“I believe” an one-to-one experience to go alone to an unknown world.

On: September 12, 2010
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About Layla Van Daalen
I am MA New Media student of the University of Amsterdam. After I passed my study Communication Multimedia & Design, I worked for half a year as a graphic designer. 1 year ago I moved to Amsterdam to start my premaster at the university. I succesfully completed my premaster this year, and I’ll hope to complete my master at the end of this schoolyear (2010-2011). Beside my study I am still working as a graphic designer and beside my creative activities I am also interested in new media theories. In particulair I am interested in social media, design & interactive installations, locative media, user experience & behaviour.


The cultural season in Amsterdam started, and until the 12th of September
Amsterdam is dominated by the Amsterdam Fringe festival. This festival is about dance, live art, music and performance. Every day you can choose an event to spend your evening. And because I am a big fan of cultural festivals, I visited the website to see more.

A lot of shows attracted my attention, but one in particular, the show from T-ARTE, I Believe.

The trailer, you see here above, alerts you about an experience what’s make the event different from the rest. It’s about an one-to-one experience. One visitor and one performer. An interesting thing, because I am, and I think the most of the people with me, used to go to the theater, with “good” company.

So that’s why I was a little nervous when I was waiting at the theatre last Wednesday, alone.

After I arrived at the theater a man picked me up, he turned out to be one of the creators, and put me in a cube. “Enjoy the show”. Standing there in the cube on sand, a video started. A strange man appeared on the screen on one side at the cube, and started with the following words:

“ Last week I saw you at the station.
You were waiting for a train.
You didn’t recognize me.
So I just walked on.”

What was he talking about? And after that, he appeared on the other sight of the cube too. Was he talking to me, or to himself? A philosophical dialogue followed, that evoked different emotions in me. He makes me laughed, confused, and got me thinking. He turned me in a position, and I think it is the essence of the event, to think about “the real” world.

“When I watch tv, and see a war on the news, it seems there is a war going on somewhere. But when I put the television off, there is no war for me at all”.

These words of the stranger reminds me of the title of the famous article from philosopher Jean Beaudrillard, “The gulf war did not take place”. A reference to the famous theory from Beaudrillard about “Hyperreality” was dominating the show. Beyond the fact standing there in the cube and disconnects you from the normal world, he made more references to the theory in his talk.

But it was not only a talk at all. At the half of the event there was an incident that surprised me. And I think that other visitors of the event will agree.  The man stopped talking, actually the video stopped playing, it started to get dark in the cube, and the space outside the cube was lighting up. And there he was in real, the same person of the screen, with he’s feet standing in the sand, like me.

For me it felt a little bit uncomfortable. Is he the same, and what’s was he going to do? But the only thing he did was staring at me. And after I looked at him for a few seconds, maybe minutes, he disappeared again and came back on the screen. He explained, now we’ve met, you still don’t know me, even though I don’t know myself because I am wearing a mask just like everyone else. Who am I and what’s real? And with that question he left me behind at the end of the 15 minutes.

Even though it was just a simple interactive installation with video, music, the artist and a few special effects, in 15 minutes you will get an impressive one-to-one experience. Beyond the impressive meeting with a stranger and all the questions and emotions he leaves you, it’s a nice evening out, to go alone to an unknown world.

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