Joost Rekveld

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Joost Rekveld
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Alma materThe Hague
  • Experimental artist
  • abstract filmmaker

Joost Rekveld is a Dutch experimental artist and abstract filmmaker. His animations are inspired by cybernetics, artificial life and robotic architecture.[1] In his early days he worked intensively with the medium of film, experimenting with all aspects of the process from printing, to manipulating, to developing the images himself.[2] Already since the early 1990's, he has been working digitally and started to work with celluloid material. He builds his own optical and mechanical apparatuses and computer softwares.[3] Central themes in his work are science, technology and experiment.[4]

Life and work

Rekveld studied at the interfaculty of Sound and Vision in The Hague, which at the time was the faculty in between the conservatory and the art academy.[3] He has been giving lectures here since 1993, as well as teaching interdisciplinary art since 1996.[2] Rekveld was head of the ArtScience Interfaculty of the Royal Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Art, Royal Academy of Art in The Hague from 2008 to 2014. He currently is a board member of Sonic Arts in Amsterdam and of the Centre for Visual Music in Los Angeles.[2]

Ever since the 1990's, Rekveld's works have been shown worldwide in a wide range of festivals and venues for experimental film, animation or other kinds of moving image. In 2000, his film “#11, Marey <-> Moire” was the first Dutch film to ever be shown at the Sundance Film Festival.[2] Furthermore, his work has been screened at a wide range of venues for experimental film, short film and animation, including the Tate Modern in London, The Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.[2] Most of his recent films have premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, who in 2017 dedicated a retrospect to him, consisting of his short films.[1] He had retrospectives at the Barbican in London and the Ann Arbor film festival.[5]

Rekveld was also prominently involved in many collaborative projects involving composers, music ensembles, dance companies, theatre companies and artist’s labs. These collaborations included dance company Emio Greco (Amsterdam / Marseille), music theatre ensemble De Veenfabriek (Leiden), contemporary music ensembles such as ASKO / Schonberg (Amsterdam) and ensemble Intercontemporain (Paris), Opera North (Leeds) and The Royal Opera (London) and electronic art and music laboratories such as IRCAM (Paris), STEIM (Amsterdam) and the V2 Institute for Unstable Media (Rotterdam).[5]

Furthermore, Rekveld also has a long history of curating programs with focus on visual music, abstract animation and the interaction between science and art.[2] He also has published a number of essays.[5]


With a great interest in electronic music, abstract cinema and visual music, Rekveld played with the idea of 'composing' moving light through time the same way as music is composed.[6] Consequently, his films are often mechanical compositions in which the computer acts as a controller, orchestrating the precise movements of each optical elements of the film-work or installation.[2] His work is an experimental and research production which derives from a scientific and philosophical approach to nature and technology.[7]

Rekveld is inspired by forgotten corners in the history of science and technology within histories of science and audiovisual media[6] and the systematic dialogue between man and machine. By exploring the various spatial and sensorial aspects of light projection his works intrinsically relate to the early history of optics and perspective.[2] These systems combine temporary dogma’s in the form of procedures or code, with more open-ended elements such as material processes or networks of interactions that are too complex to predict. His films, installations and performances are composed documentaries of the worlds opened by such systems. In their sensuality they are an attempt to reach an intimate and embodied understanding of our technological world.[5]


Rekveld’s first experimental films date back to the early 90s and they all (with only some exceptions) have a title linked to a numerical succession. Already from the name of this work the reference to maths, algorithm and science is clear.[6] Some of his works include:

#3 (1994)

#3 Is a 16 mm film that anticipates on the continuous development of his works, which would become one of the characterizing traits within Rekveld's works.[7] For the images, Rekveld captured movements of a tiny light source with extremely long exposure time, allowing tracks to be left on the emulsion. The light source is part of a fairly simple mechanical system that exhibits chaotic behavior.[8] #3 Was Rekveld's first film on which he employed this particular method. To this date, he still uses this method to construct his films.[8]

#11 Marey <-> Moiré (1999)

11 Marey .Moire is a 23 minute film shot on 35 mm and pays homage to the discontinuity that characterizes the medium of film.[9] It consists of an abstract and graphic composition of light and sound in which long stroboscopic lighting create moving lines.[10] For this film, Rekveld worked with the camera obscura and constructed his own robot: an animation machine that helped him with composing the moving images.[11] #11 Marey < -- > Moire recalls the photographic experiments of film pioneer Étienne-Jules Marey, that experimented with techniques to capture movements. These experiments are manipulated in a way that they evoke the Moiré pattern|Moire pattern.[6] #11 Marey <-> Moire” was the first Dutch film to ever be shown at the Sundance Film Festival.[2]

#19 (1999)

#19 is a light machine in which images are produced through interference. The work focuses on the interplay between the time lag of our eye and the fast rotation of a pulsating light source. This results in ever fluctuating ornaments that can be controlled in real time. The work was inspired by Chevalier d'Arcy and Joseph Plateau, who in the seventeenth and eighteenth century did experiments to try to measure the temporal response of the human eye by confronting it with spinning colored disks or glowing, revolving coals. These experiments became the basis of later inventions of television and cinema.[12]

#43 (2013)

#43 Is an 11 minute film shot on 35 mm.[13] Influenced by the work of logician G. Spencer-Brown, who wrote his Laws of Form in 1969, this work was initially inspired by simulations of how nerve impulses organise themselves into oscillations in tissues like, for example, heart muscle. Ever since this encounter, the project has expanded to include an interest in the more general emergence of patterns in time and space out of homogenous starting conditions. In #43, the images are generated by systems in which the pixels are agents that are somehow comparable to organic cells, bumped into motion by disruption that cause a difference between some pixels and their neighbors.[14] This work was commissioned for Vertical Cinema.[15]

#67 (2017)

#64 is a 17 minute analog HD video work.[16] For the work, Rekveld was inspired by the work of Steina and Woody Vasulka. He created a modern analog equivalent of the Rutt/Etra Video Synthesizer|Rutt-Etra processor. Rekveld captured electromagnetic fluctuations omnipresent in urban environments. Emerging from power lines, wireless communications, electro motors and fluorescent lights, this world seems to oscillate, reflecting upon the 50 Hz frame rate of analog video.[17] #67 was commissioned by LIMA Amsterdam as part of 'Unfold', a project that investigates re-interpretation as a strategy for the preservation and activation of media art works.[16] #67 Premiered at the 2017 retrospective of Rekveld's work at International Film Festival Rotterdam.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Joost Rekveld of IFFR". IFFR.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Monizza, Simona (14 May 2016). "Introduction to the life and work of Joost Rekveld". EYE.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bronwasser, Sacha. "De 17e eeuw in elektronica". Volkskrant.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. Bots, Pieter (16 September 2004). "Het kloppende kikkerhart". Parool.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "REDCAT and LA Filmforum Presenting 'Joost Rekveld: Light Matters'". AWN.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Linssen, Dana (24 August 2019). "De punt achter de zin". de Filmkrant.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Scaravaggi, Silvia. "Joost Rekveld's Study and Research Lines". DigiCult.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. 8.0 8.1 "#3". IFFR.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "#11, Marey <-> Moiré". IFFR.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "#11, Marey <-> Moiré". Filmfestival.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. Suto, Wilma (1999-01-27). "JOOST REKVELD Donder en bliksem in een superwereld". Volkskrant.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. "#19". V2_.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. "#43". IFFR.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. "Joost Rekveld - #43". Sonic Arts.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "#43". Verical Cinema.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. 16.0 16.1 "#6". LIMA.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. "#67 JOOST REKVELD". Alchemy Film & Arts.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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