Kris Verdonck

BOGUS I at Chroniques Biennale

10.11.2022 - 22.01.2023

Friche la Belle de Mai
Marseille (F)

Is what we see really what it seems? BOGUS I consists of four enormous inflatable sculptures, made out of the black fabric characteristic of the theatre. These automated inflatable sculptures appear and disappear again into their respective boxes. Together, they form a landscape of performative objects. The installation suggests a post-apocalyptic environment, after the end of humanity, when machines have continued without us and have taken proportions we couldn’t have imagined up until now. At the same time, they are sculptures an image of the alienation, the violence and the spectrality of a society in which everything has been turned into a commodified disposable. The size and the ambiguous material turn BOGUS I into an uncanny entity. Or as the Viennese philosopher Günther Anders would formulate it: we are so clueless and breathless when confronted with our own products, as if they were objects delivered to our homes, unsolicited, by inhabitants of a strange planet.

BOGUS I
Chroniques Biennale

Entities in Panorama 24 - On the other side

30.09.2022 - 31.12.2022

Le Fresnoy - Studio National des Arts Contemporains
Tourcoing (F)

ENTITIES

The sculptures in the series 'Entities' are performative machines, objects that move by virtue of their own independent energy source. They perform without any interaction or connection with people. These autonomous mobiles are powered by solar, wind or residual heat energy and follow the rhythm of the natural element that sets them in motion.

In ENTITIES #1, two hollowed-out halves of a boulder spin silently opposite and around each other. The motor that drives them is connected to solar panels. Heavy material is thus connected to "light." As with the planets, the sun here too sets a rock in motion - albeit in a different way and on a different scale. 

The ENTITIES series is an investigation of energy as an ever-changing, unstable natural phenomenon. The machines powered by such a source consequently follow a similar unstable rhythm. This goes against how almost all appliances and devices work: they need a continuous, stable supply of energy. Electricity producers therefore generate much more energy than is actually needed or consumed. The study of unstable energy thus poses a fundamental question: what if our technological environment were not based on continuous and instantaneous efficiency and instead operated rather like an irregular ecosystem? 

One immediate consequence of this research is that it goes back to the basics of modern technology. The way almost all machines work today needs to be reconsidered. The mechanical elements of ENTITIES are very similar to Leonardo Da Vinci's mechanics, such as hinges, levers or pivots. This kind of mechanics gives the installations something magical, as if the moving objects are not real, as if gravity does not exist.

One could argue that "performance" in an artistic environment is something exclusively human, or at least reserved for living beings. However, the relationship between performance and unpredictability could be even more essential. When an object and its energy source are completely self-sufficient and its movements unpredictable, it becomes an entity with its own independent cycle. It is no longer just "serving" or performing for people, but has a life of its own. Between old and new techniques, old materials and science fiction, between heaviness and lightness: the entities are hybrid sculptures for a time in search of a new balance.

Le Fresnoy - On the Other Side

ACT - A Beckett Evening

10.06.2022 - 11.06.2022

NTGent Minnemeers
Gent (B)

In ACT, Kris Verdonck explores various aspects of the relation between the human on the verge of disappearing in the work of Samuel Beckett. ACT approaches Beckett in three ways: with a monologue with Beckett texts (Stories and texts for nothing), performed by Johan Leysen, with a scientist, invited to react to Beckett and with an autonomous scenography, a possible landscape for a Beckett text. 

The variety and multidisciplinary approach reflect the complexity of Beckett’s work and are at the same time an attempt to literally take apart this complexity. The triptych of Science, theatre and high-tech show, as in three acts, each a different facet of the diamond ‘Beckett’. They deepen each other’s experience: a particular way of performing brings a scientific insight to life and vice versa, a performative scenography zooms in on the underlying world of or perhaps after the actor and offers a more contemplative experience.

ACT was selected for Het TheaterFestival 2020. From the jury’s report:
“In ACT Johan Leysen shapes one of Beckett's most elusive characters in an inimitable way. For an hour you hang on the lips of a man who gets hopelessly entangled in his attempt to define himself and the world around him. A moving portrait of Western human beings in search of sense and meaning.”

English spoken 
NL & FR surtitles

TICKETS

PELLET

16.06.2022 - 17.07.2022

HISK - Gosset site
Brussels (B)

PELLET - An enormous sphere is lying in semi-darkness. It’s not immediately clear what material it’s made of or how much it weighs. Or is it a projection? This ambiguity makes it something mysterious and alienating. As a spectator, you are standing next to an object with a life of its own that’s not easy to fathom. The basis of this installation, PELLET, is Franz Kafka’s short story ‘The Cares of a Family Man’ (1919). In this story, the family man mentioned in the title talks about Odradek, a mysterious creature that regularly lives with him at the bottom of the stairs. Odradek consists of a star-shaped spool with tangled yarn around it, to which a stick with a kind of leg is attached. Odradek can talk and move but is otherwise a ‘useless’ object. As with Odradek, it is pleasant to be in the company of PELLET. But at the same time, it’s a disturbing figure that makes you think about the hidden life of objects. Both PELLET and Odradek are examples of how crossing the boundaries that separate subject and object can lead to an eerie experience. ‘Living things’ with human characteristics are literally impossible to identify and acquire something oppressive and uneasy. The alienation caused by objects was a way for Kafka to talk about how modern man becomes alienated in a world of new technologies, violence and bureaucracy. This is also a feeling that PELLET evokes in the viewer: if objects and systems continue without needing humans, what is our place?

 PELLET was part of K, a society (2010), a series of ten installations for which Kafka’s work was the starting point. As a ‘performative object’, it is characteristic of the way in which objects and machines are as performative as human dancers and actors in Kris Verdonck’s work.

