Happy Together is a sequence of full-color posters, depicting a person standing next to a flower box in different public spaces in Amsterdam.
The antithesis is in the combination of subjects; the people portrayed don't belong to those places, they are outsiders, heavy drug users, junkies, people found on the fringes of society. The boxes filled with geraniums are a common sight in any European city at the time, an embodiment of middle-class ideals, and are found on the other end of the spectrum than the place that junkies occupy, or are allowed to occupy.
Poster and Photos, 2002
On show at the exhibition "No I.D.", 2002, Bombay, India In cooperation with Bastienne Kramer, Amsterdam, Netherlands
the projects of the OUTCAST REGISTRATION operate in different topological spheres, that is, in spaces that reflect specific social functions and all have a private (individual) and a public (communal) meaning. The fact that private space is largely excluded highlights the problematic fact that the private sphere in democratic systems is fundamentally—and constitutionally—hidden from public view. While this does protect from state control and interference, it does not protect those who are exposed to (sexual) violence behind closed doors. For all the women who participated in the projects, the private space has never been a protective space, as is clear from their respective biographies—on the contrary. Since access to private space is denied, the OUTCAST REGISTRATION projects concentrate on social spaces that are accessible but under normal circumstances strictly separated from each other, and it is there that encounters or even confrontations are initiated between their inhabitants: — in isolated spaces, where segregated life far away from society is imposed, for example, in prisons, therapy facilities, psychiatric wards, and asylum seekers centres; — in cultural spaces, that is, institutionally legitimised and supported spaces and facilities, including museums, art halls and galleries, as well as, for example, playgrounds, parks, and zoos; spaces that are categorically in contrast to subcultural, secret, or even forbidden spaces for ideas, thoughts, and life styles, which are rejected by the majority and/or officially banished from the public sphere; — in the public realm, which ideally expresses the need and obligation of all people to be able to articulate in public everything that concerns all us, independent of whether they have been granted, have acquired, or have coerced authorisations and privileges. In the sense of Hannah Arendt, the sphere of what is public is not only a possibility, but rather a call to action.
an informal U.S. English term of the 1920s used here with the express agreement of the women involved. Its use is intended to make people aware that the terms “addiction” and “dependence” used in connection with people suffering from drug addiction have been—and still need to be—problematised over and over again, both from a medical and a legal perspective. The World Health Organisation recommended in the 1970s that the term “addiction” should be replaced by “dependence” in order to avoid negative connotations of moral disapproval. However, in the early 2000s it was argued that “addiction” focuses more concretely on the underlying disease of being compulsively dependent on taking substances or performing certain actions, whereas “dependence” rather refers to a relationship of superiority or subordination in human relationships. Depending on the context of the specific use of these terms—for example in medical studies or legal texts—the respective accentuations shift, so that even today there is no adequate formulation for a “junkie” that is free of misleading or overtly negative meanings. For example, after their conviction or imprisonment, they are currently officially referred to as “lawbreakers who need to withdraw” or “narcotics-dependent offenders”, which only reinforces the need for discussion about an appropriate designation and also shows that social processes of exclusion and degradation of junkies are ongoing.