Since 2006 I have been photographing and writing about singles in Dutch society. (Singles as in; individuals who are not in a partner-relationship) The amount of singles in Dutch society is growing. CBS, the Dutch Centre of Statistics claims that by 2060 40% of our population will live in a one-persons household. The increase is a result of the increasing number of people reaching an older age and living alone, the increasing number is also a result of more partner-relationsships ending and a result of the number of young people waiting longer before entering a longterm relationship.
During Open Set Lab I researched how singles appear in the Archive of The Dutch Institute of Sound and Image.(Image 1: Groesbeek) The first footage I found was a promotion broadcasted in 1937 of a home for single intellectual man in Groesbeek. The home was payed for and set up by the community to keep the educated man from going downhill. Taking care of these man was seen as an act of charity. During the 60 and 70’s, the material changes. Items and programs show the emancipation of women, discussions on taxes for singles
and imagery of working women in industry. The topic of being single enters studio-conversations, where man and women tell their personal stories about how they deal with living alone and what problems they encounter in their daily lives.
Because the number of singles in Dutch society increases rapidly. the single is more frequently mentioned on Dutch television. The singles and the way they are being portrayed in reportages and series change overtime. The questions addressed to singles change. Where they used to be questions on their housing conditions, problems in daily life and free time activities in recent years singles are asked why they are not in a partner-relationship, or in what way they are searching for a new partner or thinking in general about relationships.
Experts on the relations, on loneliness and experts with dating-advise are more often interviewed on television, Help and therapy in the search for a mate are available and broadcasted. So, while we are living in a society witch focusses on preforming as an individual responsible for our very own actions in life and carrier and working hard. TV is focusing on finding you romantic love and produces romantic quests we can all follow to take as an example. The studio’s with audience are left during the ’90. More lively documentary images of singles appear. The camera is entering the singles homes. More technology is entering de lives of people portrayed.
(Image 2:women) I started collecting the screenshots of broadcasted images and catagorising them, grouping them. In an effort to understand how a single is being represented and trying to understand the complexity of the material. The way singles are portrayed is
connected to the changes in society, to the changes in our context. One of the first groups I made was this collection of portrayed women. After I grouped the images of the women, I grouped the images of the man through time, to look for the similarities and differences in portraying them. (Image 3 in presentation: men)
I was interested in the way the context is presented and what part the camera-focus plays in the representation. In the archive of Sound and Image I also discovered little stories Of singles dealing with everyday life. (Image 4: man with lamp) For my final presentation I used the screenshots of the ‘keyframes’ of the archival system of the Institute of Sound and Image, because the keyframes resemble my working-method of putting images together to tell a story. (Image 5: keyframes as found in the archive)
A Keyframes in the Dutch Sound an Image Archive represent every first image of the next scene in the montage, after the camera has moved. Keyframes show the narrative of a broadcasted program I selected pieces of the image-sequences on base of historical relevance, ritmes, coloursceme’s, little stories and different contexts. (Image 6, 7, 8, 9: context, ritme, movement, little stories), (Image 10:divorced women about her search),(Image 11:women doing the dishes after a day’s work),(Image 12:man resting with his dog)
For the project “Single Images” or translated in Dutch “Alleenstaande beelden” I created a new archive of image-sequences on singles. Which I printed on paper. Visitors are invited to look through the printed archive (Image 13: prints) If you have the patience to work through all the prints. You will find that the prints are presented in a particular order creating a narrative focussing on the changing identity of the single through Dutch media history. The selected image-sequences show you fragments of the broadcasted programs. showing pieces of the changing context and changing representation of singles. (Image 14: Lidewij Edelkoort) In this research the Archive of the Institute of sound and image gave me the opportunity to investigate on a large scale and on microlevel, I listened to different experts and discussion programs to understand changing opinions and the way we look at love and individuality in our society. In this last sequence you see trendwatcher Lidewij Edelkoort, in a conversation with Martin Simek explaining the logical reason why she remained single in her life. A relationship with her isn’t easy. She demands her autonomy.