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homo desperatus – Dries Verhoeven

Lampedusa, Aleppo, Syrian refugees, Fukushima’s nuclear reactor, the parliament buildings in Kiev, a drug clinic in Germany, a collapsed clothing factory in Bangladesh. Childprostitution, homophobia, but also disappaering islands in the pacific, melting glaciers and icecaps and other natural disasters caused by the global climate change….

In Homo Desperatus 44 contemporary disaster zones and humanitarian crises are reconstructed. Each display case is inhabited by an ant colony, about 70.000 ants in total. They populate the places of our human catastrophes.

Ants, like no other animal, know how to cope with disasters. When a nest collapses, they know precisely how to escape from that adversity within a fraction of a second. The individual ant offers itself for the well being of his kind. It drowns itself to build a bridge for the group. When it is sick its congeners bring it to a burial ground to avoid contamination.
An artificial “Sun” moves slowly from east to west through the room and shines on the different locations. The moment a location is lit, a finger-camera switches on, and gives the spot one minute of attention. The video-footage is projected live on screen.

With his installation Dutch visual artist/ theatremaker Dries Verhoeven challenges us to look at the human species.
How do we perceive disasters? And how does the suffering of the individual relate to the continuing existence of the population?
He allows the visitor zoom in and out between analytical distance – such as that of a laboratory – and emotional affection.

 homo desperatus

Signing out.//Identity Detective (Germany)