Sarah van Lamsweerde (NL): Instant fiction

Video surveillance cameras capture all that occurs in Burts Coffee and relay images to a series of monitors. The monitors, clearly visible from inside the café, show live images and something else: beneath the picture, running along the bottom of the screen, is a looping collection of subtitles. At first these texts, which appear to have been taken from an unknown film, seem to have little connection with the live action. But as we watch and read, the two establish a relationship, creating a playful and unsettling fiction in which we become accidental actors of the everyday.

Sarah van Lamsweerde (NL)

Based in Amsterdam, performance and installation artist Sarah van Lamsweerde has shown her work across Europe and Australia. Her collaborative practice includes projects with Ivana Muller and Christiaan Bastiaans. She is a co-founder of Stichting Tre Tigri, a collective focused on supporting artists working in cross-disciplinary art forms.

“The performances and installations I make, focus on a specific relationship between body and mind: how thoughts are expressed in the body and vice-versa. Often there is a very big contrast between the inside and the outside of a person, between what you see and what actually happens within; this tension always intrigues me. I look for interaction between what is visible and what is not, and try to organize  meeting points on that threshold. Gaps appear between sensation and information, and in those spaces the viewer can project his own thoughts, feelings or ideas. The relation between form and content is an ongoing question for me; I haven’t discovered the golden rule about what comes first, but if I have to say something about themes in my work, I would have to mention the big existential ones: togetherness; separation.

Putting subtitles below a real-time image fascinates me for different reasons. Firstly, it alludes to bizarre aspects of modern media such as image manipulation and reality tv. The gap between image and text creates an interesting space for doubt and critical scrutiny: did I say that? What is going on here? The sense of suddenly“being on tv” strokes our ego and simultaneously prevents us from claiming gratuitous moral viewpoints: in the end we are all part of what is going on around us in the world. By putting words into someone’s mouth I hope not only to create a certain vigilance about what exactly is being constructed here, but also a string of poetics incidents.”