HISK
A Two Dogs Company / Kris Verdonck

EXTRACTIONS 22

23.04.2022 - 08.05.2022

A Two Dogs Company
Brussels (B)

EXTRACTIONS 22 is an exhibition that brings together different artists who work along the themes of extraction and landscapes. The selection of installations, new and mixed media, photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, performances and music, sketches an image of humankind that seems to have no other choice than to exploit its environment. Extraction does not only mean destruction, or at least not right away. It can also mean cultivation, making land available for growing crops. Nowadays, extraction has degenerated into consumption, a devastating process that is wreaking havoc at micro and macro levels, from our intimate thoughts to the layers of the Earth. EXTRACTIONS 22 is the second edition of this annual exhibition organised by Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company and takes place in the company’s atelier.

Photo credit © Barthélemy Antoine-Lœff, Soleil Noir, installation, 2017

EXTRACTIONS 22
23 April - 8 May 2022
Saturday & Sunday
14:00 - 18:00

With photographs, sculptures, paintings & installations by:
Barthélemy Antoine-Lœff
Alexis Destoop
Justine Emard
Gloria Friedmann
Ritsart Gobyn
Kiki Smith
Kris Verdonck
Cindy Wright

With performances by:
Nick Steur
Kris Verdonck 
Michael Schmid
Yannick Guédon

A Two Dogs Company 
Rue Adolphe Lavallée 41
1080 Molenbeek (B)

EXTRACTIONS 22

Download pdf

DEMO

01.02.2022 - 01.03.2022

Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company
Brussels (B)

DEMO is Kris Verdonck's first short film.
(in production)

The starting point for this film project is the performance UNTITLED, a show by Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company that premiered at the Kaaitheater in 2014. DEMO follows the genre of silent film, slapstick, musical and cartoons, as well as the style of the numerous uploads on YouTube and other social media.

DEMO is a social and absurdist portrait of Bee, an artist looking for work. Bee is homeless, lives under a bridge in the Brussels Canal Zone and is dressed as a mascot.  He makes videos of himself with his smartphone and hopes to one day find an audience. His main activity is boredom, an existential boredom, he just doesn't know what to do.

In DEMO, we follow Bee's path and his stunts for two days and three nights. His tricks are aimless and nonsensical, and as the days progress his existence begins to weigh on him. His surroundings - a clash of banks, art institutions, homeless people, refugees, expensive apartments and drug addicts - are indifferent. He is part of the scenery that nevertheless defines him and in which he simultaneously disappears. The enthusiasm with which he tries to entertain becomes increasingly extreme, wry and dangerous, to the point of being suicidal. Suicide is unfortunately not an option, cartoon characters don't die, they rise again and again.

Bee lives in a harsh reality and - just because of that - also in his imagination, in his madness and hallucinations. His big dream is to perform for an audience in one of the great art houses on the canal, Kaaitheater and KANAL - Centre Pompidou. There is much that stands in the way of the realization of this dream, not least his poor artistic skills. He thinks he knows great tricks, but in reality it doesn't amount to much, he fails or things go wrong.

CREDITS
Concept and Direction: Kris Verdonck
Dramaturgy: Kristof van Baarle
Performance: Marc Iglesias
Musician: Michael Schmid
Costumes: An Breugelmans, Eefje Wijnings, Karolien Nuyttens, Stephanie Becquet
Camera: Vincent Pinckaers
Production manager: Erik Lambert
Production: A Two Dogs Company
Coproduction: Quetzalcoatl, Shelterprod
With the support of: VAF - Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds, Tax shelter incentive of the Belgian federal government

THE LOST ONES (after Samuel Beckett)

10.11.2021 - 12.11.2021

Tinnenpot
Gent (B)

PREMIERE
A Two Dogs Company & KASK present:

THE LOST ONES
(after Samuel Beckett)

An Architecture of Loss

In Samuel Beckett's The Lost Ones, characters search for their lost ones in a space without an exit. They seem to follow unwritten rules. They are the result of the architecture and dynamics of their surroundings. This environment has something hellish: space, light and sound have a merciless effect on the seekers. Their search seems futile: recognition and memory are absent in this world. And yet they continue: nonsensically, bored, playfully, madly, endlessly. 

One could also look at it another way: maybe the figures are not so much the seekers as the ones who are being sought, the ones who are missed. Like silhouettes in a white space, they are the holes in our emotional architecture. Somewhere in our memory, in our body, these 'lost ones' wander. They are connections that are no longer made but that are still sought. The world of The Lost Ones is then an architecture of lack, of a loss and longing for something absent that rages through the brain and the body. The figures' absurd searching in this environment is a consequence of that longing and missing. As long as we yearn for them, the people we miss are lost - in us. In the same way, we ourselves may be both seekers and seekers. Will this circle ever be completed, will this desire ever be at rest? Or is it rather like two parallel lines and do the paths of seeker and sought only cross in infinity? 

CREDITS
Concept and Direction: Kris Verdonck
Performance: Toon Acke, Lise Bolikowski, Lotte De Keyzer, Marah Haj Hussein, Emma Van Ammel, Sophie Anna Veelenturf, Maria Zandvliet, Fiene Zasada, Lieselot Siddiki, Luca Persan
Dramaturgy: Kristof van Baarle
Costumes: Eefje Wijnings
Soundscape: Oscar Claus

A collaboration between KASK – School of Arts and A Two Dogs Company

The Lost Ones is a project in the frame of  the three-year research project at KASK – School of Arts by Kris Verdonck and Kristof van Baarle, focusing on the performative and dramaturgical convergences between the work of Samuel Beckett and Noh-theater.  

