Hoogerbrugge’s Born/Dead Facebook installation featured a new diptych every day for 365 days. A Born/Dead diptych consists of pairs of people who were either born or died on the date of the post. The person who was born is on the left, the one who died on the right. Hoogerbrugge looks for images that complement each other artistically, and often people who have nothing in common suddenly seem to belong together. Some people died on the same day of the month they were born – naturally, this appeals to Hoogerbrugge’s penchant for the macabre, and of course they are paired with themselves.
This medium enables Hoogerbrugge to indulge in his addiction to publishing something every day (as he has done ceaselessly since Modern Living*), creating works without a specific purpose, flexing his creativity and exploring new territories. His only goal is to create 365 pairs, and as research, it can produce surprising results. Who, for example, would have imagined that Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte was born on the same day that Dolly, the world’s first cloned sheep died?** Obviously the years differ. Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, was born on the same day that Boris Karloff died, and that luscious, living ironing board Paris Hilton was born on the day the famous Apache chief, Geronimo, popped his Uggs (I wonder if the Skull and Bones Society will grave rob Miss Hilton’s skull for their collection?). Coincidences such as this give me cause to question my snubbing of fate.
In a way, this Facebook installation can also be seen as yet another variation on the self-portrait – the attributes and objects an artist chooses to include in a self-representation always convey something that the artist wants to reveal about him- or herself. But it’s probably best to forget this while viewing Born/Dead.
Links: Born Dead on Facebook
*Despite it’s antiquity, Modern Living is still alive and online: ml.hoogerbrugge.com. A book was published to celebrate this groundbreaking interactive online digital work: Modern Living, The Graphic Universe of Han Hoogerbrugge (BIS Publishers, 2008). Also see CFA, p. 27.
**Another unexpected link to one of Hoogerbrugge’s recurring characters: Ian Wilmut, one of the team who cloned Dolly, said this about their choice of her name: ‘Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn’t think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton’s.’
Born Dead / 2015