Girls & Philosophers (2006)

Video installation for 2 projectors
9.13 min. & 12.49 min. (loop)
Double HDV – color – silent

Director of photography: Rutger Debrabander
Casting: Helga Duchamps - Gosie Vervloesem
Production & realisation: Koen Theys
Co-production: Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds - BKSM

A diptych or triptych – depending on how you look at it. Girls and Philosophers sets out from two screens. Together they make out a diptych, with directly facing panels. In between, however, there is also the area which is marked off by the screens, where the spectators move about. What happens there, the way the audience reacts to what they see on the screens, might be interpreted as the third panel, the one in the middle, and as a result even the central panel of a triptych.Girls and Philosophers creates a dual world view, with panels that are both mirror images and opposites. On one screen young girls slide by, enthusiastic and seductive; the other is populated by philosophers, earnest, deliberate and pitying. All the characters turn out to be mere variations on a single prototypical image. In spite of their differences they seem quite interchangeable. As it turns out the prototypical image isn’t much more than a towering cliché. The girls dance, the philosophers think – and not the other way round. Their behaviour is mainly limited to a pose, determined by the perspective of the other. The zone in the middle is a bit like a magnetic field. It is fed, not merely by the contrasts between those two groups, but also by the perspectives of the characters that populate them. Not only do the many girls stare the philosophers straight in the eyes, and vice versa, but as he watches them the spectator also feels watched by each and every one of them. Caught in a web of glances, as it were, he is forced to take a stance. From a spectator he turns into an actor.

“…For Theys, video is not a medium to shoot whatever comes in front of his camera, without any reason or idea, but the result of a fundamental thinking of how an idea can be visualised…”
Nica Broucke – De Morgen

entire article (NL)

“ … Projecting both videos, Koen Theys visualises notions such as distance and approach both on the level of the exemplary mental gap between generations, and specific art-historical and biblical allusions. Using intelligently edited and recogniz­able imagery, he succeeds in unfurling the stratified 'cyclic' human life through a passing 'stream' of thoughts that simultaneously arouse feelings of glorification, irritation, and musings.”
Koen Leemans/Luk Lambrecht – Preface in catalogue Girls & Philosophers

Entire article (EN)

“…Young versus old, man versus woman, body versus spirit, doing versus thinking, carefree versus concerned, nature versus culture, delight versus sorrow, emotion versus reason, static versus dynamic, Apollonian versus Dionysian, distraction versus depth, hunter versus prey - these extremes stare at one another in an eternal now. Together they include virtually the whole of existence, and it is very much the question whether they will ever come closer to one another. After all, progress appears excluded in a world where everything goes in circles…”Max Borka – catalogue Girls & Philosophers

entire article (EN) (NL)

“Visually the project keeps up very well, amongst others because of the fluid editing, …”
Els Fiers – Knack Focus

entire article (NL)

“… Even if these images might look simple at first glance, the attentive viewer can see a lot of cultural historical and even sociological references passing by. …”
Luk Lambrecht/Koen Leemans – catalogue Contemporary Art in Belgium 2007

Entire article (NL) (FR)