“Bee Panic” in Abu Dhabi city?

With American filmmaker Taggart Siegel’s film about the effects of the declining population of honey bees on human life screened at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival this year, the “bee panic” has finally reached us in the Middle East. Or maybe not?

Stills from Queen of the Sun, What are the bees telling us?

Stills from Queen of the Sun, What are the bees telling us?

According to Einstein (or maybe it was not him who said it after all?), if the honey bee became extinct then man would only have four years left to live. In 2002, 40% of German bee colonies died. In 2006, 50% of bees in the USA died and according to all the “bee articles” I have read it has been downhill from then on.

But is not having more honey worth all this fuss? According to bee experts, as bees pollinate our plant-life, if they are gone then 40% of our food will be gone as well. So the world freaked out; are we going to die? Ok, not the whole world – we in the Middle East have too many wars right now to worry about bees. Tens of Western filmmakers have started the trend of “bee docs” – take for example The Last Beekeeper by Jeremy Simmons, To Bee or not to Bee by David Suzuki, The Last of Honey Bees by Jeremy Simmons, Vanishing of the Bees by George Langworthy and Maryam Henein and Colony by Ross McDonnell and Carter Gunn, to name a few. The latter focuses on the human rather than the scientific or environmental angle of the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), or in other words the declining population of honey bees.

With Taggart Siegel’s Queen of the Sun, What are the bees telling us?, screened at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival this year, the “bee panic” has finally reached here. While most bee films create fear and anxiety, Siegel tries to touch the heart of viewers in his lighthearted and at some points even funny film. “Without inspiration, audiences will leave the theatre depressed and we won’t overcome the issues facing the honey bees,” the film’s co-editor and producer Jon Betz said. The film does include talking heads and lots of scientific information. Nonetheless, the animations, lively characters and hair-raising art scenes that Siegel incorporated in his film make it more accessible.

It is also clearly an activist film. That said, in spite of his obvious passion for bees, Siegel resists being too pushy and imposing solutions on how the viewers should save bees. Instead, he follows the typical American film recipe of a happy ending by presenting a cheerful image of what is being done for the “insects in distress”. Betz does hope though that their film will push the audience into action:

“It is tough to achieve change on a large scale, but by raising awareness you are actually achieving some change. If you choose not to eat pesticide-treated food, for example, that’s already a kind of activism.”

He has reason to be optimistic – in previous screenings, he has seen some of his audience members crying for the bees, and when after the screening he asked the audience his favourite question: “Now who wants to become a beekeeper?”, many hands were raised. But how many hands will be raised at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival? I doubt that people would be bothered, although according to expert consultant Gunther Hauk, they should be.

“We are seeing changes in climate but I think the Colony Collapse Disorder and the disappearance of the honey bee is a much more pressing, urgent problem to solve”, the expert says in Queen of the Sun,What are the bees telling us?.

For someone like me coming from a region that has been severely affected by climate change, this is rather shocking. Let’s face it though, with the growing political tension and economic concerns, environmental issues aren’t a priority for Arab audiences. So even if the film has a full house for its first international film premiere in Abu Dhabi, I doubt that there will be any “would-be beekeepers” crying.

This article was published in Nisimazine Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi film festival’s daily bulletin by NISI MASA.

Download pdf version here.

Review of The Oath by Laura Poitras / USA

Directed, produced, and shot by Laura Poitras, The Oath moves in a zigzag between the lives of two men: Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver, and Abu Jandal, his bodyguard. The first ended up on his knees with a sack on his head in a solitary cell in Guantanamo. The other was arrested in Yemen, enrolled in a government re-education program for Jihadis (called the Dialogue Committee) then released and offered a taxi to make a living.

Ironically, it was Abu Jandal’s declarations during a 15-day non-violent interrogation by the US following the 9/11 bombing that changed the course of the war in Afghanistan. Salim Hamdan on the other hand, after five years of “extreme interrogation”, turned out to be not guilty. Through drawing this stark contrast between the two men’s fates, The Oath reveals that the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the US are no different than the Osama bin Laden bombings. Both often target innocent civilians, both are done under the oath of saving a nation and both failed to reach that goal.

