How to Make a Living
How to Make a Living is a series of six short films in which Maaike Fransen expresses paradoxical feelings about the themes of ‘life as a man-made construct’, individualism and autonomy in her distinctive absurdist visual idiom.
What if you feel you don’t quite fit into the world such as it is? What if you find there’s no place for your talents, dreams and longings? In How to Make a Living, Maaike Fransen suggests an answer to this sense of estrangement: you simply design your own world. Each of the six films reveals a unique one-person microcosm, a private habitat where the artist can flourish and converge with her surroundings.
In her self-created worlds, everything interconnects seamlessly: Fransen’s outfits and equipment match perfectly with the enigmatic actions and rituals she performs. There’s nothing missing, nothing redundant, everything fits. But the downside of this ideal of ‘man in control’ is also revealed. Because such a one-person universe is alienating – and rather lonely. Is there room for others? Will they be allowed in? Or can they only be spectators? And if they are only spectators, doesn’t the artist then just become a kind of creature in a self-created diorama?
In a humorous, exuberant and intuitive way, How to Make a Living explores the tension between the longing for freedom and the need for security and belonging. On the one hand, the six scenes can be read as utopian proposals for new ways of living and working. On the other, they are interspersed with subtle criticism of the uncertainties and unrealistic demands placed on the individual by today’s achievement-oriented society.
text: Sarah van Binsbergen