Towards the Proflector
Being an artist keeps challenging. It has a rollercoaster trajectory. Sometimes you are in the middle of a great collaboration, then you are standing in the middle of nowhere for days, feeling ultimately happy, but your latest email says that the exciting residency you submitted for will not be yours. What a bummer! Then you make a satisfying work and few seem to be interested… three weeks later your telephone rings about that very same work!? You never know what the next bend or looping will bring. Lesson learned, you have to believe in your ultimate mission and be prepared to navigate your own artistic flight…
Driving through Scotland I suddenly got a remarkable invitation from a friend and fellow artist/curator. Hans Overvliet asked me to join in a unique project at his space ruimteCAESUUR. ‘Please can you make a kite, just like the Palestinians are doing? It is their non-violent way to stand up against the injustice around!’ By the way, Hans is an engaged artist who I met during Art Gouda in 2016. He was really moved and mesmerised – may I say modestly – when he saw my installation ‘Drifted Times’ there. A few days later he wrote a heartfelt and impressive review about it (review in Dutch). -‘Yes, I will create a kite’ was my direct and socially motivated response.
After doing some youtube searches, I found myself thinking about my position within this engagement. The kite is used in the Gaza area both as peaceful means to make people aware and as violent tool by dropping kind of fire bombs on the enemy! I was shocked seeing some of the footage. A conflict in me, about morality, but who am I to speak up in such a matter, so safe and far away! Of course, I feel my opinion as artist does matter, but how to express it rightly so?
After some deliberation I decided to put the following question forwards: Can we think of a kite that brings two sides of a conflict in one image together? What does a kite look like that is trying to express a visual alternative?
So, I came up with the ProFlector which is quite a testing kite. Due to wind and sunlight the ProFlector is both a flying call to action and a continuous visual challenge as well. Our views are put to the test while looking at its moving colours. It may show also distorted reflections of ourselves. The kite reflects our human behaviour in a sense. We too are somewhat free-moving but still bound and limited in our physical possibilities. Fortunately, this does not apply to our mental possibilities.
My kite challenges us to read PROTEST as PRO + TEST. PRO as a proponent of reflections plus TEST as a proponent of testing and reflecting. Can we look at this kite differently than just the literal? What is your viewpoint in an ever-moving situation?
Flying a kite with ruimteCAESUUR
Last Saturday the plan was that all the kites got airborne as vernissage of the exhibition. However, little wind caused a different approach: the first ever beach exhibition in Vlissingen was presented. Due to personal circumstances I could not be present but the personal testimonials were warm and joyful like the afternoon sun. Next weekend new kite flights are planned and hopefully deliver extraordinary footage as well.
P.S. In the last two weeks a lot of public turmoil around this project has come up: it became a real political controversy where reactions on social networks, aldermen, local politicians and international media biased parties took their “news and facts” as them suited best. The project became a “playing ball” far beyond its artistic purpose, which has been totally overlooked I may add. This kite project has made a lot clear about the stalemate positions that govern the Gaza conflict. In that sense, my reflective kite has not yet been comprehended or even flown, as a result of the controversy. It has been put to the test too!
These photo’s are shot by Hans Overvliet and Toon Truyens.
The artists involved in this project are:
Mohammed al Hawajri, Dina Mattar, Raed Issa, Jen Gossé, Frie J. Jacobs, Jan Verhaeghe, Peter Puype, Jörn Burmester, Mehreen Hashmi, Leni van den Berge, Ko de Jonge, Dani Ploeger, Leon Riekwell, Loek Grootjans, Ingrid Rollema, Stef Fridael, Robin Weijers, Harriët Rademakers and Rinus Roepman