Dirk Paesmans studied plastic arts together with Koen Theys at St. Lukas in Brussels, and sculpting at the Academy in Ghent. In 1981, only just about getting on twenty, they began to make videos together under the name of V-side. Their first work Radar (1981) was, as they put it, "a flood of images we caught on our sensory radar". Later on they mostly applied themselves to recordings of installations and performances, like Bloedbad (1982) and Crime 01 (1983), for which two dogs had their heads and legs removed during a performance, to end up as a hat stand. In their next works irrational and macabre topics and images were also interwoven. Theys: "These are images coming from the subconscious. Irrational images stored somewhere inside ourselves, and which we are always trying to find. I want to show them without concerning myself with meaning". In 1983 they both started recording the Normandië-tape, a programme on the tourism through the remains of the invasion in Normandy. Originally intended as a joint project, it resulted in two separate video works, as well as the end of V-side. Both artists were headed in rather more personal directions.

Dirk Paesmans would, after some individual performances and video works, further elaborate his fascination for the medium of television, among others in the video Anti-aether (1988) and the installation Zapp TV (1989-1999), in which he commented on the downfall of the modernist illusions of the TV medium. Cable networks were degraded to their proper proportions, an array of empty images of lettering. Paesmans programmed his own network; he isolated, deconstructed, and repeated visual samples from the immense range of televised offers, images in which the blind visual consumption betrayed itself. In various respects Zapp TV was a condensed form of television, as well as a homage to the subversive act of zapping. Recently he concentrated mainly on the internet, among others in collaboration with Joan Heemskerk for the Jodi project, which can be described in its turn as a condensed form of the Net: "We serve no content, our work is about the fact that everything you see on the screen of the computer is dressed code. We explore the computer from inside, and mirror this on the net. When a viewer looks at our work, we are inside his computer. There is this hacker slogan: ’we love your computer’. We also get inside people’s computers. (...) I think the computer is a device to get into someone’s mind. We replace this mythological notion of a virtual society on the net or whatever with our own work. We put our own personality there".

  • ° 1965 Brussels (Belgium).
  • At view in the media library