Urban artist hits Dhaka streets. Dhaka Tribune

Martijn Crowe has been interviewed by one of the most important international newspapers in Bangladesh, Dhaka Tribune.

Please, you can find the article here.

Urban artist hits Dhaka streets.

The Dhaka Project is a collaboration between local artists and the Faketory, a Brazilian art collective. The artworks will be exhibited this weekend at Dhaka Arts Centre (Aug 22-24), and at Athena Gallery (Aug 15-31). We caught up with Faketory’s creative director Martijn Crowe.

Tell me a bit about the project. I gather its part of an international series?

We began in Sao Paulo, some five years ago. We decided to go with four subjects that we found interesting: old people, young people that have been through bad situations in life, the homeless and drag queens.

These groups piqued my interest. I feel I can relate to young people between 14-15 that are already deemed outcasts because they are not interested in the economy or such. The lives of homeless people are very interesting and perplexing. The very concept of homelessness here is totally different.

 

How is homelessness in Dhaka different than in Sao Paulo?

Well, for instance, People here are clean and they work. They are an economic power because they contribute and have some way of staying in the same place. I talked to a man who has been living near the rail tracks since 1971.

In Sao Paulo, you will find a group of people that works. They take garbage from the street, separate them, and sell them to the big companies that come and buy it [for recycling]. So they are the tribes living in the street, and they fight with the police because the police always move their factories and then they go somewhere else. I lived three months with a group like that.

 

So what work are you doing here in Dhaka?

I take photos of people in the streets. I haven’t captured the soul of Bangladesh yet, but it’s an interesting soul. It’s an old soul.
I usually pay people because I think they must benefit in some way. But here, they didn’t want money for being photographed. I was told by a group of homeless people: “You can take your photo. We don’t want your money.”

I have gathered so many interesting experiences. I was on the street and there was a little boy, a four-year-old (like my own son), and he was totally naked, but he had an expression that had power. Just at the moment I was taking the photo, the police came by and wanted to know what this crazy foreigner was doing taking photos of nude boys. I went to them and I said “Hello! I’m Martijn, I’m from Brazil.”

“Braaaazil! Woooah!” And everything’s fine [laughs]. This was before Brazil v Germany. And then (afterwards) every time they came by, they waved, that was nice. There are more flags of Brazil here than there are in Brazil.

 

Your project poses the question ‘What can I contribute to the world?’ What’s your answer?

I think 99% is listening, and only 1% is doing something. You can inspire other people to do something just by being there.

 

Why do you choose not to plan your art?

A seed of a tree doesn’t plan to become a tree. It doesn’t know which way it will grow. It’s just organic.

Most human minds are always searching for security, so we make images, and we make behaviour, and we make our surroundings. This process is called reification. Then we make images and surroundings unquestionable. So everyday we go to the same grocery store, we talk with the same people and we have the same ideas as the group we are a part of.

My aim as an artist is to put a question mark there.

 

I always give the example of the fruit of the Amazon. Do you know how many different types of fruits there are in the jungle?

Forty thousand edible fruits – of which the indigenous people living in the forest eat about 4,000, Brazilians eat approximately 20 or 30, and the rest of the western world only eats bananas.

People make a small world for themselves, and that world becomes very important, and they don’t really see the rest of it. My message is simple: the world is so big that there is always so much to see and do.

 

What led you to Dhaka?

I think I found something attractive about the city while in a discussion. Perhaps that’s some part of my planning. Nobody knew anything about Dhaka, nobody. There were only preconceived ideas, like people living in poverty, yearly floods, garments factories, etc.

So I came, and after two days, I met Emran Sohel on Facebook, and we started to discuss Nietzsche at his residence. I found a really strong intellectual interest here. People are really interested in western thinking, but also they have their own traditional philosophies.

This world is much more interesting and complex than many other worlds. When you go to Phnom Penh, there is no intellectual life, maybe because the Khymer Rouge killed them all. I don’t know.

Bangladeshis are very politically aware, all the students, they all have ideas.

 

Was Bangladeshi intellectualism a surprise to you?

Yes. I had this idea of travelling to the middle of nowhere with only poor people. I have had this experience with Asia already, that the intellectual effort is very low, they don’t read books, they don’t know anything. And then, there I was discussing Nietzsche.

Emran was telling me about the Sufi idea of superman, and he was relating it to the idea of Ubermensch from Nietzsche – which I think has no relation but that’s another discussion. This was the reason why they were studying Nietzsche here in Dhaka. That was interesting.

