‘Staging Silence’ is based around abstract, archetypal settings that lingered in the memory of the artist as the common denominator of the many similar public places he has experienced. The video images themselves are both ridiculous and serious, just like the eclectic mix of pictures in our minds. The decision to film in black and white heightens this ambiguity: the amateurish quality of the video invokes the legacy of slapstick, as well as the insidious suspense and latent derailmentof film noir. The title refers to the staging of such dormant decors where, in the absence of people, the spectator can project himself as the lone protagonist.
Memory images are disproportionate mixtures of concrete information and fantasies, and in this film they materialise before the spectator’s eyes through anonymous tinkering and improvising hands. Arms appear and disappear at random, manipulating banal objects, scale representations and artificial lighting into alienating yet recognizable locations. These places are no more or less than animated decors for possible stories, evocative visual propositions to the spectator. The film is accompanied by a score which, inspired by the images themselves, has been composed and performed by composer-musician Serge Lacroix.
“Sea of Tranquillity” is the name of a film, a traveling exhibition, a jazz song and a fictional cruise liner all created by the artist. The ship serves as a metaphor for our modern attitude to time and space, our interpretation of the concepts of work and leisure, and, finally, the way in which we deal with our mortality. As such, it has a complex and poetic charge, but also presents a touch of irony regarding the superficial, safe and unimaginative leisure opportunities that are on offer on board the ship. The medium length film, mixing live actors and 3D environments, virtually plunges the viewer into the cavernous, strange and menacing fictional cruise liner as it softly cleaves the night.
Hans Op de Beeck (in an interview with Emmanuelle Lequeux, 2010): ”(…) Nowadays the cruise ship is a floating shopping and leisure mall, a gated community, that seems far removed from what travel should be all about: being mentally in transit and experiencing the natural environment. Quite often the construction of a cruise ship is accompanied by problems caused by the economic reality of short-term work contracts. The complex network of subcontractors and migrant workers has often led to serious conflicts with small businesses and workers, who are often paid too little, too late or not at all, and have to contend with harsh terms of employment or work in difficult conditions. Despite the current worldwide economic slump, there is still an incredible demand for such mega-sized luxury ships. People who sign up for a cruise of several weeks from, say, Europe to the States, can while away their time experiencing the ultimate in consumption in a completely tame and risk-free floating land of plenty. The staggering size of such a ship, with over a thousand crew members, means that thousands of passengers are let loose around the clock upon casinos, cinemas, swimming pools, spas, temples to cosmetics, clothes stores, luxury shops and other facilities. The fact that ships such as the “Queen Mary 2″, even before entering into service, were already being touted as a ‘legend’, says it all. Only with time, probably decades, can things prove themselves to be legends. It is, of course, rather peculiar for something with no history to be instantly referred to as a legend. Categories we employ today, such as ‘the biggest’ or ‘the tallest’ are superficial and tacky. They say nothing about the quality of the object. Yet, we have a passionate desire for such larger-than-life objects, because they appeal to our imagination and create myths, so transcending the mundane. At the same time, they also serve as evidence of the crushing insignificance of the individual (…)”
Multi-disciplinary artist Hans Op de Beeck (B) creates interworlds. Suspended between past and future, fiction and reality, his works sound out a mirage-like contemporary universe and a sensory vertigo where the familiar rubs shoulders with the strange. From installation to sculpture, from video to animated film, from short stories to painting and drawing, from photography to sound material, the media he employs seem to converge on the definition of a topos: a mental theatre that projects the viewer into a reflexive social and cultural experience, the intimate thinking of the human condition. — Eva Prouteau
“Sea of Tranquillity”
a film by Hans Op de Beeck © 2010
Full HD, color, sound, 29’50”
Hanna De Backer
Sam Vloemans, Bert Huysentruyt, Wietse Meys, Mike Roelofs, Nicolas Rombouts, Geert Hellings, Luc Strobbe, Steven de Baets, Jurgen Van Elsen, Stefaan Werbrouck, Vorrakarn Na Wayo, Martina Dickele, Chris De Cuyper, Willem De Meyer, Michiel Dendooven, Robert Van Dromme, Steven Stumpf, Xavier Decock and Stefan Raijmakers, Kris Swinnen, Nathalie Poison, Exotica Samba and Francoise Springer
Written and Directed by: Hans Op de Beeck
Produced by: Studio Hans Op de Beeck b.v.b.a.
Executive producers: Jasper Lutin, Maximiliaan Dierickx
Additional Producers: Emmanuelle and Michael Guttman
Music by Hans Op de Beeck, Sam Vloemans
The film received the appreciated support of The National Centre for Visual Arts — Ministry of Culture and Communication (France), The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (B), Le Fresnoy — National Studio for Contemporary Arts (F), Emmanuelle and Michael Guttman