10 November 2021 - 20:00
11 November 2021 - 20:00
12 November 2021 - 20:00

TICKETS
FREE upon reservation
Reserve your ticket HERE

Europalia Trains & Tracks: SCREENS

19.04.2022 - 29.04.2022

Event on train
Belgium

Just like any other form of transport, the train has altered our perception of distance and space: speed makes distances shorter. Moreover, with the arrival of the Internet, the entire world is just a mouse click away: it comes to us in real time via all sorts of screens. Conversely, we go out into the world with a screen in our hand to record, adjust and share landscapes, monuments, and other landmarks. How does that affect our experience of the here and now? Can we still distinguish the ‘real’ world from the virtual one? For SCREENS, you get on a train and find yourself in another world: the windows of the carriage turn into high resolution screens showing images created in a model train landscape. As you travel along the Belgian railway network, you feel like you are rolling through toy versions of other landscapes and cities. From the ‘real’ world to an unreal, virtual world. As if you are travelling inside Google Maps, or in the Caribbean, thanks to a filter on Zoom... Kris Verdonck perfects illusion in this new immersive video installation. When you get on a train in Screens, you sit inside a real carriage and at the same time you are elsewhere. You are ‘real’ in an artificial toy world. Both here, and not here: an ultimate form of being in transit?  

EUROPALIA TRAINS & TRACKS: SCREENS

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ISOS / INTERCAL

01.06.2021 - 18.06.2021

La Comédie de Reims
Reims (F)

Civilized life, you know, is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly.The trouble is we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us. (J.G. Ballard)

Kris Verdonck makes in ISOS reference to the world and characters depicted in the apocalyptic science-fiction novels by James Graham Ballard (GB, 1930-2009). Ballard portrays in his Magic Realistic stories and autobiographical works, intelligent and visionary descriptions of a future world which increasingly resembles our contemporary neoliberal society. ISOS consists of 3D videos shown in nine view-boxes where virtual sculptures perform in the strained socio-political situation that is called suburbia. The audio-visual installation acts as a short film edited in the viewer's imagination.

Kris Verdonck explores in his work the boundaries between visual arts and theatre, installation and performance, dance and architecture. Verdonck's artistic practice deals with the confusion of human kind in an estranged world, due to technological development. Man and machine are set in a post-apocalyptic world where the tension between living species and dead matter creates an atmosphere of Unheimlichkeitor eeriness. One of the leitmotivs through Verdonck's oeuvre is the ‘current state of the world’ - with its environmental problems, ecological disasters and wars.

ISOS
La Comédie de Reims

EXIT - IN - BRASS - MASS #2 at SPRING Festival

28.10.2020 - 09.11.2020

SPRING in Autumn
Utrecht (NL)

IN, MASS#2, BRASS: CANCELLED

EXIT is the title of a research project that Kris Verdonck carried out together with dancer and choreographer Alix Eynaudi.
The basis of this project is a question: in a traditional theatre set-up, using all the media at the theatre’s disposal (lighting, sound, movement, language, images, stage design, etc.), what influence can we have on the sensory perceptions of an audience? To what extent are artists capable of manipulating the spectator’s consciousness (and subconscious) using these theatrical means?

In IN (2003) a performer remains motionless  in a display window filled with water. The distortion to the performers' senses caused by the environment causes a state of trance. The sounds of breathing and movement are amplified by microphones. 

BRASS is a ghost orchestra. The three sousaphones play themselves, and appear to be floating. The machines, automated instruments, are the source of the music in a place where man and the gods are no longer around. These sousaphones were developed by Decap, specialists in the creation of automated musical instruments. They ‘play’ passages based on a theme from the Japanese anime film Ghost in the Shell and works by Erik Satie. Their rotating movements create a slow-motion Doppler effect, whereby sounds sometimes come together and then move apart again. In BRASS, Kris Verdonck continues his research into theatre without performers. Given the increasing technologisation of society and the destruction resulting from war and climate change, the possibility of a world without people has never been so likely. The sound nevertheless has human features: breathing, blowing, ‘practising’ and warming up. The instruments are suspended in a dark room, in a perpetuum mobile – their material gleams, but the body they normally rest on is no longer there.

MASS #2 by Kris Verdonck is a poetic, moving landscape. A graphite-grey mass flows slowly as if it was water. The matter appears light and yet heavy at the same time. And, as if tectonic plates are interacting, the spectator sees mountains and valleys created before his eyes, only to dissolve in the next instant. A living landscape, geology in a time-lapse. 

Kris Verdonck
SPRING in Autumn

IN at Kanal Centre Pompidou

17.10.2020 - 18.10.2020

KANAL Centre Pomidou
Brussels

In IN (2003) a performer remains motionless  in a display window filled with water. The distortion to her senses caused by the environment she is in makes her go into a trance. The sounds of her breathing and movement are amplified by microphones.

Saturday 17 October 2020:  14:00 - 15:00 - 16:00 - 17:00
Sunday 18 October 2020: 14:00 - 15:00 - 17:00 - 18:00

KANAL Centre Pompidou
Kris Verdonck

New website online

07.10.2020 - 08.01.2021

A Two Dogs Company
Brussels (BE)

Happy New Website! 

Tallieu Art Office teamed up with Tallieu & Tallieu to create a new website and newsletter for A Two Dogs Company.

www.atwodogscompany.org

MASS #2 in «PAYSAGES»

24.09.2020 - 07.11.2020

PUZZLE
Thionville (F)

Man facing the nature maintains an ambiguous relationship between desire for control, separation, but also a need of healing and connection. Nature becomes a landscape through the gaze of historians, farmers, town planners, artists ... In art, the diversity of approaches induces a variety of definitions. Whether realistic or imaginary, the landscape is like a mental territory of hope, a call to contemplation and to take a step back from our relationship with the environment. The exhibition «PAYSAGES» offers a point of view from the masters of landscape prints, through visual artists to digital artists.