In her film, Poitras breaks the stereotype of an Al Qaeda terrorist by inviting the viewers into the lives of both Hamdan and Abu Jandal. While it doesn’t quite reveal why a man would enrol in Al Qaeda, it does show that members are also human beings, tender fathers and light-hearted teachers. So maybe it’s time to talk to their heads instead of covering them with sacks.

This review was published in Nisimazine Abu Dhabi 2010. Abu Dhabi film festival’s daily bulletin by Nisi Masa

Q&A with Journalist and Photographer Doha Hassan

I sat down with journalist Doha Hassan to discuss what motivated her to create an exhibition on drought victims at Cham Mahel art café in the Old City of Damascus.

How did the idea of the exhibition come about?

According to UN statistics, 60,000 families from the north-east have been forced [since 2006] by the ongoing drought to migrate to urban areas. A journalist friend from the Jazeera area suggested that I and two other journalists go and teach the children of this area to read and write. So we went. It was an individual initiative by us, so families there were sceptical at first. They didn’t allow their children near us because they thought we wanted to kidnap them and sell their organs. After going there several times and accepting cups of coffee in their tents, they finally began to trust us. We’ve been giving weekly classes to the children for four months now. They wait for us and run to greet us every week. I took a lot of photos and put them on Facebook. The owner of Cham Mahal art café saw the photos and suggested I make an exhibition in his café. My instinct was to refuse. I’m a journalist and not a professional photographer. But as we were planning to start a media campaign to raise awareness about drought victims in Syria, the exhibition seemed like an appropriate starting point.

Your exhibition, Temporary, aims to support the victims of drought and raise public awareness of the issue. Has it achieved its goal?

The exhibition attracted considerable media attention. In addition to all major Syrian media outlets, regional publications like Lebanon’s daily Al-Hayat and international ones like the BBC covered the exhibition. I sold enough photographs to cover the exhibition’s basic expenses and I will spend any profits to support the drought victims. I also printed postcards of my photos that were sold during the exhibition. I’ll continue to sell the postcards at Cham Mahal and Itana library after the exhibition.

How are you supporting the drought victims?

We are buying them basic food elements and notebooks and colors for the children. Apart from the exhibition, we also organized a facebook campaign and asked people to donate clothes. The response was huge and we got tons of second-hand clothes.

Why have you called your exhibition temporary?

Because I hope that the drought victims’ current refuge is only temporary. It simply can’t go on for long. Each of the drought affected families has 5 to 6 children. If these grow in poverty without proper education and a safe home, they’ll end up as criminals and thieves.

When attending an exhibition about drought victims stuck in the desert, you’d imagine photos that reflect the blazing sun and the hot colors of the desert. Instead you chose to print your photos in black and white giving a rather cold and old feeling to your works. Why is that?

I wanted my photos to resemble raw footage rather than art works. By that, I wanted to give a sense of documentation. I also believe that black and white brings out the details in a photo.

What is your next step?

We want to  provide greater media exposure to drought victims. We hope that the campaign will encourage more people to help. In the long run, we hope that government organisations will help us because, after all, we are only individuals. It’s not easy to achieve change alone.

How will you ensure the continuity of your campaign?

We’ve developed a moral commitment to these children. These four and five year olds run to greet us every week. They overwhelm us with affection. They haven’t seen anything in their lives other than tents, water barrels and scorpions. They regard us as their window to the world. Once you see that hope in their eyes, you simply can’t step back.

This is a modified version of the Q&A published in Syria Today magazine.

Q&A with Chilean documentary filmmaker Patricio Guzmán

I sat down with Chilean documentary filmmaker Patricio Guzmán during his visit to Damascus last month for the city’s annual Dox Box documentary film festival.

Photo by Carole al-Farah

More than 35 years have passed since the release of The Battle of Chile, a five-hour documentary about the overthrow of Salvador Allende’s democratically elected socialist government. The world has changed a lot since then, but the film is still incredibly popular around the world. Why do you think that is?

The film’s theme is universal. It is about revolution and the fight for democracy. Young people today need both democracy and revolution, so that is why the film is still popular around the world, regardless of the political tendencies of countries. Furthermore, the documentary does not use footage taken from an archive – it was filmed as events took place. There were only five people filming in the middle of those events. Even though we worked in secret, our cameraman Jorge Müller Silva was kidnapped by Pinochet’s [Augusto Pinochet, the army general who led the coup against Allende] military police in 1974, becoming one of the 3,000 people who disappeared in Chile. Following Pinochet’s military coup, I was arrested and held for two weeks inside Chile’s national stadium. I was threatened with execution so I fled the country to Cuba. I had to sneak the footage out of Chile through the Swedish embassy. I edited the film later in Cuba.

