By popping tennis balls at about 150 km per hour against two enormous sound boxes, Philip Vermeulen creates the funkiest rhythms and tightest beats. His impressive installation Boem BOem can be experienced in a museum for the first time: Vermeulen will be popping off his thunderous tennis ball instrument at Voorlinden on 11 and 12 February and from 18 February through 5 March. The performances are short – 10 to 15 minutes long each time – but deafeningly beautiful and unforgettably intense.
11 February - 5 March 2023
Boem BOem is a percussion instrument of monumental proportions. The acoustic installation consists of two beefed-up tennis ball machines that bang away a stream of balls at relentless speed against two wooden sound boxes. In that propulsive force, the tennis balls pop back and are caught in cloths that guide the tennis balls back to the shooting machines, ready for another round. With Boem BOem, Philip Vermeulen performs various playful compositions – from recognizable schlager hits to his own funky rhythms – that echo in space and that you feel in your body. He plays with the tension between temptation and fear, with the instinctive urge for self-preservation and self-destruction. You can stand on the side or, if you dare, between the firing lines of the two tennis ball machines. There you can experience the violence and banging of the tennis balls most intensely.
Philip Vermeulen: ‘With Boem BOem you are going to experience something you have never heard, seen or smelled before, because I shoot the tennis balls so hard they almost melt away.’
With his large-scale installations, Philip Vermeulen manipulates light, sound and movement and investigates how you react to them psychologically. His ‘hypersculptures’ are in the tradition of experimental kinetic art. Vermeulen graduated summa cum laude in 2017 from the ArtScience Interfaculty of the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague with Boem BOem. The title of the work he based on the sound poem Boem Paukeslag by Flemish poet Paul van Ostaijen. With this Physical Rhythm Machine, he subsequently scored highly at festivals such as CTM in Halle Am Berghain, Berlin and Mapping Festival Geneva. In 2020, he was nominated for the Volkskrant Visual Arts Prize by Suzanne Swarts, director of Museum Voorlinden. ‘In his compelling installations, he stimulates all the senses with sound, light and movement. In each work, he once again fuses science, technology, visual art and theater into unforgettable sensations with great ease.’
Director Suzanne Swarts: ‘Boem BOem is enormously intense, a little frightening, hypnotic and at the same time very liberating. You want to experience this! I saw it at Philips graduation and was immediately sold.’
Please be aware! This artwork pops tennis balls at a force of about 150 km per hour against a sound box. Therefore:
– Always follow the instructions our Guides & Guards.
– Only take a seat in the designated areas (but know: a ball may occasionally deviate and enter the designated areas).
– Children under 12 are allowed only when accompanied and by hand.
– You do not need to wear ear protection. Voorlinden provides earplugs and earmuffs for adults and children. Please bring your own hearing protection if necessary.
Images: Marleen Sleeuwits