Frank Theys

Frank Theys (°1963, Brussels) is a filmmaker, writer and visual artist. He lives and works in Brussels and Amsterdam. His audiovisual work varies from video and interactive installations to documentary, experimental film and theatre performance and has been acquired for the collections of e.g. the MOMA (New York), SMAK (Ghent), the Museum for the Moving Image (New York) and the Centre National de la Cinématographie in Paris.

The work of Frank Theys is characterized by a scientific approach to existential reflections. Technology itself has become subject and tool for drama. Artistic concepts, dramatic subjects and characters are often scientifically analyzed, human figures transformed by the technical manipulation of the image. Scientific imagery is approached artistically.

His documentary trilogy Technocalyps (2006) - about new developments in technology and the prospect of transcending human limits - has generated a lot of response and discussion across the cultural and the scientific world. It has been the central piece of several exhibitions and congresses around the world.

Frank Theys is considered one of the founders of Belgian media art. In 1989 Theys cofounded the Argos centre for art and media. Argos became an internationally renowned place for video art and new media. He was also cofounder of Dziga, Belgian union for media artists, of which he has subsequently been the chairman, secretary and delegate to the government. He cocurated the Victoria Festival in 1994 and 1995 (international performance festival in Ghent), Beeldenstorm II in 2004 (media art festival in Kortrijk) and The Brainstorm Sessions, a multidisciplinary festival on art and brain research at the Brakke Grond, Amsterdam in 2014.

After being house director for the Victoria Theatre (Ghent), he started his own media production company Votnik. In 2013, together with fellow media artists Wim Catrysse, Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, Ria Pacquée, Koen Theys and art curator Ulrike Lindmayr, he founded Escautville, an artist run platform focused on the specific needs of media art practices.

Frank Theys has taught at Sint-Lukas Film School (Brussels) and at DasArts, a multidisciplinary Masterr's course in the Performing Arts at the Amsterdam School for the Arts (AHK). He currently teaches art at the LUCA Art Academy in Ghent (Belgium) and art philosophy at the KABK ArtScience Interfaculty in Den Hague (The Netherlands). He is a researcher at the Catholic University Louvain (Belgium) and at the Free University Brussels (Belgium). He has been a visiting teacher and lecturer at universities, film and art schools worldwide. He is a fellow of The Speaker's Academy, 'Europe's largest speakers agency of bright minds'.

"Be it in the form of theatre, video installation, fiction or documentary, Frank Theys always undertakes a profound reflection on the imagery in its illustrative quality and suggestive power as well as for its aesthetic and social layering; and this in function of the used medium and its distribution channels. But far from comforting us in our habit to distinguish between those genres, Theys places them in a dialogue that largely surpasses their intrinsic limits."
Alexander Streitberger in DITS