Carly Wijs / Exiles [Brussels]

Niemand kan het

Niemand kan het
Niemand kan het

18.09 – 19.09.2008

Why do we take photos?

In 2004 the actress Carly Wijs and Ryszard Turbiasz created the little theatrical gem Wat is denken? It clearly elucidates the ideas of the German philosopher Hannah Arendt by telling her story (including her relationship with the great master of German philosophy, Martin Heidegger).

In the spring of 2007 Carly Wijs performed Niemand kan het (Nobody can do it), a monologue the Dutch photographer Hans Aarsman wrote in consultation with her. They presented this short performance at the opening of Aarsman’s exhibition at the Dutch Photo Museum in Rotterdam. However, Niemand kan het is much more than just an ‘special project’, which is why Carly Wijs will be going on short tour.

Hans Aarsman is well-known to the Flemish public as a playwright. De wijze van zaal 7, with Dirk Roofthooft and Zeg het maar. Of heb je liever dat wij het zeggen?, with Tom Jansen, were selected for the Theatre Festival in 1996 and 2005 respectively. In 2001 Josse De Pauw performed Aarsman’s monologue, Ruis, as part two of Peter Kraaij’s photographic project, Sittings.

As far as its theme goes, Niemand kan het is similar to Ruis: indeed the person speaking is a photographer who talks about photography, about what we can and, more particularly, about what we cannot see. In 1995 Aarsman gave up photography. ‘Because it is something nobody can do’, nobody can know and record the true nature of the world in an image, a snapshot recording, in the blink of an eye. We spend quite a long time on earth ‘but imagine if we haven’t even seen the world, that we have been walking around with our heads in the clouds?’ This is a question the photographer in Niemand kan het puts to her audience. She does this is the form of a talk in which photos are shown. Why do we take photos? Why do we collect images? Do we really see what there is to be seen? In her ironic approach, Wijs constantly misleads the audience. ‘A moving lesson in looking and the impossibility of seeing.’

Carly Wijs (b. 1966, Amsterdam) graduated from the Toneelacademie in Maastricht in 1990. In 1993 she appeared with Dirk Roofthooft in the Kaaitheater production Het liegen in ontbinding (directed by Guy Cassiers). She has collaborated in various productions by Josse De Pauw (SS, Übung) and acted with Needcompany, De Onderneming and others. She is also a film and TV actress.


text Hans Aarsman | performed by Carly Wijs | production Exiles vzw (Brussels) | photo Hans Aarsman, ‘Vader Aarsman in gebed’