MASS #2 by Kris Verdonck is a poetic, moving landscape. A graphite-grey mass flows slowly as if it was water. The matter appears light and yet heavy at the same time. And, as if tectonic plates are interacting, the spectator sees mountains and valleys created before his eyes, only to dissolve in the next instant. A living landscape, geology in a time-lapse. 

PUZZLE
Kris Verdonck

ACT // A PRODUCTION OF A TWO DOGS COMPANY & HET ZUIDELIJK TONEEL

07.09.2020 - 16.09.2020

ON TOUR
Various locations (NL & BE)

In ACT, Kris Verdonck explores various aspects of the relation between the human on the verge of disappearing in the work of Samuel Beckett. ACT approaches Beckett in three ways: with a monologue with Beckett texts (Stories and texts for nothing), performed by Johan Leysen, with a scientist, invited to react to Beckett and with an autonomous scenography, a possible landscape for a Beckett text.
The variety and multidisciplinary approach reflect the complexity of Beckett’s work and are at the same time an attempt to literally take apart this complexity.

A Two Dogs Company / Kris Verdonck

07/09/2020 Het Nationale Theater, Theater aan het Spui, Den Haag (NL)
10/09/2020 Het Nederlands Theaterfestival, ITA, Amsterdam (NL)
11 & 12/09/2020 het TheaterFestival, Kaaitheater, Brussels (BE)
16/09/2020 Grand Theatre, Groningen (NL)

MASS #2 at Het Theaterfestival 2020

03.09.2020 - 13.09.2020

Kaaitheater
Brussels (BE)

Kris Verdonck created for the performance ACT the installation MASS #2, four possible poetic landscapes for a Beckett text.

MASS #2 is a poetic, moving landscape. A graphite-grey mass flows slowly as if it was water. The matter appears light and yet heavy at the same time. And, as if tectonic plates are interacting, the spectator sees mountains and valleys created before his eyes, only to dissolve in the next instant. A living landscape, geology in a time-lapse. 

On view at the foyer of Kaaitheater during het TheaterFestival 2020 from 3 until 13 September 2020, ongoing from 11:00 on.

STILLS IV & V at Bozar Open Air

17.10.2020

Galerie Ravenstein
BOZAR, Brussels (B)

The STILLS consist of gigantic projections: naked, voluminous human figures, imprisoned in a space which is much too small for them. They sometimes move slightly, seeking the most comfortable position in which to bear their uncertain situation.

STILLS IV & V are being shown for the first time in Brussels.

BOZAR Open Air
Kris Verdonck

ACT SELECTED FOR HET THEATERFESTIVAL

11.09.2020 - 12.09.2020

Kaaitheater
Brussels (B)

A Two Dogs Company / Kris Verdonck is glad to announce that ACT has been selected for The Theater Festival (Flanders)! The performance will be presented on the 11 & 12 September 2020 at Kaaitheater (Brussels). 

From the jury’s report:
“In ACT Johan Leysen shapes one of Beckett's most elusive characters in an inimitable way. For an hour you hang on the lips of a man who gets hopelessly entangled in his attempt to define himself and the world around him. A moving portrait of Western human beings in search of sense and meaning.”

ACT
A Beckett evening
In ACT, Kris Verdonck explores various aspects of human existence on the verge of disappearing in the work of Samuel Beckett. ACT approaches Beckett in three ways: first, a monologue with Beckett texts, Texts for nothing, performed by Johan Leysen. This monologue is accompanied by a new performative installation, MASS #2, a possible landscape for a Beckett text. A video lecture by philosopher and mathematician Jean Paul Van Bendegem is the third part of this Beckett evening, and sketches how throughout the history of Western thinking the unity between body, mind and spirit fell apart.  

The triptych of theatre, installation and philosophy shows, as in three acts, each time a different facet of the diamond ‘Beckett’. They deepen each other’s experience: a particular way of performing brings a a way of thinking to life and vice versa, a performative landscape zooms in on the underlying world of or perhaps after the actor and offers a more contemplative experience.

Duration: 75 min.
Language: ENG spoken, NL & FR subtitles

Het Theaterfestival
Kaaitheater

UNDISCIPLINARY FROM NOW ON. CROSSCUTTING ARTS AND SCIENCES WHILE LEAVING THEM INTACT

03.04.2020

Horta Hall
BOZAR, Brussels (B)

- POSTPONED - New date will follow

A DEBATE, TWO BOOKS, AN INSTALLATION AND A PERFORMANCE.

Society is paved with tension fields. Scientists alone cannot solve this. Artists neither. Both species have a responsibility and an autonomy to guard, especially when the funding mechanisms are inclining towards ideological goals instead of incubating talent.

The occasion of this evening event is the release of two books: Machine Made Silence. The Art of Kris Verdonck, edited by Peter Eckersall and Kristof van Baarle, and Go with the Flow and Stay with the Trouble, edited by Marleen Wynants. The first one reflects on the art works of Kris Verdonck, the second is the apex of the STAL project, a joint initiative by VUB, ULB and BOZAR from 2017 to 2019.

Both books refer to unexpected encounters and a particular way of working that surpasses established disciplines and domains, yet, leaving them intact while exploring a kind of un-disciplinary thinking, a field of enquiry of its own.

A conversation between Kris Verdonck, Marleen Wynants, Caroline Nevejan and Lawrence Malstaf will be preceded by the Spheres performance by the latter. Meanwhile the Horta Hall in BOZAR will also host a series of installations by Kris Verdonck and all participants will be invited to a cocktail before, during and after.

