Maarten Keus

Internship: Philip Vermeulen + Lawrence Malstaf,

My ancestors were fishermen, net builders and are distinguishly adaptable to harsh environmental situations at and close to sea. Resilience is the ability to recover from disappointment, such as a bad harvest, or illness and it becomes a power to return to the original form after being bent, compressed or stretched by the environment. My belief is that returning to ‘the original form’ after being tested, was not what they did, they were growing beyond that original form. They were evolving. Resilience is something we talk about and can work on in therapy, but how are we truly evolving? I believe that in order to evolve— so, to grow beyond momentarily bouncing back from set back, is to consciously explore emotion as you go through it. Sinking to the depth of an emotional wave, fully embodied, is something we now can afford. It might seem excessive or extreme at times, but wielding the abundance of this time is, to me, a way of expressing gratitude to the generations our existence is built upon
James Baldwin believed that "the role of the artist is to make you realize the doom and glory of knowing who you are and what you are.” I agree but placing emphasis on who you are in relationship to ‘other’, the environment, or the believed perception of not-self, even.


“Desiderium” is a modern day ritualistic machine experience that, through bearing responsibility of self, asks the audience to consciously partake in the risk that comes with it. The visceral journey therefore requires mental participation and Risk analysis that includes battling the ego’s stories, which in turn always lovingly tries to protect us, but withholds us from emotional growth. “Desiderium” offers a form of catharsis that holds its self in the loss of time and space, through a vast visual and audible wall of impulses, that allows you to fall into yourself, and self remembrance. As an ode to my ancestors, Dutch Fishermen, that understood the mercilessness of the sea but nevertheless engaged in a deep relationship with her, I long for these relations, feel Desiderium for it and simply attempt to understand and to be stronger than yesterday.

Desiderium is a 5 meter tall, visceral machine that both audibly and visually demands the audience’s attention. The audience is confronted with a fearful and yet cathartic situation as the machine plays its composition, (composed by the artist) that shoots between the extreme highs and the extreme lows, making not only the installation and the space that it’s inclosed in shake, vibrate and resonate but also the observer’s entire body as well. The size, spatial composition and choice of materials all have relations to both ritualistic experiences of the artist and extreme rituals researched for his thesis. By completely stepping into the work starting in a pitch black room that slowly starts growing and growing by the use of monochromatic lights the observer is able to truly step into a different world, and within combination of the extremity of the sound and visuals completely lets go of past and future, and in some cases, even the present.

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Collective intent

An exploration of possible catharsis within the extreme. With extreme and sometimes painfull rituals as case studies.


Using rituals, seeing something as a ritual or “artifying” certain acts allows us to destigmatize certain, in some cases, extreme practices. Including self harm, bashing against others, putting yourself or others in danger, asking for trust, and performing otherwise socially unacceptable practises, can suddenly be accepted and form ways of catharsis. This counts not only for the devotee but for the audience and society as well By changing from passive to active observers, by taking away shame or distrust around the act, we allow ourselves and others to see and to be seen, together or alone. This is something that can be extremely healing.