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Esther polak, ivar van bekkum
A Collision of Sorts
Experimental doc. | hdv | color | 17'0'' | Netherlands / USA | 2017
In A Collision of Sorts, inhabitants of the City of Philadelphia, (Pennsylvania, US) go there way, as discontinuous moving dots on a flat surface. The world in which this film plays is Google Earth: an alienating landscape of almost seamlessly stitched-together satellite images of the familiar planet we humans are moving around on. On Google Earth, nothing moves. Buildings, bridges and cars seem warped and flattened and compete for attention with the black weirdness of their own shadows. A virtual camera shows this frozen flattened landscape, reconnoitring the cityscape of the city. Meanwhile we hear sounds and voices. People and animals are down there, crossing the country. It is them who share a physical reality: we hear very intimately their breath, the rustling of clothes, traffic, their vehicles. They travel from one place to another giving the suggestion of a destination. They talk about encounters, visual, economic, political, social and personal but never the main characters seem to meet. Until a bad dream of one of them seems to come true.
Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum work together as artist-couple under the name PolakVanBekkum. Routed in the history of the Dutch realistic landscape depiction, they express personal experiences of moving and space. Their projects are often informed by collaborations with participants, be it humans, animals, or even the rays of the sun. Their work has been shown at amongst others: FID Marseille, Transmediale Berlin, Ars Electronica Linz, ZKM Karlsruhe, Media-Lab Prado Madrid; INIVA London, IMAL Brussels, Rento Brattinga | Galerie Amsterdam, Pixelache Helsinki, Lagos, Biennale Marrakech, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. 2016 Special Mention for the film Once We Get There Riga 2015  Expanded Media Preis For Network Culture at Stuttgarter Filmwinters - for “The Mailman’s Bag” 2005 Golden Nica for Interactive Art at Ars Electronica together with Ieva Auzina, with MILKproject. Esther Polak studied at the Rijksakademie for visual Arts in Amsterdam and the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague, NL Ivar van Bekkum studied journalism at the School for Journalism, Kampen, NL