The Believers

Geert van Kesteren

Geert van Kesteren will launch his new project with an exhibition at Breda Photo Festival 2018

About the project

Humankind has always put its faith in a higher power. Religion used to answer our existential questions, and brought us social norms and values. But we recently found a new phenomenon to bring order to our world: data. Geert van Kesteren sheds new light on religious conflicts in the Holy Land.

The three religions of the book claim the Holy Land as theirs. But God is no longer the only truth shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians. Because another phenomenon was added: DATA. In De Axis Mundi, Van Kesteren examines the use of technology by the warring parties within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Pilgrims and tourists document and upload the spiritual status of the Holy Land through their mobile phones. Unknowingly, they feed the algorithms of tomorrow’s supercomputer. Security cameras protecting them from terror attacks feed an ever growing network of security data.

In a large photography and video installation, the acclaimed Dutch photojournalist Geert van Kesteren shows how ancient religions continue to manifest their glory in colourful ceremonies, whilst at the same time the algorithms of Google, Facebook, Amazon and all kinds of artificial intelligence are creating a new Almighty.

About Geert van Kesteren

Geert van Kesteren worked as a war correspondent for Newsweek and The New York Times, among others. Amongst his most notable books are Why Mister, Why? (2004) and Baghdad Calling (2008), both focussing on the Iraq War. His works feature in collections of leading museums, including the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. He was awarded the prestigious ‘Infinity Award’ of the ICP in New York.

Geert van Kesteren made the transition from a front-line news photography to long-term documentary projects, often adopting innovative methods. He was one of the first people to use footage of other people in times of war. But he was ahead of his time, in 2008 it cost him his membership at Magnum Photos.

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Help me bring a unique video-installation to life in the Dome-prison in Breda!

Through a multidisciplinary practice that bridges sound, video and photography my installation will tackle the human agenda of faith in relation to technology. The Believers investigates the act of religious ritual and worship – the way people give up their authority...
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