Pieter Geenen

mini DV, 28′, 4:3, black & white, silent, 2006

The course of daytime obeying the pace of the sun is an increasing and decreasing identification of things. At noon things coincide with themselves, they reach their complete identity. You can say there’s nothing left to guess for, that everything is as it is because seeming and being are one. Though at night, things gain a reserve of meaning in their shadow. Nighttime on the Italian island of Lampedusa is such a moment of disguise.
This handful of rocks situated south of Sicily is the closest European point to the north of the African continent. In origin an island of fishermen, this isolated place has become a holiday resort over the years. Or as the boat rental services on Lampedusa advertise: ‘La più bella isola del mondo’.
Simultaneously refugees and asylum seekers started crossing the Mediterranean Sea and put their lives at risk in an attempt to reach this European outpost. At first they would reach the island on their own, preferably at night to hide from the authorities. Later they would be more and more intercepted at sea and brought to land at night, to hide them from the tourists. Also at night, deportations by plane to refugee centres on the main land take place.
nocturne captures the ambiguous and tense atmosphere of nocturnal Lampedusa with the use of a CCTV security camera. It overlooks the island and registers several places on and around it. In the dark, abstract and suggestive anti-images human presence has been reduced to some anonymous, unidentifiable luminous dots, or to the suggestive black space in between.

Selected exhibitions & screenings:

M – Museum Leuven 2013; Museum of Ixelles Brussels 2012; FREESTATE Oostende 2011; Art Rotterdam Annie Gentils Gallery Rotterdam 2011; BAM Mons 2010; Mèdit Festival de cinema mediterrani Menorca 2010; arttransponder Berlin 2010; International Biennial of Photography and Visual Arts Liège 2010; beeldende kunst Strombeek Mechelen #8 cc Strombeek / De Garage Mechelen 2009; Beursschouwburg Brussels 2009; Azad Art Gallery Tehran 2009; All Art Now International Video Art Festival Damascus 2009; ARGOS Centre for Art & Medi, Brussels 2008; Images Festival Toronto 2008; Prix Médiatine Brussels 2008; Input/Output Bruges 2007; Fortis Young Ones Award Ghent 2007; errorOne Antwerp 2007; Stadsgalerij Heerlen 2007; Picture Industries II Utrecht 2007; Courtisane Festival Ghent 2007; MuHKA_media Antwerp 2007; International Filmfestival (IFFR) Rotterdam 2007