Nothing’s going to hap­pen to us…


Nothing’s going to hap­pen to us… was com­mis­si­o­ned by Vrijstaat O for the 2014 Private Shelter exhi­bi­ti­on at the Atlantic Wall in Raversyde, Ostend (BE). It was shown in one of the Atlantic Wall’s bun­kers. The pie­ce is an instal­la­ti­on in which video and sound col­li­de. It inves­ti­ga­tes how our per­cep­ti­ons of an armed con­flict rela­te to a lived rea­li­ty. For Nothing’s going to hap­pen to us… Stijn inter­vie­wed peo­p­le who had spent some time in con­tem­po­ra­ry con­flict zones, and tal­ked with them about the sounds they heard, and the emo­ti­ons tho­se sounds eli­cit. From the­se inter­views he took one sto­ry and asked some sound desig­ners with a lot of expe­rien­ce in desig­ning the sound for acti­on movies, to tell him how they would design the sound for this par­ti­cu­lar sce­ne. By con­fron­ting the­se two per­spec­ti­ves Nothing’s going to hap­pen to us… wants to research the no man’s land bet­ween ima­gi­ned emo­ti­ons on the one hand and real memo­ries on the other. Between an arti­fi­ci­al pre­sen­ta­ti­on’ of danger, and an authen­tic, lived memo­ry of it.

At the same time the instal­la­ti­on also refers to Flanders own his­to­ry by using the sound of explo­ding WWI and WWII bombs. To this day DOVO, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group of the Belgian army, still finds and neu­tra­li­ses around 3000 bombs per year from both world wars. They are buried in the soil, as silent wit­nes­ses, hid­den memo­ri­als. When DOVO dis­po­ses of the­se explo­si­ve rem­nants, they blow them up in a con­trol­led man­ner. Stijn recor­ded the sound of the­se explo­si­ons. The instal­la­ti­on also refers to con­tem­po­ra­ry con­flicts by using sounds from cur­rent or very recent con­flict zones as well. Recordings from, amongst others, con­flicts in Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The sounds of the­se bombs and batt­le­fields aren’t heard direct­ly, but are modu­la­ting the voi­ces of the peo­p­le spea­king, enfor­cing a cha­o­tic fra­me­work on the memo­ries and per­cep­ti­ons of the tes­ti­mo­nies. All three per­spec­ti­ves are deli­ve­r­ed to the audien­ce at the same time, using a sur­round sound setup. The voi­ces are cut up by the modu­la­ti­on and they tell their sto­ries over, under and against one ano­ther. The spec­ta­tor needs to con­struct his or her own sto­ry from the con­ti­nuous entang­le­ment of infor­ma­ti­on deli­ve­r­ed to him.

Nothing’s going to hap­pen to us… is shown in an under­ground bun­ker of the Atlantik Wall and the­re, bet­ween the­se three very dis­tinct ver­si­ons of rea­li­ty, the listener’s own pri­va­te shel­ter takes shape.

Nothing’s going to hap­pen to us… was com­mis­si­o­ned by Vrijstaat O for the Private Shelter exhi­bi­ti­on. The exhi­bi­ti­on was orga­ni­sed in the fra­me of GoneWest, the artis­tic com­me­mo­ra­ti­on of the Great War in the pro­vin­ce of West Flanders (BE). Nothing’s going to hap­pen to us… was devel­o­ped during a resi­d­en­cy at Overtoon.

Production: Vrijstaat O

Coproduction: Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek

Sound recor­dings by Stijn Demeulenaere and Daniel Demoustier

Video colo­ri­sa­ti­on by Sam Vanoverschelde

Thanks to: Sam Vanoverschelde, Jolien Colpaert, Daniel Demoustier, Arnout Colaert, Charles Maynes, Leen Lacroix, Erik Nerinckx, Hendrik Tratsaert, Kerlijn Van der Cruyssen, Mathieu De Meyer, Co English, Ruth Timmermans, Vrijstaat O, Visual Kitchen, Pianofabriek Arts Lab, Overtoon, Provinciaal Domein Raversyde and DOVO.

On the 6th of November 2014 H‑ART maga­zi­ne publis­hed a nice review of the Private Shelter exhi­bi­ti­on. You can find it here.