Paradise preparations

I was preparing the shoot in september of Paradise Lost, my own feelgood video, that will form the 3d part of the trilogy expo. Luckily this summer i was hanging around in one of my favorite Caribbean paradise islands. I followed some juicy apples around and finally took a bite.

And what happened? I was send straight out of paradise back to ole nitty grey gritty Amsterdam.

2nd part of trilogy expo Paradise Lost: the first day of Superman (2012) by belit sağ

superman evoked reactions....

belit is a female Turkish artist. She finished the two year programm at Rijksakademie around the end of 2015. her work questions the thinkable and the unthinkable, that what we hear and that what is being hushed up, ethics and esthetics, distance and the frame in which images are being put into, and at the same time all that escapes the frame. 
This way she also questions the role of the media and the way images being brought by the media manipulate the debates in societies. She is concerned about bigger political issues but tries to bring them under the attention in a small scale human way. This way the audience can relate to often complicated political issues. her camaera wanders of to small human details that might not fit real well in the bigger media story. The French writer Georges Perec says: “the only thing missing in the daily news is the daily”. This sentence resonates with the work the first day of Superman.
It was made in 2012. 

belit met Superman, a Rumanian immigrant trying his luck on Dam square. After some weeks Superman returned to Rumania. At Dam Square there was a whole community of disguised people and musicians from Bulgaria and Rumania. They used to lunch together at Dam square. Right after the shoot, the performing in disguise was being prohibited in an attempt to 'clean up the square'. The videowork shows the transition from a migrant to superman. The difficulties concerning this transition are of cause related to more than just his actual disguise.

1st part of trilogy expo Paradise Lost: Scene # 001 by Zindzi Zwietering

The daily routine of an elderly Amsterdammer... 

Zindzi’s werk is geworteld in de alchemie tussen humaniteit en publieke ruimte. Het contrast of juist de relatie tussen het gedrag van de mens en de publieke ruimte blijft haar fascineren. Ze onderzoekt of en zo ja hoe we in een tijd leven waarin we steeds minder waarde hechten aan fysieke ruimte. Haar startpunt is altijd verbazing; ze ziet absurdisme in het dagelijkse. Ze kijkt naar de stad alsof ze naar en tableau kijkt. Alsof het een vooropgezet spel is, een dans waarin stadsbewoners als figuranten fungeren.

Zindzi leerde ik kennen tijdens een kunstproject voor jongeren dat ik was gestart - pArtie - dat haar fotografie op haar zestiende al naar de Appel bracht. Ze evolueerde zich van daaruit tot volwassen fotograaf. In 2016 studeerde ze af aan de KABK. Als geboren en getogen Amsterdammer slaat ze haar omgeving 24/7 op en verwerkt die tot vaak poëtische en intrigerende beelden.
Zindzi liep stage bij Sharon Lockhart in Los Angeles en Polen. Onlangs ontwikkelde ze samen met haar afstudeerlichting fotografen de succesvolle expositie ‘What’s Good!?’ in de Melkweg galerie, waar werk van gerenommeerde en startende fotografen naamloos geveild werd. Zie voor meer:


Paradise Lost # Escaping the city = exhibition at PMB Amsterdam -june 2016- dec 2016

“Closing your eyes isn't going to change anything. Nothing's going to disappear just because you can't see what's going on.”

Haruki Murakami Kafka on the shore

So i asked two artists to think about the tense relationship between escapism, refugism and the city. Are you fleeing from the city, or the other way around, or are you diving in as if it were a big blue carribean sea when temepratures are rising...
What paradise are people looking for? What does this dreamy, beautiful place look like? That resulted in three video works, some stories, some pictures, some reactions on a blackboard, a palmtree in my narrow corridor and a lot of time spend at Sloterdijk station.

The exhibition functions as a trilogy.
In december some short stories will be released, and printed on demand.


Artists Zindzi Zwietering,  belit sağ , Lies Aris
Curator & stories: Lies Aris

AsKeD As a CuRaToR

Just before christmas 2015, the arts commission of PMB - project management office Amsterdam: an office where many people are busy 'planning and building the city' asked me to be a curator for some 7 months for their arts space. A nice assignment that triggered rethinking my relationship with the city of Amsterdam. My hometown.

I am a natural born dreamer, a contrary escapist ánd a natural born Amsterdammer who is obsessed by the city and her inhabitants. I get my inspiration from humans in city streets, from dreams and from peoples’ relentless search for paradise. So i came to this ~

Short sketch of the exhibition Paradise Lost.

Are you escaping from the city, or to it?
What paradise are people searching for? What does it look like? Is it the most beautiful and calming place, with lush nature and tranquility?
In big cities the artificial nature and the many different cultural identities reveal a new urban paradise. Is it a paradise? Maybe seventeenthe century writer John Milton, who at the end of his life, half dead and blind wrote Lost Paradise, was right?
Looking at today’s dreadful problems regarding refugees and hosting them safely… How decadent is this tendency for escapism then?
The city of Amsterdam: paradise for refugees? But a place to flee from for all citizens with their burned out brains, mindfullness apps and social media addictions.

Overexposure of… everything…. damages humans and society. As an artist, a writer and a curator of this exhibition i want to show work that confronts us with these tensions, that functions as a beautiful hiding place, a story in which one can live, all the while asking oneselves if one really feels at home there. Images can be utopian, escapist dreamscapes as well, fleeing harsh reality.