Do I Still Exist?

Marleine van der Werf

2019, Rotterdam, Nederland

This work is inspired by a moment in which the filmmaker’s grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, asked whether she still existed. In this short film, we see the world from her perspective. Instead of filming her grandmother herself and trying to embody how she feels with visual effects, angles, and other elements, Van der Werf gives the camera to her grandmother, allowing her to make those key decisions that create the visual and auditory experience.

The work can be seen as a cinematic search into how we construct each of our subjective realities, and how that changes as we age or as disease takes hold of our minds. Can we ever understand what it means to slowly lose our memories and our sense of self, could we even be in the midst of that experience and reflect on it?

Marleine van der Werf is a filmmaker and visual artist with a documentary practice. In her artistic research she explores how to experience the reality of someone else. Through ­cinema, VR, and multi-sensory technology, Van der Werf ­creates haptic experiences to challenge the understanding of the other and the self. Recurring themes are embodiment, empathy, consciousness, and perception. She ­collaborates with experts in the field of science, art, and humanities and her projects have been broadcasted and shown at ­international art and film festivals.

Marleine van der Werf (director/producer), Remko Schnorr (camera), Abel Heijkamp (sound), Jos Meijers (editor), Henk-Jelle de Groot (sound design), Arms and Sleepers (music).

Initiated and financial support by Inscience film festival and Radboud University Nijmegen.

This short film is made within the context of the Master Artistic Research at the Film Academy Amsterdam.

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Het kunstwerk door de ogen van:

Prof. dr. Francesco Mattace Raso

Professor in Clinical Geriatry

In our aging society, dementia is affecting an ever larger group of people. Researchers at Erasmus MC are studying causes of the disease in lifestyle and genetics, as well as alternatives for the treatment of patients. Dementia is a progressive and irreversible disease characterized by ­cognitive impairment, functional decline, and eventually behavioral and psychological symptoms. Given the wide variation of manifestation of dementia within patients, it is difficult to generalize ­medical management. For each patient it is a ­challenge to decide what interventions for prevention or delay of the disease to pursue. The mission of our research is to determine stages of dementia in aging populations, in order to offer personalized medicine for this highly vulnerable ­category of patients.

View the floorplan of Science Gallery Rotterdam’s exhibition (UN)REAL


Adding dimensions to the real

An essay by William Myers

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