Program
18:30 Opening installations by Kris Verdonck
19:00 Welcome
19:20 Introduction STAL by Marleen Wynants
19:30 Performance by Lawrence Malstaf
20:00 Book presentation and conversation with Kris Verdonck, Marleen Wynants, Caroline Nevejan and Lawrence Malstaf
20:30 End of formal presentations

New Publication. MACHINE MADE SILENCE. THE ART OF KRIS VERDONCK

15.02.2020

Performance Research Books
Aberystwyth (UK)

Machine Made Silence. The Art of Kris Verdonck brings together an array of essays written by leading scholars in the field of theatre and performance studies and a series of interviews, performance texts, notes on particular works, as well as an extensive overview of Verdonck’s oeuvre. Rich in images, the book also includes drawings and sketches, opening up the creative process. The question that fueled this book is that of how to make work today. How can we characterize ‘today’ and how can art relate to that? Looking at the work of Kris Verdonck, tensions come to the fore between humans and machines, between life and death, between the now and the end, between visual arts and performing arts, between something and nothing.

Machine Made Silence. The Art of Kris Verdonck
Edited by Peter Eckersall and Kristof van Baarle
With a preface by Guy Gypens and texts by Maaike Bleeker, Andy Lavender, Charlotte De Somviele, Peter Eckersall, Edward Scheer, Tawny Andersen, a.o.
Performance Research Books, Aberystwyth, UK
204 p. - 49 color images

Available here

ACT // A Production of A Two Dogs Company & Het Zuidelijk Toneel (NL)

06.02.2020 - 17.03.2020

On tour
BE / NL

In ACT, Kris Verdonck explores various aspects of the relation between the human on the verge of disappearing in the work of Samuel Beckett. ACT approaches Beckett in three ways: with a monologue with Beckett texts (Stories and texts for nothing), performed by Johan Leysen, with a scientist, invited to react to Beckett and with an autonomous scenography, a possible landscape for a Beckett text.

The variety and multidisciplinary approach reflect the complexity of Beckett’s work and are at the same time an attempt to literally take apart this complexity. The triptych of Science, theatre and high-tech show, as in three acts, each a different facet of the diamond ‘Beckett’. They deepen each other’s experience: a particular way of performing brings a scientific insight to life and vice versa, a performative scenography zooms in on the underlying world of or perhaps after the actor and offers a more contemplative experience.

A Two Dogs Company / Kris Verdonck

Something (out of nothing) // A Production of A Two Dogs Company & ICK

10.01.2020 - 08.02.2020

On tour
BE / NL

What is the place of the human in a world in which ecological catastrophe and technology are fundamentally challenging this position? The new performance by Kris Verdonck explores the physical and mental state of being in the face of an impending extinction.
The combination of a merciless desire for profit and growth with technological developments, has reduced the human to a disposable object. Making the landscape in which we live inhabitable is the next step. What remains after social, economic and ecological elimination? The dancers wandering around in Something(out of nothing), are oftentimes not more than silhouettes or shadows. They are the ghosts that are the consequence of the destructive dynamics between humanity and the landscape, which in the performance is evoked by large inflatable sculptures, noise cello player Leila Bordreuil and a robot drum. 

SOMETHING (out of nothing)

Conversations (at the end of the world)

14.01.2020 - 24.02.2020

On tour
BE / NL / FR

What do you say, do or make when the end is nigh? In Conversations at the end of the world, a new piece by Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company for large auditoria, five figures find themselves in an empty theatre space. They have only their bodies, their capabilities and the time that is left to them. Together these five figures, played by Johan Leysen, Jan Steen, Jeroen Van der Ven, José Kuijpers and the renowned pianist Marino Formenti, create a portrait of humankind in the crazy twentieth century – a century in which man’s image has been significantly eroded and whose wounds we still carry with us today. Waiting for the catastrophe that is inevitably coming, or in the midst of it, they welcome the audience to ‘a last evening’. When faced with death, the characters react with boredom, panic, madness, lethargy, nonsense and absurdity. Their absurdity is fed by the crazy logic of the war, ecological disasters, and all kinds of crises. Despite being in shock, they try to understand what is going on outside, and it is this absurd reaction to a cruel reality that lies behind this project.


CONVERSATIONS (at the end of the world) // a production of A Two Dogs Company (BE), Het Zuidelijk Toneel (NL) and a coproduction with Kaaitheater (BE), Rotterdamse Schouwburg (NL), Fondation d’entreprise Hermès within the framework of the New Settings program (FR) 

Kris Verdonk in JRSLM - Paradise Lost Again

17.10.2019 - 17.11.2019

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Brussels (B)

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
(Samuel Beckett, Murphy)

In the installation DETAIL, a large and massive boulder hangs on the ceiling. It is hanging on a steel cable, on a ball bearing, allowing it to fully turn around its axis. The ball bearing is put in motion by a steel wheel rotated by a motor which takes its energy from solar panels. The whole chain leads to a relatively simple situation: whenever the sun shines, the boulder turns around its axis. Once the sun shines, and therefore the stone starts to revolve, the mechanism is simultaneously unrelenting: the fatalism of a world that has to and will turn. A mobile with sunlight. A surreal image with an undertone of danger and yet fascinating at the same time. 

The whole (complicated) technical construction has no other goal than to have the “poetry” of a heavy colossus float and turn around. DETAIL is in this sense a pointless use of knowledge and material which makes it even all the more alienating. The question can also be put forward as to whether many other developments that we call ‘technical progress’ really do help the world. The destructive potential of ever greater, faster, more efficient and automatic algorithms, processors, motors and fire power assert their influence on a daily basis in wars and in the depletion of our planet. Where is technological knowledge taking us and does it make us able to handle the problems of our age for the most part caused by ‘technological progress’? DETAIL is then also a stationary situation: frozen, hanging in the air, turning in circles in a vacuum.