Your films and documentaries are deeply political. In Syria, politics and ideology have long dominated the country’s documentary scene. Young filmmakers today, however, are increasingly interested in telling people’s personal stories rather than promoting large political causes. Are the days of dogmatic films over?

They are over indeed. Dogmatic films were suitable for the 60s and 70s, but The Battle of Chile is more than simply a dogmatic film. It doesn’t aim to promote the ideology of a revolution. Instead, it depicts the various aspects of this revolution. Documentaries are neither didactic, nor do they aim to prove a point of view. Though leftist, The Battle of Chile is self-critical. It is a film which was made with a lot of passion and love and that is why it has such a big impact on people, even though it is in black and white. A film should be made because the filmmaker wants to make it, because he or she was touched by something. I was deeply affected by what happened to Allende and I will never forget it. That is why I’ve made so many films about the Chilean revolution and Pinochet. Some people have criticised me for sticking to the same themes, but I think it’s very important for a filmmaker to have his own creative zone. When filmmakers start working for TV, they are forced to follow the broadcaster’s philosophy and agenda. This contradicts what the art of filmmaking is all about.

A Swedish television channel refused to screen one of your films because it found it unbalanced. Is there any such thing as an objective, balanced documentary?

Documentary films are always subjective. All famous documentary filmmakers are subjective in their approach. However, a line of thought has emerged among European broadcasters such as the BBC which says that since the government provides support with the taxpayers’ money, the films screened should represent people from all different political, social and cultural backgrounds. As a result, a false concept of objectivity has emerged. Cinema is subjective and objectivity is no more than a lie. Subjectivity triggers dialogue.

Local filmmakers always complain about a lack of funding and strict censorship. When filming The Battle of Chile you worked with a crew of four people and had little funding. The film is also still censored in Chile. How can Syrian filmmakers overcome funding and censorship obstacles?

Compared to our time, young filmmakers today are in heaven. When I started making films we only had 16mm cameras and they were extremely heavy. The film was really expensive and the quality was bad. Today, you can find cheap high-definition film. If a filmmaker can’t make a documentary today, then he or she will never make one. If you don’t have the funding, don’t make a big film. Just filming the buildings and street scenes makes for great film material because some 40 years later this footage will reflect an era. The Santiago that I knew as a child no longer exists and because nobody shot it back then it has been lost forever. That’s why documentaries are important – a country without documentary films is like a family without a photo album.

In 1997 you established the International Documentary Film Festival of Santiago (FIDOCS), Chile’s first documentary film festival. Could you tell us more about the festival?

This year FIDOCS will be held for the 14th time. The audience has grown from 2,500 people who attended the first festival to more than 14,000 last year. With international, Latin American and Chilean documentary film selections on show, the Chilean audience has come to know many of the world’s most important documentary filmmakers. To hear two Chileans chatting about filmmakers such as France’s Nicolas Philibert, for example, is normal today. Some of the world’s most important filmmakers have visited Chile and had their films screened at FIDOCS, such as Jacques Bidou, Chris Marker and Alain Jaubert, to name a few.

Three years ago Syria held its first international documentary film festival, titled ‘Dox Box’. It is still uncommon, however, to hear people chatting away about documentaries. What does it take to develop a documentary film scene?

Government support is crucial. Having a local documentary film festival is the first step towards developing a prosperous documentary film scene. Festivals lead to cinema workshops which, in turn, lead to the establishment of cinema associations – this is what happened in Chile. But it is not easy. Chilean national TV does not screen films about the country’s history because you cannot criticise influential characters or the church, nor can you talk about women’s rights issues. While Chile used to be a forward-thinking country, today it has become a backward Catholic country. Even though all the basic factors of democracy and liberalism are available, Chile still has a problem with its past and this is hampering its development. Today, a Chilean filmmaker is in prison because she was making a film about the Araucanos [indigenous people of Chile], some of whom are fighting for independence. This filmmaker is now accused of terrorism. I consider this to be a very dangerous turn of events.

This article was published in Syria Today magazine.

