Discover Benelux | Issue 13 | January 2015

Page 66

2_4_DiscoverBenelux_13_Januar_2014_MADS_Scan Magazine 1 17/12/2014 15:24 Page 66

Discover Benelux |  Culture |  Columns

S TAT E S   O F   A R T

Deciphering reality and the virtual world TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK |  PHOTOS: TONY OURSLER

Video art is perhaps the most alienating of all arts. Maybe that is because when it is done  badly  it  can  look  little  more  than  a school  kid  playing  around  with  his  new camera  like  a  toy.  However,  when  done with a little more thought, video art can tap into and tackle things that other art forms cannot. Tony Oursler is a vanguard of contemporary  video,  and  in  this  site-specific exhibition, I/O Underflow at the Oude Kerk he has used video to tackle the complex and  increasingly  important  issue  of  how we differentiate between our virtual world and reality.  As the Internet takes an ever-firmer grasp over our lives, we spend more hours every day staring at a screen. We consume endless photos, digital imagery and visuals in the digital sphere and then have to be able to instantly switch back to the real world.

The Oude Kerk provides the perfect setting to visualise this idea. Oursler’s videos are projected  onto  the  architecture,  carvings and stained glass of the old church creating  a  beautiful  juxtaposition  between  the two.  The  outcome  is  to  put  the  viewer through a metaphorical Turing test; having to constantly decipher and flick between what is real and what is machine.  This is the first time Oursler has exhibited in  the  Netherlands  in  over  15  years,  and alongside  this  commission,  Oursler  also projects his works onto the façade of the Stedelijk Museum, as well as onto the outside of the Oude Kerk itself, as part of the Amsterdam Light Festival which runs until 18 January. I/O Underflow by Tony Oursler at the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam is on until 29 March.

The solution to New Year’s resolutions TEXT & PHOTO: ANOUK KALMES

I  don’t  know  anyone  who  hasn’t  ever made  resolutions  for  the  New  Year;  the most common ones are related to going on a diet, starting a gym routine and quitting smoking. The inspiration for making positive changes to our lives usually arises in the last quarter of the year. That’s when we start saying, “on 1 January, I will start a diet and I am determined to lose x number of kilos.” With this target date in mind, we spend the remaining days of the old year  indulging  in  our  perceived  vices. When  1  January  arrives,  our  determination to resist the piece of chocolate is at its strongest.  We have now switched to e-cigarettes or we have even gone cold turkey.  And  we  can’t  wait  for  2  January when the gym opens and we can submit our membership application.

66 |  Issue 13 |  January 2015

and there is too much stress in our lives. And  when  we  approach  the  end  of  the year,  we  go  back  into  resolutions  mode and  make  great  plans  for  the  next  New Year  that  again  we  won’t  follow  through.

I would guess that we manage to maintain this new virtuous life for a couple of weeks up to a month. But before we know it, our old habits have taken over again and we give  in  to  food  temptations,  we  have started skipping gym workouts and we are back  to  chain  smoking.  We  explain  our failure to maintain our resolutions by telling ourselves and others that we have no time

My solution to this is simply not to make any New Year’s resolutions. When you are serious about making changes in your life, you should not wait until 1 January to execute  them.  There  is  only  ever  one  best time to take action: it’s now; neither in the past, nor in the future. If you can give it up now, in this very moment, the chances are that  it  will  be  a  lasting  change  and  that you have succeeded in breaking the cycle.  Read more about Anouk’s life and travels on her lifestyle blog