Later I was in an office, and on someone’s desk was a book of Ronald Laing, a very famous psychiatrist from England. Ronald Laing was one of my teachers. In Europe, nobody reads him anymore, but here they do, and he’s very interesting and important.

 

I read you also practice psychotherapy?

Yeah, so if you need anything… [laughs]

Actually I don’t want to be a scientist anymore because they are dealing too much with this concept of truth. They are totally self-referential. All scientists know each other and they don’t have contact with the world anymore. You can do a case study on the homeless by reading books and not actually meeting any homeless person.

What I do is different. When there was a conference on homelessness in Sao Paulo I took those scholars to the slums. They would prefer to just come up with five questions, then ask other people to go ask them these five questions. You can do this kind of job then say that you have done your research. But you don’t have any idea who is really there. And there are 25,000 homeless people in that neighbourhood.

I was involved in the science of social constructionism, and I specialised in research. You have to go to the children, you have to sit there, and you have to wait until they come out with their stories. That’s the approach of social constructionism. It is called the narrative approach. You don’t get data. But you do get the story.

– See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/weekend/2014/aug/21/urban-artist-hits-dhaka-streets#sthash.qUsRXOGh.dpuf

Tell me a bit about the project. I gather its part of an international series?

We began in Sao Paulo, some five years ago. We decided to go with four subjects that we found interesting: old people, young people that have been through bad situations in life, the homeless and drag queens.

These groups piqued my interest. I feel I can relate to young people between 14-15 that are already deemed outcasts because they are not interested in the economy or such. The lives of homeless people are very interesting and perplexing. The very concept of homelessness here is totally different.

 

How is homelessness in Dhaka different than in Sao Paulo?

Well, for instance, People here are clean and they work. They are an economic power because they contribute and have some way of staying in the same place. I talked to a man who has been living near the rail tracks since 1971.

In Sao Paulo, you will find a group of people that works. They take garbage from the street, separate them, and sell them to the big companies that come and buy it [for recycling]. So they are the tribes living in the street, and they fight with the police because the police always move their factories and then they go somewhere else. I lived three months with a group like that.

 

So what work are you doing here in Dhaka?

I take photos of people in the streets. I haven’t captured the soul of Bangladesh yet, but it’s an interesting soul. It’s an old soul.
I usually pay people because I think they must benefit in some way. But here, they didn’t want money for being photographed. I was told by a group of homeless people: “You can take your photo. We don’t want your money.”

I have gathered so many interesting experiences. I was on the street and there was a little boy, a four-year-old (like my own son), and he was totally naked, but he had an expression that had power. Just at the moment I was taking the photo, the police came by and wanted to know what this crazy foreigner was doing taking photos of nude boys. I went to them and I said “Hello! I’m Martijn, I’m from Brazil.”

“Braaaazil! Woooah!” And everything’s fine [laughs]. This was before Brazil v Germany. And then (afterwards) every time they came by, they waved, that was nice. There are more flags of Brazil here than there are in Brazil.

 

Your project poses the question ‘What can I contribute to the world?’ What’s your answer?

I think 99% is listening, and only 1% is doing something. You can inspire other people to do something just by being there.

 

Why do you choose not to plan your art?

A seed of a tree doesn’t plan to become a tree. It doesn’t know which way it will grow. It’s just organic.

Most human minds are always searching for security, so we make images, and we make behaviour, and we make our surroundings. This process is called reification. Then we make images and surroundings unquestionable. So everyday we go to the same grocery store, we talk with the same people and we have the same ideas as the group we are a part of.

My aim as an artist is to put a question mark there.

 

I always give the example of the fruit of the Amazon. Do you know how many different types of fruits there are in the jungle?

Forty thousand edible fruits – of which the indigenous people living in the forest eat about 4,000, Brazilians eat approximately 20 or 30, and the rest of the western world only eats bananas.

People make a small world for themselves, and that world becomes very important, and they don’t really see the rest of it. My message is simple: the world is so big that there is always so much to see and do.

 

What led you to Dhaka?

I think I found something attractive about the city while in a discussion. Perhaps that’s some part of my planning. Nobody knew anything about Dhaka, nobody. There were only preconceived ideas, like people living in poverty, yearly floods, garments factories, etc.

So I came, and after two days, I met Emran Sohel on Facebook, and we started to discuss Nietzsche at his residence. I found a really strong intellectual interest here. People are really interested in western thinking, but also they have their own traditional philosophies.