JRSLM
Kris Verdonck

Kris Verdonck at Klinkende Stad 2019

22.11.2019 - 08.12.2019

Muziekcentrum TRACK
Kortrijk (B)

Human emotion and the capacity for abstraction are possibly expressed most powerfully in music and the playing of an instrument. Music is also of the gods, from the heavenly sounds on Mount Olympus to the harmony of the spheres that resounds in the universe.

BRASS is a ghost orchestra. The three sousaphones play themselves, and appear to be floating. The machines, automated instruments, are the source of the music in a place where man and the gods are no longer around. These sousaphones were developed by Decap, specialists in the creation of automated musical instruments. They ‘play’ passages based on a theme from the Japanese anime film Ghost in the Shell and works by Erik Satie. Their rotating movements create a slow-motion Doppler effect, whereby sounds sometimes come together and then move apart again. In BRASS, Kris Verdonck continues his research into theatre without performers. Given the increasing technologisation of society and the destruction resulting from war and climate change, the possibility of a world without people has never been so likely. The sound nevertheless has human features: breathing, blowing, ‘practising’ and warming up. The instruments are suspended in a dark room, in a perpetuum mobile – their material gleams, but the body they normally rest on is no longer there.

Klinkende Stad
Kris Verdonck

Kris Verdonck at November Music 2019

02.11.2019 - 09.11.2019

Werkwarenhuis
Den Bosch (NL)

Human emotion and the capacity for abstraction are possibly expressed most powerfully in music and the playing of an instrument. Music is also of the gods, from the heavenly sounds on Mount Olympus to the harmony of the spheres that resounds in the universe.

BRASS is a ghost orchestra. The three sousaphones play themselves, and appear to be floating. The machines, automated instruments, are the source of the music in a place where man and the gods are no longer around. These sousaphones were developed by Decap, specialists in the creation of automated musical instruments. They ‘play’ passages based on a theme from the Japanese anime film Ghost in the Shell and works by Erik Satie. Their rotating movements create a slow-motion Doppler effect, whereby sounds sometimes come together and then move apart again. In BRASS, Kris Verdonck continues his research into theatre without performers. Given the increasing technologisation of society and the destruction resulting from war and climate change, the possibility of a world without people has never been so likely. The sound nevertheless has human features: breathing, blowing, ‘practising’ and warming up. The instruments are suspended in a dark room, in a perpetuum mobile – their material gleams, but the body they normally rest on is no longer there.

November Music
Kris Verdonck

Kris Verdonck at Nuit Blanche Brussels

05.10.2019

Nuit Blanche
Tour & Taxis, Brussels (B)

Kris Verdonck - MASS #2  is a poetic, moving landscape. A graphite-grey mass flows slowly as if it was water. The matter appears light and yet heavy at the same time. And, as if tectonic plates are interacting, the spectator sees mountains and valleys created before his eyes, only to dissolve in the next instant. A living landscape, geology in a time-lapse. 

HUMAN >< NATURE
In the Anthropocene period – a term that describes the current period, which started when human activities began to have a global impact on climate – natural disasters and climate change are a constant reminder that nature will always have the last word.

Yet, although humans seem powerless against the forces of nature, there is an urgent need to take action and reconnect with nature in the context of sustainable deliberations and processes.
The 2019 NUIT BLANCHE intends to examine the impact of the Anthropocene period on Earth’s ecosystem, the need to take account of nature and the role of artists in creating an awareness of climate-related issues.
How can we change the way we live in the world and our relationship with nature when faced with rampant globalisation and urbanisation?

This 17th edition will take place from 7 pm to 3 am during the night of Saturday 5 October, in the area around Tour & Taxis, which is both a former symbol of Brussels’ industrial bloom and next to one of the largest green spaces in Brussels.

Kris Verdonck
Nuit Blanche 2019

Kris Verdonck at Scopitone 2019

13.09.2019 - 22.09.2019

Scopitone 2019
Nantes (F)

MASS #2 is a poetic, moving landscape. A graphite-grey mass flows slowly as if it was water. The matter appears light and yet heavy at the same time. And, as if tectonic plates are interacting, the spectator sees mountains and valleys created before his eyes, only to dissolve in the next instant. A living landscape, geology in a time-lapse. 

Scopitone 2019
Kris Verdonck

SOMETHING (out of nothing) at Kampnagel

14.08.2019 - 17.07.2019

Kampnagel - Internationales Sommerfestival 2019
Hamburg (D)

The future may be dark, but it comes with arresting visuals and powerful sounds: a synesthetic theater shock in the time of climate change.

Few in recent years have created disconcerting stage landscapes with as strong images as Kris Verdonck. The Belgian visual artist and theater maker has often been interested in existential questions and post-apocalyptic scenarios (at Kampnagel most recently in 2008). In his new intense and contemplative theater experience, he tackles the question of what it means to exist while awaiting an impending ecological catastrophe. What if nature becomes a nightmare and the quiet becomes endless? When we are actually gone? This work is thus a perfect sensory counterpart to our focus on climate-change-related cultures and ideologies.

In the transit zone between visual art and theater, installation and performance, dance and architecture, Verdonck embarks on a synesthetic trip to the end of the world with, among others, long-time ROSAS dancer Mark Lorimer, performer Ula Sickle and noise-cellist Leila Bordreuil. Like ghosts, they populate a magicbox-like theater landscape of impressive visual power – and, in our era of climate dystopia, remind us of the frailty of art and of human existence. A synesthetic theater shock in the time of climate change.

