The Woods smell of Shampoo, on the influence of media,
VPRO Television.

The media have become our filters, through them we survey the world around us. Media experiences are often more satisfying than real experiences. Do we actually still have real experiences or are all our feelings and thoughts dictated by the information society? And if that's the case, how bad is this anyhow. A programme on the synthesis between appearance and reality

tell me fax me ik ben hierThe engineer and artist Koert van Mensvoort is concerned with the relation between media and reality.
What artist doesn't nowadays? Excerpts from an interview.

"When I was a kid I had the feeling that the people on TV were actually inside the tv.
And I used to wonder where the went when I turned of the TV. I still have this feeling that it hurts the TV when it turn it off.

"Physically things are still quite clear. I have a body and where my body is located, that is where I am. This is how it was around 10.000 years ago. But these days this notion of place has become outmoded or at least muted. When I watch TV, an exiting film, say, I’m more or less in the film.
It’s the same when I’m on the phone, physically I’m in the same place but socially I move towards the other person at the speed of light. And all fast food restaurants look the same even though they’re in different places. The same goes for airports, suburbs, and inner cities. And will also apply in future to nature conservation areas. But where am I really?"

soapswimmer"We’re actually attempting to double reality. People have always made representations. It began with the cave paintings, developing into painting perspective, the printing press, photography, television into the virtual, interactive reality machine cave. But we haven’t changed biologically. We’re still the same stinking animals we were ten thousand years ago. Even though we know things."

Recreation Poll
Where do you want spent your holiday?
Sealand (Ocean Dome, The world's largest all weather indoor water park, Miyazaki, Japan)
Zeeland, still ©Jeroen Disch

virtually real"When the lumiere brothers showed the film ‘l’arive dus train’ a century ago, people ran out of the cinema to escape the approaching train. Now we stay in our seats because we expect this of a medium. We’ve updated our media schemas. Physiologically we’re still tempted to run away but cognitively we know we don’t need to. And each time technology comes up with something new we’re fooled again. In the meantime there’s a growing gap between the human physicality and cognitive knowledge. A gap between what we know is possible and what is natural."

groene kamer"I once participated in an experiment in which I was put in an entirely green room. In the beginning things were quite green, but after a while, it all became green. It would not have been efficient if I would have kept on thinking: ‘Oh it is all so green.’ That thought wasn’t informative anymore, so I adopted. When I left the room everything seemed red, which is the opposite of green. Something similar developed with the media. A perceptual illusion of non-mediation has occurred. We are in the media room now, and we have adopted ourselves. And this is a good thing because we will not be leaving this media room anymore."

surfen in de grachten van Amsterdam

"There are no longer media representations, just real things. You could also say there are no real things, only media representations. You can’t see the difference now between real and representation. You can no longer experience something without referring to media experiences. Media representations have become more real and satisfying than actual things." Discuss this statement (Dutch)

"Breaking up with someone happens every day in the soaps, but hopefully not as much in real life. And if it happens to you it’s useful if you’ve developed a vocabulary of strategies culled from the media to use when you need them. In the past, your neighbour or someone in the town you lived in probably told you how to sort out difficulties or deal with things."

stripheld Koert "When you see this from outside, you thing: “We’ve became actors, we’re no longer authentic”, but if you think about it longer, it’s actually a positive development because it means we all understand each other and share a rich collective memory. Authenticity is perhaps being forced into the background although it’s compensated perhaps by allowing us to quickly reach a certain dept."


bountystrand"A city kid who always washes her hair with pine shampoo and one day takes a walk in the forest with her father says: “Daddy, the woods smell of shampoo.” People who still saw that wood as simply a wood, find this horrendous and complain of commercialisation. But how was it before? Then, the woods only smelled of woods. What’s so interesting about that?"

"We play lightning chess. We are developing an agile, montage-like and concise way of thinking which enables us to comprehend complex phenomenon. We read images with critical detachment. We don't let 'the facts' confuse us, for fear they are taken out of context, fragmented or simply a lie. We read more than ever before, but mainly in a fragmented fashion. We weigh desinformation against manipulated imagery."

samenstelling en regie: Michel van Duyvenbode en Koert van Mensvoort
eindredactie: Rob Schröder
montage: Bart Hoeve, Koert van Mensvoort,
Michel van Duyvenbode
geluidsmix: Marcel Huibers

webredactie: Geert van de Wetering
beeld: Persijn Broersen, Luna Maurer, Jeroen Disch, Dario Bardic, Maarten Visser, Ivanca Bakker, Roel Wouters, Kathrin Hero, Raymond Taudin Chabot, Michel van Duyvenbode, Koert van Mensvoort
met bijdrage van: Sandberg Instituut, W139, Sammy-Jo Pel, Pieter Paul Mortier, Dennis Lodewijks, Nirid Peled, Janneke Küpfer, Patricia van de Camp
production: Rübsaam & Zo i.o.v. de VPRO

top section: work
Shampoo Generation DVD, 2004Shampoo Generation DVD


stream the entire documentary in realvideo or choose a fragment below.
(part 1)
you are here
(part 2)
virtually real (part 3)
green room (part 4)
united interface world (part 5)
woods smell of woods
(part 6)


Download the video The Woods Smell of Shampoo (200 mb DivX avi format)


VPRO Bonanza Website has more information on the subject (Dutch texts)
Desiderius Erasmus over Het leven als schouwtoneel
De volledige tekst van het interview met Koert van Mensvoort
Jean Baudrillard over Hyperrealiteit
Toelichting bij de term presence
Francis Bacon over de kennismaatschappij



Koert van Mensvoort
De Sandberg Institute
Next Nature
Visual Power