technical info


Video installation for 1 projector

33'37" (loop)

HDV — colour — stereo

Orig. version: Dutch

Realization, editing & production: Koen Theys

Director of photography: Danny Elsen

Assistant camera: Jan Dellaert

Second camera: Koen Theys

Assistant: Dimitri Riemis

Machinery: Alex De Heus

Gaffer: Wim Temmermans

Electro: Gideon Van Essen

Scenography: Bert Leysen, Dries Dejonghe

Props and objects: Jeroen Boels, Erik Dehaes, Dirk Eelen

Voices: Arnold Naessens, Roland Patteeuw, Manfred Sellinck, Koen Theys, Annemie Tweepenninckx

Sound finalization: Johan Vander Maelen

Co-production: Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds, Kunsthalle Lophem

The Vanitas Record - Koen Theys, 2005

Vanitas is Latin for vanity. A vanitas painting is a form of still life consisting of a collection of objects that symbolize the brevity of human life and the transience of earthly pleasures and achievements. Vanitas paintings were most popular in the Netherlands of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Most recurrent objects in the gouaches and oil paintings from painters like Frans Hals, Willem van Aelst or Harmen Steenwijck are skulls, candles, hourglasses and clocks, overturned vessels, books and (fading) flowers. The objects act as a reminder of the inevitability of death, and the pointlessness of earthly ambitions and achievements. For the exhibition Locus Loppem, the artist Koen Theys built a gigantic installation. The Vanitas Record was a three-dimensional still life that measured 20 x 12 x 4 meters. In the setting of, among other things, ?skulls, books, alarm clocks and candles, Theys placed 22.000 living snails. In the first part of the video with the same title — not a documentation of the installation, but a work in itself with different added contextual layers — the camera initially travels along the installation, showing in detail the objects presented. Slowly, Theys adds a second layer of (self-) relativity and (self-) irony, inserting pieces from radio and television interviews he had on the occasion of building this 'record'. Towards the end, The Vanitas Record almost turns into Grand Guignol, as Theys blows up the already large press and public attention at the opening of his installation to the proportions of a mass event where visitors and press lead to roaring applause and a bombing of flash sounds. The antennas of different press camera's look very much like the feelers of the snails.