A group of seven aspiring actors audition for a role in a fictional play. In a cut-up of scripted dialogue, they take the roles of two members of a Dutch Carnival association that made a paper-maché head. This head depicts the corpse of Ötzi the Ice Man, Europe's oldest known natural mummy. When Carnival is cancelled, they have to decide upon the fate of the distorted effigy. Questions around the futility and folklore of Carnival merge with question about the ethics of the reproduction and display of the corpse. Van Gelder dislocates the Ice Man from an environment of scientific objectivity, historical religiosity and consumerism to reconsider the artefact’s epistemological conditions and ambiguous ontological status. Ötzi becomes a medium to unearth frictions between compounds of reality and fiction, representation and misrepresentation, in a game of encounter and failed adaptation.
In collaboration with Daniel Donato (photography), Fabian Tombers (soundtrack), Ron Bons, Jordy Kadmayer (acting coaches), Heleen Mineur (assistance), Ties van Rijswijk, Roos Cornelissen, Nisse Groos, Mila Vermaat, Fenna Bandell, Avalon Plomp and Mila Hermsen (acting)
DJ Ötzi 2 and His Chicken Wire Bones (2020)
The paper-maché sculpture is an external prop and heart of the parrallel video work “Ecce Ötzi.” The sculpture uses quintessential caricature-like style of Carnival float design, combined with stylistic choices to uncannily resemble the mummy, frozen in a cooling cell in Bolzano, Italy. The sculpture can be viewed as a decontextualized reaction to the complexity of the human condition, stranded in a rural carnival parade. Jointly, the video and sculpture take the gimmicky political engagement of Carnival floats (often designed to be controversial) as a medium to challenge the ethical conditions of the commodity-scientific subject-complex surrounding the prehistoric body of Ötzi.
In collaboration with Paul Zwaan (styrofoam base) and Babs Bleeker (paint) — shown accompanied by “Ecce Ötzi” during “I Swear Time Passed” at Sandberg Institute graduation show at Het Hem, Zaandam.
sculpture—metal, styrofoam, paper-maché, acrylic paint, no chicken wire