Ceci n'est pas... - Dries Verhoeven

16-25 mei stadhuisbrug Utrecht, dagelijks van 15.00-20.00 uur (op donderdagen tot 21.00 uur)

In “Ceci n’est pas…” toont Dries Verhoeven de uitzonderingen op de regel. In een vitrine midden in het openbare leven van de stad Utrecht presenteert hij mensen op een manier waarop je ze normaal niet ziet. Sommige voorbijgangers zullen wegkijken, anderen zullen blijven kijken en zich afvragen of/ waarom het geschetste beeld eigenlijk controversieel is. Waarom ligt er een besmetting op bepaalde beelden, die twintig jaar geleden nog gewoon konden worden getoond? Zijn we minder tolerant geworden? Of zijn we juist onze naïeve politieke correctheid kwijtgeraakt? Is het goed dat wij en onze kinderen bepaalde dingen niet zien, of zijn we doorgeschoten in onze drift tot bescherming? Via de getoonde taboes probeert Dries een idee te geven van het DNA van onze tijd.

Op dit Blog probeert hij in contact te komen met mensen die de vitrine hebben zien staan in Utrecht, en willen reageren.

Ceci n’est pas…
Less than fifty years ago, peculiar people were still put on show at fairs and in circuses. The audience would marvel at these exceptional creatures. Maybe looking at who formed an exception gave them that reassuring feeling of being normal.

At SPRING, Dries Verhoeven will put ten contemporary exceptions to the rule on show. Every day, in a small glass box in the city centre, a different scene will be shown; images we do not generally encounter in public spaces. People are arrayed behind soundproof glass like rare relics. These images, quite out of the ordinary, unveil our collective unease. In this way, Dries hopes to unleash a discussion with casual passers-by about contemporary controversies.

The box can be seen daily from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the festival, although depending on the image the box might be open longer hours.
For more information: www.springutrecht.nl

Ceci n'est pas... was developed within the context of "Second Cities - Performing Cities"
and will also travel to Ringlokschuppen in Mülheim (De), le Maillon in Strasbourg (Fr) and Hellerau in Dresden (De).
Dries Verhoeven beantwoordt dagelijks vragen over Ceci n'est pas...

Video overview of all days in Utrecht

Overview of all days

The future of "Ceci n'est pas..." 

We hope to perform “Ceci n’est pas…” again in other cities in the Netherlands and abroad. We are very curious to see how people with other nationalities will respond to the work. 

In 2013 we perform “Ceci n’est pas…” again at Ringlokschuppen, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany (13-21 Sep.), and at le Maillon, Strasbourg, France (10-19 Oct.) (exact dates to be confirmed) 

The summer of 2013 

I won’t be writing news on this blog for the next few months. However in the coming period we will perform different projects: 

In Utrecht you can see “God zegene de greep” on the main stage of the Stadsschouwburg. (24-28 June 2013, daily at various times)

We will tour with “Fare the well!”. a.o. at Vooruit Gent, Belgium (till 31st of May), Festival Oerol, Terschelling (15-23 June), Call of the Mall, Utrecht (at NH Hotel, Jaarbeursplein, 22 june-22 Sep.) and Marseille Cultural Capital. (Sep.)

We will be showing “The big movement” in Turino, Italy (5-7 July)

We will be returning with “Niemandsland” after five years of touring in Utrecht (13-22 Sep.)

Check our website for information about the projects, for the actual playing schedules, and to subscribe to our newsletter. 

What was more interesting to look at, the performer or the audience? Passers by caught in the act of looking. (photo’s made by Willem Popelier) 

Some highlights of last week. (Pictures made by Willem Popelier)

Day ten

The end of the project in Utrecht. Yesterday was a calm day. No (human) performer was shown in the glass box. That gave us enough time to talk to the audience. It was nice to find out that many people did see other images during the week, and came back for this one. Of course some people reacted to the worms (“Argh, I cannot look at this, disgusting!”) but also a lot of people seemed intrigued by the image and the thought behind it. Some met the image with humour. (“That old lady of yesterday did pass away quickly!”), others were emotionally touched by it. As with the previous days, I was amazed at the amount of people who spent time looking at the box. I didn’t expect that at all. When I started the project I thought nine out of ten, would reject the images and continue their walk through town (only one out of ten actually did). As well I was amazed by the nuanced way people discussed the different topics. To be fair I initially thought it would be cool to show that citizens would turn their heads away en masse from certain (difficult) issues. The work would show the topicality of these taboos. Looking back I think that was quite an arrogant thought. I underestimated the willingness of Henk and Ingrid (the typical culturally uninterested Dutch couple) to meet and discuss their ‘sore spots’. We managed to gain the attention from the crowds and plant a new thought, a new way to look at things in their heads, if only for a minute a day. The last sentence in yesterday’s text: “The Dutchman prefers not to drink from a cup with a crack” proved to be effectual for all the images. I hope that sentence will continue to echo in the heads of some of the people that witnessed the project.    

Day ten

Video day nine again online

Is the reaction of Tumblr comparable to that of some of the people on the street? First comes the shock, then the awareness. See emailconversation down here… Hello, We’ve restored the post that was removed in error and apologize for the inconvenience. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. Thank you, Beth — Tumblr Trust & Safety abuse@tumblr.com Dries Verhoeven May 25 08:36 am (EDT) Hello tumblr, Could you tell me your definition of sexual? On my video there’s a 80 year old woman with a mask, sitting naked on a chair. Almost not moving. Is that sexual in your perception? Thanks for your reply, dries

Also The AD newspaper thinks our performer was twenty years younger then she actually was. Why do we see this as a compliment?

Day nine removed!

Can you imagine??? Talking about taboos. The video of yesterday is removed! You can still check on vimeo…. http://vimeo.com/m/66951481


We have removed content from your blog at http://cecinestpasblog.tumblr.com/post/51252410658/day-nine because the content violated the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines that you accepted when you created your account. We do not allow users to upload sexual videos on Tumblr.

Day nine

What happens when you cover someone’s face and expose her body? People think its a doll, people think it’s a man, people think that she’s 30 years younger. Many people looked at the performer as if she was an alien. Some young girls found it disgusting (wondering what they’ll look like in 60 years time), one person said this shouldn’t be allowed. I think most people were touched, or at least intrigued by this sort of ‘salamander in a terrarium’. I was very much impressed by the skills of our performer, she didn’t have itches or pain at all. She just sat there as a slow motion video. In her life she did this kind of performances many times, when listening to her experiences i realized that there’s not only a taboo on the aging body nowadays, but also on sexual freedom in public space. In the seventies and in the good old Roxy times, I guess people felt more free to run or cycle naked on the streets. Did America inspire us in this new prudeness? The very end of the day felt like a funeral, the performer was so vulnerable when she laid down on the ground. Not many people did dare to simply pass by. Today is the grand finale…

The end of day nine, does the cosmetic industry kill the aging body?

day nine

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