Sybren Vanoverberghe

People who always strive for progress, should take some time to look back. Where do we come from? And what do we leave behind? In dreamy images, the young Belgian student Sybren Vanoverberghe shows us the two sides of progress.


Sybren Vanoverberghe (Belgium, 1996) studies at the KASK art academy in Ghent. His pictures foreshadow an apocalyptic future, but at the same time reveal a longing for the past. For 2099 (2018) he took inspiration from W.G. Sebald. This German writer and academic developed a one-of-a-kind literary style that combined fiction, memoirs, observations, photos, history and biographies. Documentary fiction, he called it.

‘This […] is the representation of history. […] We, the survivors, see everything from above, see everything at once, and still we do not know how it was’, he wrote in The Rings of Saturn (1995).

Mankind’s evolution

Vanoverberghe doesn’t just look ahead to mankind’s evolution, but also looks back. What are we leaving behind? The statues we once placed in the landscape are replaced by robots and machines. But does technology merely help society go forward, or did we, unknowingly open Pandora’s Box? ‘There comes a time when there’s no eternity left. How far will we be able to push technological boundaries, without forgetting where we come from and what we leave behind?’, Vanoverberghe asks.