A Real Spectacle

A Real Spectacle

All kinds of changes are happening in our world today:
molecular nanotechnology is rapidly evolving, our climate is drifting
and artificial intelligence might take over the world.

Most people feel small and powerless facing all these big changes.
Do we have any influence or are we just spectators who sit and watch?

I created the concept of a sinking cruise ship as
a metaphor for our society as a whole.


This artwork is partially based on the work of Étienne-Louis Boullée,
the visionary French architect from the 18th century.

He designed a gigantic 150 meter tall monument to celebrate
the work of Isaac Newton, who 50 years after his death became
a symbol of Enlightenment ideas.

The monument has never been built, but it represented
the new wind of rationalism and science
that was blowing in society in the 18th Century.

The monument of Boullée is a mirror of the changes that were going on
in the 18th century. I was wondering how I could design a monument
that is a reflection of the changes in our time.

This artwork consists of a 11 individual framed artworks
which can exist independently.

View on my Solo Art Show at Aporia Gallery in Brussels.

Artworks on display: 160 x 100 cm, print on German etching paper, floating frame. Limited edition.

A Real Spectacle – Close-up
180 x 90 cm, print on German etching paper, floating frame. Limited edition.

Artworks are printed on very high quality German Etching paper (with 0% reflection)

All prints come with a custom made frame and a certificate. Send me and email at pieter@astopia.eu to check for availability.

A Real Spectacle – Side View
160 x 100 cm, print on German etching paper, floating frame. Limited edition.

A Real Spectacle – Close-up
160 x 100 cm, print on German etching paper, floating frame. Limited edition.

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Form Follows Fiction 1

Form Follows Fiction 1

What will the future look like?

Artificial intelligence is already capable of flawlessly imitating a human voice to make a phone call to a restaurant for a reservation. The people involved have no idea they are talking to a machine. The algorithms in use are self-learning and function as a structure that is similar to the structure of the human brain.

How will this trend of rapidly changing technology evolve?

In 30 years, computer games have evolved from a few moving white dots to life-real massive multi-player online games. What will games look like in another 30 years? Suppose a virtual or augmented reality can be projected directly onto our eyes and we can live a part of our day in a virtual world.

Will the virtual and the real world be distinguishable from one another? Will we even be humans any more?

This is what this work is about. The space and time in which these structures are placed is undefined. The surrounding platform can be seen as a meta-level. How many levels of reality could there be? Can you have a virtual world within a virtual world? Will there be a clear border between fact and fiction in our world? Maybe we will live in a world where form follows fiction.

Form Follows Fiction 1
160 x 100 cm, print on German etching paper, floating frame. Limited edition.

Real Fiction

Real Fiction

The design of this scale model is based on the concept of a panopticon. A Panopticon is an institutional system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century.

The scheme of the design is to allow all inmates of a prison or institution to be observed by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. The shape of the building often comes in the form of a star.

Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman in the center to observe all the inmates’ cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means they are motivated to act as though they are being watched at all times.

In ‘Discipline and Punish’, Michel Foucault builds on Bentham’s conceptualization of the Panopticon. The ever-visible inmate, Foucault suggests, is always ‘the object of information, never a subject in communication’.

This is a concept that sounds all too familiar when we think of all the cameras that are constantly pointed at us. Can we walk in a modern city without being watched?

Is this building beautiful or threatening? Isn’t it often easy to feel small and powerless when walking under these concrete giants? Is the future going to be a utopia or a dystopia? Maybe the line between the two is a bit blurred.

This model is built to scale 1/200, so in reality the building would be about 240 meters tall. In 2012 it was exhibited for a month at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels.

The video below shows the process in making the model and is done by using the stop-motion technique. The model consists of 1845 different parts which are modelled in 3D and cut out with a laser-cutter. The model is about 1m25 in height.

project px-t-13 002
project px-t-13 013
project px-t-13 012
project px-t-13 004
project px-t-13 014

In the video above you can watch an excerpt from the television series that was broadcast on national television.

Below are some images that reveal the design process.

I started looking for basic geometric shapes I could base my building on.

After that I created a technical drawing in 3D that defines the thickness and position of all the different parts to get a solid structure without having to compromise on the original design.

I exported these parts to a laser-cutter to cut them out MDF plates. Because some of the parts have a sharp corner I had to manually cut off some of the edges in a certain angle with a mini table saw (see video below).

project px-t-13 018
project px-t-13 009
project px-t-13 010
project px-t-13 005
project px-t-13 006
project px-t-13 008

Aboven: all the pieces spread out on 1 sheet

project px-t-13 007
project px-t-13 011
project px-t-13 016
project px-t-13 015
project px-t-13 015

Above: Real Fiction at Aporia Gallery in Brussels