This world is much more interesting and complex than many other worlds. When you go to Phnom Penh, there is no intellectual life, maybe because the Khymer Rouge killed them all. I don’t know.

Bangladeshis are very politically aware, all the students, they all have ideas.

 

Was Bangladeshi intellectualism a surprise to you?

Yes. I had this idea of travelling to the middle of nowhere with only poor people. I have had this experience with Asia already, that the intellectual effort is very low, they don’t read books, they don’t know anything. And then, there I was discussing Nietzsche.

Emran was telling me about the Sufi idea of superman, and he was relating it to the idea of Ubermensch from Nietzsche – which I think has no relation but that’s another discussion. This was the reason why they were studying Nietzsche here in Dhaka. That was interesting.

Later I was in an office, and on someone’s desk was a book of Ronald Laing, a very famous psychiatrist from England. Ronald Laing was one of my teachers. In Europe, nobody reads him anymore, but here they do, and he’s very interesting and important.

 

I read you also practice psychotherapy?

Yeah, so if you need anything… [laughs]

Actually I don’t want to be a scientist anymore because they are dealing too much with this concept of truth. They are totally self-referential. All scientists know each other and they don’t have contact with the world anymore. You can do a case study on the homeless by reading books and not actually meeting any homeless person.

What I do is different. When there was a conference on homelessness in Sao Paulo I took those scholars to the slums. They would prefer to just come up with five questions, then ask other people to go ask them these five questions. You can do this kind of job then say that you have done your research. But you don’t have any idea who is really there. And there are 25,000 homeless people in that neighbourhood.

I was involved in the science of social constructionism, and I specialised in research. You have to go to the children, you have to sit there, and you have to wait until they come out with their stories. That’s the approach of social constructionism. It is called the narrative approach. You don’t get data. But you do get the story.

Tell me a bit about the project. I gather its part of an international series?

We began in Sao Paulo, some five years ago. We decided to go with four subjects that we found interesting: old people, young people that have been through bad situations in life, the homeless and drag queens.

These groups piqued my interest. I feel I can relate to young people between 14-15 that are already deemed outcasts because they are not interested in the economy or such. The lives of homeless people are very interesting and perplexing. The very concept of homelessness here is totally different.

 

How is homelessness in Dhaka different than in Sao Paulo?

Well, for instance, People here are clean and they work. They are an economic power because they contribute and have some way of staying in the same place. I talked to a man who has been living near the rail tracks since 1971.

In Sao Paulo, you will find a group of people that works. They take garbage from the street, separate them, and sell them to the big companies that come and buy it [for recycling]. So they are the tribes living in the street, and they fight with the police because the police always move their factories and then they go somewhere else. I lived three months with a group like that.

 

So what work are you doing here in Dhaka?

I take photos of people in the streets. I haven’t captured the soul of Bangladesh yet, but it’s an interesting soul. It’s an old soul.
I usually pay people because I think they must benefit in some way. But here, they didn’t want money for being photographed. I was told by a group of homeless people: “You can take your photo. We don’t want your money.”

I have gathered so many interesting experiences. I was on the street and there was a little boy, a four-year-old (like my own son), and he was totally naked, but he had an expression that had power. Just at the moment I was taking the photo, the police came by and wanted to know what this crazy foreigner was doing taking photos of nude boys. I went to them and I said “Hello! I’m Martijn, I’m from Brazil.”

“Braaaazil! Woooah!” And everything’s fine [laughs]. This was before Brazil v Germany. And then (afterwards) every time they came by, they waved, that was nice. There are more flags of Brazil here than there are in Brazil.

 

Your project poses the question ‘What can I contribute to the world?’ What’s your answer?

I think 99% is listening, and only 1% is doing something. You can inspire other people to do something just by being there.

 

Why do you choose not to plan your art?

A seed of a tree doesn’t plan to become a tree. It doesn’t know which way it will grow. It’s just organic.

Most human minds are always searching for security, so we make images, and we make behaviour, and we make our surroundings. This process is called reification. Then we make images and surroundings unquestionable. So everyday we go to the same grocery store, we talk with the same people and we have the same ideas as the group we are a part of.

My aim as an artist is to put a question mark there.

 

I always give the example of the fruit of the Amazon. Do you know how many different types of fruits there are in the jungle?

Forty thousand edible fruits – of which the indigenous people living in the forest eat about 4,000, Brazilians eat approximately 20 or 30, and the rest of the western world only eats bananas.

