Performing Evidence: Conflict Scenarios and Projections of Leadership

Special film screening and talk in the framework of the exhibition Performing Evidence

23 aug 2009
23 aug 2009

Each of these three films revolves around a military or militaristic training programme. Stemming from contexts that may seem very different – the past of colonial domination, the present of political intervention, future economic hegemony -- training here involves the enactment of a scenario that requires the participants to identify with an expected or aspired future reality. What matters is not whether the projected scenarios are realistic, but how they make their enactors feel and act.


Daya Cahen - Source:


• 19.00 – 19.10 hrs
Introduction by Anke Bangma, guest curator Performing Evidence

Daya Cahen
Nashi, 2008, DVD, 26 min, colour, sound
At Putin’s annual Summer Camp, 10,000 patriotic youth are preparing themselves for a great future. They call themselves Nashi – “Ours” – and are the chosen prospective managers and politicians of the country destined to lead the twenty-first century. As the only outsider, Daya Cahen was allowed to observe the daily routines. With two parallel cameras she not only captures the building of strong bodies, and drills in nationalist ideology, but also zooms in on the young faces as they struggle to live up to the heroic pose.

J.C. Lamster
Het Nederlandsch-Indische leger, de infanterie, Koloniaal Instituut, Amsterdam, 1912-13, 35 mm film transferred to DVD, 18:50 min, b/w, silent, collection Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam
The film document “The Netherlands-East Indies Army” was meant to demonstrate the training and tactics of the Dutch colonial army in technical terms. Native military from the colonial army play both “themselves” and their rebellious opponents. Dressed in costume and with theatrical overstatement, they “truthfully” enact how the locals try to steal up on the army camp, fail at their surprise attack, and have to recognize their inferiority.

• 20.00 – 20.10 hrs

Premiere: Babak Afrassiabi & Abdol Motavassel
Of Blanks and Makeup, 2009, HD video, 24 min, colour, sound
The friction between native Indians and French-speaking colonists has taken a violent turn. A colonist is killed by an arrow; an Indian native is stabbed to death; the colonists are taking up arms. UN troops are called upon to restore peace and order… In Of Blanks and Makeup this “ethnic conflict” provides the setting for a training programme for The Netherlands’ Army. The film enters the simulated reality by interviewing reservists who perform the roles of the colonists about the situation at hand. Here, at the margins of the military exercise, where there is no actual training going on, the role-play and identification with the projected conflict scenario continues.

• 20.45 – 21.15 hrs
Q&A under the moderation of Anke Bangma