I sat down with internationally renowned Chilean documentary filmmaker Patricio Guzmán during his visit to Damascus last month for the city’s annual Dox Box documentary film festival.

Interview with Argentine’s Laura Bari, director of Antoine

A sensitive and poetical portrait of the life of Antoine, a five years old blind detective boy who swims, paints and drives a car.  He is integrated into the regular school system in Montreal, with unprecedented success.

“Point of View” sat down with Laura Bari to find out more about the film.

Laura Bari and Antoine

Laura Bari and Antoine

While a documentary, “Antoine” is to a certain extent a fiction film; it’s the brainchild of Antoine’s imagination and dreams. What was the idea behind making this film?

When an object exists, it’s reality. When a person exists, it’s reality and I believe that when an idea exists, it’s also reality. Unlike documentaries, fiction films are invented. But inventions, at the end, are a recreation of reality because all the elements of an invention already exist so to invent or imagine something all we need is the ability to combine real elements to recreate reality.

In Antoine, we get into this little boy’s mind. The film is built on a dialogue between what he can see through his imagination and what we can.

In your film we see Antoine experimenting audio-visual arts like painting and music, playing detective and searching for clues along with other sighted children. These are activities that many blind Syrians don’t take part in. How important it is to integrate art to childhood in general and to that of the blind in particular?

Children are educated in a very rational way that destroys their creativity. When I met Antoine for the first time I asked him “what do you like the most”? He said “I would like to drive a car.” So I gave him the keys to my car. He was astonished! “What else?” I asked him. “I want a mobile.” So I gave him my mobile and told him detectives drive cars and answer mobile calls, so why don’t we play detective? “It’s impossible!” He thought. But he could make it! Through playing detective I wanted to break this boundary between reality and imagination to set him free.

I wanted him to learn to overcome his boundaries. Just like the African slaves who were taken to Brazil. Their legs were heavily chained which prevented them from dancing so they created salsa and merengue.

Creativity is an association between things you don’t associate. In the case of Antoine, he painted with colors that he couldn’t see. But still he could imagine them by associating the colors with things he knew. Orange and green, for example, are his favorites because he can taste them when eating oranges and lemons.

Although blind, Antoine was capable of engaging in all the activities other children did. He plays sport and he even took part in the schools run race by sticking to a cord. This helps him gain more confidence.

Antoine used to fear cat and dogs. But at the end of the movie he touched a horse for the first time in his life. And it’s because art that he gained this confidence.

Some people criticized the film for being too long and repetitive. What do you think?

I wanted the structure of the film to be similar to that of a 6 year-old child’s personality. I’ve been studying the structure of personality and the influence of art and immigration on it. At this age children can switch from reality to imagination in a minute. You scream so they imagine you as a monster. Next minute you tell them let’s go eat so you become their mother or aunt. In my film I wanted to celebrate children’s ability to switch between the two because once you grow older you can’t do it anymore as people would consider you schizophrenic. Furthermore, children keep repeating the same things so that’s why I repeated some scenes because I wanted the film to be coherent with the child’s rhythm.

“Antoine” is one of the rare documentaries were the characters take part in the editing process. Antoine collaborated to the soundtrack creation by capturing and choosing sounds making the film more than a simple portrait of him. What was the editing process like?

He worked with me all along. He was my sound man and my technician. He put the pieces of the camera and the microphone together. He could put the batteries faster than me. In some cases I even let him take decisions.

Antoine had a rare thirst to learn. We should give him and other kids like him the possibility to do so. We have to treat blind children like kids not like sick people. They are different but who isn’t? We are all different and it’s our job to find a way to integrate.

This article  was published in “Point of View” DOX BOX 2010 documentary film festival’s bulletin.

Going Contemporary (Syrian Art)

A new wave of contemporary and alternative art forms stole the spotlight this year, much to the delight of audiences.

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It was never going to be easy to follow on from the Damascus Arab Capital of Culture celebration, in which the capital hosted a jam-packed calendar of exhibitions, plays, films and lectures. Nevertheless, 2009 provided local audiences with a number of interesting performances and events. Better yet, throughout the year contemporary art performances and exhibitions began to steal the spotlight away from a cultural scene long dominated by the classical arts.

Visual Arts

In recent years, the number of Syrian art galleries has grown exponentially. Unique among them is All Art Now, a gallery specialising in contemporary art forms.

