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Live blogging from the NEU NOW festival (2)

19 November 2009

Marloeke van der Vlugt: Patchmaker

It's as if you enter an anatomical theatre. Marloeke van der Vlugt is sitting there, with a camera and a mirror pointed at herself, serenely, waiting for you to press the sensors on her body. Around her are video screens, and windows that double as mirrors. In her installation “Patchmaker”, body contact calls up video and sound – while you are intimately close to her, touching her feet and belly and hand and shoulder and neck, you are also playing her like an instrument.

The images are blurred and intermingled. You hear a piano playing. You see her hand opening. You are in the countryside, soft music, and a girl in a red coat is standing there, encircled by the camera. When you tough her thigh flames chur her skin - and you wonder if this is real remembered pain. At another point you are racing through the countryside, narrowly missing other cars, and it seems that some combination of touches causes a carcrash.

The oddest thing about it all is that you are on display yourself: people are looking at you and Marloeke from outside. Still, it is not you who are performing: the images, the real or imagined memories, the sacral athmosphere of the installation: it is all Marloeke's theatre, who is sitting there quietly waiting for you to touch her. It is a world behind dark curtain, where you have to sit outside until the installation is ready for you to be led in. Once, they even set up the installation in a real anatomical theatre, in De Waag in Amsterdam - the exact place where Rembrandt's Anatomical Lesson of Dr. Tulp was set!

Marloeke graduated in theatre science, and attended Goldsmith's, Laban and APT (Arts Performance Theatricality) before enrolling at DasArts in 2006. You can read more about her Werdegang on the NEU NOW site, in an interview for the Jotta Magazine. Patchmaker's full name, for that matter, is Series Patchmaker, No. 1 Marloeke, 1971. Sil van Leemput, who together with Tim van Elferen assisted her with programming and technology, tells me that they have now prepared costumes for an interactive dance performance, which will be Patchmaker No. 2.

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