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Olivier van Breugel and Simone Mudde’s Between Screens photo series showcases a phenomenon frequently witnessed in the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honor: hordes of people thronging to catch a glimpse of Rembrandt’s renowned Night Watch, but increasingly often looking at it only through the lens of a cell phone, camera or iPad. Van Breugel and Mudde produce arresting close-ups of raised hands clutching pieces of electronic equipment, with the Night Watch on their screens. Reproductions of the painting are easily available, so why do so many people feel the need to reach for their cameras? In the essay that accompanies Van Breugel and Mudde’s sharply observed images in the book, Nicole Montagne writes: “Recording everything is lethal to our memory, it turns us into robots, lazy robots in fact, that can reproduce things perfectly but have nothing else to say about them.” Both as a duo and in individual practice, Van Breugel and Mudde are interested in people and how they behave in public spaces today.

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interview Olivier van Breugel & Simone Mudde