Before I forget… Frühstück bei Tiffany
A search of a species towards a formless and shapeless utopian new world order.
Back in the early 70s, in my hometown of Bleijerheide, I saw the film ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. Those years in the early 70s were my years of wonder. In Bleijerheide, we were living close to the German border and it was difficult to get Dutch television, so we watched German TV all the time. When I first saw this film, Audrey Hepburn spoke in German, and New York was somewhere beyond Cologne. The woman, her looks, her appearance, her dreams, personal ideals and pursuit of happiness will always feature in my memories as a source of longing. Call it a modern Holy Grail. Regardless of Holly a ‘whore’ and ‘call me Fred’ a gigolo / writer. They are the incarnate ‘Wirtschaftswunder’. The Pursuit of Happiness.
This is the experience I have in mind as I strive to use photography to reflect the visible reality and to do this in a way that makes it a personal photographic annotation. The facts (the photos) will determine the development of the story. I quote Wittgenstein: ‘The world is everything that is the case’. ‘What is the case (a fact): it is the existence of states of affairs’. ‘The logical picture of the facts is the thought’.
Taking this thought as my starting point, I started to work on the visible outcome, and then worked backwards, reasoning back towards the past, using the photos as irrefutable facts, to the essence of the question.
My conclusion is that the bourgeois middle class society of the 20th century with its related values, symbols, culture and ideals has transformed itself into a neo-liberal society. This neo-liberal reality creates a reality that no longer revolves around such concepts as ‘solidarity, morality and decency’, values that find particular expression in the conservative design of the abstract concept, the Nation. This concept of nation has been replaced by concepts such as the market, target group, consumer and producer. The clash of the two world views is particularly visible in such movements as populism, a movement that Baudrillard describes so saliently as the ‘fatal strategies’.
With this project, ‘Before I forget… Frühstück bei Tiffany’, I am in fact building a setting for a socio-cultural experiment, as I did in previous projects, and in the ‘Dejeuner sur l’herbe 2000’, in particular. I use the means and instruments that autonomous visual art offers me. Within this context, I test my assumptions on the basis of direct interaction and interpersonal communication. The aim is to identify, interpret and define the reality created by neo-liberal bourgeois society and its values so that they can be incorporated and transformed into my work of art.