The publication All Dressed Up / No Place to Go is a photographic project that was done in collaboration with graphic designer Michael Snitker. It is a rather complex body of work: some things may need to be unraveled before its various themes can be distilled.

In combination, the two separate parts of this book form a narrative about the dark side of society: a place where time, money and fear appear to hold sway. The first part, All Dressed Up, consists of set photography done for Dood Paard, an experimental Dutch contemporary theater collective. But that first half also represents the inner world of the mythic persona of Medea. With a combination of excerpts from the play medEia and scene photos from various other plays performed by Dood Paard, I have portrayed the netherworld that the actors create. Written by Oscar van Woensel in close collaboration with Manja Topper and Kuno Bakker, the tragedy medEia is narrated entirely by the Greek chorus. As a group of actors that speak in a collective voice, that chorus can merely observe and comment on what they see; they can never intervene in what happens in a scene. In that sense they are just like me, the photographer.

The second part, No Place to Go, comprises images of buildings and urban areas shot in various different megacities, depicting a fictional dystopian metropolis. These two parts are joined by seven images of a large artificial lake that has taken shape behind a dam. Those photos depict nature, but it is the kind that results from human intervention. What was once a settlement now lies at the bottom of the lake, as a kind of Atlantis.

With an eye to the rules of classical drama, I have tried to achieve unity of place, time and action. The element of time certainly plays an important role in this project: the page numbering counts down from both the front and back covers inwards, towards the core – the proverbial zero hour – in an allusion to the so-called Doomsday Clock, a symbolic clock face that the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago has maintained since 1947. The closer the Doomsday Clock edges towards midnight, the closer they estimate the world to be moving towards a global nuclear war.

This publication was made possible in part through financial support from Dood Paard and the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB) and was published by International Theatre and Film Books.

Awarded Best Book Design 2007
Review Volkskrant, read here
Poem Saskia de Jong, read here
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