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Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries

from left to right:

1.

This drawing is a manual and proposal for an intervention at the start of the corona crisis in collaboration with the Metaal Kathedraal, a cultural political platform for perma-culture and social design in Utrecht. This project couldn’t be realised because sending smoke bombs through the mail forms a fire hazard, and we couldn’t bear the responsibility. Understandable, but unfortunate because I would would have wanted to send out packages with the following instructions:

We live in times of crisis and chaos, where small changes can have major consequences. Both nationalist and progressive forces appear to have an equal chance of gaining the upper hand. How can we strengthen the right forces so that the crisis becomes a vehicle for a healthy, open and green society?

The Una-Performance is a proposal for a mail art “attack”, consisting of a postal package with instructions for performing a playful ritual, which we will send to “future makers” such as politicians, thinkers, do-ers and magicians. People who have the power to shape the future in which we want to live. It is a cheerleading ritual that they themselves will perform,with the aim of investing these future makers with the confidence to handle today’s chaos.

The ingredients of the mail Una-performance package are: a bag of sea salt, smoke grenade and the following manual:

By opening this package you agree to enact this performance:

    1. Place the enclosed smoke cartridge in an open outdoor area, where there’s no risk of traffic nuisance.
    2. Sprinkle the added salt in a circle of about one meter around the pattern.
    3. Stand upright on the windward side of the circle and take 12 deep breaths to relax.
    4. Ignite the cartridge by pulling the ring and move 5 meters away from it.
    5. During the smoke development, repeat the following affirmation aloud: “We are ready, now is the time.”
    6. Then, carry on with your life.

 

2. What’s inside the coronium, 2020, pen ink on acid free paper, 50 x 50 cm.

This drawing originates from a question I asked myself: how would a monument for corona look like? I immediately imagined a brutalist concrete structure, or something like the Atomium. Another element that inspired me was the amount of conspiracy theories that are at work around the lockdown and the virus. Conspiracies or not, they are often an attempt to get a grip on chaos, and to find someone responsible for all problems.

In this way I combine a monument for corona with current paranoia. If it’s up to me, the fantasies that have spinned out of control, can be set free in order to create a fantastical and mysterious world vision, which reaches far beyond our daily conjuration.

This drawing is the first in a series of ideas and fantasies about things related to the world order, with the ambition to provide insight to Himmelsbachs Universe.

 

2. Proposal for a ceremonial coin stamp action, 2020, inkjet sketch on acid free paper; pen ink, 29 x 29 cm.

This drawing is a proposal for a ceremonial coin stamp action to exorcise the pandemic. With the ferm hit of a hammer you transform a normal coin into a corona remembrance coin. The new image, including the embossed letters RIP, are then visible on the front of the coin.

‘RIP virus, RIP victims, RIP system?’ What is rest, what is mandatory rest, how will this period continue to echo in the world?

A remembrance ritual to break with current apocalypse thinking, and to prepare humanity for the future.


Visual artist and social designer Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries creates interventions that overcome social spectatorship, and questions conventional approaches to social issues. In an often playful way, he engages with people outside his own network. With a certain lightness, his work initiates a dialogue between people with different convictions, values ​​and backgrounds.

His work is part of the collections of the Domijnen museum in Sittard, and the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. NRC Handelsblad, Het Parool and RTL News have all covered his work. Himmelsbach has exposed his work in Amsterdam, Berlin, Ghent, and New York.


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