The Dynamite Show by Koen Theys

In The Dynamite Show (2004) by Koen Theys, an eight-minute orgy of spectacular explosions, the tension between a charged image motif and an abstracting montage/composition is taken to the extreme. This catastrophic catalogue of more than 200 explosions comes with a deafening soundtrack, which brings the work to the level of the physical experience.

Theys purchased hundreds of artificial explosions from a specialized firm, which usually supplies them to the mainstream film industry. Each of these explosions was designed to serve as a climax or catharsis in a classic film context. As a result of this accumulation of explosions without a real context, the images take on an absurd effect. At times these explosions into the void remind the onlooker of action painting, a psychedelic trip or endless pornographic cum shots. At the same time they evoke uneasy associations with the daily news footage of suicide attacks and car bombs, without the element of physical horror. The total destruction is thus separated from the suffering, is beautified and reduced to a clean, ornamental kaleidoscope. In that sense this choreography of chaos evokes associations with the futuristic esthetizing of total destruction. But at the same time Koen Theys also undermines the context in which The Dynamite Show is shown: I made this video based on the observation that the museum contrasts less and less with television and a spectacle-based society. In fact, it has even gradually been integrated into it. (…) On the one hand this is a festive fireworks display, but on the other hand it is also an undermining ‘explosion’ of one’s own exhibition space.

Johan Pas - Catalogue Middelheimmuseum, Antwerpen
Jan. 2007
(english translation is shorter than the original dutch version)