People make a small world for themselves, and that world becomes very important, and they don’t really see the rest of it. My message is simple: the world is so big that there is always so much to see and do.

 

What led you to Dhaka?

I think I found something attractive about the city while in a discussion. Perhaps that’s some part of my planning. Nobody knew anything about Dhaka, nobody. There were only preconceived ideas, like people living in poverty, yearly floods, garments factories, etc.

So I came, and after two days, I met Emran Sohel on Facebook, and we started to discuss Nietzsche at his residence. I found a really strong intellectual interest here. People are really interested in western thinking, but also they have their own traditional philosophies.

This world is much more interesting and complex than many other worlds. When you go to Phnom Penh, there is no intellectual life, maybe because the Khymer Rouge killed them all. I don’t know.

Bangladeshis are very politically aware, all the students, they all have ideas.

 

Was Bangladeshi intellectualism a surprise to you?

Yes. I had this idea of travelling to the middle of nowhere with only poor people. I have had this experience with Asia already, that the intellectual effort is very low, they don’t read books, they don’t know anything. And then, there I was discussing Nietzsche.

Emran was telling me about the Sufi idea of superman, and he was relating it to the idea of Ubermensch from Nietzsche – which I think has no relation but that’s another discussion. This was the reason why they were studying Nietzsche here in Dhaka. That was interesting.

Later I was in an office, and on someone’s desk was a book of Ronald Laing, a very famous psychiatrist from England. Ronald Laing was one of my teachers. In Europe, nobody reads him anymore, but here they do, and he’s very interesting and important.

 

I read you also practice psychotherapy?

Yeah, so if you need anything… [laughs]

Actually I don’t want to be a scientist anymore because they are dealing too much with this concept of truth. They are totally self-referential. All scientists know each other and they don’t have contact with the world anymore. You can do a case study on the homeless by reading books and not actually meeting any homeless person.

What I do is different. When there was a conference on homelessness in Sao Paulo I took those scholars to the slums. They would prefer to just come up with five questions, then ask other people to go ask them these five questions. You can do this kind of job then say that you have done your research. But you don’t have any idea who is really there. And there are 25,000 homeless people in that neighbourhood.

I was involved in the science of social constructionism, and I specialised in research. You have to go to the children, you have to sit there, and you have to wait until they come out with their stories. That’s the approach of social constructionism. It is called the narrative approach. You don’t get data. But you do get the story.

– See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/weekend/2014/aug/21/urban-artist-hits-dhaka-streets#sthash.qUsRXOGh.dpuf

11(2)

The Dhaka Project is a collaboration between local artists and the Faketory, a Brazilian art collective. The artworks will be exhibited this weekend at Dhaka Arts Centre (Aug 22-24), and at Athena Gallery (Aug 15-31). We caught up with Faketory’s creative director Martijn Crowe – See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/weekend/2014/aug/21/urban-artist-hits-dhaka-streets#sthash.0NpC34el.dpuf
The Dhaka Project is a collaboration between local artists and the Faketory, a Brazilian art collective. The artworks will be exhibited this weekend at Dhaka Arts Centre (Aug 22-24), and at Athena Gallery (Aug 15-31). We caught up with Faketory’s creative director Martijn Crowe – See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/weekend/2014/aug/21/urban-artist-hits-dhaka-streets#sthash.0NpC34el.dpuf
The Dhaka Project is a collaboration between local artists and the Faketory, a Brazilian art collective. The artworks will be exhibited this weekend at Dhaka Arts Centre (Aug 22-24), and at Athena Gallery (Aug 15-31). We caught up with Faketory’s creative director Martijn Crowe – See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/weekend/2014/aug/21/urban-artist-hits-dhaka-streets#sthash.0NpC34el.dpuf
The Dhaka Project is a collaboration between local artists and the Faketory, a Brazilian art collective. The artworks will be exhibited this weekend at Dhaka Arts Centre (Aug 22-24), and at Athena Gallery (Aug 15-31). We caught up with Faketory’s creative director Martijn Crowe – See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/weekend/2014/aug/21/urban-artist-hits-dhaka-streets#sthash.0NpC34el.dpuf
The Dhaka Project is a collaboration between local artists and the Faketory, a Brazilian art collective. The artworks will be exhibited this weekend at Dhaka Arts Centre (Aug 22-24), and at Athena Gallery (Aug 15-31). We caught up with Faketory’s creative director Martijn Crowe – See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/weekend/2014/aug/21/urban-artist-hits-dhaka-streets#sthash.0NpC34el.dpuf

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