«Darkroom for Intellectuals» at Het Compagnietheater, Amsterdam

An original concept by theater maker Marieke Nooren for an installation at the Compagnietheater during the «Nacht van de Liefde» (Night of the Lovers) produced by Splendor for the Grachtenfestival.

The installation had several layers. We used an excerpt from «Aars», a text by Peter Verhelst that served as the token of entry for the guests – unfortunately only available in Dutch:

«Het altaar staat roodgloeiend
Rode zwetende muren
Aan de haken hangen de mannen
Tong uit de mond
Of is het hun geslacht
Vrowen op hun knieën,
Kont in de lucht
Hij wrijft zijn handen in met vet…»

The full version of the text was used as a performative element for Koen Kaptijn, who was locked up in a pop-up darkroom construction in the theater’s secondary hall. The installation consisted of a black box where Koen expected the audience – who could only enter in couples – for a personal performative experience.

The black box had strategically positioned «glory holes» through which the audience could interact with him, while being triggered by the smell of poppers. Connected at both ends of the black box, there was an alternative view for a more passive experience. The audience could peer through a tunnel lined with mirrors in which a few small digital screens were placed, projecting more-or-less-intellectual cinematic sexual sequences in the form of repetitions of frames or stills.

The light conditions didn’t allow for proper documentation of the performance, and since the whole experience isn’t easy to describe, I only have a couple reference images of the construction process.

Folded a5 invitation prints (with black lighters)
Installation for stage performance (cardboard, mirrors, 6 small digital screens), dimensions: 3,66 x 0,24 x 0,26 m
3 video sequences of stills from photographed or screenshot videos and films – each aprox. 10 minutes