Works

Broeders verheft u ter vrijheid

What purpose do our labouring bodies serve these days? Asparagus growers replace their Dutch labour force with labour people from Eastern Europe. Tech giants employ algorithms to find the biggest possible profit margins 24/7. Jobs are taken over by robots and various forms of AI. Do we still serve any purpose? Will there be a revival of the labour movement, or is the best thing for us to accept the inevitable computerisation?

Performance and Exhibition
Broeders verheft u ter vrijheid
shows humans as stowaways inside an enormous distribution centre. The work is created in collaboration with a group of Bulgarian performers who have experience as labour migrants. The theatre stages serve as a shop floor that is home to a ‘live installation’ for eight hours a day. Visitors, just like in a museum, buy a ticket for a time slot.
The performers stay during the tour at West Den Haag art institute. Until 15 August 2021, an exhibition will also be on display there, including the documentary ‘The Recruitment’ and the video work ‘To perform’. The exhibition offers a special insight into the making process and casting, the pitfalls along the way and the experiences of the performers as labour migrants. West is open every Wednesday to Sunday from 12:00 to 18:00 hrs.

What purpose do our labouring bodies serve these days? Asparagus growers replace their Dutch labour force with labour people from Eastern Europe. Tech giants employ algorithms to find the biggest possible profit margins 24/7. Jobs are taken over by robots and various forms of AI. Do we still serve any purpose? Will there be a revival of the labour movement, or is the best thing for us to accept the inevitable computerisation?

Performance and Exhibition
Broeders verheft u ter vrijheid
shows humans as stowaways inside an enormous distribution centre. The work is created in collaboration with a group of Bulgarian performers who have experience as labour migrants. The theatre stages serve as a shop floor that is home to a ‘live installation’ for eight hours a day. Visitors, just like in a museum, buy a ticket for a time slot.
The performers stay during the tour at West Den Haag art institute. Until 15 August 2021, an exhibition will also be on display there, including the documentary ‘The Recruitment’ and the video work ‘To perform’. The exhibition offers a special insight into the making process and casting, the pitfalls along the way and the experiences of the performers as labour migrants. West is open every Wednesday to Sunday from 12:00 to 18:00 hrs.

Video

Press

"As always, Verhoeven manages to attract the attention of his spectators with a seemingly simple and effective image. The beauty of all his work is that he brings big, complicated themes back to its essence. On the one hand, it is confrontational, but it also shows compassion for its subject."

Vincent Kouters in de VolkskrantRead the review (in Dutch)

"Welcome to the global economy." - "The beauty of the singing robot ballet lingers in my mind. [...] The scenes keep beckoning like sirens."

For Theaterkrant Fransien van der Putt visited the work during SPRING and the exhibition in West Den Haag.Read the review (in Dutch)

"You can stay as long as you want, and with that Verhoeven immediately confronts you with a dilemma: when do you stop looking, when you are face to face with these people, who have to complete eight hours a day?"

Sander Janssens in NRCRead the review (in Dutch)

"As is often the case with a repetitive work of art, the duration forces the viewer towards a certain surrender, and a sharpened perception. The loop that holds the Bulgarians captive contains an intriguing composition: repeatedly the roar of the machines swells as the singers sing silently. Actually, there is a dreamy beauty in the installation."

Marijn van der Jagt in De Groene AmsterdammerRead the article (in Dutch)

"One by one, the performers share personal thoughts and anecdotes. Through their stories, I get to know the nuances of life on production floors."

Manuela Zammit visited the exhibition in West Den Haag for Metropolis MRead the article (in English)

"These days we stumble over our good intentions, they deprive us of looking at our own ambivalent actions. I don't really believe in setting an example anyway. I prefer to put my head on the chopping block; artwork succeeded, artist dies."

Alex de Vries visited the exhibition in West Den Haag for online contemporary art magazine Mister MotleyRead the article (in Dutch)

"I want to share the discomfort I experience in everyday life. Moments when I don't know what to do or what to make of something. I want to put that on a stage or in a museum."

Dries Verhoeven was a guest at Kunststof Radio. At the premiere live from Stadsschouwburg Utrecht in an interview with Gijs Groenteman.Listen to the podcast (in Dutch)

podcast and radio

After her visit to Broeders verheft u ter vrijheid, an emotional Hanneke Groenteman calls Gijs Groenteman and Teun van de Keuken. An excerpt from episode #28 of the podcast ‘Teun & Gijs vertellen alles’. (in Dutch)

 

Kunststof Radio
During the premiere on 20 May 2021 of Broeders verheft u ter vrijheid Dries Verhoeven was a guest in the radio programme Kunststof, live from Stadsschouwburg Utrecht. An interview with Gijs Groenteman about the backgrounds of the work and more.
Listen back to the interview on spotify > (in Dutch)

Credits

concept Dries Verhoeven

production Studio Dries Verhoeven
dramaturgy Hella Godee & Miguel Melgares
stage manager Niels Runderkamp
AGV robotics Tom Dalhuisen
programmer robotarms Casper Wortmann
programmer systems control Sylvain Vriens
sound design Peer Thielen
technique Marko Meijer, Niklas van Woerden
intern technical production Titus Duitshof
casting & production Sofia, Bulgarije Christian Bakalov
set construction Maarten Smids, Niklas van Woerden, Merijn Versnel
video Wouter van Elderen

cast Irina Angelova, Rilka Charovna, Boryana Dzhivdzhanova, Petyo Gyudyulev, Blagovest Ilchevski, Kalin Kupenov, Miroslav Mihov, Valentina Panova, Valentin Stankov, Antonia Tochka

Broeders verheft u ter vrijheid is made possible with the support of Fonds Podiumkunsten, Gemeente Utrecht, Fonds 21, Cultuur Innovatiefonds Provincie Utrecht, BankGiro Loterij Fonds and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.