“My gallery is a lab, a space for people to try new things,” gallery owner Abeer Boukhari told Syria Today. “Artists are allowed to experiment with new media art and practice whatever new art form they want.”

The gallery, which first opened in 2005, really began leaving its mark on the country’s contemporary art scene this year. The gallery staged Syria’s first International Video Art Festival and the first New Media Art Festival, which showcased the experimental works of Syrian, Lebanese and Jordanian artists. It also invited several celebrated international new media artists to lecture throughout the year.

All Art Now may be the only dedicated new media gallery in the country, but many other galleries organised one-off exhibitions focusing on new media art. One of the more high-profile exhibitions was the British Council-funded video art exhibition that showcased works by 12 British artists at the Mustafa Ali Gallery in April.

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“Since the opening of All Art Now gallery in Damascus, the number of contemporary art shows has significantly risen,” Omar Nicolas, a student at the faculty of fine arts at the University of Damascus, said. “Now I can attend new media art exhibitions in Syria – this wasn’t possible a few years ago.”

Theatre

Last year’s celebration of Damascus as the Arab Capital of Culture was a real treat for theatre-goers. Barely a day passed without a play taking to the stage somewhere around the capital. What made the festival all the more unique was the number of street and location theatre performances and workshops.

“The Damascus Arab Capital of Culture festival broke the boundaries between Syrian audiences and new forms of theatre such as street and location theatre,” Rashed Issa, cultural correspondent for Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper, said.

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While the volume of performances put on last year was always going to be difficult to repeat, it is clear from this year’s more limited line up that Syrian audiences are eager to see new forms of theatre. Among this year’s more unique performances were Safar, one of the country’s first interactive plays spearheaded by Syrian actor and director Kifah Khous, as well as Don Quixote, performed by the Syrian drama group Koon at the Higher Institute of Theatre. Both were performed last month.

Another interesting development was the EU-funded Ludotent street theatre project in which German and Italian experts trained Syrian artists from the National Theatre in game pedagogy and improvisational theatre. The artists then travelled to rural towns and villages to perform.

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“Young directors are now more willing to experiment with new trends,” Syrian playwright Abdullah al-Kafri said.

“What’s more, the content of the plays is changing. Young directors are tackling important and sensitive issues, but not in a direct way. Rather, they are criticising current problems through simple everyday stories.”

The year was not without controversy, however. In April, the final Aleppo performance of Touqous al-Isharat wa al-Tahawoulat (Rituals of Signs and Transformations) by famed Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous was cancelled after local religious figures complained. The play had been performed and positively received in Damascus and Hama.

Dance

Syria’s dance scene marked a milestone this year when the Damascus Contemporary Dance Platform (DCDP) was launched by choreographer Mey Sefan of the local dance company Tanween. The event was put together to promote contemporary dance in Syria and staged a number of local and international performances, as well as a series of lectures and workshops targeting local dancers.

Arguably the most successful local contemporary performance was Congratulations by the country’s first movement theatre troupe Leish. The show explored femininity and masculinity in Syrian society through the country’s wedding rituals.

“It was so witty and entertaining,” Dina Halabi, a young student at the University of Damascus, said after attending a performance. “What makes it even greater is that it’s actually Syrian.”

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Not all performances were as kindly received. Many audience members did not know what to make of The Knight of Strange Words, an experimental dance performance staged in February. The show featured Syrian dancer Fadi Shahin performing to the beats of techno music in front of a huge screen displaying digital art intertwined with phrases by Syrian poet Adonis. A fusion not to everyone’s taste, if local newspaper reviews were any indication.

Cinema

Last month’s Damascus Film Festival provided local movie-goers with a heavy schedule of foreign films, as did the European Film Festival, now an annual event. The biggest change to the local film scene, however, came via the growing popularity of documentaries, with the second annual Dox Box documentary film festival once again proving a hit with local film fans in March.

“New resources such as the Al Jazeera and National Geographic documentary channels, as well as the launch of the Dox Box festival, have shown people that there are different types of documentaries and that they are more than simple video reporting,” Salina Abaza, a freelance graphic designer passionate about cinema, said.

The French Cultural Centre’s cinema club, which screens films twice a week and invites two prominent Syrian directors to debate the works with the audience afterwards, was another popular venue throughout the year for film buffs.

