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.