Kampnagel
Kris Verdonck/A Two Dogs Company
ICK Amsterdam

DETAIL at Kunstfest Weimar

28.08.2019 - 01.09.2019

Kunstfest Weimar 2019
Weimar (D)

A huge boulder hangs by a rope from the ceiling. As soon as the sun shines, it starts to rotate on its own axis. DETAIL is an installation by the Belgian theatre artist Kris Verdonck, presented for the first time at this year’s Kunstfest. A closed cycle of fascinating, but only apparent simplicity. In the tension between poetry and technology, weight and movement, mass and energy, the installation makes reference to fundamental questions of life. The rotating boulder thus becomes a symbol for acceleration and exhaustion, progress and ephemerality. Walter Gropius predicted that human ability to alter nature could become so enormous, that what we gain through technological advances might no longer be in proportion to what we could lose.

Kunstfest Weimar
Kris Verdonck

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DANCER #3 at Festival KANAL

21.06.2019 - 30.06.2019

KANAL Centre Pompidou
Brussels (B)

DANCER #3 - We see a robot trying to stand up straight; he always falls down again, but never gives up. He endures this process of trial and error cheerfully and indefatigably. The machine gets to know its own potential. The energy of this automaton is infectious. His clumsiness and constant failure display the optimism of a clown who’s always tripping over. The artist and theatre-maker Kris Verdonck quite often combines his fascination with machines with images and concepts that owe a lot to science fiction.

From 21 to 30 June 2019, KANAL BRUT, which for 14 months saw the former Citroën garage serve as an exhibition and performance space, will end on a high note with the multidisciplinary FESTIVAL KANAL.

KANAL Centre Pompidou

SOMETHING (out of nothing)

22.05.2019 - 23.05.2019

Kunstenfestivaldesarts
Kaaitheater, Brussels (B)

What is the place of the human in a world in which ecological catastrophe and technology are fundamentally challenging this position? The new performance by Kris Verdonck explores the physical and mental state of being in the face of an impending extinction.

The combination of a merciless desire for profit and growth with technological developments, has reduced the human to a disposable object. Making the landscape in which we live inhabitable is the next step. What remains after social, economic and ecological elimination? The dancers wandering around in Something(out of nothing), are oftentimes not more than silhouettes or shadows. They are the ghosts that are the consequence of the destructive dynamics between humanity and the landscape, which in the performance is evoked by large inflatable sculptures, noise cello player Leila Bordreuil and a robot drum. 

Parallel to the performance, the installations BOGUS I-II-II are presented in the museum context of Kanal Centre Pompidou from 10 until 23 May 2019. Performative objects will create a similar environment in the white cube as they do in the black box. Theatre flows over into the museum and back.

Production A Two Dogs Company / ICK Amsterdam

Kunstenfestivaldesarts
Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company

BOGUS I-II-III

10.05.2019 - 23.05.2019

Kunstenfestivaldesarts
Kanal Centre Pompidou, Brussels (B)

Is what we see really what it seems? The series BOGUS I-II-III consists of three variation on the same principle: they are each time enormous inflatable sculptures, made out of the black fabric characteristic of the theatre. These automated inflatable sculptures appear and disappear again into their respective boxes. Together, the three installations form a landscape of performative objects. They suggest a post-apocalyptic environment, after the end of humanity, when machines have continued without us and have taken proportions we couldn’t have imagined up until now. At the same time, they are sculptures an image of the alienation, the violence and the spectrality of a society in which everything has been turned into a commodified disposable. The size and ambiguous material of these sculptures turn the BOGUS series into a series of uncanny entities. Or as the Viennese philosopher Günther Anders would formulate it: we are so clueless and breathless when confronted with our own products, as if they were objects delivered to our homes, unsolicited, by inhabitants of a strange planet. 

Parallel to BOGUS I-II-III Kris Verdonck presents the performance SOMETHING (out of nothing) at Kaaitheater on 22 and 23 May 2019.

Kunstenfestivaldesarts
Kris Verdonck

SOMETHING (out of nothing)

24.05.2019 - 25.05.2019

SPRING Performing Arts Festival
Stadschouwburg, Utrecht (NL)

What is the place of the human in a world in which ecological catastrophe and technology are fundamentally challenging this position? The new performance by Kris Verdonck explores the physical and mental state of being in the face of an impending extinction.
The combination of a merciless desire for profit and growth with technological developments, has reduced the human to a disposable object. Making the landscape in which we live inhabitable is the next step. What remains after social, economic and ecological elimination? The dancers wandering around in Something(out of nothing), are oftentimes not more than silhouettes or shadows. They are the ghosts that are the consequence of the destructive dynamics between humanity and the landscape, which in the performance is evoked by large inflatable sculptures, noise cello player Leila Bordreuil and a robot drum. 

Production A Two Dogs Company / ICK Amsterdam

SPRING Utrecht
Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company

DETAIL

26.04.2019 - 09.06.2019

Tendencies '19 - The Overview Effect
BOZAR, Brussels (B)

The TENDENCIES exhibition focuses on works that question scientific and technological innovations as much as they incorporate them. For this fourth edition, it looks at our relationship with possible futures, be they dystopian or utopian. 

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
(Samuel Beckett, Murphy)
In the installation DETAIL, a large and massive boulder hangs on the ceiling. It is hanging on a steel cable, on a ball bearing, allowing it to fully turn around its axis. The ball bearing is put in motion by a steel wheel rotated by a motor which takes its energy from solar panels. The whole chain leads to a relatively simple situation: whenever the sun shines, the boulder turns around its axis. Once the sun shines, and therefore the stone starts to revolve, the mechanism is simultaneously unrelenting: the fatalism of a world that has to and will turn. A mobile with sunlight. A surreal image with an undertone of danger and yet fascinating at the same time. 

