Works

Homo Desperatus

44 display cases contain true-to-life scale models of sites of human suffering such as the nuclear reactor in Fukushima, the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba and a collapsed clothing factory in Bangladesh.
Every showcase is inhabited by an ant colony. The work transforms the museum into a formicarium: 70,000 ants try to build a life on replicated sites of human catastrophes. Each location is equipped with a nano-camera that films the location. The ‘news footage’ is projected live in the same space.

The visitor zooms in and out, between an analytical distance and emotional involvement in the suffering of the human species, represented here by the ant.

44 display cases contain true-to-life scale models of sites of human suffering such as the nuclear reactor in Fukushima, the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba and a collapsed clothing factory in Bangladesh.
Every showcase is inhabited by an ant colony. The work transforms the museum into a formicarium: 70,000 ants try to build a life on replicated sites of human catastrophes. Each location is equipped with a nano-camera that films the location. The ‘news footage’ is projected live in the same space.

The visitor zooms in and out, between an analytical distance and emotional involvement in the suffering of the human species, represented here by the ant.

Video

registration Homo Desperatus

Press

"With beautiful serenity, Verhoeven displays the ‘ugliest’ issues of the 21st century."

‘Wonderschone verbeelding van dramatische gebeurtenissen’ ('Beautiful portrayal of dramtic events'), Moos van den Broek on Theaterkrant.nl (12-08-2014)read the review (in Dutch)

"With major dramatic events, the media always zooms in on the personal suffering, but what if you omit that?"

‘Hoop op mieren’ ('Hope for ants'), Nel Westerlaken for De Volkskrant (25-07-2014)read the article (in Dutch)

"It is a meta-exhibition with a wry nod: (...) we are the aliens."

‘Mier, mens en media’ ('Ants, Man and Media'), Joke de Wolf in Trouw (03-07-2014)read the article (in Dutch)

"Verhoeven’s staging is one of an opera. The plaster models are beautiful."

‘Mieren die schuifelen in ramp-maquettes’ ('Ants shuffling in models of disasters'), Lucette ter Borg in NRC Handelsblad / NRC Next (29-07-2014)read the review (in Dutch)

"Accompanied by Dries Verhoeven, I walked through this apocalyptic Madurodam in which irony, hope and beauty are given a place."

‘Mieren gaan beter om met catastrofes dan mensen’, ('Ants deal with catastrophes better than humans do'), Lex Bohlmeijer in discussion with Dries Verhoeven for De Correspondent (05-07-2014)listen to the podcast (in Dutch)

Background

Verhoeven about Homo Desperatus, theatre and the museum

At the time of the exhibition in ’s-Hertogenbosch, a number of videos were shown in the auditorium in which Verhoeven spoke about the creation of Homo Desperatus and his interest to show work in a museum setting.

verhoeven about the creation of Homo Desperatus (in Dutch)
verhoeven about the museum and theater (in Dutch)
verhoeven about earlier work (in Dutch)

radio

On the VPRO radio programme Nooit meer slapen, Verhoeven spoke with Pieter van der Wielen about Homo Desperatus.

listen to the programme (in Dutch)

video version

In 2015, Verhoeven made a video version of Homo Desperatus, which premiered at the Homo Novus festival in Riga, Latvia.

watch the whole video (public screening only permitted with permission from the artist)

Now Babylon / video display

The video of Homo Desperatus was part of the exhibition ‘Now Babylon’ in gallery W139. For Cleeft Susanne de Heer wrote the article‘Now Babylon laat de unheimliche status quo zien in W139’ (‘Now Babylon’ shows the uncanny status quo in W139).

read the article (in Dutch)

Credits

concept Dries Verhoeven
artistic assistent Cindy Moorman
production Studio Dries Verhoeven, Saskia Schoenmaker
technicians Roel Evenhuis and Sylvain Vriens
soundtrack Wouter Messchendorp
video Thorsten Alofs
model makers Arthur van der Laaken, Carl Wesselius, Edwin de Koning, Erik van de Wijdeven, Ernesto Yelamos, Felipe Gonzalez Cabezas, Felix Dorst, Fleur Verhoeff, Kiki van der Hart, Leon Steuernthal, Lidia Vadja, Lynn Ewalts, Nadja Turlings, Persi Ioannidou, Roel Huisman, Stefanie Bonte, Theodora Chatzi Rodopoulou, Yukina Uitenboogaart and Wendy Wassink