl
tent poles steel
packed size tent 35Ø × 75
weight tent 22
weight tent poles 8

In the film three men put up a tent in front of the skyline of the city centre of Antwerp, Belgium. In the background a cruise ship called ‘Europa 2’ leaves for an unknown destination.

 

Books8 Books 10 Books 9


WELKOM
BIENVENUE
WILLKOMMEN
WELCOME
2015, 12 SCREENSHOTS FOLLOWED BY THE TEXT OF THE CITY TOUR AND MUSICAL INVENTORY
Sightseeing in Antwerp. Discover the city.
A group of men – all undocumented immigrants coming from countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Morocco & Cameroon – accept our invitation for a ride on a tourist tram through the city of Antwerp. The voice over intercom tells them in Dutch, English, French and German about the touristic sights the tram passes by. This tram ride should be regarded as a welcome to the city they live in, but where they are not really welcome.

 

Books 22Books 13 Books 14 Books 12Books 11


COLOR PICKER
2015, 36 TINTS OF THE VON LUSCHAN SCALE PRINTED ON WOODFREE OFFSET 90 GRAM PAPER AND TWO PHOTOGRAPHS
Various devices have been used as aids to anthropological field-workers in their task of estimating and recording differences in the skin-color of man. Of these, the best known is the hautfarbentafel of von Luschan, which was used during the first half of the 20th century. The scale consists of 36 pieces of porcelain colored in different tints.
It will be realized that the skin color of men varies considerably in different parts of the body. Many anthropologists used the dorsal side of the upper arm, which has not been exposed to the weather, and for convenience, is easily accessible.

 

Books 15 Books 21 Books 19 Books 20 Books 17 Books 18

 

SPRAY TAN
2015, TWO PHOTOGRAPHS AND SIX SCREENSHOTS
Spray tanning is a sunless solution to darken your skin. There are three shades of tanning - Light, Medium and Dark. We asked for the darkest color.


.TIFF, POSTERS UNFOLDED
2015, TWELVE PHOTOGRAPHS AND TWO CURRICULA VITAE
After the publication of our portraits in .tiff magazine – a magazine launched by FotoMuseum Antwerp, Belgium (FoMu) - we decided to use the poster in it’s original form, presented on a wall. We visited various inhabitants of Antwerp. While exhibiting the poster we invite the audience to visit someone’s living room to see the work.

.tiff, 11 posters unfolded
Twelve photographs and two curricula vitae     2015

With the posters of our portraits that were published in .tiff magazine by the FotoMuseum (FoMu) in Antwerp, Belgium, we visited various inhabitants of the 2060 neighborhood in Antwerp. We presented the posters on their living room walls and photographed them. We were invited to stay over for dinner once and received two curricula vitae that we were asked to spread.
As a result, we invited the visitors of the simultaneous group exhibition ‘69’ in the 2060 neighborhood to see the poster in Gideon’s one room apartment.
The curricula were handed out to the audience in the exhibition space.

curriculum vitae one

curriculum vitae two
 

TIFF1 TIFF2 TIFF4

TIFF8

Window
Intervention during Antwerp Art Weekend 2015     2015

This window is cleaned by Vickia Tamba.

 

window1

Window2

October 23, 2014
Documents, framed, 43x35 cm     2014

Mos Maiorum was a joint police operation, starting from the 13th of October, 2014. In the framework of the Italian Presidency of the Counsil of the European Union, the operation was focused to identify, prosecute and disrupt illegal border crossing. In close cooperation with Frontrex, Europol and the Schengen associated countries, various law enforcement authorities were involved in this operation, especially border guard authorities. One of the main routes for irregular migration is the crossing from Europe, through the port of Calais, to the United Kingdom. Undocumented migrants gather here to wait for their opportunity to reach, hidden in or bound under a lorry, the U.K. During these days of the Mos Maiorum operation, we rented a similar truck and took the ferry from Calais to Dover. The lorrie was decorated with our personal furniture, to give prospective travelers a comfortable crossing.

 

October

De Suppoost
Performance, Antwerp, Belgium     2014

Tunde is our gallery attendant.

 

Suppoost

Europa 2
HD video projection, sound, loop, 10:12 min     2014

Three men put up a tent. In the background a cruise ship called 'Europa 2' leaves for an unknown destination.

 


Actor
HD video projection, sound, loop, 3:40 / 2:51 min     2014

Two actors talk about their past.

 




Tango
HD video projection, sound, loop, 2:53 min     2014

Inhabitants of Antwerp practice the tango, every other week.

 

Spray Tan
Inktjet prints, dibond, 82x110 cm     2014

Spray Tan are two self-portraits.
Spray tanning is a sunless solution to darken your skin. There are three shades of tanning - Light, Medium and Dark. We asked for the darkest color.

 

Spray Tan#1Spray Tan#2

Color Picker
Nine inktjet prints, 20x20 cm     2014

Nine variations on the Von Luschan Cromatic Scale, a research method in anthropology that was used during the first half of the 20th century. The scale exists of 36 different skin tones and served as a classification system for population groups based on skin color. We have visualized nine skin tones with the color picker.

 

Color Picker1Color Picker2Color Picker3

Color Picker4Color Picker5Color Picker6

Color Picker7Color Picker8Color Picker9

Welkom, Welcome, Bienvenue, Wilkommen
HD video projection, sound, loop, 44:03 min     2013

A Group of men - all undocumentedimmigrants from countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Morocco & Cameroon - accept our invitation for a ride on a tourist tram through the city of Antwerp.