Puck Verkade

The common thread in my work is marked by exploring how human beings give meaning to life in order to survive. I feel drawn to subjects that deal with the human psychological condition, the way we construct our identity through belief-systems and it's position within society. My aim is to approach and question certain socio-psychological situations from a personal point of view and this working process often results in audiovisual projects characterized by an investigative documentary method. To expose the friction of a challenging subject I need disorientation. By immersing myself in an unknown situation, my own vulnerability acts as a tool to get to the core of the subject from an insider's perspective. The exploration and investigative process becomes visible in the work and reveals dialogues and personal doubts in a very direct manner.

In earlier works I would turn the camera on myself to underline this directness and expose my manipulative double role as a director and performer. In the 3-channel video installation Any Day Now I live and interact with members of a Christian community who are preparing themselves for the Apocalypse. In the video installation Multiverse I go behind the scenes of a Dutch talent show by participating in it, infiltrating the television industry and questioning it's grip on the audience. In my most recent 2-channel video Persona, my father and I join a spiritual retreat as a means to find peace with our so-called inner self. The video reflects critically but humorously on the contemporary trend of 'finding your true self' and questions if it's nothing but a social role or a naïve dream. 

Recently I've found a new way to show the importance of manipulation by using a different method of editing. In recent works like Losing Presence and Present Absence I capture my computerscreen while composing a video-collage of images, sound and subtitles. In stead of performing on camera, I use the cursor to perform my manipulation live on screen. I strive towards a multi-angle perspective within each work to provide a more abiguous story towards the viewer. 

Furthermore I enjoy creating a larger context around the subject by organising public events and activities that relate to the videowork. I first started doing this during my residency at Heden Hier in 2012 for which I produced the video Multiverse as the main project, hosted public portrait sessions and a public event that explored the subject from a theoretical point of view. For the multifaceted project Edith as Muse at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in 2013 I produced weekly one-on-one walks&talks with audience members, displayed various installations containing objects and documents and hosted a weekly participatory public roundtable with an art historian to explore the subject through dialogue.

Parallel to my artistic practice I initiated Wander in 2012, a residency program for creative practitioners of all sorts, to stimulate the exchange of knowledge and establish cross-disciplinary dialogue. Wander offers a customized program by creating a local/national network of professionals working in- or outside of the arts for every resident. (www.go-wander.org) 

 

 

  

Losing Presence

2014, 1 channel video installation, 23:43 min.

 

Taking my mothers' death as a starting-point, Losing Presence shows an exploration of the concepts of presence, absence and transcendence. The video is made by capturing my computer screen and shows a live-edit composition of moving images and sound. By using my own material, mainly shot in the buddhistic Thailand, and combining it with found footage of Western popular culture, philosophy and anthroposophy, it becomes a video-collage that stimulates to associate freely on the concept of death. Losing Presence is also available as a live-edit performance, through Skype or on location.

Present Absence

2014, 1 channel video installation, 11:57min.

 

Present Absence is based on a series of monologues ripped from YouTube channels edited together with my own shot footage. Just like Losing Presence, this video is created by capturing a live editing session on my screen; it's a composition of moving images, subtitles and sound. The monologues were found online by searching on the tags grief, loss or death. The people in front of the camera are YouTube-videographers who share their grief and pain with their online followers and describe how they deal with the death of a loved one. By editing the monologues to my own liking, I've created a looped narrative that slowly but surely exposes the stages of grief; from being lost and in shock, to sadness, to acceptance. Present Absence is also available as a live-edit performance, through Skype or on location.

Staging Loss
An on demand customized ASMR session with relics

 

2014, ongoing videoseries, duration variable

Staging Loss is an on demand customized ASMR video-session using relics of a beloved person who you've lost. ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is a perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation and relaxation in response to visual, auditory and cognitive stimuli. On YouTube you can find a huge movement of people who produce their own homemade videos for their followers to experience ASMR. Staging Loss is based on ASMR-videos but takes it a step further by using relics from a deceased person as a treatment for grief. Not only will these sessions help you relax, but it also could be seen as a way to deal with mourning. If you are interested I can make a personalized ASMR session for you. Place an order via asmr.on.demand@gmail.com

Persona

2013, 2 channel video installation, 21min

 

In Persona, my father and I join a spiritual retreat as a means to find peace with our so-called inner self. In a way Persona seems like the most intimate narrative that I've constructed so far, but at the same time it exposes the manipulative power of integrity which can be understood as a means to play a role. Persona in the word's everyday usage (stems from the Greek), is a social role or a character played by an actor.

 

Any Day Now 

2011, 3 channel video installation, 33 min

 

is a multiple screen documentary based on my visit to the Watchmen of the Night, a christian community who believe that The Netherlands soon will be hit by a tsunami. I brought my videocamera, put up my tent in their backyard and lived with them for a while. The video installation shows our conversations, the confrontation of our different views on life & reflects on the search for truth and existence. Turning the camera to myself functions as a narrative when revealing doubts that arise about my own truth.

Multiverse

2012, ​panoramic video installation, 20 min

 

is based on my participation and infiltration in a Dutch TV-talentshow for artists. It shows the situation behind the scenes, while I'm trying to infiltrate the television industry and question it's grip on the audience by becoming part of it. By conducting interviews with for example the director, with myself as a participant and adding replies of the audience, the video creates a multiperspective on the situation. The video is projected on a free floating screen with extreme panoramic dimensions which creates a sense of voyeurism. 

Edith as
Muse

 

A multifaceted & sitespecific soloproject for the Gemeentemuseum that consists of performance, installations, videos & a serie of events. Edith as muse originated from the painting 'Portrait of Edith' by Egon Schiele, which is the 'showpiece' of the museum's collection. Made possible by the generous support of Spaanfonds, ​Mondriaan Fonds & Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.