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Lectures by Geert van Kesteren and Masamichi Kagaya: a report

When people ask Van Kesteren if he believes, his answer is: "I am an atheist in constant discussion with god."
Kagaya let us focus on something we have not (so) looked at. He makes the invisible visible.

How do people deal with faith

In The Believers, Van Kesteren (former war photographer) is looking, in a respectful way, how groups of people are dealing with faith. He puts this next to the ´new faith´: data, algorithms, virtual reality. Believers experience the presence of god, without that it is tangible. Is virtual hunting on Pokémon just the same? We give our privacy away by using smart phones; there are tons of data collected by surveillance cameras. Is that the same as putting your autonomy in the hands of a higher power, a god?

Looking for parallels

Van Kesteren is looking for parallels. He put the religions together and is projecting this on 27 screens, in the theatrical setting of the former dome prison. During filming in the Holy Land Israel -cradle of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – he could come close to the believers, as if he was not present. His partner Noa Ben-Shalom participated in the complex mounting process, based on 60 hours of film recordings. Eli Shargo did the sound, a smart example of composing-art in a space where one whispered word echoes for seven seconds.

Happy with the cooperation

They are visibly pleased with the result, but also with the whole cooperation. Van Kesteren passes his enthusiasm onto the attendees: “During some projects you do feel that you drag an anchor with you when moving forward; in this project, I had the feeling that the level of energy increased during the process. You do need energy to create something. And faith”.

´Words of Nuclear God´ by Kagaya

Let us focus on something we have not (so) looked at. Making the invisible visible. That’s what photography does. Kagaya tackles this literally. He makes radioactive contamination on everyday objects visible. During his talk, he says that he is more of a scientist than a photographer. But the images are intriguing. And disturbing at the same time: knowing that there are 500 nuclear power plants in the world, and a nuclear disaster is never ruled out.

Report and photo credits: Desiree van den Bogaard