Back to the present

KABK – IAFD «Back to the present»

By – Cynthia Bruinsma, Chen Jia, Mik Bakker

Images and drawings shown in diverse Alba Amicorum are translated into a series of films, were we grasp the historical symbolism and interpret it into topics from our contemporary life. We use a hands-on approach for the scenery and create a sustainable set design by working with left-over material from our academy.  
We got intrigued by the expressive drawings and images from the Alba’s; Album amicorum of Hans Heinrich Oberhaupt (film 1), Album amicorum of Jacob Heyblocqs (film 2) and Album amicorum of Geertruydt van Engelsteedt (film 3).  
Album amicorum of Hans Heinrich Oberhaupt (film 1) 
‘In Paris, Oberhaupt had six gouaches painted on parchment added to his album, including a view of the Île de la Cité with the Pont Neuf and a picture of a wing of the Louvre. The most vivid picture is that of the Place des Vosges (then Place Royale) where, under great public interest, a not exactly gentle duel takes place.’ 
We are referring the dual as a strike. A fight for your believes or opinions.  
We picked the strike about the housing market, that happened on 13 September 2021 in Amsterdam but also has been active in different cities and countries. The Place Royale is translating the high rents of housing today.   
Album amicorum of Jacob Heyblocqs (film 2) 
‘Fishing was a major industry at the time of the depiction of mackerel. The sea was then rich in mackerel and other kinds of fish. What is certain is that from the moment people settled on the coast, fish was caught, eaten, and traded. This is evidenced by archaeological findings of fish remains. Image in Alba Amicorum, Jacob Heyblocqs.’ 
In our contemporary time the fish industry still plays a major role in society. In contrast with the past, our sea is beginning to contain more and more plastic and garbage. A term for it has even been coined: plastic soup.  
Any element, whether chemical or natural, that upsets the balance of the sea and therefor living creatures of the sea, is considered water pollution or simply a pollutant. 

Album amicorum of Geertruydt van Engelsteedt (film 3)
‘Different men tried to win Geertruydt heart and a place in the Frisian noble family.  In 1616 Frans Jongema had a gouache made showing Tobias crossing a river, accompanied by the angel Raphael, and provided it with a striking rhyme. However, the angel did not lead him to Geertruydt, but to Trijn van Ockinga, whom he married on 21 October 1621.’ 
We zoom in on the travel from Tobias. About the adventure he is taking and new experiences that going to happen. We link this with the fact that traveling has been difficult or even not possible during the Covid lockdowns. Tobias, the unfortunate young backpacker has been disappointed by the ‘cancelled’ red signs at the airport. His adventure must wait or gets another turn.