PIEK! members current/past

PIEK! is a group of artists, set up in 1996 by four students from the Minerva Art Academy in Groningen. The group has since shrunk to unseparable duo: the artists Sander Leemans and Selby Gildemacher. Their goal: to use art to communicate their message to the rest of the world. They favour new media like the internet, computer games, animations and interactive video installations.

PIEK! is concerned with the problems of modern society, but the message their work communicates isn’t always undisputed. Self-mockery and irony are much-use weapons.

PIEK! often give viewers an active role. They’re not only able to look on passively, but become accessories. In ‘Push a/b’ (Montevideo,Amsterdam 2001), an interactive video installation, visitors encounter a cyclists’ trafficlight, on red, when they enter the exhibition. If you press the light’s button, the colour changes very briefly to green – as you’d expect – and you can walk on. Elswhere in the space, visitors meet another button. This time, a red alarm button affixed to a pillar in front of a life-sized video projection. The video shows a man with his back to a wall, starring straight at you. The temptation to press the button is irresistible. But the consequences of the act are shocking. There’s a deafening roar, as a shot is fired, hitting the man in the belly. He collapses like a rag doll, leaving a blood-red spletter on the wall behind him. Unlike the traffic light, this time there’s no turning back. the man lies on the ground, dead?!
That’s it. ‘Push a/b’ is PIEK!’s way of breaking the viewer’s pattern of expectations in an extremely confrontational fashion. it makes you verry painfully aware of the consequences of your actions. You have no choice but to accept responsibility and admit your guilt: I did it.

text: Sandra Smallenburg
from the Kyoto<->Amsterdam Catalog