Character Witness

live performance (60 minutes)
single-channel video work (26 minutes)
7 framed text collages

Character Witness is a speech based on the autobiographies of Benazir Bhutto, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, Hillary Clinton, Kwame Nkrumah, Margaret Thatcher, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Barack Obama, Frederik Willem de Klerk and Ariel Sharon.

From each of their books, a passage was selected that describes a childhood event and one that describes a political event. In each case, the former passage includes an excuse for the latter. A professional speech writer brought the passages together as a speech for a single person. Actors from the UK, France and the USA, Catherine Lord, Daniel Rovai and David Cameron subsequently, then helped to shape it in further detail. In 3 consecutive live events at the Kaaitheater in Brussels, they performed the speech adapted to their own interpretation of a states person. The process of writing and adaptation was documented in a small book, made available on the performance nights.

A series of 7 collages of the actual book passages together spell out the entire script.

Character Witness

Image 1 of 3

2011, live performane, set photographs by Nicoline van Harskamp

Kaaitheater, Brussels

Kadist Foundation, Paris