Interview with video artist Heleen Blanken

“A hyper realistic biotope with video art”

A new fantastic element in our production ATMEN are video projections by multidisciplinary artist Heleen Blanken. Heleen studied visual arts at the Rietveld Academy and makes installations, video, sculpture and scenography. This year her work will be shown in theater for the first time! Featuring ATMEN / Evolution is silently unfolding.

Read the interview to learn more about the video art that Heleen will make for the second part of our trilogy. RITUALS OF TRANSFORMATION. 

Can you give a brief preview of your work for ATMEN so far?

My projections will suggest that you are in a living biotope in which all kinds of things grow and live. It is a hyper reality. For example, I am making a ground cloth on which organic shapes move and shines, in addition there will be a deconstructed image of a waterfall. There will also be a wolf 'walking around' as a kind of sidecast. This wolf 'morphs' into its own shape, sometimes it looks like a hologram, then it consists of pixels again. I even created a kind of rest mode that you often see in computer games, where the character is in pause mode but still moving.

Together with 3D artist Blaž Miklavčič, we work with advanced gaming software to recreate the growth processes of roots, mycelium and fungal networks. We want this to grow throughout the space.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Especially from nature. For example, I went to Madeira to film waterfalls for the waterfall scene in ATMEN. But my own feeling of solastalgia also influences and inspires me. Solastalgia is about the sadness or fear you feel due to a change in environment or climate. Nature is increasingly curated and dominated by people. ATMEN is about the power of nature. Ultimately, humanity will not survive, but nature will bounce back. That puts everything into a new perspective.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your work for ATMEN?

ATMEN is challenging different ways, how do the lines of sight from the audience work, how real should it seem? As a visual artist I have always worked quite autonomously. At ATMEN I work with all different parties on a Gesamtkunstwerk. That is a fun but also challenging way. Creating a video scenography and setting up timelines takes quite a lot of time and because of the joint production process in which things keep changing, I have to be extra flexible and be able to switch well in advance.

How does your previous work relate to the topic of ATMEN?

Nicole was inspired by my work 'Habitat' that she saw in Nxt Museum. Habitat is about a future in which we can only experience nature digitally. Because nature only exists in protected reserves where we as humans are not allowed to enter. I have created seven worlds through projection that you travel through. It is an experiment in which a digital world can feel authentic. The link between the artificial and the natural is also present in AMEN.


Read more about Heleen's work here