Music

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While the annual Jazz Lives in Syria festival used to be the only musical festival the country could boast of, a number of new musical events stole the show this year. Prime among these was the Liban Jazz festival, which served up a string of highly appreciated acts such as Norwegian ‘new jazz’ musician Bugge Wesseltoft and Italian pianist Giovanni Mirabassi.

“It’s great to listen to different genres of music other than the traditional ones that are repeated every year,” a young student at the Higher Institute of Music said.

Local musicians were also given a new platform to perform via the Music on the Road festival which saw local acts perform in public parks dotted throughout the city. The biggest audience, however, was reserved for much-loved Lebanese singer and writer Ziad Rahbani who performed in a packed Damascus Citadel in July.

Rock and hip-hop fans were also treated to new local albums. Syrian rock group Kulna Sawa played a number of packed shows following the release of Kulna Sawa Radio, while Sham MCs released the country’s first hip-hop album, Cross Words.

“People are bored with the same kind of Syrian music remixed and reproduced every year, it’s high time to get something new,” Firas Ahmad, a CD shop owner, said.

Photos by Carole al-Farah, Fadi al-Hamwi & Adel Samara

This article was published in Syria Today magazine

Contemporary art as a tool for social change

I attended last week a unique artist talk at All Art Now gallery in Damascus by a real cosmopolitan figure. Born in Algeria, raised in Cameroon and educated in Brussels and Tokyo, artist Eric Van Hove with his Belgian nationality and Dutch surname is anything but ordinary.


Eric Van Hove

His art touches upon this very same intercultural context he comes from. He has toured the world using several art forms from installation to performance, video, photography and writing to discuss sociological, political and ecological issues.

I’m “interested in bringing contemporary art not only to the public space outside of the institutional confines of the contemporary galleries and museums (as is already done since the 1950s) but outside of the Western context itself.” Thus, “questioning the limits and ‘moral competence’ of contemporary art as a western institution once brought outside of its context,” writes Van Hove.

Equally unique is his story telling technique. Similarly to the Kamishibai of Japan who used to tell from the back of his bike different stories based on a number of picture cards, Van Hove introduced in his talk at All Art Now several artworks using photos of his exhibitions in different parts of the world. Van Hove told stories of birds droppings in Senegal, cockfight in Madagascar and X-CUBE lockers in Japan. One of his most striking stories however was that of a neglected little vegetable market in Okinawa Island.

Worms, World War II and the Japanese constitution


The artwrok

While on his tours, Van Hove visited the Noren vegetable market in the city of Naha in Okinawa Island. The result was a unique contemporary art work mixing worms with the Japanese constitution and bonfires. To better understand this hotchpotch of an artwork, a short history lesson is inescapable.

Although Okinawa used to be an independent kingdom before it was annexed by Japan in 1879, when taken over by the US forces during World War II (1939-1945) its people desperately defended their “Homeland” Japan.

The Island was returned to Japan in 1972 yet its people felt that the Japanese constitution, which was written by US lawyers during the time Okinawa was under US control, didn’t do justice to the Island. As laws governing Japan negatively differed from those governing Okinawa, the Islanders who lost thousands of their people in their fight to reunite with Japan felt discriminated against. It was this sense of inequity and the poverty the sellers in the Noren vegetable market suffered from that Van Hove wanted to address in his artwork.
The sellers, mostly elderly widowers, had the habit of burning at the end of the day the vegetables they couldn’t sell. In an attempt to make money out of the bio waste, Van Hove created a worm farm in the vegetable market to recycle the vegetables into valuable fertilizer that the women could sell to farmers and make additional profit.


The worms digesting the Japanese constitiution

But what does that have to do with the US, WWII and the Japanese constitution?

Van Hove used this very same worm farm to organize a symbolic bonfire of the constitution. He fed photocopies of the Japanese constitution to the worms and broadcasted live the sound of the worms’ digestion of the controversial constitution, which resembled the popping sound of a fire, on the local radio.


An old woman listining to the sound of the worms’ digestion
of the controversial constitution on the local radio.

“The sellers were too poor to have TVs but they all had radios and enjoyed the sound of the worms digesting the hated constitution,” said Van Hove in his artist talk. In fact, some people even wrote down some bad experiences they went through, dropped it in the worm farm and then hugged their little radios and enjoyed listening to the worms eat their pain away.

To read more about Eric Van Hove’s works log on to transcri.be