The whole (complicated) technical construction has no other goal than to have the “poetry” of a heavy colossus float and turn around. DETAIL is in this sense a pointless use of knowledge and material which makes it even all the more alienating. The question can also be put forward as to whether many other developments that we call ‘technical progress’ really do help the world. The destructive potential of ever greater, faster, more efficient and automatic algorithms, processors, motors and fire power assert their influence on a daily basis in wars and in the depletion of our planet. Where is technological knowledge taking us and does it make us able to handle the problems of our age for the most part caused by ‘technological progress’? DETAIL is then also a stationary situation: frozen, hanging in the air, turning in circles in a vacuum.

The TENDENCIES exhibition focuses on works that question scientific and technological innovations as much as they incorporate them. For this fourth edition, it looks at our relationship with possible futures, be they dystopian or utopian. Curated by Raphaël Stevens.

TENDENCIES '19
Kris Verdonck

Monster

27.01.2019

Stormopkomst
Westrand, Dilbeek (B)

The spectators enter a space in which an elongated, fenced in box stands. The floor is covered with white textile. A series of lights hangs very low above this white surface, like in a brooding box for chickens. In the box lie 300 little toy dogs. These are stuffed animals with an optic eye in the middle of their foreheads. When this eye senses a change in light (and this happens every time a movement takes place within their sight) the dogs roll over; their tales make a circular movement and they produce sounds that could be described as ‘barking laughs’. The reaction of one dog sets a second dog in motion; these two dogs then set another couple of dogs in motion, etcetera. A group of rolling, laughing dogs has originated in the box; an uncontrollable mass that cannot be silenced nor stopped.

Kris Verdonck - MONSTER
Stormopkomst

ISOS

02.11.2018 - 04.11.2018

ICK Fest
Theater de Meervaart, Amsterdam (NL)

Kris Verdonck makes in ISOS reference to the world and characters depicted in the apocalyptic science-fiction novels by James Graham Ballard (GB, 1930-2009). Ballard portrays in his Magic Realistic stories and autobiographical works, intelligent and visionary descriptions of a future world which increasingly resembles our contemporary neoliberal society. ISOS consists of 3D videos shown in nine view-boxes where virtual sculptures perform in the strained socio-political situation that is called suburbia. The audio-visual installation acts as a short film edited in the viewer's imagination.

ISOS
ICK Fest

Conversations (at he end of the world)

07.09.2018 - 13.09.2018

On Tour
Antwerpen (B) - Amsterdam (NL) - Leeuwarden (NL)

What do you say, do or make when the end is nigh? In Conversations at the end of the world, a new piece by Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company for large auditoria, five figures find themselves in an empty theatre space. They have only their bodies, their capabilities and the time that is left to them. Together these five figures, played by Johan Leysen, Jan Steen, Jeroen Van der Ven, José Kuijpers and the renowned pianist Marino Formenti, create a portrait of humankind in the crazy twentieth century – a century in which man’s image has been significantly eroded and whose wounds we still carry with us today. Waiting for the catastrophe that is inevitably coming, or in the midst of it, they welcome the audience to ‘a last evening’. When faced with death, the characters react with boredom, panic, madness, lethargy, nonsense and absurdity. Their absurdity is fed by the crazy logic of the war, ecological disasters, and all kinds of crises. Despite being in shock, they try to understand what is going on outside, and it is this absurd reaction to a cruel reality that lies behind this new project.

A Two Dogs Company/Kris Verdonck
Het Zuidelijk Toneel
Het Theaterfestival
Nederlands Theater Festival
Stadsschouwburg Leeuwarden

Conversations (at he end of the world)

03.08.2018 - 04.07.2018

Theater aan Zee - TAZ
Versluys/Dôme, Northlaan 13, Oostende (B)

What do you say, do or make when the end is nigh? In Conversations at the end of the world, a new piece by Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company for large auditoria, five figures find themselves in an empty theatre space. They have only their bodies, their capabilities and the time that is left to them. Together these five figures, played by Johan Leysen, Jan Steen, Jeroen Van der Ven, José Kuijpers and the renowned pianist Marino Formenti, create a portrait of humankind in the crazy twentieth century – a century in which man’s image has been significantly eroded and whose wounds we still carry with us today. Waiting for the catastrophe that is inevitably coming, or in the midst of it, they welcome the audience to ‘a last evening’. When faced with death, the characters react with boredom, panic, madness, lethargy, nonsense and absurdity. Their absurdity is fed by the crazy logic of the war, ecological disasters, and all kinds of crises. Despite being in shock, they try to understand what is going on outside, and it is this absurd reaction to a cruel reality that lies behind this new project.

TAZ#2018
A Two Dogs Company/Kris Verdonck

Detail

17.08.2018 - 11.11.2018

ACC Gallery
Weimar (DE)

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. 
(Samuel Beckett, Murphy)

In the installation DETAIL, a large and massive boulder hangs on the ceiling. It is hanging on a steel cable, on a ball bearing, allowing it to fully turn around its axis. The ball bearing is put in motion by a steel wheel rotated by a motor which takes its energy from solar panels. The whole chain leads to a relatively simple situation: whenever the sun shines, the boulder turns around its axis. Once the sun shines, and therefore the stone starts to revolve, the mechanism is simultaneously unrelenting: the fatalism of a world that has to and will turn. A mobile with sunlight. A surreal image with an undertone of danger and yet fascinating at the same time. 

Kris Verdonck